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Friday, March 10, 2006

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.


Blogger Marina said...

It IS a blessing. :-) The samples of those Abinoams are coming...what if they are really really good? :-) Plus, I should be saving my pennies for di Orio's Nuit Noire, which I loved *sigh*

8:55 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Interesting that you and V. split on this and Nuit Noire. I will just have to wait for my samples--which should be coming any year now--and see for myself. I ordered Abinoams too; I wonder if they were planning to start a sample program anyway, or if all our questions made them do it:) Ah, the power of the blog!

9:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am telling you! It was Patty's article (and our nagging too, I guess :-))

My sampels took 14 days to get here, I hope yours arrive soon. And then please do let me know what you think.

9:32 AM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

Thanks for he review! This is the one I'm most interested in. But indolic is not my thing. So maybe if it passes quickly. We'll see. Otherwise it sounds very nice.

12:36 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It passes very quickly. So there is a good chance you might liek Carnation!

12:59 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, the beginning was verye xciting, "dirty" and spicy and all good things at once...and then...lovely but...not spicy and not really caranation.

3:28 PM EST  
Blogger risa said...

oddly enough, when i tried this it smelled distinctly like leather in the top note, and i got amber and gardenia in the middle. it's a great composition, in a lot of ways, but i agree the end of the drydown seems pale compared to the first hour.

like you, i am also deeply enamoured of Nuit Noire, though the name is vaguely annoying ;)

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am so glad someone shares my affection for Nuit Noire. :-) I agree about the name though, if only because there are too many Nuits and too many Noir(e)s already.

9:04 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Better late than never... I am SO bummed about this. I was really looking forward to it. Am rethinking ordering those samples after all, this is the one I was most excited about. This post inspired today's post for me (I was gone this weekend.) Thanks for breaking the bad news to me, though.

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Don't be discouraged by this one review. As a Guerlain fan you might find this quite likeable. There really was something Guerlain-like here. A little bit of "skank", just hint, but still...

8:49 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fragrance " Carnation" as the original review on here mentions does not smell of the flower Carnation. It isn't supposed to in fact, as the word here is used in its french context and refers to the skin and its carnation with a blend of leather and powder ..a little like dipping your nose into a suede handbag and capting traces of a beautiful old fashioned lipstick..there are also animal notes in the base which evoke the skin warmed by the sun depends on the wearer as to which notes stand out and work ..some skins reveal milky notes,others violet like powder,on mine it tends towards leather and spices...I wear it everyday and have found that even when I have thought I can't smell it ,I get wafts of it from time to's a beautiful example of a "second skin" scent which can often make the wearer feel they can't smell it but it's always there lingering ,blended into the skin...

3:21 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The name Nuit Noire even if it annoying is a homage to Serge Lutens who was one of the few noses not to be too precious to offer his advice to Mona as she was forging her way into the world of perfumes...His perfume A La Nuit struck Mona as jasmine is her favourite flower and Noire because though it is a floral scent it has dark base notes ...

3:26 PM EST  

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