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Monday, April 10, 2006

Perfume Review: Santa Maria Novella Citta di Kyoto

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


Blogger Trina said...

Thanks for this review! You have gently, but firmly, put this little lemming to rest. No hyacinth for me! Instant headache every time :~P

12:54 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Wow, I get a COMPLETELY different scent, went upstairs and put some on after reading your review... on me it's faintly sweet for maybe 15 seconds, then it's all bone-dry -- Japanese stick incense in a sandalwood box. Zero hyacinth (or any floral, really.) I'm glad, because I love it just the way it is!
NOT saying a word about The Big Reveal. :-)

8:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am usually not a fan of that note at all, but here somehow hyacinth really works for me.

8:34 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wish I got some incense too!

Why not a word about The Big Reveal? Is it working ok, I mean my post, is it there? :-)

8:35 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

But I keep reading it has incense!! No matter, a dry green fragrance sounds lovely anyway so I will have to try it.

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

In so many reviews I read about the incense in Citta...nothing on me.
I think however you might actually like this one anyway, incense or no incense. I would love to know what you think about it (and whether you do get icnense).

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Marina -- AAAAAAAAAArrrrrgh! In general I check to see if the comments are working after I had the previous, uh, problem. We are still learning how to work the fancy buttons, I guess even though comments were enabled it wouldn't accept them until P reset you as an "editor." It's working now, I just posted a comment. PS Saving my comments for tomorrow :-)

9:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad it is working properly now. All is well that ends well. My humble Blogger template did not prepare me well for posting on your sophisticated site. You have some great tools and...things there.

9:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wihs my skin didn't eat up all the incense. :-( *pouts*
Though I do like Citta the way it is on my skin too.

10:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Your differing take on this one makes me want to try it more than if it were an incense fragrance, since I like arrestingly stylish dry florals. mmm. Thanks for the review.

1:19 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So nice to have you back! I hope you enjoyed your time in Paris and feel better now after your cold.

1:24 PM EDT  

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