Farmacia SS. Annunziata; Isos

Notes: Ceylon cloves, Tunisian mint, myrrh, Madagascar pepper, guaiac wood, vetiver, cedar.

Fresh ground pepper is one of my favorite things in the world, and asking the server to bring out the pepper grinder is truly one of my favorite moments of eating out at a restaurant. Now that I’ve discovered Isos, I can get that same heady sensation just by sniffing my wrist. And that’s what I’ve been doing obsessively for the past week: inhaling Isos. Other perfume samples have been left untouched while I’ve been greedily splashing on my Isos sample.

This is partly due to the current weather here. It was in mid-90s all this past week and the bone-dry peppery spice was the only thing that could cut through the melt-worthy heat. Because, despite the spice, Isos doesn’t give off a ‘dirty’ vibe. This pepper is clean and invigorating. I have a feeling the mint note plays a role here. And, even though I only detect the lightest touch of mint, it lifts the composition. I don’t see citrus listed anywhere in the notes, but it’s all over the drydown for me. I get a softly intoxicating pepper/cedar/citrus mix in the end before Isos finally fades away.

Farmacia SS (full name: Farmacis SS. Annunziata dal 1561, quite the mouthful!) is a completely new brand to me. I stumbled upon it on Luckyscent, and their description of this unique fragrance line is worth reading. Apparently it was originally associated with a monastery in the 16th century, and it is one of the oldest brands in Italy. For those of us not fortunate enough to live in Italy, Luckyscent currently carries 15 of Farmacia’s fragrances for us to sample, including Isos of course.

I realize that not everyone is similarly crazy about pepper as I am, but I would say: don’t be alarmed by a pepper-centric fragrance. Isos is strong in the beginning, but it’s not something that would scare anyone away. Like I said, the drydown is actually quite soft, while still retaining a dry spiced edge. I cannot emphasize enough how pleasant this perfume is. It conjures up dreams of a leisurely lunch at a trattoria where I’ve got a fresh salad, a crisp glass of wine and I’m watching the Italian summer roll on. Somehow, nothing else seems necessary.

Farmacia SS. Annunziata dal 1561; Isos: $120 for 100 ml.  Samples and full bottles available from Luckyscent.

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