Perfume Review: Mona di Orio Carnation
Carnation is a part of Mona di Orio’s first fragrance collection, which also includes Lux and Nuit Noire, a perfume whose full-bodied, spicy accords stole my heart at the very first sniff. Carnation was inspired by Colette and is rather cryptically described as “the Carnation that blooms not in a flower bed but on a maiden's cheek.” Are the creators warning us that, despite the name, the perfume will not smell of carnations (and it really will not)? Is it meant to smells like an expensive rouge or is it supposed to evoke a young girl’s natural healthy blush? Who knows… To me, this powdery, slightly spicy, floral blend is indeed reminiscent of a scent of blush powders.
The best part of Carnation are its top notes. In Nuit Noire, Mona di Orio managed to make orange blossom smell indolic; in the beginning of Carnation she does the same darkly magical thing to geranium, jasmine and ylang ylang, making them smell positively and delightfully dirty. The presence of musk helps a lot, of course, adding a warm, suave, animalic quality to the composition. Unfortunately, the heady and dark animalic accord wears off rather quickly. Citrus becomes more apparent on my skin as the scent progresses, and so does amber. The scent grows more and more powdery, and starts to smell unexpectedly Guerlainesque. In fact, because of the presence of citrus, the later middle stage of Carnation and its drydown remind me of Guerlain’s Philtre d’Amour (original, pre-reformulation, circa 1999). At no point does the perfume actually smell of carnations, just as the official description predicted. I find it quite disappointing that the bright, heady, animalic top accord disappears so fast and so completely; after its unfortunate departure, the scent remains well-blended and attractive, but its soul and originality seem to be gone.
Carnation is available at Les Senteurs, £115.00 (a little over $200.00) for 100ml.
*The image is from Les Senteurs.