Sheesh. The Catholic Church only ever really had one original idea and even that wasn’t terribly popular. Now they (or someone using their credentials anyway*) has gone into competition with Tetherd Cow Ahead and is treading on our turf…

The Pope's Cologne

PZ Myers over at Pharyngula brings to our attention a recent product to hit the Perfume Department shelves: The Pope’s Cologne. Long time readers of The Cow will know that this is well-worn territory in these parts, after our introduction in May 2006 of Lamb of God and prior to that (because we are not at all partisan here in The Cow Perfume Laboratories) of Satan’s preferred cologne Brimstone.

The Pope’s Cologne website claims to have in their possession the ‘private formula of Pope Pius IX’ and spruiks it as an “aristocratic, Old World cologne with suprising freshness…”. I hope their perfume chemistry is better than their spelling, but somehow I doubt it.

And we must wonder at the ‘suprising’ freshness. Why surprising (presuming that’s what they were trying to spell)? Is it because Pius IX is renowned as a smelly old bugger? Or did they whip it up out any old stuff they had lying around and then excitedly proclaim “Hey! Who’da thought turps and orange peel with a dash of kerosene would smell, like, fresh?”

The San Francisco Chronicle tells the story of the perfume’s rediscovery by Dr. Fred Hass, a general practitioner from California:

Hass found the purported recipe about seven years ago in a limited-edition 1963 cookbook published in the United States. The cookbook says the recipe is believed to have been passed down by the family of a French general who was in Pius’ papal guard.

One night, after a few glasses of wine with friends, he decided to make the concoction in his kitchen.

After a few glasses of wine with friends…’ Uh-huh. Lot’s of ‘great’ things happen like that.

“It was very pleasant,” said Hass’ cohort, Hank Sandbach of Sonoma, a retired vice president of Nabisco. “To think, if you close your eyes you’re in the presence of the pope. And if you splash a little on you get something even headier.”

Whoa there Hank! What exactly are you suggesting by that? Are you thinking, perhaps, that you chaps might have undersold yourselves there, now that the SF Chronicle has interviewed you, and that you should have tried, maybe, for God’s Perfume?

Here’s what Hass, undoubtedly aided by Hank’s expertise at the helm of Nabisco, came up with for the catchline for his scent:

The Pope’s Cologne ….a fresh new fragrance from the past.

Fresh. New. Two words not usually associated with the past. Usually things from the past are Old and Dusty. But hey.

Thing is, seeing as Pius IX was the Pope who declared Papal Infallibility as official Catholic Dogma I’m just suprised they missed the obvious marketing line:

The Pope’s Cologne. You simply CAN’T fail to impress.


*Despite the use of one of their figureheads, the Catholic Church doesn’t appear to have anything to do with this venture.