Acqua di Stresa is a niche Italian perfume line. As you can probably guess from the name, it was founded in Stresa, which is a small town in Northern Italy. It’s even farther north than Milan, but it’s set right on the shores of Lake Maggiore, so it’s a place that provides plenty of inspiration. Winter Camellia is the inspiration for Camellia Soliflor. I was intrigued by this scent because I had been under the impression that camellias are a scentless flower and that camellia fragrances are mostly based on a fantasy floral bouquet.
I’m happy to learn something and be proven wrong here, since it turns out that there are certain families of camellias that do give off a scent. The specific Winter Camellia that served as the inspiration for Acqua di Stresa’s Camellia Soliflor is one of these scented camellia flowers. I wish I could tell you that I traveled to Italy to smell this particular type of camellia in its natural surroundings to compare it to this fragrance. (A girl can dream, right?) Since this is the real world, just the fragrance itself will have to do.
Camellia Soliflor has a bright and fresh opening consisting of sparkling citrus notes and black pepper. Fragrantica lists grass as an opening note here, but I have to confess that, apart from an overal refreshing feel, I can’t pick out any green notes in particular. The citrus is lemony for me and, thankfully, it’s more like sparkling lemonade, not lemon-scented cleaning products. The pepper is quite strong for me, which I like, and it lasts for around 15 minutes before settling down.
With the pepper settling into the skin, the fragrance moves into the floral notes. I clearly don’t have enough experience with camellia to claim that I detect it here. What I do detect is a powdery floral note, almost similar to iris. However, this isn’t a buttery or rich powder note, as Camellia Soliflor stays on the dry and fresh side throughout wear time. The floral bouquet here is subtle but gives off a sophisticated feel. If you’re looking for bigger florals, you may be disappointed with this. However, if you’re in the mood for a quiet floral, this would work well.
The dry down has a spicy feel, as the black pepper resurfaces. I think I detect a hint of cedar in the woody notes. A touch of the lemon/citrus top note lingers on my skin, and it all blends together for a lovely dry down that isn’t too heavy. My only complaint about this fragrance is that it can actually be a little bit too light. It’s an EdP concentration but wears like an EdT. You can definitely apply this one liberally, and I reapply throughout the day.
I stumbled across this line at Neiman Marcus, and I’m so glad that I did. I’ve really been enjoying Camellia Soliflor for summer wear. This fragrance has citrus top notes, but the spicy aspect and the unique camellia/floral bouquet set it apart from other typical summer scents. I look forward to trying more from Acqua di Stresa and I hope they get a wider release in the US. In the meantime, I’ll keep dreaming of traveling to Italy.
In the US, Acqua di Stresa fragrances are available from Neiman Marcus, which is where I purchased my bottle. It looks like the line can also be found on Amazon. At this time I don’t see samples of this line available from any of my usual sample resources, but I will update if I come across it.
The image and info on notes are from Fragrantica.