The Beauty of Scent, Scrutinized for Pleasure

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Heart of decadence: Mona di Orio Oud EDP Intense

Mona di Orio Oud Eau de Parfum Intense is part of the Les Nombres D'Or collection, and as the original collection is about to fade away, it's very reassuring to know that such high quality fragrances are emerging in its place. I've yet to review the others in the new collection that I've sampled (Vanille, Tubereuse, Ambre), but I can give you a hint at what's to come: they're all good, one of them is even what I'd call spectacular.



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]

13 comments:

  1. Great review, Carrie! I have been thoroughly enjoying my 5ml decant too (From another split). I spritzed just a teeny tiny bit the first time (thanks to your tweet), and found it exquisite- that sweetness is really perfect with the intense (yet soft) manly oud and the incense. I haven't smelled osmanthus the flower or the absolute, so I don't know if the sweetness I smell is the osmanthus. It does smell delightfully jamlike- but a very delicate jam...:) It is a very beautiful scent. However,this scent seems to last longer and smells better when sprayed on my upper arm. But when I sprayed it on my wrist, it smelled a little soapy and seemed to pass through that oud and apricot phase very quickly. very strange (because of which I seem to going through my decant fast, trying to pin this scent down. Must show restraint) I need to test it a little more. This is one of those rare perfumes, that even my husband loved..:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It makes me so happy when people whose opinion I value, say good things about Oud. It is such an amazing perfume!
    Your point about rather having a little bit of something extraordinary than a vat of mediocrity is so true!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so glad you are all enjoying this; it makes me happy vicariously to see people falling in love with perfumes. I'm also glad to hear that a little goes a long way. If I *do* ever find a bottle of Mona in my future, that will make it easier to justify. :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lavanya- I think this would make an AMAZING masculine scent, but it really walks the line, doesn't it? It's just a beautiful, complex and comforting fragrance.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Olfactoria- thank you SO much for including me in this split. There will be those days when nothing else will do, I'm sure of it!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jen- indeed, the cost is prohibitive to say the least, but thank goodness for splits! Mona's Vanille is 100ml for $190 (I think), and that's not too bad, and I may even love it more than Oud. A FB of Vanille is definitely in my future!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Yeah- I asked my husband to try some, but he refused (methinks it is because of the cost). My skin is a sweet amplifier while his really amps the deeper notes- so i am curious. I might need to get some on him, by accident, though..lol.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I've got a sample of this perfume but haven't had a chance to test it yet. I will soon - after all the praises from B. and you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Okay, NOW will you let me leave a comment, Mr Blogger?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Right, as I was saying, before Blogger decided to chew up my words:

    Thanks very much for this review. I'm glad the scent seems to have found lots of fans, but I wasn't impressed with it. Flat and dull were the only words that came to my mind when I wore it.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ugh, sorry Mr. P, it seems many folks are having trouble leaving comments on Blogger lately. I really hope they fix the problem very soon, or people will be abandoning us, I fear.

    I'll be honest, I wouldn't spend $535 on a bottle of Oud, but it's very nice to have a decant. I'll be craving it a lot in cold weather. Have you tried Mona di Orio Vanille yet, by chance?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Carrie, there's every possibility that I just didn't log into Blogger properly.

    As for Vanille, yes, I have tried and I think I reviewed it in July. In short, I think it's wonderful.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I thought it was a very nice oud, but it wasn't nearly as potent on me as it was on you apparently... I could hardly smell it.

    ReplyDelete