This is an honest, old-school lavender scent. The lavender top notes are powerful, accurate, intense and quite beautiful.
The dry-down gets fairly sweet, floral, powdery, and a touch vanillan. Thus I lose interest. Even a bit fusty, in my opinion.
But that top note was amazing.
"Lavanda Ambrata", is a great lavender with a sweet amber base note which makes it more pleasant to wear during the day than "Imperial Lavender", a dry lavender water which is better for a non-fragrance day or to perfume an handkerchief. I particularly enjoy "Lavanda ambrata" on the countryside where a more sophisticated fragrance would be inappropriate. It could remind you "Pour un Homme" by Caron.
If you love Lanvender, then you might love this, BUT,, it feels like you just put on some straight lavender oil. You might as well dilute some lavender oil and put it on. Not one of SMNs best. And it does not last long, at least not on my skin. I say move on to another Lavender frag.
Not to be mistaken with the low-quality fragrance of the same name by Jo Malone, this is what Amber/Lavender should be (and what I had hoped from the JM version). The Jo Malone version feature a briefly lived lavender note that is piercing, and dies off quickly leaving an amber base that lasts for about an hour.
SM Novella figured out how to actually combine amber and lavender such that both notes persist throughout the entire life of the fragrance. One experiences both the sharpness of lavender and sweetness of amber together. As with other SMN fragrances, this is a simple accord of high quality, and the name is what you get. This accord lasts through the base, and at times amber is more prominent, and at times lavender, but there is never a point at which you can't detect both.
From what I've learned about SMN, it is a very old, exclusive house that only recently began exporting. The high price reflects the quality of the materials used, and the bottles themselves are from a niche italian glass manufacturer that can be reused.
A perfecty balanced scent, that last on my skin more than any other Santa Maria Novella Cologne. Sweet but not silly, elegant but not pretentious, sensuous but not vulgar, simple but interesting. An alfresco by Giotto put in a bottle.