Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Aquatic and fresh masculine fragrances have never appealed to me beyond a brief period of infatuation in the 1990s when the trend was still novel and distinctive. After the hundreds of Cool Water and Aqua di Giò clones, I no longer feel interested in this genre. On the other hand, fragrances that explore earthy, smoky and leathery notes never fail to catch my attention. In many ways, their appeal lies in their distinctive character, very much different from the crisp, fresh, and ozonic creations that dominate the masculine market right now. While Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia is a perfume that should not be reserved only for men, it is a fragrance I want to smell on men around me.
The idea behind Nostalgia is to capture the scent of a car race, and indeed, its top accord conjures the green and resinous scent of cypress and orange trees, hot asphalt and that intoxicating and overwhelming odor of rubber tires. In my mind is a paved road devoid of smoke and bustle winding through the Tuscan hills. Only the scent left behind by passing cars alludes to their existence in this dream-like landscape.
As Nostalgia dries down, the sharp and rubbery scent of its top notes softens considerably, with the composition attaining an elegant quality. Now it is a vision of cigars dipped in cognac. And yet Nostalgia possesses a daring edge, provided by the tarry and smoky refrain that is very distinct in the woody and musky heart of the fragrance.
Annick Goutal Eau du Fier, Cartier Déclaration, Yohji Yamamoto pour Homme and Prada Ambre Pour Homme are the fragrances that match Nostalgia’s spirit. They possess the same dry woody character; however, while the aforementioned fragrances are marked with a certain freshness, Nostalgia is accented quite strongly with assertive notes of resins and birch tar. Intriguingly, without resorting to the trite idea of freshness, it manages to conjure just that sensation.
Nostalgia has good tenacity and sillage (trail its wearer leaves.) It features notes of woods, vegetable musk, patchouli, citrus wood, tobacco, amber, and vanilla. Santa Maria Novella fragrances are available from Aedes, Lafcony and Brussels-based Senteurs d’Ailleurs.
Photo of Tuscan road from Life in Italy.