Santa Maria Novella Fragrances / SMN Fragrances For Men

alesandar

New member
Dec 1, 2010
What's the consensus here about Santa Maria Novella for use by men?

There are very few online discussions of their lines, and the reviews are all over the place.

Are some SMN fragrances strictly womens, while others are Unisex? For men members here who wear SMN, which ones work for you? Does anyone here use SMN?

Any advice gratefully appreciated!
 

noggs

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 20, 2007
I like this house a lot. It's one of my favorites. I wear many of their fragrances, includes ones considered unisex or even feminine. I own 11 of them and would like to add several more that I like.

I consider the most masculine ones to be Nostalgia, Spanish Leather, and Tobacco, and all three are excellent. Cuba is also good, and Colonia Russa if you like the EDC style. Eva is listed as a masculine but I've never gotten into it.

Others perhaps unisex but easily worn by a man include Patchouly, Vetiver, Ginestra, Fieno, Citta di Kyoto, and Potpourri. Of these I like Potpourri, Ginestra, and Patchouly the best. Kyoto is okay but I find it too light.

Even some of the ones marked as feminine in the Basenotes directory, such as Opoponax, Marescialla, and Sandalo, can IMO be worn my men. I do, and Opoponax and Marescialla were my two latest purchases. Both are really good.

This is a wonderful house with many interesting fragrances.
 

alesandar

New member
Dec 1, 2010
That's interesting!

Do you know about the SMN florals--like the Caprifoglio (Honeysuckle), Rose, or Iris? Do these work on men--anyone have any experience?

Then there's Melograno...it's become the "Bond Girl" fragrance, but then it smells masculine to me....
 

jdnba

Basenotes Dependent
May 30, 2007
Potpourri, musk, gold musk, sandal, patchouli, cuba, pomegranate(melograno) , Russia and even vanilla are all great for a dude...none of these IMO would be worn by most women...I find these all to have a masculine vibe because they are all kind of "outdoorsy"

All their frags are quality but I would test them first, they are never quite what you expect(like the vanilla which is not sweet but herbal in nature)
 

nineXseven

Banned
Feb 19, 2011
Great perfumes - fantastic quality and lots of natural ingredients.

All SMN fragrances are unisex and wearable by men or women. The only pure-masculine is Nostalgia, which is oddly a very modern perfume whereas most are very classical in construction.
 

arlecchino

Basenotes Junkie
Dec 6, 2007
I'm a HUGE fan of Pot Pourri...it's the absolute finest bay rum-type fragrance I've yet encountered. Very herbal-spicy, extremely complex and long lasting.
I've tested nearly all the range and they're all quality, it just depends on your taste and type of fragrance you want. With SMN, I honestly don't think you can go wrong.
 

WillC

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 25, 2009
One of my favourite houses. I've got Musk and Classica, both of which are great. I want to get:

Pot Pourri
Acqua di Cuba
Opoponax
Nostalgia

So definitely any of those would be suitable for a man (despite Opoponax being wierdly listed as a feminine in the BN directory - I've got no idea why that is). I've also been thinking about Ginestra and Colonia Russa.
 

dnc

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 16, 2010
One of my favourite houses. I've got Musk and Classica, both of which are great. I want to get:

Pot Pourri
Acqua di Cuba
Opoponax
Nostalgia

So definitely any of those would be suitable for a man (despite Opoponax being wierdly listed as a feminine in the BN directory - I've got no idea why that is). I've also been thinking about Ginestra and Colonia Russa.

Any ideas of where to get SMN samples Will? Quite fancy trying Nostalgia.
 

WillC

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 25, 2009
Any ideas of where to get SMN samples Will? Quite fancy trying Nostalgia.

I think your best bet is The Perfumed Court. SMN do have shops in London with testers, but annoyingly they don't give out samples.
 

bokaba

Basenotes Dependent
Sep 13, 2007
My favorites are Colonia Russa and Acqua di Colonia. If you're in the USA, Lafco can usually put together samples for you at a nominal cost if you email them.
 

noggs

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 20, 2007
I haven't tried all the florals, but both Gardenia and Garofano are on my "next to purchase" list. Garofano is a good carnation fragrance, nothing especially feminine about it. The Gardenia is a bit on the lean and green side, not big and blowsy, so IMO wearable by men.

I own Melograno and wear it. It was the first SMN I bought. I didn't recommend it because some people find it way too powdery or too strange in a sweet and sour sort of way, but I love it.

Test them if possible.
 

30 Roses

Basenotes Institution
Oct 8, 2007
Garofano is good, but for carnation I thought CDG Series 2 Red: Carnation was more like the real flower. Garofano seemed to have more clove.
 

alesandar

New member
Dec 1, 2010
Caprifoglio smells of neroli, not honeysuckle, to me.

I smelt Caprifoglio...there is definitely Neroli in there, but it's not normal Neroli....there is something warmly sweet in there....if I didn't know the label, I'd have said it was lotus....or some sort of exotic flower, or smell I'd associate with Hindu temples when I visited India...I have no idea what real honeysuckles smell like.

Do you think Caprifoglio will work on a man? Or is it strictly feminine?
 

jdnba

Basenotes Dependent
May 30, 2007
I'm a HUGE fan of Pot Pourri...it's the absolute finest bay rum-type fragrance I've yet encountered. Very herbal-spicy, extremely complex and long lasting.
I've tested nearly all the range and they're all quality, it just depends on your taste and type of fragrance you want. With SMN, I honestly don't think you can go wrong.

Agreed!! To me it's in vain of bois de Portugal or even old spice to a certain degree...the dry down is phenomenal( I'm going to ask for a bottle for my bday now that I've thought if it :) )
 

alesandar

New member
Dec 1, 2010
I do not tend to think of perfumes as being limited to men or women. Your best bet is to try it on your skin and see if it works for you.

I actually disagree with this most profoundly. Some scents work on a man, triggering certain memories, emotions, moods, etc both for the wearer and the audience. And others are gentler and feminine.

I think very few fragrances are truly "Unisex". Many are unbalance hodge-podges that are marketed as "Unisex", but that is a marketing gimmick. my 2cents.
 

cpk

Basenotes Dependent
Jul 24, 2006
One of my favourite houses. Keep in mind that although some of them might feel simple and cologne-y at first whiff, they all develop a lot.
I own Nostalgia (couldn't they make the topnotes last a bit longer?), Opoponax and Citta di Kyoto. CdK feels very simple and light but lasts very long and develops into this leathery iris scent, like Equistrius and Cuir Pleine Fleur.
 

SlimPickins

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 3, 2005
I think your best bet is The Perfumed Court. SMN do have shops in London with testers, but annoyingly they don't give out samples.

Actually, Aedes.com is far far cheaper. A set of 7 samples from TPC will cost you like $30.
Any 7 samples from Aedes is $15.00. A total steal. And they carry the full SMN line.

I used to order 14 samples at a time from them and they would always throw in a huge handful of free ones. Best customer service ever.
http://www.aedes.com/samples.php

-Slim
 

WillC

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 25, 2009
Actually, Aedes.com is far far cheaper. A set of 7 samples from TPC will cost you like $30.
Any 7 samples from Aedes is $15.00. A total steal. And they carry the full SMN line.

I used to order 14 samples at a time from them and they would always throw in a huge handful of free ones. Best customer service ever.
http://www.aedes.com/samples.php

-Slim

I realize that Aedes would be cheaper. The reason I recommended TPC is because dnc (who asked me where to get samples) is based in the UK, as I am, and, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Aedes would ship samples here.
 

mikeperez23

Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
I tend to gravitate toward the edgier SMN scents. I only own a full bottle of Nostalgia, but I want to get Peau d'Espagne. You have to really smell this one to believe it, it's extremely harsh (in a wonderful way). It's an old fragrance (1902) and makes me feel like I've gone back in time, when I smell it. I can't wait to own it.

The only 'accessible' SMN I like (and want to own one of these days) is Ginestra. It's just gorgeous. You have to smell it. A floral, but not limp-wristed rather it's a very bright & clear scent. It makes me happy just thinking about it.
 

Haunani

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 25, 2008
I agree with Mike about Ginestra. It's a smile-inducer, for sure. I also like Fieno (Hay). Either of these would be great on a man, IMO.
 

alesandar

New member
Dec 1, 2010
THank you for your recommendations. I'm going to try and get samples of Nostalgia, Ginestra, Peau d'Espagne, Vetiverio
 

blah114

Super Member
Nov 5, 2005
I wear/wore Melograno.. and loved it.. I found it unisex.. I own Nostalgia, Potpourri, and Muschio.. they are all wearable for men.. I have rediscovered Peau de espana.. amazing company/house.. I wish I could find somewhere, besides LAFCO that has samples.. ! Angels of Florence, fyi, is my fav women's perfume.. amazing..
 

mr. reasonable

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 1, 2009
Would appreciate a suggestion for ordering online? LS don't have 'em, Lafco & Aedes only ship in the US and the Italian & Brazilian SMN websites are not a lot of help . . . many thanks for a lead!
M
 

alfarom

Power Where You Need It
Basenotes Plus
Mar 4, 2011
Potpourri
Nostalgia
Peau D'Espagne
Acqua Di Cuba
Colonia Russa
Marescialla
Vetiver


there's also Muschio Oro that is quite hard to find, but incredibly delightful. A perfect summer fragrance.

If you'll ever have the chance to visit Florence don't miss the opportunity to go to the Santa Maria Novella's museum / shop / headquarter located in an ancient chapel from 1200 that's absolutely breathtaking for its beauty and majesty.
 
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Fleurine

Basenotes Dependent
Apr 14, 2011
Potpourri, musk, gold musk, sandal, patchouli, cuba, pomegranate(melograno) , Russia and even vanilla are all great for a dude...none of these IMO would be worn by most women...I find these all to have a masculine vibe because they are all kind of "outdoorsy"

All their frags are quality but I would test them first, they are never quite what you expect(like the vanilla which is not sweet but herbal in nature)

This is very true. I was in this store in Soho on Sunday, and everything I tested was nothing short of Eeeeeewwww!

And the opoponax (however you spell it) was bitter yuck, and then eeeewwww! The SA was very nice though.
 

hedonist222

Basenotes Institution
Sep 13, 2010
Ive been dying to try this brand.
Particularly Nostalgia, Acqua di Cuba, Peau d'Espagne and Vetiver.
 

Buzzlepuff

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 27, 2005
My favorite from SMN is their Patchouli, recommended earlier by several here. Highly recommended for patch lovers! What is so great about Santa Maria Novella's version of Patchouli is the ultra cool blending with menthol. A very cold patchouli - I love it. There is almost no sweetness in the blend to compromise the integrity of the primary patchouli note. No noticeable vanilla, amber or honey is added to the patchouli here and it is better for it. This patchouli has a definite eau de cologne splash lightness rather than the heady oriental blends that are most commonly preferred especially during colder weather. The cooling effect of the menthol along with the pure patchouli oil essence of the blend makes it an excellent and quite rare "warm weather use" patchouli fragrance.
 

hedonist222

Basenotes Institution
Sep 13, 2010
What is so great about Santa Maria Novella's version of Patchouli is the ultra cool blending with menthol. A very cold patchouli - I love it. There is almost no sweetness in the blend to compromise the integrity of the primary patchouli note. No noticeable vanilla, amber or honey is added to the patchouli here and it is better for it....The cooling effect of the menthol along with the pure patchouli oil essence of the blend makes it an excellent and quite rare "warm weather use" patchouli fragrance.

This is how I like my Patchouli, similar to Coromandel & Borneo 1834 as opposed to Patchouli Il Profumo or the Patchouli series by Reminiscence.

Thanks for sharing it with us.
Now I need to get myself to Italia!
 

trex57

Basenotes Dependent
Jun 5, 2010
For me, the best of the house is Peau D'Espagne. IMO its one of the best leathers out there. Its very old school and packs quite a punch. As was already stated, it is not what you'd expect a traditional leather frag to be. Definitely worth a try.

If you are having probs getting samples maybe TPC is worth a look. They are little pricey, but completely reliable and fast.

Cheers Rex
 

tehtimmeh

Super Member
Nov 23, 2010
The Lafco store in NY sells samples for $2 each last I checked and I got several from the Dallas store for free. My favorites:

Acqua di Cuba
Peau d'Espagne
Tobacco di Toscano

I could never imagine a woman wearing the first two, but possibly the Toscano.
 

pcrisp

Super Member
Jan 3, 2010
Someone else mentioned it earlier, but Aedes is the best deal for samples and they have SMN. You can get 7 (1ml vials) for $15. I also agree, there is no woman that will be interested in wearing Nostalgia. People say that it smells like a vintage race car. I just didn't realize that it involved you standing behind the race car while the muffler sprayed you with exhaust fumes running extra rich with gasoline. haha. Very strange smell!
 

DuNezDeBuzier

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 7, 2009
I've gone Aedes and Merk's Hypothecary (@ the Palmer House) downtown Chicago has umpteen from the house on display and to sample. Believe I asked and I don't think they give samples to walk out with.

My impressions:
Tobacco di Toscano -- pleasant fruity/floral coming down to a warm leather (considered 'airy tobacco'?) with some powder.
Pot Pourri -- too similar to piper nigrum, which i own and enjoy, to pursue.
Nostalgia -- think bulgari black; leather in the guise of oil/petrol/rubber/gas coming down to mix with vanilla.
Colonia Russa -- 4711-esque; not remarkable. i wish i got the leather and civet some do, but no.
Acqua di Sicilia -- pleasant enough bergamot/citrus, not strong enough to compete with the others I'd spray tested that day.

None of these were bad... just no 'wow', but at approx $1.25/ml the price point is perhaps 2x what I would even consider pursuing to be honest. Considering that I own 'similar enoughs' I must show some restraint, mustn't I?
 

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