Bergamotto di Calabria La Spugnatura is a 2021 limited edition of Bergamotto di Calabria (2010) by Acqua di Parma. The difference between the two editions is in the special bergamot oil called Spugnatura, which was harvested by hand with a sea sponge. The brand also claims that the new eau de toilette was orchestrated anew, not just the bergamot oil replaced.

I compared the two versions and confirm that they are indeed different: after wearing La Spugnatura, I doubt that I will favor the original again.

The original Bergamotto di Calabria is a very quiet fragrance, and also very weak. I don’t require a mighty, lasting power and an enormous sillage from a perfume, on the contrary, I think perfumers should go easy with their fixators and diffusers. Therefore, the weak sillage of the original didn’t particularly bother me, unlike others, to whom it was a problem, reflected in the commentary on the perfume. I prefer re-applying fragrance, and I personally think the purpose of the Blu Mediterraneo collection is to be part of the morning grooming procedure; to provide the initial boost for the day and occasionally throughout the day, but nothing more.

La Spugnatura lasts longer, and its first citrus blast is much brighter and louder, more complex, but since natural citrus oils are short-lived, it calms down quite quickly and remains an intimate fragrance sitting close to the skin. You have to make the choice of whether you want to enjoy the naturalness of citruses or the lasting power of a citrus fragrance that is inevitably enhanced by synthetics, which will often poke through the top notes as well.

La Spugnatura’s citrus accord is fantastic; it is much sweeter, brighter, and considerably more floral than that of the original Bergamotto di Calabria. You can almost taste the smell. Orange and mandarin (and lemon?) infuse cheerful yellow-citrus-sweetness, and I caught myself thinking that I do not remember bergamot being so sweet and bright. The citrus of the original Bergamotto is leaner and dryer, it goes straight to aromatic green and woody bergamot without any preface.

The citruses of La Spugnatura showcase their rich nuances for quite some time before they settle into a refined, woody, and soft floral base. I can’t say that I smell explicitly bergamot, since the new technique pulls out more nuances from the fruit’s skin than is shown. I can only say that the bergamot I know is definitely a part of this citrus goodness and that the other citruses present their best in order to emphasize multiple tones of this new bergamot.

I appreciate the softness and creaminess of the floral nuance, reminiscent of linden blossom and orange blossom melted into the citrus heart. Good quality geranium greets you at the start; I learned to recognize its aromatic pinching edge after a few days of wearing the fragrance, but its journey doesn’t end with smartly enhancing the aromatic side. The geranium expands and deepens the floral heart; it lines it with its deep, velvety floralcy. You smell more of it after some time when the fragrance has set on your skin.

A woody facet of bergamot, which is modest at first, intensifies with the fragrance’s development and acquires that specific green terpenic woodiness of green citrus fruit and its branches when smashed. In the original, this terpenic facet is naked and somewhat harsh, but in La Spugnatura, all the green, woody, aromatic nuances are carefully cushioned.

La Spugnatura, with its high content of natural ingredients, is not for those who are seeking a one-time application to wear throughout the day. It is a perfume for citrus connoisseurs who can forgive the quiet performance for the sake of filigree development. The fragrance will stay with you for quite some time, but close to the skin, for your beloved to enjoy from up close. This way, smelling your clean fragrant skin, he or she will exclusively, but certainly, acknowledge your fine taste and discretion in applying a perfume. However, the very best of the fragrance you will observe in its first hour.

Elena Knezhevich