The height of August.







Clean white sheets in a cold, summer room.






Shut the world out tight.








Sleep: deeply.











When you awake, revel in the cool, private cathedral of your sheets.








The blinds, drawn for now despite the sins of midday, will keep out the heat and sun.








The room is almost dark.










Let’s sleep just a little bit more.








Over there, in the shadows, is the bathroom.







And that hard, violet-blue soap against the white.











But not just yet…











































A strange, luminescent perfume, Santa Maria Novella’s Iris is not a perfume that speaks of those bei fiori in the usual, powdered, orris form,  more a peculiarly old-fashioned acqua di colonia – spruce, hale and poetic; detached; with a timelessness and time-stripping aldehydic blue that seems to last forever:














Clean…………..and cathartic.
















Filed under Flowers

14 responses to “IRIS by SANTA MARIA NOVELLA (1901)

  1. Santa Maria Novella – the sheer number of choices make me want to curl up and stop sniffing perfumes forever. Also, I’ve never met a SMN display that was inviting: 1) Aedes in NYC – all the bottles are inside a glass cabinet and are hard to reach without potentially knocking down half of them; 2) The SMN store on Lafayette St. in NYC is all hardwood sheen with the bottles not arranged in any particular order that I can discern and I do not like hovering SAs; 3) The New London Pharmacy on 8th & 23rd St. – the perfumes (different brands) are haphazardly displayed on shelves around the cash register. And this is not just a NY thing — the SMN store on Piccadilly – every bottle was inside cabinets and an SA must retrieve the bottle from his side of the counter…the SA I encountered was so bored looking that I just asked to smell Vaniglia and then left without purchasing it because I was too bored to hand over my money.

    I’m cranky. Rant over.

    The next time I’m anywhere near a SMN stockist, I will smell the iris.

    • You are absolutely right, as they are not labelled at all – I hate hovering SAs as well.

      Iris lovers would probably find this very disappointing as it seems to have nothing to do with the usual scent of the flowers, but as a soapy, purifying scent it is delicious, at least the batch I smelled was.

  2. Lilybelle

    That sounds so serene…a plain cool room, a restful deep sleep, iris soap and clean towels. Perfect. I SO want to visit SMN perfumery in Florence some day. A friend says that he doesn’t like iris because it reminds him of Italian laundry detergent. I love iris. I wouldn’t my laundry smelling of it.

  3. Stephie

    Beautifully said
    where can you get that in Los Angeles

  4. No- that’s not a Haiku, but I propose that the rules of a Haiku be changed so that it can be.

  5. Tora

    Sometimes, Neil, when you write, I do not care about the perfume, but about the atmosphere you create with your words. I want to be 18 again and run across a man with your attention to detail who I can sit with in a shaded corner of a dark mission adobe church avoiding the heat and talking, talking and listening and sighing with pleasure of a perfect interchange. i will meet you someday, in another world, and we will be at ease. Sorry. Your posts often get me all gooey romantic and shit.

    • No, I am extremely flattered!

      Not sure the reality of my presence could live up to your expectations, but I would like to meet you as well. It’s funny, I think of myself as being someone with no attention to detail whatsoever ( in the flesh I am a total slob), but I suppose when it comes to The Black Narcissus I do make more of an effort! I love it.

  6. Reblogged this on The Black Narcissus and commented:

    For some serenity.

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