Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Santa Maria Novella Citta di Kyoto

I no longer know how to classify myself in terms of perfume. Of course, I don't think I ever could, but I was more able to say definitively what I didn't like (or so I thought) than what I liked. I did not like vanilla. I did not like citrus. Turns out I like a little or a lot of both, all depending on the composition.

One thing I may have known all along, somewhere in my perfume subconscious, was that if there were one perfume category I'd gravitate to, it would be floral orientals. Let's take a look at a bit of my perfume past:

Fendi. Oh how I loved Fendi. I bet if I were to buy a bottle, I would still love it. Notes: leather, rose, sandalwood, amber, musk. I was nineteen when I got my first bottle of Fendi, and I thought it was very sophisticated. This is one of those perfumes you wonder why it has fallen so far out of fashion. Take Beautiful...leave Fendi.

Coco. This is still a favorite, although I haven't owned a bottle in ages. Notes: Bulgarian rose, Indian jasmine, tonka bean, sandalwood, leather, wood, and vanilla. I wore this for a long time, and I'd switch it out with...

Opium. Another fragrance I wore for years, but haven't owned a bottle of in such a long time. All through my twenties I pretty much considered this my signature scent. Notes: tangerine, plum, cloves, coriander, carnation, lily of the valley, rose, myrrh, opoponax, castoreum, cedarwood, sandalwood. I've only ever tried the EDP, and I would love to try the parfum. One of my recent favorites from these past few months of sampling is the limited edition Opium Fleur de Shanghai.

And all of this brings me around to Santa Maria Novella Citta di Kyoto, with notes of tangerine, orange crown, hyacinth, rose, hawthorn, ylang-ylang, plum, peach, cinnamon, sandalwood, cedar, ebony, ambergris, and vanilla. Citta di Kyoto smells nothing like any of the scents I listed here, but it shares the same spirit. It's more ethereal, a brighter floral at the top that seems deceptively sweet. The fruit and cinnamon of this scent warm its heart perfectly. You'll find heart notes listed for any number of fragrances, but in this case it seems so true. Think of a package, wrapped in beautiful paper, a paisley of dark orange, pale green, and white. Tear away the paper and find a box, a dark, polished wood box, hand-crafted with clean, simple lines. Open the box and find there nested in brown velvet a heavy, handblown piece of glass fruit. Set it in a window, watch the light shine through and change through the day, shifting somehow from amber, to blood-red purple. The dry woods meld with the soft spicy fruit and floral notes, making a subtle statement. Where Coco strides confidently, where Opium slinks, where Fendi shouts and waves, Citta di Kyoto floats gracefully across the room, like a ballerina, effortless. You can't help but notice.

I feel as though this is floral oriental all grown up into the kind of woman I might like to be. Sadly, I used almost every last drop of my sample. I can hear my bottle-worthy list groaning under the weight of yet another addition. Luckily, my wallet is safe. For now.

*photo from Aedes