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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Santa Maria Novella Calycanthus Cologne

Santa Maria Novella is one of my guiltiest pleasures. I have quite an assortment of Santa Maria Novella’s home fragrances. As someone who loves fragrance, how can I deny my surroundings the same luxuries I allow myself? My bedroom should smell as good as I do! 

Strangely enough, I’ve only recently ventured into their collection of colognes. It’s not that I didn’t know that Santa Maria Novella has a large line of personal fragrances; it’s just that I was too busy buying all of their incense, potpourri, and burning papers to remember that, oh, I could smell just like my bedroom! What a silly Joey I am.
While digging through my magical stash of perfume samples I never realized I had, I came across a decant of SMN Calycanthus. If memory serves me well, it was sent to me by a friend who remembered my fondness for “skanky” fragrances.

(Borrowed from the LAFCO website)
Here’s today’s ‘Joey vocab lesson’: “skanky” is how I used to (ok, I still do) describe scents that have  one or more earthy or animalic base notes (like amber, musk, civet, patchouli, etc.). There is something about, for example, the powdery undertones of amber (oh labdanum, how I love you so!), or the sweat-like aura of a musk, that reminds me of sex, skin, and all of the terribly naughty aspects of my personality. I feel incredibly sensual and sexual when wearing perfumes that heavily display these notes. Thus,  the term “skank”. Can you tell I’m from the Bronx? Anyway...
SMN Calycanthus is (somewhat laughably) described on the LAFCO website as “an everyday fragrance”. This is an everyday fragrance for someone who wants to seduce everyone in sight, for sure, but there’s something dizzyingly erotic about this scent that would make me hesitate to wear this on a daily basis. This is the fragrance I’d put on when I’m on the prowl, when I’m looking for a raise, when I have a big pitch to make. You get the idea: Calycanthus is swagger and self-confidence in a bottle. Yes, swag me out, Santa Maria Novella! 
(I can never resist making a pop culture reference, and when will I ever have the opportunity to reference Odd Future in a perfume review? Probably never again.)

(I took this from Wiki - pretty flower, right?)
The intial spray releases a beautifully fresh wood, whose ambery warmth only peeks through. There is a lovely citrusy sweetness lent to Calycanthus, perking up the overall incense-y tone of this fragrance. This sweetness comes from the actual Calycanthus oil. Wikipedia tells me that Calycanthus flowers smell like bubblegum. I can assure you that this fragrance does not smell Bubblelicious at all. It’s a masculine scent, for sure, but the right woman could wear this as well. 
As the fragrance dries down, the powdery amber notes of which I am so fond become more prominent, blending well with my skin. Calycanthus also becomes more citrusy to my nose: I smell something reminiscent of oranges and allspice. It lends this fragrance edge, steering it away from other incense-y fragrances and giving it its own uniqueness. 
I can’t get enough, and it pains me to know I maybe have two or three spritzes left in my decant. Luckily, SMN Calycanthus isn’t terribly expensive; $110 for a 3.3 fl.oz bottle. 

It’s time, then, that I take a trip to the Santa Maria Novella store on Lafayette Street; I’m  pretty sure that I’m out of my Carta d’Armenia burning papers anyway. 

16 love notes:

Carrie Meredith said...

Ah, you gotta love well-priced perfumes. I have never tried a single SMN scent, I just haven't gotten to them yet.

The term "skanky" in describing perfume can also mean indole, or slightly fecal, humid-smelling florals like certain jasmines. A good example of this type of skank is Vivienne Westwood Boudoir, one of my all-time favorite perfumes. It's kinda hard to find in The States nowadays, but Amazon usually has a few stray bottles, and Beautyhabit has samples.

LuvJ said...

You had me at "skanky".. (with that said, I really hope that SEXY is a synonym for skanky in your vocab!)

Joey said...

Wait, are you telling me that I didn't make up "skanky"?! Oh, I'm relieved. Every time I went to a perfume counter and would ask "What's the skankiest scent you have?" the sales associates would look at me as if I was growing a second head. Aha, so I wasn't so tacky after all!

Indole fascinates the ex-chem geek in me. Would I like VW Boudoir? I'll throw it on my list of fragrances to sample.

As for SMN, have you tried any products at all? If not, I must send you Carta d'Armenia papers.

Joey said...

LuvJ, like I said - I'm from the Bronx! Skanky is ALWAYS a good thing, and it's ALWAYS sexy! Haha!

Carrie Meredith said...

Haha, yep, skank is a real term perfume folk use. As for whether you would like Boudoir, I don't know. It's a love it or hate it scent, and it's over-the-top feminine, but I just love it. It's one of those perfumes I think everyone should at least try once, so I think it would be a great thing for you to try.

No, I really haven't tried SMN anything! The papers you mentioned, do you burn them? Sure, I'd love to try!

Joey said...

Good to know that my Bronx vocab is suiting my perfumed adventures well!

"Over-the-top feminine" made me give it a second thought. I'm still not adventurous enough to try things that are too far out of my comfort zone. My new long-term blogging goal is to find a feminine floral I actually like.

The papers are for burning, yes! They have an amazing frankincense and myrrh scent, and you get quite a lot for the price. The scent really stays in the air for hours. Perfect for a time when you're cleaning or really want to meditate and zone out.

Carrie Meredith said...

I can just make you a small sample of Boudoir to put in the next package I send you, if you'd like?

Those papers sound wonderful. I used to burn incense all the time, but I only burn candles now. I've found myself really missing incense, I think because I love incense in perfume so much now.

Joey said...

Yes, please!

I burn everything: incense, candles, papers, oils. I have a sick Diptyque addiction in addition to my SMN problem.

Peace.Love. Lipgloss. said...

This made me giggle- I love that you feel that this perfume oozes sex appeal - the nouns who made it must be thrilled! ha ha!

Joey said...

PeaceLoveLipgloss, it's really funny isn't it?! Nuns and I never really got along - I spent 13 years in Catholic school! ugh!

Roxana said...

I adore their potpourri, such a great line with an equally great history.

(I spent 12 years in Catholic school!)

Joey said...

Roxana, I always keep a bag of the potpourri in my closet! =)

I cannot tell you how much I am loving Aumbre! xo

lexi920 said...

Girl, I'm from the Bay Area and my sisters and I still love saying that word! We call that type of smell "BOODISSY" - I'm sure you can figure that one out.

Hahahaha - it's a bit TMI but yes, I do love those type of naughty, musky fragrances along with my woody florals!

Joey said...

Lexi, you're cracking me up! xoxo

Nicholas said...

WANT! also *nibbles*

Joey said...

Nicky, I think this would smell amazing on you.