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Thursday, March 02, 2006

Perfume Review: Mona di Orio Nuit Noire

It seems to me that not a week goes by without an exciting new fragrance line offering an enticing array of scents. Sometimes, overwhelmed by the amount, the constant flow and the cost of new releases, I actually wish to be disappointed. Often, I am. However, where Mona di Orio’s collection of perfumes is concerned, my hopes for disappointment were in vain. The story goes that Mona di Orio has been born with a “naturally perfect sense of smell”, which she later developed and perfected even further during the twelve years of her apprenticeship with the great perfumer Edmond Roudnitska. It is also said that her perfumes are rich, complex, original creations reminiscent of the golden age of perfumery of the 1920's and 30's (Les Senteurs). I must regretfully admit that it is all true. This new fragrance line is, alas, worth our excitement and our money. Over the course of the next two weeks I will review the other scents in Mona di Orio’s collection, Lux and Carnation. Today’s review is for Nuit Noire, a spicy floral oriental scent inspired by “the souks, gardens and hams of old Tunis.”

The combination of orange blossom and cardamom in the top notes of the scent is one of the most striking and appealing pairings of a flower and a spice that I have had a pleasure to smell in a long while. The robust, sweet cardamom note gives orange blossom incredible richness. An indolic quality in perfumery seems to be most often associated with jasmine; however orange blossom is just as capable of smelling downright dirty and earthy. I believe that in the case of Nuit Noire, cardamom is the note that brings out that unexpectedly carnal intensity and warmth in orange blossom. The brightly piquant ginger note serves as a perfect bridge from the striking top notes to the even more intense middle accord exquisitely blending incense (olibanum), spices (cinnamon and cloves) and woods (cedar and sandalwood) with the fleshy, creamy and nocturnal tuberose. If you think that it cannot possibly get any better, you are wrong. It can and it will, in the drydown, where amber and leather combine to make the scent even darker and spicier. Nuit Noire is a pitch black Tunisian night, its darkness resplendent with powerful aromas of exotic spices and sensual flowers. Its selection of notes truly inspired, its blend flawless, Nuit Noire is a stunning, sophisticated perfume that is a must try for all lovers of spicy florientals.

Nuit Noire is available at Les Senteurs, £115.00 (a little over $200.00) for 100ml of Eau de Parfum. (The photo is from LesSenteurs.com)

Tomorrow- Padparadscha by Satellite.

24 Comments:

Blogger lilyofbp said...

Oh, no! You don't know how distressed I am to read this! Immediate reflexes: must try. . .must buy. . . !!
And I was trying to stop buying for a little while. Oh, well, right now it seems too much and too far away for me to get unsniffed. Do they send samples? Do you know when it's coming to the US? Must try. . . must buy!!

7:49 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Judith,
Les Senteurs do sell samples! 2 British Pounds per sample, up to 6 samples, S&H included. Actually, cheaper than samples at Luckyscent :-)They arrived in about 2 weeks. Biggish samples, about 2ml maybe.
I don't know if it is coming to the US.:-( Fingers crossed!

8:03 AM EST  
Blogger lilyofbp said...

Well, before I even read your comment, I answered my own silly question and ordered samples of all three scents! Like the queen in Alice who believed 6 impossible things before breakfast, I always try to order 6 expensive perfumes (or samples thereof) in the same time period. Sigh. I also saw on V's blog that it is supposed to be coming to Aedes. Had already ordered some things from Luckyscent to get that candle, so I guess it's time for breakfast now:)

8:12 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Step away from the computer! :-)
I am so glad the line is coming to Aedes. Somehow, someway, I will be getting this one, definitely. On the first sniff, the other 2 were superb too, I hope I won't end needing to buy them as well! :-)

8:17 AM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

This sounds so wonderful!It it so antagonizing to be so overwhelmed by new releases which seems to feel like a daily occurance.I have a weak spot for orientals and this is described so beautifully.Was this scent long lived?Thank you so much for yet another fantastic,lemming inspiring review!

9:47 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
Thank you! Again, I have a very strong feeling that you will like this. It is a rich floral oriental with an "oomph" and it lasts a respectable amount of time on my skin. I also think that you might like Mona di Orio Carnation. I would hghly recommend ordering the samples from Les Senteurs. As I said to Judith, the shipping is free and the samples are big enough for several trials.

9:54 AM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

I should be getting some samples soon, the carnation sounds divine.

12:02 PM EST  
Blogger Mark said...

Sounds fantastic. And I love the bottle so much.

12:03 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Victoria,
I only gave it a very quick sniff, but it was indeed a very attractive scent. Lux is excellent too. My wallet is weeping.

12:19 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Mark,
The bottle is exquisite. Apparently Mona di Orio's bottles are sealed "with a gilded champagne muselet on the handcrafted caps from the champagne House of Jacquesson" and the boxes are "birchwood caskets panelled like the walls of the Dubarry's appartment at Versailles in white and pearl gray." Oh my!

12:23 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Ha, evil fragrance twin checking in. I found all three of the scents a major disappointment, perhaps because I was expecting huge things from a protege of Edmond Roudniska.

3:19 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Your Evil Twinness :-),
Not even Lux, huh?

3:24 PM EST  
Blogger andy said...

Dear M.
I am curious... Just ordered my samples. Your descriptions sounds so intriguing. I couldn't resist. Now, I just wonder what Nowsmellthis found disappointing (I ordered before reading the comments...)
Thank you for your post!

3:31 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Andy,
I would love to hear what R. thinks in more detail too.
Please don't blame me if you don't like the samples :-)

3:53 PM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, My long winded explanation:

I tried them before I had read anything about them -- all I knew was from the person who offered them to me: that she had supposedly studied with Roudnitska. That was the primary reason I was interested. However, he also told me he was not at all impressed with any of them.

What I love about ER's work is that even the heavier fragrances have a kind of clarity. He was, of course, reacting against the "golden age of perfumery" in a way. The MdOs all strike me as the exact opposite: sort of muddy & heavy handed & overdone.

I readily admit that I didn't try them with an open mind. I might have approached them differently if the descriptions had been up on Les Senteurs and I knew what to expect. There is no reason MdO has to make fragrances that show ER's handprint, but the perfumers who have carried on in that tradition are those that tend to interest me most, so it was a disappointment.

One of these days I will try the three again and who knows -- although now that I've seen the price, perhaps best not :-)

Meanwhile, yes, Lux was my favorite of the 3, but it is probably the least interesting. Would also agree w/ Victoria that Carnation is probably the best done. You know me well enough to know that Nuit Noire was far & away last on my list!

7:24 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R,

I see what you mean. These *are* robust scents, certainly on the heavy side. Speaking only of Nuit Noire, the spices are used generously, everything is rich and plentifull, so to say :-)

Which is exactly why it appealed to me so much.:-) Still, you are absolutely right, I did not notice much clarity and/or subtlety.

And that is exactly what I will repeat to myself as a mantra, when Aedes starts selling this and I am tempted to buy :-)

7:49 PM EST  
Blogger boisdejasmin said...

I thought that Carnation was the only original composition from the line and quite beautiful. The others were disappointing.

I agree with R that it is quite ironic that the perfumer whose teacher was the most trendsetting creator and a true artist simply chose to follow the tradition. I hoped for more.

10:49 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

I am going to tackle Carnation next :-) The first sniff was quite promising.

11:07 PM EST  
Blogger greeneyes said...

I don't know how I missed this review the first time, but I am so happy I found it through the link on today's post! I thought everyone HATED this fragrance, and I was the only one who liked it. I blamed my uninformed olfactory senses, but I am so pleased to know you also enjoyed it. I also have the Carnation, but haven't worn it yet...

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

G,
I know of at lest two more people who adore Nuit Noire...so that makes 4 of us! :-D

12:36 PM EDT  
Anonymous neal said...

A "naturally perfect sense of smell"?? Oh, don't get me started. ;) It begs so many questions, such as "By whose definition?", and "Can you define 'perfect'?", and then of course "So what?"

3:34 AM EDT  
Blogger colombina said...

Neal,
Well put! The scents, especially, to me, Nuit Noire, are wonderful, but the website is a little...annoying in some parts.

8:20 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore Nuit Noire, too - especially the drydown!

9:03 AM EDT  
Blogger Eleven European Mystics said...

oh........last year I was surrounded by Mona di Orio's creations, obsessed I should confess. The earthiness of Amytis, the joyful and pensive come hither of Nuit Noire, the ambiguity of Oiro...And then, one morning, after the shower, they came down from their pedestal. I lamented a lack of ...commitment. They smelled slightly unfinished. I will go back to them, passionately, as ever, but, am I totally wrong in this perception of fragmentary passages?

2:21 AM EDT  

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