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And finally: physician discovers the odour of sanctity?

 An American company, Excelsis, has just announced the release of an exciting new product called The Pope's Cologne. Heaven scent? "Could well be," says Frederic J Hass, MD, a San Rafael, California, physician who claims to have discovered the private formula for a personal cologne made expressly for Pope Pius IX (1791-1878). The Pope's Cologne is described by Excelsis as: "a complex and engaging fragrance that appeals to both men and women." It also possesses an intriguing additional property, according to Dr Hass, president of Excelsis. "It's like a time machine," he says. "Open a bottle, close your eyes, and with a little imagination you'll find yourself in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Pius IX in Papal Apartments of the 1850's." Actually wearing The Pope's Cologne delivers an even headier experience, he notes. Pope Pius IX 's reign, from 1846 until his death in 1878, is the longest in Church records since that of Saint Peter. His pontificate is known for the First Vatican Council and promulgation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pius IX was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2000. In producing The Pope's Cologne, Excelsis chemists scrupulously followed the original, complex, 150-year-old formula. The result they say, is "a very clean, crisp and decidedly modern fragrance profile offering notes of citrus and violet. It is a fresh, new fragrance from the past." The Popes Cologne can be ordered through the Excelsis website, which also has a fascinating collection of images. To find out more see: www.thepopescologne.com