Just One More? – Review: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Ambre

I am a bit of an amber fiend. Regular readers will know that, and should you be here for the first time, let me tell you – if it has amber in the name or notes list, chances are I have tried it.

Amber, that ambiguously sweet and dry, soft and harsh, smooth and jagged, golden concoction, makes me happy. Of course I had to try the Ambre in Mona di Orio’s collection as well.

One should think that an amber fragrance is a sure bet with me, but on the contrary, the more ambers I know, the more discerning I become. Any old amber will not rock my world, it has to have something special, or I will think “Been there, smelled that.”

When on the other hand an amber fragrances manages to surprise me, to be different from all the rest while still being quintessentially and distinctly amber, I am more than impressed and always open for “just one more” amber…

Ambre includes notes of Cedarwood from Atlas, Ylang Ylang from Comores, Benzoin, Tolu and Absolu Vanilla Madagascar.

Ambre is an amber that is all the things described above: a bit dry, harsh and jagged in the beginning, developing into soft, smooth and sweet as time goes by. In addition this amber fragrance is also quite powdery, it has that cosmetics smell, and is a bit smoky.

My initial impression was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a little bit more of this particular amber perfume, since Mona di Orio is known for loving to work with strong materials, if her (sadly now discontinued) signature line is anything to go by. But Ambre is a purring cat rather than a screaming tiger.

Although obviously different, Ambre reminds me a lot of Musc (review upcoming). It has a similar feel of quiet stillness, of tenderness, of closeness.

If somebody wanted to give me Ambre, I’d be a very happy woman, but when I have to make a decision for one of Mona di Orio’s perfumes to buy for myself, it is not going to be Ambre, despite what seemed to have been a sure bet. I much prefer others in the Nombres d’Or line, most of all those I would have chosen last, before I actually smelled them – Oud and Tubéreuse (and Vanille while we are being honest here, but I was quite sure from the start that I would like that one).

That is my ideal perfume storage solution.

If you do not have an entire army of amber fragrances in your arsenal, Ambre comes highly recommended.

But if it is a question of “Another amber?”, I’ll have to answer it with a negative (in a very small and sad voice though, and accompanied by a pout and a deep sigh.)

Image source: luckyscent.com, redbubble.com

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27 Responses to Just One More? – Review: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Ambre

  1. deeHowe says:


    As I began to read this post, I fondly reminisced my question, “How many amber’s does one woman need?” And your devastatingly accurate reply, “Just one more!” Thinking, with a pout and deep sigh of my own, that here would be another amber I would need to add to my collection!

    But, as it has not wowed you, I breathe a sigh of relief. There is only room in my cabinet for the most exceptional ambers!


    (can’t sleep—glad to be the first comment!!)

  2. Tara says:

    That’s a really good point, the more you get to know and love a category of perfume the more discerning you become in the ones you actually purchase (though you may try them all). I think I’ve got like that with chypres – I really like Bottega Veneta but is it different enough to add to the ones I already have?

    I’m very glad Les Senteurs are stocking Les Nombres d’Or as they are now at the top of my To Try list, particularly Oud and Vanille. I am looking for a smoky amber though so will definitely try Ambre too.

  3. masha7 says:

    The listed notes made me realize that this amber would be a very quiet one. OK for offices and hospitals. I like big ambers that grab me, like the original Chaos! I just started trying the Oud, and, though it’s not really an oud, it’s wonderful!

  4. vanessa says:

    Purring cat sounds good to me! A few amber scents are on their way to you – that you probably already know, I shouldn’t wonder. And one of them at least falls into the category of “cat that sleeps 22 hours a day” and makes no sound in the brief window when it is awake.

    ; – )

  5. James Dennard says:

    In many of the fragrance discussions I take part in, powdery/ambery fragrances are not generally appreciated. But I’ve always liked those categories/notes. As such, this one and Musc pique my curiosity. I enjoyed this review, Birgit 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you! 🙂 Musc and Ambre are surely the two softest creations in the Nombres d’Or line. Tender and kind – that is how I think of them, therefore I’m certain you would like them, because from what I know about you, this describes you as well.

  6. James Dennard says:

    And it’s my turn to thank you for your compliment, my friend. I hope you have enjoyed your weekend so far.

  7. Sugandaraja says:

    I’m rather glad to hear it’s possible to like the others in the Mona di Oiro’s and not be overawed with this one. I felt much the same as you: sure, give me a bottle and I’ll like it, but I’m not buying ( in my case, Ambre 114 and Ambre Russe are far higher in my esteem ).

    I must say me and Mona have had a bad history. Nuit Noire turned to soap on me, followed by testings of the first three Nombres d’Or, Musc ( laundry ), Ambre ( mediocre ), and Cuir ( oh no, get this burnt BBQ-fest off me ), that when her tuberose, oud, vetiver, and vanilla were praised on many blogs I felt very hesitant about shelling out for samples… I may rethink that now.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree with you in every case. Cuir is the only scrubber for me in the line, but Ambre is not as extraordinary as other ambers I know, or as other perfumes by Mona di Orio.
      But I think you should really give Vanille, Tubereuse and especially Oud a shot – gorgeous!!! 🙂

  8. Anne says:

    I must say that i have been more and more disappointed by Mona di Orio’s collection. To me it became very common and not so much special as it used to be. The perfumes are not so great and i was very surprised to see that they didn’t last after couple of minutes…
    I’ve got Lux and Nuit Ivoire in hand. The top notes are great but basenotes aren’t strong enough and i don’t recognize Sandalwood or Cedarwood… They are others which are better. The only one that i kind of like would be Amyitis just because it reminds me of an old perfume that i use to love but that i cannot find today… For me Mona di Orio’s scent are a don’t

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Anne,
      Lux and Nuit Noire as well as Amyitis are now discontinued, I’m sorry they were not what you expected, but at least that is money saved. 😉
      While I think her earlier collection is maybe not as easily likeable and didn’t find a lot of fans, the new Nombres D’Or line has many gems. I think Oud is very special, and Vanille is my go-to perfume this fall.
      Maybe you’d like to try those newer ones, before you give up on the line entirely.
      Happy sniffing! 🙂

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  10. raab says:

    Dear Birgit,

    I’m a bit on late about Ambre and with your review. The reason is simple: when I first sniffed Ambre in Les Nombres d’Or line, I liked it well but….nothing special, all my heart and my nose were for Vanille. Then, very recently, I sampled Ambre again with a small and lovely mini bottle offered by the seller……
    I discovered really all the beauty of Ambre, very different of Vanille even if some notes are the same. Quiet, fresh, ambery, a very different amber. I love oriental ambers, heavy ones, but here, it’s powerful but so delicate, “transparent”……and very present to comfort you.
    A hint of nutmeg? I can smell so different things in this scent, a green landscape, an old store of furniture, a cashmere sweat, an alcohol, very strange, I love it but we have to meet it to appreciate it as it deserves, not easy….
    But when Ambre has become your friend, it is for a long time…..

    • Olfactoria says:

      Again we are on the same page, Florence! I was not so impressed with Ambre initally, because the more “flashy” ones – Vanille and Oud – had my attention, but over time Ambre and Musc have become my favorites, because they are so tender and full of love. Sounds stupid, but that is how I perceive them (and I know you understand.)

  11. florence says:

    I understand…….

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