Città di Kyoto (City of Kyoto) was created to commemorate “the 40th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Florence and Kyoto”; it combines iris, the symbol of Florence, and lotus, the sacred flower of Kyoto. Rather irrationally, instead of bothering to look at the list of notes, I drew a mental parallel between this new fragrance and Comme Des Garcons Series 3 Incense Kyoto and expected Città di Kyoto to be an incense-based scent. In reality, I smell no incense whatsoever in Santa Maria Novella’s new creation. This is a Green Floral Woody perfume that could easily have been called Bois de Jacinthe or Jacinthe de Bois, because hyacinth and woods are the most prominent players in this composition.
Hyacinth is especially evident in the beginning. It is a green and dry note, elegant and austere. It never disappears completely on my skin, but it does become softened by other flowers. The iris note is lovely here, gently rooty and velvety. Hawthorn is at its most attractive, it smells nutty, almost suede-like to my nose. There is also a discreet hint of fruits (plum and peach), which, together with vanilla, further softens and sweetens the composition. The hyacinth note becomes very apparent yet again in the drydown; the combination of the green hyacinth and the dark, resinous accord of cedar, sandalwood, ebony and ambergris is quite striking and, to me, the best part of Città di Kyoto. All in all, I found Città di Kyoto to be an arresting, stylish fragrance that is bound to appeal to the fans of dry, green florals along the lines of Caron Violette Precieuse or Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Iris Bleu Gris.
Città di Kyoto is available at Aedes, $84.00 for 3.3oz.
*The photo is from Aedes.com.