Bellodgia, which according to Caron has long been “a particular favorite of American customers”, was inspired by the Italian town of Bellagio on Lake Como and is intended to evoke “fields of carnations smothered in sunlight”. It was created by perfumer Ernest Daltroff and introduced in 1927; additional notes include rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.
Bellodgia in Parfum opens heady and sweet, and calms to a rich, dense fragrance, peppery-spicy and warm, with the floral notes layered over the traditional dark Caron base. The carnation itself is the star of the show, but it is soft and stylised: it does not scream of fresh carnations — or not for more than a few minutes, anway — and it is far too sophisticated to elicit any association with funerals or prom corsages. There are hints of rose and the whole has a creamy-powdered finish over mossy woods.
Earlier in the week, I said that Lorenzo Villoresi’s Garofano had a somewhat old-fashioned feel, but if you were to wear them together, you’d know immediately which was the 1927 scent and which the 1995. Bellodgia has all the dusky opulence you’d expect from a 1920s perfume; Garofano, while dense enough in its own right, smells considerably brighter and fresher (fresh in the sense that it smells like newly cut flowers). If you don’t appreciate the signature Caron style, the mossy and animalic notes in Bellodgia may strike you as comparatively musty and dated.
Caron Bellodgia is available in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Parfum (extrait). The Eau de Parfum is a new formula introduced in the late 1990s to appeal to more modern tastes, but there is modern and then there is modern: the newer version is brighter and milder, but even so, it is not likely to strike a young consumer of today as au courant and it retains the feel of a classic Caron. I have not tried the Eau de Toilette.
Caron Bellodgia is not an urn perfume so even the extrait is readily available online, and can be found at discount. I did not do an exhaustive price comparison, but Parfum1 has the extrait for $63 for 15 ml.