Odor of sanctity: celebrity perfume-maker designs fragrance for Pope Benedict


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.

“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.

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  1. pagansister says:

    And the Pope thinks what about this? :o)

  2. midwestlady says:

    This kind of stuff goes on all the time in Rome, people vying for the business of the Holy See. Why it’s suddenly being covered by the news media is a bit of a mystery, unless:
    a) they’re having a few slow news days, which I doubt.
    b) they hope it will make the papacy look decadent, which might be the reason.
    Other than that I don’t know why this is being reported.

  3. Kathy Schiffer says:

    What, Pope Pius IX’s cologne isn’t satisfactory to His Holiness? (I’ve actually purchased this cologne for my husband– It’s not so good.) http://thepopescologne.com/

  4. I have a very hard time believing that the pope “commissioned” this cologne…more than likely, someone else commissioned it as a gift for him.
    This reminds me of the so-called “Prada” shoes fantasy, which is still believed in some circles despite it having been debunked a thousand times over. I think that Midwestlady is spot on…people want to trivialize the pope and make him appear shallow.

    Ms. Casoli does seem very ernest, though.

  5. I don’t know what the pope thinks about this. What I think is “what kind of action am I going to attract with a fragrance that hints of old guy and frankincense?”
    On the other hand, can I afford to be too picky about that? :)

  6. Donal Mahoney says:

    The otherwise kosher RC magazine, Inside the Vatican, has for years run ads for “The Pope’s Cologne.” I received no response when I suggested that we now needed a perfume named after Mother Therese. I chalk it all up to yet another fallout from the “spirit” of Vatican II. Who needs hairshirts, sackcloth or ashes when this makes more “scents.” Let’s hear from Fran on the subject.

  7. Suburbanbanshee says:

    1. Colognes aren’t decadent. If you lived in Rome in the summer, and especially if you were an old Italian man with an old guy smell to your sweat, it would probably be both thoughtful to others and cooling to yourself to slap on some cologne. I don’t know whether our current pope has not-that-good A/C or an old guy smell, but it’s possible.

    2. It’s actually healthy for the brain to get exposed to different scents. Being unable to distinguish odors is either a bad symptom of nose/sinus trouble, or of brain trouble. (Schizophrenics often have trouble smelling.)

    3. Do you really stand around in the air freshener aisle and complain about people using that? Or do you interrogate old guys buying aftershave? Do people have to justify using aromatic stuff?

    4. Seriously, this is not a big deal. Somebody is patronizing one of the arts, that’s all. And yes, it’s probably somebody looking for a birthday present for the pope that isn’t a book.

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