By Tom Kington–
Fragrance, which mixes hints of lime tree, verbena and grass, was concocted by Italian boutique perfume maker Silvana Casoli
He is picky about his robes and his red shoes are tailor-made, but Pope Benedict has taken the meaning of bespoke to a whole new level by ordering a custom-blended eau de cologne just for him.
The fragrance, which mixes hints of lime tree, verbena and grass, was concocted by the Italian boutique perfume maker Silvana Casoli, who has previously created scents for customers including Madonna, Sting and King Juan Carlos of Spain.
Casoli said she had a “pact of secrecy” with her most illustrious client to date, and refused to release the full list of ingredients that had gone into his scent – but she did reveal that she had created a delicate smelling eau de cologne “based on his love of nature”.
Casoli’s scents first came to the attention of Vatican elders when she was commissioned to create fragrances for Catholic pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The two she supplied, Water of Faith and Water of Hope, were liked so much by local priests that they presented samples to the Pope, the Italian daily Il Messaggero reported. Alerted to Casoli’s talents, Benedict put in a request for his own stock of scent. The Vatican has previously played down reports that the 84-year-old pontiff is a snappy dresser, arguing that his unusual hats, including a red panama, reflect his respect for papal tradition rather than an eye for fashion.
And anyone keen to smell like the pope will be disappointed. “I would not ever repeat the same perfume for another customer,” Casoli told the Guardian.
She describes her ready-to-wear perfumes, which are accessible to all, as “made with noble and rare essences which leave an unforgettable olfactory message for him and her”.
The line, which features “sensually elegant” men’s fragrances, also contains a scent named Perfume of Italy, which sums up the smell of Italy’s “seas, mountains and countryside”, and a perfume called Cannabis, which is described as hypnotic.
One that bishops and cardinals might wish to avoid is Nude, a scent inspired “by the smell that only a woman’s skin emanates in a state of ecstasy”.