Perfume Review: Montale Perfumes. Sandflowers and Aoud Lime
Review by Kelley
My goal in this series of articles is review all of the Montale Perfumes including the famous Aoud series. Montale has a reputation for being an extremely expensive niche house. Is this reputation well deserved? Well, they are expensive…but are they worth it? We shall see.
Parfums Montale was started in 2001 by Pierre Montale who lived in Saudi Arabia for three years creating perfumes for the royal families. It’s a very romantic story about Arabian kings and queens and sultans and princesses all longing for something wonderful. Pierre’s specialty was the use of the most rare Ouds available thus becoming the first French oud line.
I have read the packet of information provided by Montale and it is a riot. They use phrases like “love scents from the Orient and Arabia” and they state the perfumes “are like happiness ointments or love potions”. And, for all of you unfamiliar with the line, they come in aluminum bottles that are supposed to be superior to glass because they guarantee to preserve the perfume for a long time against the wicked, evil scent damaging sunlight. Well, enough about the history and the hype, let’s get on with the reviews!
Sandflowers is a marine scent, no doubt about it. It contains marine notes from the ocean combined with the coolness of juniper berries on a base of sandalwood and oakmoss for a fragrance reminiscent of sunshine and travels in the East.
When I put this on, I am instantly transported to the time when I was little and fishing with my grandfather off the Florida Keys. I was leaning over the boat, holding my fishing pole and just watching the seaweed sway in the crystal clear water. When I smell this perfume I can even feel the sunshine on my shoulders. This has to be one of my favorites in the Montale collection.
It opens with a burst of Calone (trademarked by Pfizer), which is the scent chemical that smells like the ocean. In fact, Calone is similar in structure to a pheromone released by brown algae. Yes, this is the smell of kelp in love. Actually, I love it too. Sandflowers has a lot in common with many marine scents like Mare and L’eau d’Issey Pour Homme and New West. The difference here is the simplicity of the scent. For me, Mare is a little too floral and the others can smell extremely heavy. Sandflowers is pure sunlight glistening on the tops of the ocean waves. It opens clear as a bell and the dry down is pretty much the same. This is pretty much a linear scent with almost no development. The sandalwood and oakmoss are handled with a light touch and are very subtle.
This lasts easily eight to ten hours on my skin. Sillage is great at first but after about four hours it stays pretty close to the skin. If it gets on your clothes, it will last literally for days. This is marketed to women but a guy could wear this as well. This could easily be worn year round and especially on cloudy days when you need to feel the sun on your shoulders.
Oud (or Aoud) has been used in perfumery since the dawn of time, according to the Montale folks. They say that oud is a fragranced ointment from Arabia, extracted from the root of the oud tree. It is then preserved in a cave for several years and by some secret process, the oud oil is obtained.
Oud (literally “wood” in Arabic) is also known as aloes wood, eaglewood and agar wood. It actually comes from several types of trees that have been infected by a fungus. The tree’s immune response to the fungus causes a growth that is collected and sold at exorbitant prices. The Wikipedia claims that oud is a complex smell but can be roughly approximated by combining ambergris, jasmine, earth, and wood notes. Some people think oud smells like band-aids or rubber or even a harsh chemical. Not me.
Aoud Lime includes aoud from the Pakistan Mountains along with roses from India and Italian iris. The base notes consist of ambergris, patchouli, sandalwood, and saffron. I couldn’t find mention of any citrus (especially lime) as an ingredient…anywhere. I have to agree, I don’t smell lime in this.
When I put this on I get a burst of oud wood along with saffron and bergamot. As it dries down a little, I can smell the rose. This develops into the most wonderful rose scent I have come across in a long time. The oud/rose/patchouli/saffron accord is breathtaking. This is very masculine to my nose. I took this sample over to my mom’s house and she wanted to keep it. Although it wasn’t her favorite in the oud series, she thought it was feminine and dressy (whatever that is). I am reminded a little of L’Artisan’s Voleur de Rose with its patchouli, plum, and velvety roses. The saffron in Aoud Lime makes this more exotic. Sillage is fantastic and it seems to last about eight to ten hours. I feel a little naughty wearing this. This wouldn’t be good to wear to bed unless you don’t plan on sleeping.
In the next installment, I will be reviewing Aoud Ambre (in all it’s skanky deliciousness!), Attar, and Sandalsliver. All of the scents reviewed are available at Suravionline.com with Sandflowers being $122 for the 3.4 oz bottle (believe it or not that is $21 cheaper than at any other site I checked, practically a bargain!) and Aoud Lime weighing in at $189 for the same size bottle. Parfumesraffy has it listed at $210. I believe Vijay has the 1.7 oz bottles as well but they aren’t listed on the website.