I should just say that generally speaking I am not a huge fan of the citrus fragrance family. I very often love a citrus opening, then it fades fast, leaving me smelling faint woods and musk at best. Some citrus fragrances are excellent - take Eau Savage for example - and have stood the test of time, but there are others that seem to just clog up the shelves at many department stores, all like each other and very often called sports fragrances. I recently received samples of Acqua Di Parma Colonia and Aramis Cool Blend. Cool Blend is meant to appeal to a young, new generation of Aramis lovers, and I understand is mean to be a fresh chypre. To me it opens with a strong blast of bergamot and that is pretty much all I smell initially. I'm sure there is more in there, but nothing that stands out. There is a spicy piquancy in the heart, which I thought might be cardamom, but from the notes it seems it is actually white pepper and cinnamon. I did detect a rosiness, but now I think this might be the cinnamon note. The dry down is meant to have a creamy suede, golden amber and sandalwood accord, but I honestly don't detect the suede or sandalwood. I thought I was smelling musk and amber. I'm not sure why it is classed as a fresh chypre - it doesn't smell anything like a chypre to me, fresh or otherwise, and I fail to see how amber, suede and sandalwood could combine to be a chypre? To me Cool Blend seems quite similar to Bulgari Pour Homme, perhaps not exactly in structure, but it has a similar vibe. It is quite mainstream, but to its credit it manages to avoid a lot of the generic cliches out there in men's perfumery, at least I think so. It smells decent, without any wow factor, and if Aramis are trying to connect to a new generation of men, these guys could do a lot worse than wear Cool Blend.
Colonia was created in 1916 and has notes of Italian and Sicilian citrus fruits, lavender, verbena and vetiver. I'm not sure if there is a difference between Italian and Sicilian fruit, but in any event it opens bright and citrusy, with a smell more of the citrus leaves than the fruit or blossoms, luckily (for me). There is quite a lemonyness to it, which I think must be the verbena, which is very realistic. To me it smells a lot like fresh lemon zest. Once the citrus fades a bit, there is more of a floral aspect. Although not listed, I thought I detected a lovely rose and jasmine combo, quite elegant and restrained, and not too floral for a man to wear. I also thought the herbal note smelled a lot like rosemary, but again, I see lavender listed, so perhaps I am confused. In any event, the heart is a lovely mix of rose, jasmine, herbs, perfectly blended. It smells classy and understated. The dry down seems mossy to me, but that might be lavender and vetiver combining. I think overall Colonia smells expensive, with very good quality ingredients. Although released in 1916, it doesn't come across as old fashioned and dated, at least not to me. Being a cologne, it isn't particularly long-lasting and is fairly subtle and restrained, but I think it is lovely and would certainly recommend it.
So would I buy Cool Blend or Colonia? Well, I think I would definitely go for Colonia. It smells more natural and of better-quality ingredients to me, and although not as long-lasting as Cool Blend, it does more for me while it lasts. I know I am not the new generation, but give me 1916 over 2010 any day, at least in this case.