Italian Magic. Paolo Gigli

Photo by @dubaihasniche

Florence, what region in Italy has richer cultural history!

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We know many famous people from Florence: poet Dante, Michelangelo, sculptor Donatello, Leonardo Da Vinci, and just many many others. However there are people who we might not widely know but their creativity speaks for itself. Products they create do not need any marketing or promotion, because the way they are done, inspires, brings awe and appreciation.

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There is one more significant for Perfume History event had happened here, Santa Maria Novella.

Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world. Founded by Dominican Friars shortly after 1221, the year of their arrival in Florence, the pharmacy used medicinal herbs grown in the monastic gardens to make medications, balms and pomades for the monks' infirmary. In 1533, Santa Maria Novella’s fame exploded when they were commissioned to create a signature fragrance for the young, fourteen-year old Catherine de Medici upon her marriage to Henry II of France.

Though word of their renowned remedies had spread world-wide, it wasn’t until 400 years later in 1612, that Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella opened its doors to the public – long after it already secured a place in the history books. Though no longer under direct monistic direction, the Officina is still run by their descendants (a nephew of the last monistic director purchased the company in the late 19th century, and four generations of his family have been at the helm ever since). Ruthless devotion to original, centuries-old recipes and production methods, combined with modern technology and innovation, Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella is something extraordinary; its treasures a much needed indulgence in a world where five minutes is long enough to declare something “out”.

Interesting note: Known as "Acqua della Regina" or "Water of the Queen", the resulting citrus-based cologne water of Calabrian bergamot could be interpreted as being the world’s first celebrity fragrance. It served to popularise the concept of perfume to the French royal court.

Interesting note 2: The impact of "Water of the Queen" did not stop there. When a young perfumer, Giovanni Paolo Feminis, moved to Cologne, Germany in 1725, he took the scent with him and re-produced it to great acclaim. It was named Eau de Cologne in honour of the city, thus heralding the birth of the perfume concentration known today. The original Acqua della Regina scent is still made today by Santa Maria Novella and really deserves the true credit for creating “eau de cologne.

Gigli perfumes started in as far as 1950s, when Nello Gigli started producing perfumes with enamelled and 24 K gold embossments being inspired by Venetian culture of XVIII century.

Photo by @dubaihasniche

Even modern creations of Paolo Gigli, son of Nello Gigli who continues family business, still have that XVII century vintage look. All products are still crafted by hands with exclusive techniques: 24 carats gold details, special technology is used in production of making glass (3-fire-tech) that last for several days for each bottle. Something impossible for rapidly growing modern-day Niche Perfumery. Each pattern on a bottle is unique and any other is not the same.

Photo by @dubaihasniche

I had a lucky chance to meet Paolo Gigli in Dubai and under no circumstances could I miss it. I saw minutes passing by as seconds, and hours went as minutes, as we spoke. Family history, perfume heritage, perfume creations, decoration techniques and secrets, sniffing some recent fragrances, all came as a whirl of magic.

Photo by @dubaihasniche

There was one more person with us, Paolo Gigli friend, right hand and business partner, Yoko Mukai.

Japan, what country in the world has such polite, welcoming, friendly, kind, punctual, altruistic, creatively spiritual, and of course, hard-working!

Country, where family-like relationship and business are not antonyms, but synonyms. Business is an art there, and second is in much higher proportion.

Yoko has shared Japanese people vision on Paolo Gigli perfumes and explained what makes Gigli successful in Japan. I had had a constant thoughts: what fragrance should be like for Japanese people to like it, love it, and wear on a daily basis. Paolo Gigli and Yoko found the answer.

Photo by @dubaihasniche

But let's back to Dubai. Paolo Gigli perfumes are not yet present in UAE, but it is not that long as we will see these beautifully crafted bottles with passionate Italian character perfumes in the Middle East.

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Have a great olfactive time.