This is the most expensive and most precious perfume I own.
Yes, I do own a bottle (albeit, not the entire bottle, I am hosting a split) of Oud Parfum Intense from Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or line. And I don’t even like oud, or so I thought…
Created in 2011 by Mona di Orio, Oud includes notes of elemi from the Phillipines, green mandarin from Calabria, petitgrain from Paraguay, patchouli from Indonesia, osmanthus absolue from China, nagarmotha from India, cedarwood from Atlas, essential oil Oudh from Laos, musc and ambergris.
In this review of Tubéreuse, I talked about how one note should never be dismissed, because someone will always come up with an interpretation just ideal for you.
Mona di Orio came up with not only an interpretation, but a revelation.
She used real, authentic essential oil from Laotian Oudh in a western perfume and she did so in an amazing way. Not only is it the first time I smelled real oud, an eye opening experience in itself, but she pairs that intense and breathtakingly complex note with one of my favorite floral notes – osmanthus – and thereby melds heaven and earth, black and white, good and evil, two absolute opposites into a marriage of beauty that had an almost magical effect on me.
Oud is a stunning composition, strong, powerful, unusual, tender, delicate, familiar. Spellbinding.
When I first applied Oud, very carefully I might add, fully expecting the worst, it was late at night. Probably not one of my best ideas to try something new before going to sleep, but in this case it turned out perfectly.
Oud kept me up the whole night, but not in a bad way. It was just that whenever I moved, it wormed its way into my consciousness and despite being quasi asleep, I moved my hand in front of my nose countless times that night, only to smile and sigh with pleasure. What a perfume!
The first hour is strong and very heavy on the oud. It struts in and presents itself, like a lion to his pride. It is fully aware of its power and glory, the respect and even fear it engenders and it is proud of what it is and what it can do.
Over the next hours, very slowly the balance starts to shift, and the oud gets more mellow, more quiet, more distanced as it starts to sing a soft duet with the second main player in this opus, osmanthus. A soft and gourmand-leaning flower from china, osmanthus smells like apricots and smooth white flowers (see my reviews of favorite osmanthus scents: Hermes Osmanthe Yunnan, Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus and Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Inderdite).
This is my favorite phase, I sit and shake my head in wonder at how marvelously blended those two disparate notes are, at how exquisite their interplay, how seemingly effortless the tiny flower of Osmanthus conquers the great lion Oud and makes him purr like a kitten.
Oud lasts for an entire day (or night!) and has a beautiful, but not overwhelming sillage.
Due to its nature (the inclusion of such a rare and expensive essential oil, costing 18000€ per Kilogram), Oud is in limited release, not available everywhere and most probably not forever. I bought mine at First in Fragrance.
Oud and osmanthus – the combination fascinates me every time I wear this perfume, which is often these days. The quality and unique properties of the natural oud oil and the way it is used and orchestrated in this creation, make me rever Mona di Orio as one of the truly great artists working today. Take this, Dr Turin!