Artist Miryana Babic was traveling in Florence and stumbled across a tiny perfumery that hand-blended small batches of scents with the finest selections of floral and botanical essences from Italy and around the world. She picked up a bottle of Caterina de Medici by i Profumi di Firenze, dabbed it on her wrist and was smitten. The line, based on recipes commissioned by 16th century Queen of France Catherine de Medici, is crafted from the same ingredients used during the Renaissance. A perfume maker later found the secret recipes in a 16th century manuscript that washed up in his basement after the Florentine flood of 1966. Upon her return to her home in Santa Monica, Miryana could not forget the scents or their story. A few months later, she was importing the collection of perfumes to Barneys New York stores and Los Angeles boutiques Fred Segal and Planet Blue.
The most popular fragrance in the collection is Vaniglia del Madagascar, which has been described as "warm smelling and just short of a chocolate chip cookie, not quite as sweet, but still good enough to eat." My favorite is the aforemetioned Costa Mediterranea, which is at the same time soft and masculine. This line of fragrance, particulary Vaniglia del Madagascar, has a very devout following among major celebrities and other people who have access to the best-of-the-best. But Miryana asked that I not play the celebrity card so I won't give you specifics. Next time you are at Barneys you must check out i Profumi di Firenze or you can buy it online at Beautyhabit.com.