Category Archives: Santa Maria Novella

Acqua Di Genova – Acqua Di Genova & Acqua Di Sicilia – Santa Maria Novella

Eau De Cologne is my theme for this post. It is an area I don’t explore – at all. I like my citrus fruits now and again, I love the juicy orange, oakmoss and spice of the yet-to-be-reviewed Azemour Les Oranges, and my favourite of all time – Orange Star by Tauer.
These two are much more traditional though, but two fine examples of classic cologne perfumery.
Acqua Di Genova was made over 150 years ago in 1853 and is apparently still true to its original formula (I’m sure it’s been tweaked but I suppose the quantities are still the same). The cologne from the infamous house of Santa Maria Novella, which I have been exploring recently, is a slightly more modern take on the cologne – being produced in the last 20 years.

Acqua Di Genova starts subdued and gets stronger – within seconds it becomes a powerful lemon/bergamot, stark and sharp, but not too sour. I always associate this kind of singular lemon soliflore style with scented cleaning products (which I’m sure many people do). It is reminiscent of that – and doesn’t quite have the mouthwatering quality I’d hoped.

The citrus tames, and gives of a more muted lime feel which I much prefer, and a sweet creamy woodsy note comes from underneath. The texture goes from transparent but bright, to a denser lemon/lime cream. A delicate tea rose comes in, along with some neroli (bringing the citrus into the heart), and bizarrely, Acqua Di Genova gives off a natural almost ozonic type note – it becomes warm and fuzzy, like a laundromat. I like this part of ADG, whether I’m breaking it down too much and trying to make it strange or whether it is actually a bit strange – I’m not sure :)

The citrus, impressively, manages to stay to the end of Acqua Di Genova – supported by maybe sandalwood? and some musky powder. The clean musky presence keeps the faux-ozonic feel going for longer, and I actually find myself enjoy this cologne! The citrus becomes very quiet, but the comforting, fuzzy, ozonic musk stained with a soapy bitter orange holds onto the skin for longer than I expected. It feels classy and dapper – a gentleman-ly cologne that I think I could wear :D

Acqua Di Sicilia has a very different start. It is predominantly orange, beautifully bitter, with a rich sour juice that keeps the skin damp and mouthwatering. Just like the opening of Azemour (but very different in scent) it has that familiar feel of the scent on your fingers after peeling oranges.
A little lemon and hints of neroli join in shortly after, and as the bitter orange – maybe a dash of grapefruit – begins to settle on the skin, it does become a little “Lemon Pledge”. This is thankfully saved with the introduction of a few herbal elements, which I think is cypress? I may be wrong.

The citrus and cypress are the main players – and whilst the bitter orange turns more into a lemon, it’s still delicious and charming. The base is faintly woodsy – without the musky powder of Acqua Di Genova. The herbal notes in Acqua Di Sicilia make it smell a little more typically masculine than ADG – cypress reminds me of pine, it has that bitter but familiar evergreen foresty smell, a little bit mentholated and is naturally a lovely cool partner with citrus.

Both refreshing, traditional colognes. Acqua Di Sicilia manages to cling onto the bright citrus for many hours, whereas all citrus has vanished in Acqua Di Genova within an hour. Typically, I prefer the ADG – I like the fuzzy laundromat feel, but the citrus note in the Santa Maria Novella is far superior. All in all – I wouldn’t choose to buy either, I prefer a good fougere like Sartorial for my dose of masculinity, or something bizarrely marine like Lush’s Dirty, and more complex citrus’ like Azemour Les Oranges for something “refreshing”. Still – it’s always nice to explore traditional perfumery styles now and again… :)

Acqua Di Genova 100ml EDC – £70 Les Senteurs
Santa Maria Novella Acqua Di Sicilia – ?

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Santa Maria Novella – Peau D’Espagne & Potpourri

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…

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