Fragrance Company Creates Pope-Inspired Cologne

A California fragrance company known for producing "The Pope's Cologne" has created a special cologne in honor of Pope Francis.

Excelsis Fine Fragrances announced the release of its new papal scent, "Francis," on Tuesday. The fragrance consists primarily of bergamot, a citrus fruit that is primarily grown in Calabria in southern Italy, and sandalwood.

"I didn't want to get anything too flashy," Excelsis President and CEO Frederick Hass told CP. "So I wanted something subtle and dignified and relatively simple."

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Hass, who is a practicing medical doctor with a passion for perfumery, says he tried to create a scent that matched the character of Pope Francis.

"He's more humble and down to earth than the previous popes. So I tried to fit the perfume to the personality," he said.

Hass, who is Catholic, says he founded Excelsis in 2005 after obtaining a recipe for the cologne worn by Pope Pius IX, which he produced and marketed as "The Pope's Cologne." He became fascinated with creating fragrances while studying and preparing to create the papal scent, and has since created many original colognes of his own.

He introduced "Benedictus," a fragrance honoring Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in 2006. The scent is a combination of linden blossom from Germany, bergamot from Italy and frankincense from the Holy Land. Hass sent some samples of the fragrance to Benedict during his papacy and received a note of thanks in return.

Excelsis is a small business, Hass says, and much of his marketing in the highly competitive fragrance industry comes from word of mouth recommendations. His pope colognes target a niche market and primarily sell through Catholic gift shops and online.

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