notes of Oud: elemi, green mandarin, petitgrain, patchouli, osmanthus, nagarmotha, cedarwood, oudh, musc, ambergris
I've tried many oud-centered compositions, but none as spicy and tenacious as this. It's important to emphasize the fact that this is an EDP "Intense", because if you spray too much (which I did the first time), it can easily overwhelm your senses. The second time I tried it, I used more restraint, and was able to detect many of the delicious and unique subtleties it contains. What initially attracted me to this perfume just from having read the notes list is the combination of osmanthus and oud. I could imagine what it might smell like, but the reality of it is much more beautiful and complex than my mind could have conjured. The dried-apricot jamminess of the osmanthus with the smooth, dark depths of the natural Laotian oud is quite simply intoxicating. What binds this blend neatly together are the spices and patchouli, which last for many hours on the skin and may eventually fade in intensity, but they only give way to the most sigh-inducing ambergris (I can't attest to it being natural or not) and tonka (which is not listed, but I'm sure it's there).
Mona di Orio Oud is masculine-leaning with massive sillage, but should not alienate any women who appreciate deep woody or spicy fragrances. Remarkably, you don't necessarily have to like oud itself to enjoy this. The way the material has been adulterated in many fragrances (mainstream and niche) makes it practically unrecognizable in its high-quality, natural state, and I think many folks would be surprised by its potential. So, yes, we've got another oud-based perfume added to an already over-saturated market, and I know, oud was so 2009, but I've never tired of it. You don't throw away your favorite doll just because it's missing a button eye, do you? Not me. Oud is well worn and well loved by me, and I've found something wonderful in Mona di Orio's Oud- something unique that I've not seen before: a particular combination of intensity, sexuality, aggressiveness and confidence all wrapped up in one delirously beautiful package. If Oud were a man, he would be perfect in all his imperfections. Bristly and old-fashioned in some ways, totally unrestrained in other ways. Always surprising, though.
Most people (including myself, at first) think that $520 is a lot of money for a 100 ml bottle of perfume, but I took part in a split hosted by the beautiful Olfactoria, and it's much easier to take when the cost is divided among several friends. Another thing to consider when thinking about cost is the fact that you really only need a tiny bit to last all day. I'm notorious for spraying generously, but I fully admit that was a mistake with Mona di Orio Oud. I'm not even the type to say this normally, but I must- a little goes a long way. I adhere to a "more is more" aesthetic most of the time, but my 5 ml decant is going to last me quite awhile. Honestly, I have a lot of respect for Ms. di Orio for not compromising on quality of materials to make her product affordable for everyone. Many of us would rather have a little of something amazing than have copious amounts of mediocre stuff.
the Noble Rot
Mona di Orio Oud EDP Intense is available through Luckyscent.com. A 100ml bottle is $520 and a sample is available for $8. Don't let the high price of the perfume prevent you from trying a sample- treat yourself to something truly special.
[my decant was purchased by me as part of a split]