Santa Maria Novella is a line I never really considered exploring until helped out with goodies from a generous Basenoter. I kind of like the idea of fragrances created over one hundred years ago… I mean, how amazing is that?! I’m sure the formulations aren’t quite identical, but still.
So I have a few samples from the line, expecting traditional colognes and fragrant waters – I was pretty shocked when I first sniffed these!
They say Lonestar Memories has the strongest barbecue leather opening? WRONG! Peau D’Espagne is a nose-searingly strong leather – rough, rugged, intensely smoky and loaded with herbal notes and a cool eucalyptus. It’s a screaming leather tannery upon opening, and in honestly, overwhelming – the almost beef-jerky style smoked meat leather is persistent for a good five to ten minutes, before the herbal notes rise upwards and surprisingly smooth out the composition.
Similarly also to the Tauer, an amber becomes present very quickly, adding a sweet powdery element that becomes more and more prominent as the leather becomes more suede like. The transition is quick shocking actually – the direction Peau D’Espagne takes is completely unexpected. The harsh masculinity of the opening gives way to a feminine amber and vanilla, a scattering of powder and a rose note maybe? It reminds me of the concept of Vierges et Toreros by Etat Libre D’Orange - where the opening of sweet white florals turns into a pungent leather – only here it is in reverse.
The eucalyptus slowly evaporates, taking it’s menthol facet along with it. A slightly camphorous stain is delicately present start to finish, and in the end adds an unusual medicated accord that entwines really nicely with the sweet and powdery base. I enjoy this the longer it is on the skin, and whilst I can’t give up my love for the slightly tamer (and gorgeous start to finish) Lonestar Memories – this is clearly a standout fragrance in the leather genre and I can’t believe I haven’t smelt it before – brilliant! :)
Potpourri opens up close extremely herbal with what feels like a musty rose. Bizarrely, at a distance from the very first spritz, I get a gorgeously plush animalic musk – up close, the spice basket is let loose. I get a hot mixture of clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, a spicy ginger, black pepper – whether these are all in here or not I don’t know, but the impression is there at least. Similarly to Peau D’Espagne, there is also a cooler side – a eucalyptus yet again, giving a mentholated clean side to what could otherwise be far too stuffy and dusty.
Along with this herbal hot/cold contrast, there is a green grassy note in Potpourri. This comes forward pretty strong after about ten minutes, where a cool, fresh mint note and dried cookery herbs become the leading accords - I get sage, maybe even rosemary? I think also there is a thyme note, similar to that in Dirty by Lush. At this point, the heated spices calm down considerably, as with Peau D’Espagne, the eucalyptus leaves early on – what is left is this green herbal accord that is perfectly balanced and much more comfortable.
All aspects of the mystery animalic musk disappears, along with the imaginary rose. The potent clove note evaporates and the spicy, resinous fragrance becomes something tame, harmonious, and heartwarmingly familiar – the scent of actually pot pourri? Yes I guess it is, along with a warm, welcoming medley of kitchen herbs, completely de-sweetened and dry. I actually adore the dry down of this, it goes from being loud and complicated to simply lovely, and whilst it is unlike anything I would normally choose to wear – I could easily imagine myself with a bottle of this. It may be an old piece of work, but it smells timeless and very charming!
I will definitely be exploring more of this classic line.
Santa Maria Novella – Peau D’Espange & Potpourri EDC - I’m not sure on prices…