One of the scents I purchased on my sojourn in Italy, Caterina de Medici from i Profumi di Firenze boasts a very pristine composition based upon a 16th century formula. I am not certain how intrigued I am by wearing a formula that old. The art and science of perfumery has most certainly taken some huge strides since then! However, this is perhaps one of the most lush, straight up floral fragrances I own and therefore the formula works for me.
With notes of Damascus rose, lily of the valley and florentine iris, the fragrance develops in a fairly linear fashion from start to finish with one exception: the top is very sweet. The opening may turn off those averse to sweet scents. Despite that, lovers of floral fragrances will delight in its interesting and fresh heart that juxtaposes the feminine, ancient beauty of rose to somewhat cold lily of the valley. Florentine iris is thrown into the mix as well, along with its leaves and the dirt from which it grows. Because of the latter interesting twist, I refrain from describing this fragrance as clean and yet, I am tempted to do so for there is nothing unrefined about it. Rather this blend strikes me as ethereal, not earthy, elegant and timeless.
Caterina de Medici resembles Floris Florissa, yet it lacks the earthy bottom notes of amber, light woods and spices. I cannot compare it to the umpteen white florals I own, for this scent has a purer, more realistic quality about it that has been stripped from most modern blends. Caterina de Medici is most certainly a daytime fragrance due to its lighter than air yet lush qualities. I can spritz this one generously and it never offends those around me. My only wish is that I could purchase my next full bottle in Florence at the original store - Spezierie Erboristerie Palazzo Vecchio http://www.spezieriepalazzovecchio.it/ - where it retails for just 20 Euro! The simple packaging will always remind me of the day I strolled through Piazza della Signora and thought this incredible perfumery was just an herb shop! That puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
Caterina de Medici can be found on various fragrance websites including beautyhabit and bigelowchemists. A 50mL bottle retails for $89.
Image sources: lusciouscargo.com; my own image of me in front of the iPdF altar with my bag of goodies