Borsari Perfume & Cologne
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In 1870, an Italian barber named Lodovico Borsari launched the fragrance Violetta di Parma and founded the perfumery house that bears his name. The scent was based on a formula used by monks to create a fragrance for the duchess Marie Louise, Napoleon Bonaparte’s second wife. The duchess, who loved violets and even wrote in violet ink, asked monks at the Monastery of the Annunciata to create a fragrance based on the flower for her. Decades later, the sweet, fresh scent of Violetta di Parma made the highly popular fragrance Borsari’s signature product.
Acqua Classica, launched in 1880 and unchanged since its creation, was designed as a unisex fragrance, but eventually became a strong seller among men. The untouched, original formula uses citrus, sandalwood, leather and oak musk notes to produce a crisp, elegant scent.
In the 20th century, the company added Lavanda Alpina, Tea Rose, Lily of the Valley and many additional floral fragrances to its range. Violetta di Parma was relaunched 55 years after Lodovico Borsari introduced it to the mass market.
The story of the duchess Marie Louise and the creation of the Violetta di Parma, as well as the evolution of the Borsari style, are documented in The Borsari 1870 collection in the Palazzina Borsari, which is open to the public. Although Borsari has launched dozens of fragrances since its founding, the company remains best known for its first scent.