In The Arms Of the Angel – Review: Mona di Orio Oiro

The following post was already written back in September, but I held it back for reasons, I’m not entirely clear about anymore. The tragic event of the perfumer Mona di Orio’s death yesterday, made me revisit it and I thought it might be a fitting tribute to Mona and her incredible talent. Mona’s perfumes are works of art and we will be able to enjoy them, even if we must go on without her. My heart goes out to her family and friends, her business partner Jeroen Oude Songtoen and everybody who grieves for her.

The best perfumes are the ones that move me, that make me hear music, that make me see colors, that make the tears as well as the laughter come easily.

Mona di Orio’s Oiro – golden – is one such perfume. Taking me by surprise, overwhelming me with a beauty I did not know was hiding in that tiny vial from Les Senteurs, making the music start up in my head… Please listen to this while reading on.

Oiro, meaning gold in Portuguese, includes notes of green mandarin, sweet pea, spices, jasmine absolute, olibanum, heliotrope, vetiver, ylang-ylang, immortelle absolute, cedarwood, musk and amber.

Oiro is a jasmine perfume. But that would be an understatement. Mona takes jasmine and makes it shine, until it illuminates everything around it. Tart citrus notes and spices lift it up, sweet ylang-ylang and amber cushion it from below.

Oiro is not a perfume I wear full on, rather I dab just a little bit and can almost watch it rise from my skin in smoky, golden tendrils. I don’t want to dominate a room with it (which you easily could, this is potent stuff!), but I want to enjoy it for myself. I surreptitiously sneak a smell as often as I can and find myself smiling.

Oiro is incredibly sensual, inviting, smiling, all with a deepness, a darkness attached, in the manner of “Where there is light, there must be shadow”.

Oiro is a perfume that induces a longing in me, a desire for something I can not exactly name. A yearning, an enveloping emotion that makes me as happy as it makes me sad at the same time. I long for something I don’t have, and never will have, but of which I got a taste once. Oiro reminds me of the joy of that moment, a golden moment encapsulated in time, like a fly in amber. Frozen forever in my mind and my heart, only sometimes feeling a bit heavy and tugging at my heartstrings then.

But smelling Oiro, I know to be happy, as this golden nugget is more than many ever will have. And therefore I cherish it, and am grateful for a powerful reminder that I found in Oiro.

Sadly Oiro is part of the now discontinued signature line, I hope that now with the Les Nombres d’Or collection looking to be a success, Mona will be able to re-introduce the old collection eventually. Maybe people have not been ready, hopefully they are now.

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31 Responses to In The Arms Of the Angel – Review: Mona di Orio Oiro

  1. andrea says:

    I think like a lot of perfume fans, I dug out all my Mona de Orio samples last night and used Jabu as my sleep scent. It is a truly beautiful perfume that will go onto my FB list.
    Your review of Oiro makes me want to buy it unsniffed, maybe one day all of her discontinued perfumes will be re-released so that everyone can appreciate what a talented young woman she was.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am at our cottage this weekend, and never have I missed my collection more, since I didn’t bring a Mona di Orio perfume with me.
      I would have loved to wear Oiro, Oud, Vanille or Musc last night and today…
      Let’s hope that the Signature line will be re-released eventually.

  2. IsabelleMi says:

    Thank you,dear Birgit, for symbolizing our feelings. What you write about Oiro feels so true. “Where there is light there must be shadow.” Mona said about creating her perfumes that it’s beautiful, it’s her life – and we all cherish her memory. Her family, loved ones and friends have my deepest sympathy.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Mona seemed to be doing with her life what she truly loved and that, in my opinion, is what matters most to a life well lived, even when those who knew her or have been touched by her creativity and artistry suffer now that she is gone.

  3. Tara says:

    “A yearning, an enveloping emotion that makes me as happy as it makes me sad at the same time. I long for something I don’t have, and never will have, but of which I got a taste once”.

    What a fitting tribute this heartfelt review turned out to be. I echo your hope that the signature line will be re-introduced. Oiro sounds stunning and of the highest quality – something I look for more and more.

    The bittersweet and oh-so-fleeting beauty of life captured in a scent says it all.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oiro captures bitter-sweet moments of perfection, a truly stirring creation, for me Oiro smells like the haunting melody and the heart-breakingly beautiful harmonies of that song.

  4. Lucy says:

    A beautiful tribute. I ordered samples based on your prior post on the Tuberose, and find that the Musc is actually my favorite. What multifaceted gorgeous perfumes the Nombres series are! How tragic her untimely death. At least she left us many aspects of herself through her perfumes.

  5. HoneyDawn says:

    Beautiful and from the heart. Thank you. I hope to have access to her scents someday. What a legacy she left us.

    • Olfactoria says:

      All the Nombres d’Or perfumes are beautiful, but I like her older creations too, although they are not as accessible, but once I “got” them, I was thrilled.
      I hope you get to try them, HoneyDawn!

  6. FearlessBG says:

    A very nice tribute indeed Birgit, well done. I’m sure Mona would have appreciated all this kindness from the perfume community.

  7. Suzanne says:

    A beautiful and very fitting tribute, Birgit. Mona seemed to be a genius at creating that diametric between light and shadow in her perfumes.

  8. deeHowe says:

    As someone who has only just discovered the wonder that is Mona’s talent, losing her is profoundly saddening. When a perfume speaks to me, I feel a connection to it’s creator, and Mona’s perfumes are like the happy buzz of a best friend sharing a fur coat with you: warm, close, and filled with laughter.

  9. Ragna says:

    thank you for this beatiful remembrance and tribute to Mona di Orio

  10. Undina says:

    It’s a beautiful tribute, Birgit. Thank you for finding words, music and images to stay with us.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is a bit eerie how this post fits, now that Mona has passed away, I waited two months with publication of this post for the perfect moment, I didn’t ever imagine it would be such a sad one.

  11. civava says:

    Unfortunately I haven’t been able to try this one, but as you’ve said I hope they will reintroduce the old collection. You describe the feelings about this perfume so well I can almost imagine the smell.

  12. Joey says:

    This brought tears to my eyes; this was a gorgeously written tribute to Mona. I hope that her old collection of fragrances will be reintroduced so that I may try them sometime and experience her genius.

  13. Kay says:

    I wore Oiro after hearing the news. It is just the way you described, there’s nothing to add. It’s a deeply emotional perfume. Thank you for this post.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Kay! I’m wearing it right now, and I really don’t see why this has been discontinued. Such a glorious perfume! I hope it will be re-introduced eventually.

  14. Jam says:

    This was a beautifully written and heart-felt review of one of my favorite Mona di Orio’s creations. I am still stunned and saddened by her death. For me, Oiro and Carnation produce such emotions in me that no other perfume has ever done. A true artist.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello Jam, thank you very much. I absolutely agree with you, Mona will be terribly missed for both her adorable personality and in a wider context, her incredible talent for her art.

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