Ramón Monegal is a spanish niche house that only recently came to my attention when I saw their beautiful bottles popping up on First in Fragrance. Luckily not long after, the brand contacted me and kindly sent samples of the entire line for me to try, and try them I did… Fourteen perfumes are in the brand’s line up, fourteen very different scents, something for everyone, for every occasion.
The perfumes come in an elegant, heavy inkwell-style bottle with a flip-top cap and the outer packaging is made of sturdy black bakelite. It gives a feeling of luxury and refinement. I wouldn’t mind owning such a bottle at all.
But how are the perfumes themselves?
Today, I want to start with mini-reviews of the first seven scents. Look out for Part 2 by the end of the week.
“Ramon Monegal comes from a long and distinquished line of the most important perfumers in Barcelona and Spain. He represents the fourth generation of the founders of the House of Myrurgia, which was the official purveyor of the Spanish Royal Family, and the most important international perfumists in Spain.
After 30 years in his profession, having become a Master Perfumer and authentic “Nose” the challenge of Ramon Monegal is to acquire excellence, in a way that only a luxury product can do, and transfer his knowledge to the 5th generation. Perfume can only rise to the level of art when accompanied by the complicity and absolute freedom of mind. It’s important to him to use formulas containing ingredients and proportions without being coerced by the cost, and thus recovering the true ancient traditional craft which is now the cutting edge. Ramon recognised this emerging tendency towards better crafted perfumes and in 2009 began his much longed for project: to propose the true “Olfactory image” of the master perfumist, having his own space like perfumers of the golden era before mass production, having his own workshop specializing in mixing, mashing, production and controling, working with the true freedom that has the luxury to create art, not to limit the imagination. He longed to use the most noble and delicate essences that exist in the world and as he is so capable, convey feelings and emotions with timeless Mediterranean passion, restoring the natural channel of the craft as art… to excite, entice, surprise, create desire, pleasure and magic. He aspires to crack the olfactory code of the Master and the message of his extensive collection of unpublished compositions, with the user as an accomplice, extending his hand to invite others to cross the path of addictive elixirs, filters, extracts and perfumes that make up olfactory communication itself. Because in essence, for Ramon Monegal it is all of this together that makes up true luxury.”
– from the press release
Cotton Musk (formerly known as White Musk): Notes include rose, gardenia, olibanum, vetiver, vanille and white musk.
A cuddly white musk scent, pillowy, downy, feathery light and decorated with a floral garland that slowly sinks into your skin, leaving a faint trace of incense and vanilla in its soft wake. Dreamy and hazy, a veil of white innocence. Makes me use adjectives with unrestrained abandon.
Mon Patchouly: Notes include patchouly, oakmoss, frankincense, geranium, jasmine and ambergris.
Patchouli and sweet jasmine – a very interesting and unusual perfume. Deep, woody, earthy, anchored and stable a cloud of jasmine unfurls from its earthy prison and soars into the sky taking me with it, in thrall.
A most unexpected beauty and very far from any hippie patchouli associations the name might evoke. Highly recommended.
Mon Cuir: Notes include leather, orange blossom, labdanum, nutmeg, Indonesian patchouly, musk and Australian sandalwood.
I have been testing many leather scents lately, so I was very interested in Mon Cuir. Dark leather made sweet and comfy by orange blossom and labdanum, it exudes masculine strength and power, but retains a softness and warmth that makes it eminently wearable for me. The very floral beginning makes way for the leather, soft, but with a hint of new car, in the heart and finally dries down to a creamy woody musk that is cosy and warm.
Agar Musk: Notes include Arabian agarwood, leather, nutmeg, vetyveryle acetate, musk cocktail.
Oud. Nicely done, but not earth shattering when it comes to originality. It is a very solid interpretation of a theme we all had a bit much of lately. But that is not the perfume’s fault after all. If you are looking for a good oud rendition, this is a very good place to look.
Umbra: Notes include Haitian vetiver root, Yugoslavian tree moss, Madagascan black pepper, Bourbon geranium leaves, Canadian fir balsam and tonka bean.
A very beautiful peppery opening segues into a deeply woody vetiver. Tonka bean and fir balsam give sweetness and depth to this perfectly unisex scent. I love Umbra! I will wear it and will certainly make my husband wear it as well! A winner!!!
Ambra di Luna: Notes include amber, ciste oil, extract of Egyptian jasmine, castoreum extract and Mysore sandalwood.
A very soft, understated amber. Powdery, velvety, not sweet, not dry, perfectly balanced. It reminds me of Mona di Orio’s Ambre. It is not a powerhouse as many ambers can be, but a stealthy charmer, that captures your heart while you are not looking. Unobtrusive and tender. Surely a fit for this amber queen.
Dry Wood: Notes include cedarwood bark, sandalwood, bay leaves, pepper, moss, spices, ambergris, cashmerewood and woods.
This is the only one of the fourteen I absolutely hate. It is a harsh, overly manly, wooden “screecher” of a scent. It smells artificial and frankly, cheap. Well, every line has to have a bummer and for me, this is it. But one out of fourteen is not a bad cut.
Stay tuned for the seven more feminine leaning perfumes coming soon.
Have you tried the line? Are you curious? What do you think of the packaging? I’m looking forward to hearing your opinions!