It is flowers, green vegetation and so warm, earthy, and well, sexy. Like you’re relaxing in the shade on your porch in the deep southern heat, after having a luke warm cooling bath using only the simplest and cleanest soap (Dove?). You’ve put on your gauzy linen slip and the humidity makes your skin glow while you sip iced tea with frosty condensation dripping down the sides of your glass. You have to lift your hair off your neck because you are so warm. There is a huge lush gardenia bush next to the porch and the heat makes the lush scent of flowers, the greenery and even the damp earth just radiate all around you.

A real gardenia I plucked….stunning
That pretty much describes my Santa Maria Novella Gardenia experience. At first sniff I thought- oh my, perfect. A soapy clean gardenia scent, with lovely fresh green notes. I was in one of the divine Santa Maria Novella boutiques and basically wanted ONE OF EVERYTHING. Sigh. But Gardenia really spoke to me so it was mine. SMN scents often have a signature musk note in their base. It can be overwhelming to my nose, like in their musk scents but in Gardenia it hides under the flowers. I never even really thought about it but did wonder how a soliflfore floral scent could be so, well, sexy. There was something slightly “warm almost sweaty skin” about it without being dirty or, musk can often be, oily. Yuck. An oily animalic musk sends me running to the hills and makes my family ask to please not wear that perfume again *stares at Helmut Lang edp*. Not Gardenia. It smells like I just took a bath with Gardenia soap, with none of the weird indolic or cheese-y notes often found in Gardenia scents that use tuberose to approximate the scent of gardenia. I was once asked what cheese I had eaten when I was wearing Fracas. Sigh.  I was at Noor in Toronto recently (my favourite perfume boutique in the world) chatting with the knowlededgable & friendly owners, Nahla and Fred. Its always so fun there because they encourage you to sniff and chat as long you as like. When I mentioned I loved SMN Gardenia, the impossibly handsome & charming Fred commented “Oh, that’s an earthy one”. Earthy….it hadn’t really occurred to me until he said that how true that is. Now I’m obsessed with the earthy-ness of Gardenia and love it.
Santa Maria Novella Gardenia is my perfect Gardenia and will fill the empty void left by Kiehl’s Gardenia. I was able to do a side by side sniff with SMN Gardenia and an actual gardenia. There is none of the borderline rot smell that exists in the actual flower, and much more of the green. More like standing back and inhaling the whole gardenia bush environment. SMN Gardenia is like a hologram of the gardenia plant. And, I would still call this a soft scent. It does not have tons of sillage, and it is not BIG, nor does it last and last and last on the skin until you wish you could scrub it off. It just smells lovely, feminine and clean, with a touch of something sexy.
A hot sunny day melting into evening, a cooling swim & then Gardenia
Santa Maria Novella products are sold at retailers throughout Canada and the US. They can be hard to find so Google is your best friend depending on where you are. Lafco in NYC seems to be a very reliable retailer of the line and they ship. Noor in Toronto has the line for Canadian buyers and will also ship- watch their site for their online shop, coming soon. Btw, SMN perfumes are notorious for the fact that every bottle looks the same, which is why you need a professional to help you find the right one! Kidding- sort of….
gardenia, green, Green Perfumes, musks, Perfume, Santa Maria Novella, Santa Maria Novella Gardenia