Santa Maria Novella Alba di Seoul : New Fragrance

Santa Maria Novella launched Acqua di Colonia Alba di Seoul at the end of last year. The new fragrance from the one of the oldest pharmacies in the world was created in honor of the South Korean capital city.


The fragrance is a woody blend, with fizzy, green accents. Pine wood and oriental notes form the drydown. Available in 100ml bottles.



  • Lucas: Sounds like something not for me really.

    But I just tried new Atelier Cologne scent, Mistral Patchouli and it’s wonderful. January 8, 2013 at 8:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Mistral Patchouli sounds interesting! January 8, 2013 at 12:13pm Reply

      • Lucas: It smells interesting too. I’m going to cover it with a review, just waiting for a reply from Atelier Cologne if they could supply my review with visual graphic of the scent (I mean that themed table) January 8, 2013 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Nemo: I just tried it today! That description is exactly true. Curiously fizzy(a little like soda?)-piney freshness. (not in gin-tonic way, though.) My cousin liked it so much that she actually sprayed it on her wrist to test it. We both liked it.

    Not really my image of the city Seoul(I live in Seoul during my winter and summer), but a very likeable scent. January 8, 2013 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve tried it very briefly and I liked it. A nice fragrance.

      It made me curious to hear what scents would fit your image of Seoul? January 8, 2013 at 12:18pm Reply

      • Anaïs: For me, Seoul = the scent of acacias

        Otherwise, it’s such a mix of the über urbane and feudal. Concrete in both its most sophisticated and pedestrian. Nature at its most innocently beautiful (acacias, e.g.) and harsh (its unbearable humidity mixed with pollution, e.g.). Savagery, conservative idealism, and youthful energy both exhilarating and dangerous. What would smell like that? January 8, 2013 at 1:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: I wish I would have a chance to visit when the acacias are in bloom. It sounds fascinating! A friend described Seoul to me as a mix of NYC and Tokyo. I know both of these cities, but I’m having a hard time imagining a mix (and Tokyo already reminds me in some parts of a futuristic version of NYC!) Plus, Seoul has its own unique facets. January 8, 2013 at 2:16pm Reply

      • Nemo: I’d still say green(the part of Seoul I live is one of the greenest parts of the city) but more spicy and bitter way like pepper and vetiver, even to the point of becoming a little gritty, as in slightly polluted cold winter air. The coldness of the winter air augments the smell. The smell that warrants a sneeze.

        Pine trees are still on the in-city mountains(we have some) but apartment complexes prefer sequoia and the streets, ginkgo trees(the smell of the latter’s fruit is awful, though. it’s everywhere on the street in the late fall…) Magnolia in the late winter; cherry blossom in early spring, and royal azalea if early summer.

        Then there are people smoking everywhere on the street: unpleasant at times, but there’s always the smell. Musky smell of people packed like cattles in bus and subway twice a day, warm and sweaty, and there’s subtle garlic nuance(eating kimchi is the main reason).

        What it’s not: it’s not metallic or uber-chic. Metallic opulence abounds only in certain areas(music cues, Gangnam Style…) and the extravaganza of colorful night street lights warranties the image of some punchy florals and even aldehydes, but the rest of the city smells like cars and dead bricks.

        That’s what I remember as “the smell” of Seoul, beautiful or ugly. January 9, 2013 at 9:43am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you for this evocative description! Sounds like a fascinating place. January 9, 2013 at 2:37pm Reply

        • maja: What a fantastic description! January 11, 2013 at 6:43am Reply

  • Daisy: I would love to visit Seoul! I dream that it smells like red beans on top of shaved ice, smoky barbecue, and brand new Samsung phones!

    I am guessing that wasn’t what the Santa Maria Novella people were thinking . . . 🙂

    This Italian/Korean fusion definitely has my attention. Can’t wait to smell it! January 8, 2013 at 3:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your scent portrait of Seoul sounds fantastic! I would be game to experience that. 🙂

      Your note about the Italian-Korean fusion reminded me of kimchi spiked bolognese sauce my Korean friend’s mother used to make. It was really good! January 8, 2013 at 3:42pm Reply

      • Daisy: Oooh! That sounds amazing! Word is that Sriracha is out and gochujang is in this year too!

        Which reminds me: have you seen the movie The Recipe? I think you would love it. January 8, 2013 at 3:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: I can believe it! Gochujang is a magic ingredient. I made some seafood soup tonight and added a spoonful of this fiery pepper paste when I was sauteing the vegetables. It gave a great color and a rich flavor. I’ve discovered a Korean store nearby, so I’m all set for resuming my love affair with Korean cooking. I even found a book commissioned by the South Korean government to popularize the traditional cooking, so I absolutely had to order it.

          When I googled “The Recipe Korean Movie Brussels,” all I found was the recipes for Brussels sprouts roasted with kimchi. I might have to wait till the movie is on DVD. Thank you so much for mentioning it, because yes, it sounds like something I would love. By the way, I recently saw again “When Fish Fall in Love,” an Iranian film, in which food features heavily, and I can’t recommend it enough. January 8, 2013 at 3:58pm Reply

          • Daisy: Gochujang is amazing! I had a Korean friend who came over and asked why I had a tub in my fridge. Well, because I always have a tub in my fridge! 🙂

            That cookbook sounds incredible. Do let me know how it is and if you would recommend getting it!

            Am adding “When Fish Fall in Love” to my my netflix queue now! It makes me think of the Marjane Satrapi movie that came out last year: “Poulet aux prunes.”

            Gorgeous. About Iran before the revolution. Like the Iranian Amélie. So charming! If you like Persepolis, you will love this too.

   January 8, 2013 at 4:08pm Reply

            • Victoria: Here is the book:

              There are many excellent Korean cookbooks available, so I’m not sure if this one is going to beat them, but it just sounds interesting–a part of the “Research and Development Project for Standardization of Korean Cuisine” driven by the Korean government.

              Adding “Poulet Aux Prunes” to my list! I love Iranian films. January 8, 2013 at 4:23pm Reply

              • behemot: As much as I am sceptical about the Oscars, “A Separation” was one of the best movies I have ever seen.
                I also love Marjane Satrapi. .. January 9, 2013 at 1:25am Reply

              • Daisy: Oooh! Thanks! Looks like a great book. And the nerd in me loves anything with a title like “Research and Development Project for Standardization of Korean Cuisine” 🙂 January 9, 2013 at 4:34pm Reply

                • Victoria: It arrived today, and I’ve marinated some beef following its recipe for bulgogi. We will grill it tomorrow. There are lots of recipes in the book, and many of them are quite interesting. Some are quite simple, others present the examples of the royal cuisine, so there is something for everyone. Not a cookbook with which you cuddle in an arm chair for a bit of delicious reading, but a nice manual. January 9, 2013 at 6:10pm Reply

  • silverdust: Victoria — this sounds like something I would love, love, love. Do you know the price and availability? January 8, 2013 at 6:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Santa Maria Novella boutiques carry it already, but I’m not sure if Aedes or Lafco NY have in stock. I believe that it was around $135 for 100ml. January 9, 2013 at 2:34pm Reply

      • Daisy: Just saw it today: Lafco NY has it and it is $135 for 100 ml. Fresh, piney, and woody. Nice. But I just smelled it on the blotter, not on skin. January 13, 2013 at 4:53pm Reply

  • hedonist222: I’d ahve thought they’d have named it Alba di Gyeongju. January 9, 2013 at 1:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Perhaps, for many people Gyeongju isn’t a familiar reference (not as familiar as Seoul). January 9, 2013 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Katherine: I really like Alba di Seoul. It’s one of the few from the SMN line that smells truly modern to me. It’s hard for me to tease out the “oriental” notes in it, but I still enjoy it. January 10, 2013 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Kim: I got a sample of this and it’s really growing on me. The oriental base notes are very powerful, at least on me, and at first I found it a bit cloying. But I’ve been wearing it for five or six days and I’m really taking to it. January 26, 2013 at 11:27am Reply

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