santa maria novella

A couple of weeks ago I went to one of my most beloved cities in the world, Warsaw. A weekend here fills my soul with new force like few other places can. There is an omnipresent particular Central European diachronic melancholy that moves your heart, there is a sizzling dynamic feeling of progress that gives you adrenalin. There is more culture, food, music, flowers, cakes, jazz, art and great conversation than you can consume. There is simply a lot of everything for your mind and soul. I love Warsaw. And I always discover something new when I am there, even when walking in my favorite quartiers. This time my top discovery was two – a concept store and a perfume brand in my favorite neighborhood, or to be precise: Mokotowska/Chopin. 

The store that I discovered was Horn & More, a temple of things for pleasure. The first room is dedicated to fragrances but as you move forward you reach increasingly intimate product ranges including lingerie and… more. But I will leave that discovery for you to make on your own. I spent most of the time in the first fragrance room smelling Histoires de Parfums, Jacques Zolty…and Blood Concept

Blood Concept is a very new Italian brand, created by Giovanni Castelli and Antonio Zuddas, that dedicates its creativity to the celebration of blood as “the river of life”. The fragrances represent the different blood types and are very different from eachother. One thing they do have in common though is that none of them includes flowers (yes, you knew I would like that, I know). The scents are charismatic, but clean if you understand what I mean. Interesting but comfortable. And the whole idea…well, it’s just so very modern and I love it. The plans for this brand is to explore new creative horizons and I suspect it will be quite interesting to follow the adventure. As a communications person I also appreciate a brand that embraces social media the way that Blood Concept, or as they describe them “The most visceral niche perfumery brand ever!” does. Check this brand out, it’s fun and these two Men of Ideas seem like a promise of adventure. For me, I expect to quite attached to their “0”, will tell you…

A few more words on Poland/Warsaw… I am slightly disappointed to conclude after some research that there is no Polish luxury nische perfume brand. To me, who is more than slightly familiar with the Polish aesthetic soul, this would be nothing other than an obvious quest to olfactory heaven. (Which also means that if anyone in Poland reading this would be game… to create something – I am in!). To Polish readers and anyone in Poland I also whole-heartedly recommend going to Horn & More for fragrance (and pleasure…) conversations. And then after returning from Warsaw, I discovered that Polish cosmetics store Galilu sell a rather impressive range of Santa Maria Novella in their online store…a brand that can be difficult to find outside of Italy – so that’s my other (third now right?) recommendation. Galilu actually generally offer an impressive selection, but Horn & More is a more interesting place to visit perhaps.

It sounds almost to obviously ”nice” to be interesting, but honey really does play its role well in a high-quality perfume. If you make a note-search on Fragrantica for example you will see that honey is a very very popular ingredient that is part of an impressively wide range of fragrances. Yet we tend to not really speak about it so much. Why is that? It seems to be like the pretty smiling well-composed sister that gets forgotten at the family dinner because the little magnates, animals, delinquents, clowns, professors  and divas demand all the attention. But lets not forget honey… It takes all kinds to make a world. And sweet like honey is so much more interesting than sweet like sugar. Honey has attitude.

Honey is versatile and interesting. You can add it to a light breezy citrus caressy fragrance and to an extravagant oriental. (You will often find it in gourmands of course). It works in pour homme, pour femme and pour both. You’ll find it in a diva like Dior’s Poison but also in Jo Malone’s youthful Nectarine Blossom & Honey and Chanel’s Beige.
Another example, an interesting one, is Acqua du Cuba by Santa Maria Novella which is a unisex fragrance where honey is combined with herbs, tobacco and citrus. It is a warm fragrance, slightly spicy with a vanilla base.

If you are into Serge Lutens look for Miel de Bois and A La Nuit. There’s an interesting discussion on Miel de Bois here. One of my personal favorites, Ambre Narguilé, also has a honey in the composition that must be described as quite bold and nothing for a shy day. Honey is sweetness with integrity.