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.