The flagship of the Santa Maria Novella line? That is what it seems. Pot Pourri is a brilliant combination of notes that appeals highly to my sensibilities. I smell spices, resins, and eucalyptus. I know there are many other notes, including some florals, but the blending is superb. This is a fragrance from another age, and is a definite step back in time. There is a medicinal quality, which lends to that old time feel. This is what I think Richard Collier would have bought in a shop to put on when he was trying to get himself put together to meet Elise McKenna when he traveled back to the past. An excellent fragrance that I will enjoy for many years to come. Thanks to Grungevig for his input on this fragrance and the Santa Maria Novella line. A great house with many gems.
This scent's name should be taken very seriously. It does, indeed, smell like the ultimate ur-potpourri. And if you like smelling like Claire Burke's original home fragrance, here is your chance. I would love to smell this on someone else, preferably a male. But after having tried this myself a few times, I found that I am just not quite up to wearing a fragrance this fervently resinous and herbal for an entire day. I actually feel this way about most incense-heavy scents, so take that as you will.
I think that anyone intrigued by old-world scents that smell highly natural and aromatic should give this a whirl. Plus, you will smell like no one else in the room, or building, or general area.
I sprayed this on at a local store and sniffed my arm, turned to the SA, and asked "does this smell like ham to you?" She agreed and I walked out determined that this was either going to completely win me over with its cleverness or turn out to be a disaster. Oddly, it was neither...
So, um, the ham smell... I'm figuring it's some combination of the burnt smell of camphor or birch tar with kitchen spices and cloves, with cumin giving it a meaty quality. It actually only lasted a few minutes, giving way to a rather forward oregano smell with a smoky spice cabinet in the background. A few hours later, I was left with a a quiet herbal-smelling smudge where it had been.
So, in the end it was the strong oregano focus that turned me off, as opposed to the ham. The burnt quality was a clever touch missing in most of these really old herb-mix perfumes, but alas, this isn't for me.
Outrageously gorgeous aromatic giving way to a resin and spice concoction with more than enough reference to dried herbs and flowers but undercut with a rarified medicinal sweetness that is not the least bit candied. Intimations of soil, camphorous balms at healing retreats, an old time invalid taking a constitutional; all is unhealthy poetic distance washed over with a rouge swipe at vigor. Still, the hand is gloved in keeping with refinement. A triangulation occurs in the pyramid and over time: lighter opening/heavy middle/lighter drydown and spice/medicine/spice. Not at all of this time, older in feel than most any fragrance I have tried.
I love this old thing. It really is quite unique in my experience. It is aromatic, camphoraceous, resinous. Very difficult to describe in fact. All that I can say is that is seems to have some, or all, of the following, Eucalyptus, Clove, Rosemary, Lavender, Camphor, Juniper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon. Sometimes I think that I can smell Liquorice, Rose, Immortelle. For a more accurate analysis you may wish to see Odysseusm below, but these are my impressions.
What I can say with confidence is that in my opinion it is unusual in how it wears. Initially this works like your most refreshing Eau De Cologne. It is exceptionally bracing and uplifting. But then it continues to wear in a lower key, with a quiet confidence. Incense, spice, words like comfortable, comforting, confident, salubrious, all come to mind. That is rather a lot to get from one fragrance, don't you agree?
SMN Pot Pourri will not be to everyones taste, definately not, but surely it is a "must try" and if you do love it, like I do, I can tell you that it will become an old friend.
Having commented on the uniqueness of this fragrance I feel that it is only fair to mention Heeley Esprit Du Tigre as I am sure that comparisons will be made eventually. HEDT has a minty opening, after which clove bud oil is very dominant for a time, and yes, here we have some similarities, but not for long.
This is an amazing, complex, and beautiful scent. Thanks to Arlecchino who helped me understand some of the structural elements which make this so successful and pleasing. This certainly is a scent of another time: not simply old-school but rather a timeless classic.
For me, the strength and appeal of this lies in its balanced structure: it is a well-conceived and executed scent. On the one hand, it is a treasure chest of richly dark and warm spices (clove, nutmeg, pepper). On the other hand, there is a sustained bright note of cool eucalyptus. These two happily co-exist and compliment each other. Grasses and herbal notes (laurel, thyme, mint, oregano, sage), along with some resins, add aromatic and even slightly medicinal tones. I appreciate these greatly.
The sum of these parts is a compelling, unique and quietly thrilling scent. There is little like it on the market. In my opinion, LV Spezie or Piper Nigrum strive to attain these qualities, but SMN Potpourri did it first and does it best. The dry-down is sustained, and very pleasing. One of my favorites. The highest rating.