Santa Maria Novella Fieno

Santa Maria Novella is a beautiful little apothecary in Florence that's been in the business of colognes, incense, creams and soaps for hundreds and hundreds of years, with most of their packaging, ingredients and recipes remaining the same. They have a lovely selection of scents, all unique and most with a hint of rich depth and incense to them, which is logical since they were formed in 1210 by Dominican Monks. They were big on incense.

My all-time favorite scent of theirs is Fieno, the Italian for hay. It doesn't particularly smell like hay, unless you chose only the sweetest, freshest blades of meadow grass from the bale - to me it's dried, sunbleached wildflowers and herbs, wild rose and myrtle, from a freshly cut Florentine meadow, stalks that have been left to dry in the strong late summer sun. I can faintly smell the golden domes of Florence in the background, and maybe a bit of resin from the surrounding trees. I constantly refer to it as smelling "of myrtle", though I actually haven't a clue what myrtle actually smells of. I can only assume it smells like this - soft, disheveled, sunbleached and pastoral. Basically, (cue soaring Puccini intro), this......

I had trouble with this at first simply because I'm not a fan of rose scents, and there is definitely a lot of rose in this. But it's grown on me by leaps and bounds every day - it's not a cultivated, garden rose, it's a wild, scrubby, creeping field rose that's tart and bright. Now I can't live without a full bottle - it's unusual and charming and perfect.

f you'd like to try a whiff of it, Aedes de Venustas carries the whole Santa Maria Novella line, and they offer a wonderful sample program - $15 for 7 fragrance samples of your choice - they carry every beautiful, niche and rare scent you could want.

 - photo ia the

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