Mona’s Legacy – Mona Di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Rose Etoile de Hollande

Mona do Orio’s take on rose is eagerly anticipated by everyone who knows and loves her work. Rose Etoile de Hollande was created by Mona herself, before her untimely and tragic death last December. Her business partner Jeroen Oude Songtoen thankfully decided to keep Maison Mona di Orio going in the manner he and Mona had envisioned.

Rose Etoile de Hollande will be available from the end of July, I was fortunate enough to be provided with a sample by the company.

Created by Mona di Orio, Rose Etoile de Hollande includes notes of bergamot, white peach, heliotrope, Bulgarian Rose, Turkish rose, geranium, clove, patchouli, cedar, vanilla, benzoin, amber and Peru balsam.

The beautiful sample presentation (8ml roll-on).

Apply Rose Etoile de Hollande and you immediately recognize it as a Mona di Orio creation. It has Musc’s show of strength through softness, Ambre’s tenderly powdery demeanor, the beautiful way of displaying a floral note of Oud and a spicy and resinous drydown reminiscent of Vanille.

Rose Etoile de Hollande opens with an accord like a tinkling laugh of a young girl. A sweet peach note, sparkly and effervescent leads to a slightly spiced, fresh rose garnished with bergamot. I imagine only the most jaded souls would refrain from smiling at the beauty and lightheartedness expressed in the first minutes of Rose Etoile’s development.

As time passes, the easy laughter subsides and a richer, deeper emotion surfaces. The face of the heart of Rose Etoile is a smiling one, the face of a happy woman. A wealth of roses, red, big, fully opened, in concert with powdery heliotrope, fill an olfactory garden that flashes hints of earthiness, woody depth and leathery strength and finally fades into a drydown rich in resinous and ambery softness. The smile slowly fades as time passes, the woman grows older and wiser, but her smile never leaves the eyes.

Rose Etoile de Hollande takes me on a highly emotional journey. It is a beautiful perfume and wearing it makes me laugh as well as cry. I laugh at the sheer happiness it exudes, the rich nuances, the fully realized potential of the rose, orchestrated to shine, integrated in a harmonious whole, far more complex than any mention of a soliflore would suggest. I wear it easily and I feel good in it. It suits me and it makes me feel beautiful, alive and happy.

Rose Etoile de Hollande also makes me cry for mostly the same reasons. Sometimes beauty is hard to stand. Also, of course, smelling Rose Etoile is bringing home the fact that the amazing talent of Mona di Orio is no more. Her life, at her peak, has been interrupted, the rose that was Mona will never experience the contentedness of old age, her journey had to be over before it could take its natural course.

Mona left us with a piece of herself. A gorgeous portrait of a beautiful person done in olfactory notes singing an ode to a rose.

A rose that smiles, even through the tears.

Image source:, my own.

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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Heliotrope, Leather, Mona di Orio, Musk, Patchouli, Resins, Rose, Spicy, Vanilla, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

62 Responses to Mona’s Legacy – Mona Di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Rose Etoile de Hollande

  1. shylotus says:

    What a beautiful review and fitting tribute, Birgit! I’m so excited about this release and even more so now after reading your thoughts on it. I sure hope they will offer it as a sample on their site as they do with the others.
    I know you were highly anticipating this one, too – so glad you’re pleased!

  2. Marie in DK says:

    Birgit, I cannot tell you how happy I am that the first review of Mona’s rose that I read is yours.

    From your description it is everything I could have hoped for and I know that it will have to be mine somehow. There are days when a
    beautiful rose fragrance will bring me to tears,
    and I suspect this will be the case with this one Go particular

    • Olfactoria says:

      That my review is the first makes me quite happy too! 🙂

      As a rose fiend, I’m sure you will appreciate Mona’s rose, it is unlike any other rose perfume I know, which makes it so much more than yet another variation on a theme. I hope you get to enjoy it soon, Marie!

      • Marie in Denmark says:

        Ooops my continuation – and correction – of my typo did not post (was typing from my smart phone from a train and must have lost the internet connection) – but I just wanted to add that rose fragrances like none else have the capacity to bring me to tears – but being, if not old then at least an aging, fool I don’t care anymore – I welcome their ability to ignore the fence posts we set up between ourselves and our emotions. As for acquiring Mona’s rose I might reserve a substantial part of the remains of this year’s perfume budget to this one unless decants become available at some point.

        • Olfactoria says:

          These are the perfumes that stick with us for a long time, the ones that manage to touch us in a place we keep concealed, often even from ourselves.

          Rose Etoile is going to be 185€, so that is quite an investment, but as you saw down below, our Andrea is coming through for us once more. 🙂

  3. Sandra says:

    I am happy that you like it and i look forward to trying it soon. I hope it is FB worthy like so many of her other perfumes. Your words are very touching.

  4. smellythoughts says:

    It sounds beautiful – I just wish I got on with Mona’s work.
    A wonderful appreciative write up thank you 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is beautiful! Did you like her earlier work (the signature line) ?

      • smellythoughts says:

        Unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to try it – It sounds much more up my alley though.
        🙂 I’d love to try hunt them out – I’m convinced there must be something of hers I will enjoy.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I heard they will be re-released eventually (Jeroen Oude Songtoen himself said so in his interview at Campomarzio), hopefully they will do the small samples bottles too.

          • smellythoughts says:

            I’ve heard that too – I really hope so! I’d love to try them. I haven’t tried Cuir but will do tomorrow in London. I think it may be the only one from the Les Nombres D’Or lineup I might enjoy – I’m craving some smoke recently too. Lonestar Memories has been calling me for too long though!
            I love your emotional review of this rose though – Aftelier’s Fig brought me to tears writing about it the other day, it blew me away.

          • Olfactoria says:

            I would have suggested Cuir, since it is the one I can’t really wear. 😉
            Let me know how you get on and have fun in London!

  5. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I’m happy I managed to participate on a sharing, can’t wait to receive it.

  6. This sounds like such a beautiful and joyful perfume.

    Such a bittersweet release 😦

  7. andreawilko says:

    This sounds amazing albeit bittersweet, I will be blind buying this one when it comes out, I look forward to sniffing it.
    Your review as ever was beautiful.

  8. flittersniffer says:

    Echoing Shylotus’s comment – this is a great review and tribute combined. And you have got me very curious about this one now, rose scents being amongst those that move me the most, when they really hit the spot.

  9. JennyJo says:

    The rose is in my garden and in full bloom, the scent of the flowers is breathtaking. I have a meeting in Amsterdam tomorrow and will pass the cemetery; I’ll bring a flower for her grave.

  10. Tara says:

    What a fitting and moving review. It must be very emotional to experience something so alive knowing that it’s creator has so sadly passed. “Mona has left us with a piece of herself” – beautifully put.

    I love complex roses and this sounds like one of those, for sure.

  11. Suzanne says:

    Birgit, wow, how exciting that you are the first person to review this!! Your words lead me to imagine a rose perfume that is both poignant and polished (not an easy thing to do, in my opinion, and exactly what I think MdO’s strength was — creating perfumes that had an emotional narrative yet were quite radiant as well). I can’t wait to try this. Thanks for the preview!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Somehow I managed to be the first… 🙂

      Emotionally stirring yet still easy to wear, that is really not so easy to find, Mona’s Nombres d’Or line excels in that respect.

  12. ginzaintherain says:

    A very beautiful review. I have always found her creations very difficult, but compelling. I can actually imagine wearing this one though.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you! The signature line definitely fell under compelling but hard to wear for me as well, but the Nombres d’Or line has captured my heart with its unusual, but very comfortable take on classic compositions. I hope I get to read your thoughts on Rose Etoile eventually too!

  13. Alexis says:

    A wonderful and bittersweet review. I am only familiar with Vanille and I would love to smell this one as well as others in her collection. I am also saddened (still actually) with her sudden and untimely death that leaves us wondering what other delightful fragrances she could have graced us with.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is incredibly sad – still.
      The one good thing coming out of this tragedy will be the reinstatement of her signature line. (I blame the unbelievably unfair and frankly unprofessional treatment of her work and even her as a person by Luca Turin in The Guide for the demise of that line.)

  14. Emma says:

    I would like to echo the praise for this lovely review. And it’s true that The Guide does seem to evidence blatant bias against the line. Anyway, I’m very excited to hear that the originals may re-released, as I regret never smelling Lux. My interest in rose scents has been re-kindled by Rose de Siwa and your recent post on rose scents, too. X

    • Olfactoria says:

      I will wear Rose de Siwa tomorrow, thanks for reminding me. 🙂

      Some perfumes make reviewing them so easy, because they tell their own story. Rose Etoile is definitely one of those.

  15. Such a lovely review and such a beautifully true description. Having been lucky enough to experience Rose Etoile first hand I can truly say it is beautifully different from any other Rose fragrance I’ve experienced…the sweet notes of peach come alive on my skin and in your words it makes me feel ‘alive and happy’ I have really enjoyed your wonderfully written heartfelt review.

  16. Jules says:

    Wow B’ – Tho’ you’ve written many a lovely review before, this has to be your most beautifully written and evocative review to date. ~ Brilliant ! – Thank you so much ! :o)
    Am so desperate to try this, even tho’ “soli-roses” are not really my thing. Still, this one certainly sounds lovely. (IYO how does it stand on the masc’-fem’ continuum ??)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for these lovely words!

      As for the placement of Rose Etoile on the feminine-masculine spectrum, I’d say it leans more feminine.

      • Jules says:

        Yes , of course I rather expected that 😉 … Let me rather rephrase that. IYO how far ‘feminine’ does it actually lean, is what I meant to ask ? ~ Or would you say that it is still easily uni’ ??

        • Olfactoria says:

          This is kind of hard for me to determine, but I’ll try: a non-Perfumista man wouldn’t wear it, so I don’t think I’d call it easily unisex, but it is definitely wearable for someone used to softer roses.

  17. Undina says:

    Birgit, it’s such a beautiful review! And it’s so sad that Mona Di Orio didn’t live to see this release.
    I’m glad that you are the first reviewer of this perfume (at least out of all blogs I read): I think you are one of the best people to do justice to a great perfume (though I still disagree with you about my favorite Guerlain perfume ; –) ).

  18. deeHowe says:

    Ah, I almost cried reading this! REdH sounds like perfection, bottled.

  19. ginzaintherain says:

    Luca Turin was LUDICROUS in that rushed off, cynical book. Rubbish. His original French one was so much more inspiring and heartfelt. I could just see him and Tania sat on cardboard boxes in some warehouse, ripping open envelopes of samples, writing some crap review in ten seconds and then going on to the next one. It was verging on evil, and very depressing. Poetic genius turns supercilious, sardonic hack. The Carons were criminally mistreated as were so many others, Mona’s included. Thank you for reinstating her!

    • Olfactoria says:

      The problem with The Guide (for me) is that it tries to sell deeply personal opinions as expertise. Subjective notions become objective “truth”.
      And that just doesn’t work…

  20. Civava says:

    “A rose that smiles, even through the tears.” – beautifully written. I’m glad her work won’t go into oblivion and the legacy of such a great perfumer won’t be lost.

  21. Joey says:

    This review made me cry. What a lovely tribute, B! I already signed up for a split; I only hope that I enjoy it as much as you do!

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