Muschio by Santa Maria Novella + Korea Photo Essay


Post by TinaG



We’ve recently returned from an amazing trip to South Korea – Portia, Jin, Kath, Matt and I travelled around for about two weeks having an absolute ball in a wonderful & welcoming country. Before we left, I had a few chats and did some research on what fragrances I may have access to that I wouldn’t normally get my hands on in Australia. One of the names which came up was Santa Maria Novella, which I happily discovered has a flagship store in Seoul.

“Officina Profumo – Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella” is one of the world’s oldest pharmacies. Originally established in Florence, Italy in 1221 by Dominican Friars, who created herbal potions and remedies for use in their monastery, the pharmacy was opened up to the public in 1612. The original Florence pharmacy still stands, with all of their products continuing to be hand made at their Florence factory site utilising old recipes and classic artisanal methods.

The South Korean store in Seoul is located near pretty Dosan Park in an upmarket shopping district within Gangnam-Gu. We were greeted and kindly looked after by the shop hostesses. I made a beeline for the colognes whilst Portia explored all of the other wonderful goodies on display.

From Fragrantica: Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. It was opened in Florence, Italy in 1612, taking the formulas of Dominican friars that originate from 13th century.

Their products are all the types of things you may expect to find in an apothecary: high quality and beautifully presented soaps, fragrances, herbal extracts and essences, side by side with more modern home items such as wax candles and dog & cat grooming collection. I could so easily have stayed there for hours on end, but I did manage to get my nose to a fair few bottles including the recently released Alba de Seoul which had a refreshing pine needle note, a nod to the cultural importance of the South Korean pine trees. I wished I could have taken more home, but I decided to treat myself to a full bottle of ….

Muschio by Santa Maria Novella

Muschio (Musc) Santa Maria Novella FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Musk, powdery notes

Muschio is a really gorgeous comforting scent and has quickly become my go-to fragrance this winter. Although technically a cologne, Muschio isn’t one of those which can be splashed on liberally or needs refreshing every couple of hours – there is no need as it has very good longevity and silage. On opening there is a predominant puff of musk with slightly woody undertones, a touch of vanilla and a ghost of lemon hovering over the top. The musk is nothing animalic but it light and airy. The dry white wood in the background keeps it from being overly candy-shop sweet, giving it a lovely powdery feel. It doesn’t change appreciably in dry down, although the musk softens and the woods become more prominent. I also get a cinnamon-stick note, spicy wood without the peppery kick, adding to the warmth.

The visit to Santa Maria Novella was a fragrant highlight of a fantastic holiday. I’m so glad I purchased Muschio, it holds a dozen happy memories for me along with the continued enjoyment of a really fabulous cologne.

Do you have a fragrant holy-grail location that you’ve managed to visit, or wish to? Here are some pics of mine.


Santa Maria Novella Korea #1

Santa Maria Novella Korea #2

Santa Maria Novella Korea #3

Santa Maria Novella Korea #4

Santa Maria Novella Korea #5

Santa Maria Novella Korea #6

Santa Maria Novella Korea #7

Santa Maria Novella Korea #8


13 thoughts on “Muschio by Santa Maria Novella + Korea Photo Essay

    • Hi Marie, it is awe inspiring to be able to try products which have such a remarkable fragrance history. A great house indeed.

      Tina xx


  1. What a beautiful shop, and oh look, smiling assistants. The shop in Florence is a destination in itself, gorgeous, but prepare to grovel if you want to actually try anything!
    I have those rose wax tablets…divine for the linen cupboard.


    • Hi Jackie b – I love Florence so much, would be amazing to go back and have a chance to visit the SMN store. Honestly the shop assistants in Seoul were so welcoming. After one or two sprays they just handed me the strips and let me go for it! Very fun!

      Tina xx


  2. Santa Maria Novella has some really great fragrances. I own and love Peau d’Espagne and – as noted in the report above – despite being categorized as an eau de cologne, it has projection and longetivity comparable to stronger concentrations.


    • Hi JMR – oh yes… They are pretty powerful as a cologne. My first public wearing I sprayed way too much and could be smelt at a distance of meters…lucky my lunch date was ok with musk! Now, one spray to the chest will do me all day.

      Tina xx


  3. Hey there Tina,
    How fun was this fragrant moment on our holiday? They were so lovely and let us photograph and sniff, excellent.
    I wish the shop itself had been less fragrant though, I couldn’t smell anything.
    How cute do we look in that shot?
    Portia xx


    • Hi Portia! I do love that photo! Yes the shop did have a fairly heavy ambient fragrance. Was the reason I didn’t continue for too long. A great visit though – so glad to have made it!

      Tina xx


  4. Thank you for telling us the background to Santa Maria Novella. This shop looks so nice, it would have been a lovely outing.
    Are these available in Australia? Or do I need to go to Florence??


    • Hi Anna Maria, it was a lovely outing! Thanks. I understand there may be a few Australian outlets, but I’m not in a position to recommend any… A quick web search on “Santa Maria Novella” and capital city names came up with some hits – Melbourne may be the go. Good Luck! 🙂

      Tina xx


    • Hi Thinkingmagpie – oh that’s interesting, how long ago was that? I had a lot of difficulty finding the store when researching, as every search for “Seoul” came up with a review for Alba de Seoul… Made finding the address tricky.

      Tina xx


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