They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and in this case, I think that is correct. This morning, I came across this article in the Marin Independant about “The Pope’s Cologne”.

Growing up in San Rafael, Dr. Fred Hass would never have admitted to an interest in men’s fragrances.
In those days, Hass recalled, he and his brother even had to hide their interest in Shakespeare from their peers.
“My brother and I were voracious readers,” Hass says. “He and I would read poetry to each other. We’d read Sinclair Lewis, Hemingway, Shakespeare. We really liked Shakespeare, but that was something we didn’t want anyone else to know.”
These days, things are different. Hass’ brother Bob – encouraged by Fred to pursue his love of literature – is the former U.S. poet laureate. And Hass, the plain-spoken head of a Terra Linda family practice, is producing a cologne formula first created by Pope Pius IX.

(…)

The fragrance Hass dubbed The Pope’s Cologne has that light, slightly sweet, slightly medicinal smell one might associate with the interior of a favorite grandmother’s purse. Hass describes it as a “crisp freshness with subtle notes of citrus and violet.”
“There’s no unpretentious way to write about smell,” he added.
What’s important, he says, is that the fragrance’s smell is distinctive – and that most people who try it seem to enjoy it.

So far, his hunch seems to have paid off. Since news reports described his discovery, Hass has fielded inquiries about the cologne from as far away as Texas and Arizona. The cologne retails for $24.95 at his Web site, http://www.thepopescologne.com/.
Sales have been slow, however, at the Mission San Rafael gift shop. Manager Helen Berrardoni has adopted a “wait and see” attitude.

Read the complete article here.

Am I the only one who thinks this marketing ploy is simply pitiful?
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