No Boat Rides In Disneyland – Review: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Vanille

One of the four latest releases of Mona di Orios Nombres d’Or collection, Vanille is an atypical vanilla, a spicy ride into the darkest depths of exotic vanilla pods. A must for friends of the unusual gourmand scent.

Vanille includes notes of Brazilian orange, Indonesian  cloves, petitgrain, rum extract, Bourbon vetiver, ylang-ylang, Indian sandalwood, gaiac wood, Vanilla absolute from Madagascar, amber and tonka.

Mona di Orio tells a story, when asked about Vanille, a story of a sturdy ship made of gaiac wood, orange eating (to prevent scurvy) and rum drinking (to prevent boredom) sailors making their way from Madagascar, shipping loads of finest vanilla pods, bundles of vetiver and sandalwood from India along with a dozen spices to Europe. Close your eyes and imagine to standing the cargo hold of that ship. Can you smell it? That is Vanille.

I very much like vanilla that is not teeth-rottingly sweet and light. I like unusual, dark vanilla fragrances like Guerlain Spiritueuse Double Vanille, Shalimar Ode a la Vanille, Annick Goutal Vanille Exquise or Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée.

But to compare them to Mona di Orio’s Vanille, they all lack something. SDV is more boozy and sweeter, Shalimar OV is not really comparable in the first place, it is Shalimar – so that’s a different story after all, Goutal VE is smokier, rougher and on the whole more transparent, and so is the Atelier Cologne.

The rich and spicy composition that is Mona’s vanilla, wins this contest in my perfume closet hands down.

Upon applying, Vanille starts out almost green and with a fresh orange accord, before the heavier spices, woods and the dry vanilla kick in. A bit of rum makes it boozy, the smooth sandalwood and the cool vetiver lend a dry, entirely unsweet base, like a floor, upon which dark vanilla and sweet ylang-ylang can do their languid dance.

An amazing combination of dry and boozy vanilla and spices, Vanille is as far from the cheap, overly sweet vanillin, as the ship of Mona’s imagination, is from a boat ride in Disneyland.

Highly recommended.

Image source:, Caspar David Friedrich Segelschiff via

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45 Responses to No Boat Rides In Disneyland – Review: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Vanille

  1. Now that sounds like my kind of vanilla. I’m bit obsessed with all things pirate related, it’s sad I know but I desperately want to be Jack Sparrow, so this sounds right up my street.

    Another great review 😀

  2. This does sound like a nice vanilla. I have read very good reviews of Mona di Orio I have Oud on my wish list, I will add this one to it. You enablers will be the end of me…

  3. IsabelleMi says:

    Greetings from Southern France – I’m finally having my holidays and I am enjoying September here and avoiding autumn rains. I have lots of my favourite samples/decants with me (of course) – most of them you have written about – e.g. Killian, Parfum d’Empire, Xerjoff, Mona di Orio and Tauer, Cabanel and of OJ. This is a great place to enjoy beautiful fragrances – and realize the influence of the climate, too. I have almost drained my MdO Vanille samples; V. is so softly beautiful that it makes me dream and relax – I love it, too. My sister will arrive here this evening and we’ll drive to Grasse – to smell fragrances, of course 🙂 I love the place.

  4. Sandra says:

    Another great perfume. I have a sample of this and will be pulling it out again today. Just received Mona di Orio Oud and found myself enchanted by the dry down. I just wish she had travel sets of her perfumes.

  5. Persolaise says:

    I’m so glad you like Vanille. I was really impressed with it too. And Mona’s story fits the scent perfectly! A genuine triumph, I feel.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Did you get the chance to smell the rest of the Nombres d’Or line as well by now? Very well done, each and every one of them, in my opinion, although I have my favorites of course. 🙂

      • Persolaise says:


        Yes, I’ve tried the tuberose and the vetivert, and although I enjoyed them both, I didn’t think they offered anything new to their genres.

        I’m currently trying the Oud. I hesitate to say much about it at the moment, as I’m aware it’s won itself a strong following. So far, I’m less enthusiatic, but I’m still reserving judgement.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I think especially the tuberose is very interesting in its treatment of the note, but maybe I do not have enough tuberose experience to judge that correctly, since it has never been a favorite.
          I will happily read your review of Oud should you publish one, although I hope you won’t bash it, since I am a big fan. 🙂

  6. civava says:

    That is just what I’m looking for in vanilla perfume! Nice description so I can imagine the scent right away.

  7. deeHowe says:

    “A bit of rum makes it boozy, the smooth sandalwood and the cool vetiver lend a dry, entirely unsweet base, like a floor, upon which dark vanilla and sweet ylang-ylang can do their languid dance.”

    This paragraph is like cocaine (not that I’ve had that, but you get my point, I think): I’m not sure if I’m intoxicated by the idea of the perfume, or your beautiful writing! 😉

    I am very glad to have secured a (small) spot in a split, because this review is the kind that gets me into Un-sniffed Full Bottle Territory!

  8. vanessa says:

    Now this may not sound like my kind of vanilla at all, but it puts me in mind of a vanilla I own that you might very well like – if I could just siphon a bit off through the tiny aperture of the bottle…

    I did enjoy your rollicking review, though, especially the notion of “a floor, upon which dark vanilla and sweet ylang-ylang can do their languid dance” – that was a lovely and endearing image.

    And meanwhile, I have in fact been on a Pirates of the Caribbean style ride in Disneyland? -World? near Los Angeles, and I have to admit that it was fantastic fun (even to me aged 35, as I was at the time). Of course it involved a massive suspension of disbelief to enter into the experience and I do know exactly what you mean by the distinction between Mona’s boat and that one, but I just had to confess my own “guilty nautical pleasure”!

  9. Suzanne says:

    This sounds like it could give my beloved Montale Boise Vanille a run for its money in the non-traditional vanilla category. This sounds sexy and dreamy by your description…like Jack Sparrow set loose on the Love Boat. 😉

  10. Vanille is spectacular. And actually, I was hoping that Oud would have traces of the things I find so appealing about Vanille, and it does. The spices, the tonka/coumarin- the heavy hands with fingers interlaced holding up both of the fragrances, they’re both wonderful– end essential, I think.

  11. anotherperfumeblog says:

    This is the top of my Mona wishlist for trying. I’m looking forward it even more after your review.

  12. jedennard says:

    I am no gourmand fan, generally speaking, but the notes in this sound wonderful. “Dry and boozy vanilla and spices”- yes, please! 🙂

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