Honeyed nectar curls like a ribbon around green neroli, sweet orange blossom, and lush jasmine in a fresh, airy cologne. That is one aspect of Caprifoglio, a scent from Santa Maria Novella whose name means honeysuckle. Truth be told, I don’t think the name really fits the scent which, on my skin and that of a number of other people, isn’t really about the namesake flower. The mix of fresh, green neroli, sweet orange blossom, and lush jasmine is pretty, but I’m a little disappointed.
Santa Maria Novella (hereinafter sometimes referred to as “SMN“) is an Italian niche house based in Florence and one of the oldest actual pharmacies in the world. By many accounts, Santa Maria Novella is also the real, true source for the birth of cologne as a type of fragrance. You can read the full details of their fascinating, storied history going back to the 1200s and to Dominican friars in Florence in my earlier piece on the Farmacia (and its Ambra cologne). The house has been connected to everything from Catherine de Medici on her wedding day, to a marchioness burnt at the stake as the last “witch” in France, and marauding thieves who fought off the Black Plague. It’s really fascinating stuff, if you are a history junkie as I am.