Scents we are sure you’d never pick up at a Duty Free
Holiday shopping holds a special place in our hearts. Unlike the average retail therapy experience, this one ties in with the mood of the occasion, reminds you of the way the alleys looked in the evening light, the complexity of the experience and much more that let’s say, a fridge magnet cannot convey. When you’re done with multiple rounds of the shopping arcades and flagship stores of your favourite brands, direct your way to these boutique perfumeries to bring home a scent of summer (or whichever season you happen to be in). Research will tell you perfume may have originated in the ancient Egyptian and Indus civilizations but was refined further by the Romans and Arabs. Some of the oldest surviving perfumeries and apothecaries still exist in Europe and we urge you to stop by.
Santa Maria Novella
First up on our list is the 800 year old perfumery Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella in Florence. The legacy started by Dominican friars in a church on the outskirts of the city continues to be well preserved till date. The ownership of the perfumery may have changed over several decades but its recipes and formulas remain the same. From soothing balms and skincare to the cult favourite ‘Iris’ scent, this is the place to stop by in Tuscany.
Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella, Via de' Tornabuoni, 71, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Several iterations of eau de cologne may exist in the world but only one stands as the original. Inspired by the scents of southern Italy, Giovanni Maria Farina created Eau de Cologne. As an Italian perfumier settling in Germany he created the scent as his contribution and gratitude to his new home. A French name was chosen given the popularity of the language. The perfumery only sells two scents in various forms.
Johann Maria Farina gegenüber dem Jülichs-Platz GmbH, Obenmarspforten 21 50667 Köln Deutschland
Hyper local and small batch are the best terms to describe the unique offerings from Carthusia in Capri. You can visit the laboratory where the magic happens near the Gardens of Augustus. With its signature mermaid artwork on the emblem, Carthusia’s scents promise to evoke a sense of the sea through its complex and nuanced balance of notes.
Carthusia, Via Matteotti, 2d, 80073 Capri NA, Italy
A revived perfume house from the 1800s, this French label marries the best of the past with the now. Once the official supplier to Empress Eugenie and Queen Isabel II of Spain, Violet’s bottles were permanently annointed with the emblem of the Empress, the bee. The workings of the house came to a halt in 1955 until three enthusiastic men decided to revive it in Paris. The house now sells reinterpretations of the classic perfumes.
Violet, 31 Rue Étienne Marcel, 75001 Paris, France
What literally translates to the Merchant of Venice is a cultural expression of the maritime trades that made Venice famous. This century-old perfumery promises mystery and intrigue with responsibly sourced ingredients. You can choose from their signature scents or also create your own under the guidance of a perfumier. They even have a home scents line bottled in Murano glass.
Spezieria all'Ercole d'Oro, Strada Nova, 2233/A, 30121 Venezia VE, Italy