Italian celebrity perfume-maker Silvana Casoli, has created her most heavenly scent yet for a very special client, Pope Benedict XVI.
Known for creating a number of perfumes that can be used by both men and women with names like Chocolat Bambola (Chocolate doll) and Vanilla Bourbon, Casoli has designed unique fragrances for famous personalities like Madonna and Sting.
Speaking to Rome's daily paper, Il Messaggero, Casoli said that the name of the pope's specially-commissioned scent is top secret and she is not allowed to divulge all its ingredients. She did, however, reveal that she was inspired by the pope's love of "nature" and used a blend of fragrances from lime-wood, verbena and grass.
"I love speaking of my work," said Casoli, "but this time I can't. I am very devoted to the Holy Father." She promises his special cologne will never be reproduced for anyone else.
Casoli said she nearly fainted when she received the phone call from the Vatican and took months working on the commission in her small laboratory in northern Italy. At times she thought she would abandon it, but then she said she got inspired.
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"I realized that an essence like this had to have at its core something pure and clean, recalling the idea of peace," she said. "I thought of the smells the pope would smell when praying at the Grotto of Lourdes" and about "his love for music, animals, green Bavarian forests."
Casoli is not new to "spiritually-inspired" scents. She created two perfumes for pilgrims on pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. They were called "Water of Faith" and "Water of Hope" and were so popular that priests presented samples to the pope, which gave him the idea that he would like his very own.
Pope Benedict XVI, who is 85 and was once the archbishop of Cologne, Germany, is known for his elegance in both speech and attire. His attention to detail and color in his papal clothing has often been commented on and he has reintroduced a number of items to papal attire during his papacy, like his fur-lined, short, deep-red cape. Shortly after his election it was said that he wore Prada shoes and Gucci sunglasses, all quietly denied by the pope's entourage.
The Vatican does not comment on products used by the pope and the pope's image is carefully protected from inappropriate commercial exploitation, but until someone comes forward to deny this, Casoli will probably get a rush of snooping, sniffing fans wanting to smell that oh so special fragrance.
Although the more than 2.5 million people who see the pope at the Vatican annually do not all come into close contact with him, those who are lucky enough to shake his hand at private and public audiences, or receive communion from him during mass, may possibly now also get a whiff of the papal eau.