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Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Perfume Review: Mona di Orio Lux

Lux is one of the three scents in Mona di Orio’s debut fragrance collection. The name is the Latin word for light, and this is indeed a luminous, sun-drenched scent, summer in a bottle. Having said that, beautiful and pleasant as it is, Lux is not exactly unique. In fact I have a feeling I have smelled this juicy, sweet citrus many times in the past. Were it not for the unexpected drydown, I would have dismissed this fragrance as entirely unremarkable.

Lux is quite a sweet scent. It is not exactly in the lemon-flavored-candy category, but leans perilously close in that direction. It starts with a bright and sweet citrus accord that, to me, smells mostly of lemons and lemongrass. The top notes also contain Litsea Cubeba, the note I am unfamiliar with, but the quick web search reveals that the scent of the oil distilled from this tropical plant is in fact comparable to lemongrass and lemon verbena. As Lux develops on my skin, subtle vetiver and a hint of cedarwood become pronounced, adding a little bit of earthiness and dryness to the blend; however, they are not powerful enough to tone down the intense and sweet citrus accord. And, finally, just as I am ready to pronounce Lux quite ordinary if well blended, the cistus note comes into play and adds depth, another dimension, an unforeseen twist to the composition. Cistus, also known as Cistus Ladanifer or rock rose, is a source of labdanum, which is a complex, multifaceted note that I adore. If I had to describe it up in a couple of words I would call it “subtly churchy and faintly floral”. This note compliments and enhances the citrus wonderfully in Lux. Add to that amber and some musk, and, in the drydown of Lux, we have a very different scent, sophisticated, much less sweet, with the darker notes starkly opposing and yet balancing and complimenting the dazzling citrus.

To sum up my impressions of the Mona di Orio collection, of the three scents, only the spicy, striking, dark Nuit Noire was full bottle worthy for me. I found it to be consistently interesting from the top notes to the drydown. Carnation had a wonderful, arresting beginning but soon lost much of its intensity and allure. In reverse to that, Lux started unremarkably and developed into a beautiful, deep blend. Still, at this kind of price, to justify a purchase, I have to be really impressed by all the stages of the scent.

Lux can now be found at Aedes, $120.00 for 1.7oz, $200.00 for 3.4oz.

*The image of the bottle is from


Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I'm testing this now, and I quite agree with you: it gets better as it goes on. The drydown is quite nice, but the lemon-drop top is much too sweet for me.

On the others, as I mentioned, I liked Carnation best. My problem with Nuit Noire seems to be at least partially chemistry. Everyone, regardless of ultimate opinion on this scent, says that it is strongly animalic. But on me--it's not; pleasant, yes, but dark and wildly animalic--non:(. Also--the top is a bit too orange-y for me. Carnation, on the other hand, struck me as unusual and interesting, and remained so (on me) throughout. And it actually did evoke images of flesh (clearly the power of suggestion, but still. . .:). I don't know that it's FBW for me (at least, I'm not immediately reaching for my CC), but it's definitely decant-worthy:).

There does seem to be something similar, though, in all these scents--an Orionade?

8:58 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I agree, it's quite sweet. Even for me.

And, aww, I am sorry you didn't get anything animalic in NN. It's certainly its best quality and without it...:-(

I also noticed something indescribably similar there. In fact, to me all three at some point smelled a little Guerlain-like. So Orionade, to me, was a lighter version of Guerlainade :-) I especially got that in Carnation. What about you?

9:50 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It is nothing like Hadrien. Hadrien is trasparent and clear, Lux is a "thicker", much, much sweeter scent. It is perfectly lovely, I was just a little surprised at how sweet it was.

9:52 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Yes, I got the Guerlinadish Orionade most in Carnation (probably part of why I liked it best:) And I was about to answer C's question (from my perspective) when you magically appeared; I agree that it is nothing like Hadrien, which I find quite refreshing and like a lot (must get more for summer).

I am sad at missing the animalic part of NN. I do think, from past experience, that while our tastes often coincide, our chemistry sometimes works quite differently. On the up-side, DH said that Carnation was "sexy" on me. Not exactly the word I would have chosen, but I've noticed that his descriptors often reflect his feelings more than the scent. (He has three main ones: sweet (means good, not what I would call sweet), sexy (means very good), and too strong (means not so good, has nothing to do with strength as normally perceived:)

10:01 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Don't be scared, it's lovely. Especialy if one is in a mood for a sweet citrus. I imagine that, come summer, I might be looking at a bottle of Lux on Aedes's site wistfully and longingly :-)

10:08 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

It is as if I experienced this scent in reverse from your description. I thought the top notes were conventional and the drydown interesting. Oh the mystery of skin chemistry! :-D

10:10 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Aren't They (DHs) so sweet and slightly clueless in the cutest way possible :-) Las night I had a perfume related conversation (!!) with mine and I loved his reactions to a scent (MKK) so much, I actually got up and wrote them down and I am going to post the dialogue word by word on Friday (it has a relation to the perfume review I will be posting).

10:13 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

I will be very interested to see that! My DH recently told me that the opening of MKK was "sweet." When I asked him about animal odors (lions and tigers and bears, oh my!), he just looked puzzled and said, "No, it's sweet; I like it." (We do tend to agree on our likes and dislikes, if not on our descriptions).

10:52 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your reviews!

10:53 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Mine actually got all the "circus" (only he put it differently). And still he liked it. Wow.

11:14 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, you are too kind to me!

11:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Well, hurry up, you two, I miss reading your blog!! :-)

And I would definitely recommend gettign the samples. Now that Aedes has it, it should be easier.

11:17 AM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

I have a feeling this my be my favorite of the three. We'll see when my smaples get here!

11:44 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am looking forward to the review(s)!

11:46 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, Lux was my favorite of the 3, but you liked it much better than I did!

4:02 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Hey, M, come by and see our new Spring Outfit!!

I found Carnation and Lux to be a little Guerlain-ish. I liked carnation better than you did, in the drydown it reminded me just a bit of Guerlain Philtre (high praise!) Lux was good, too, although I got a weird mildew-y note I could have lived without.

4:52 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Let's see how and if we differ on the Next Big Lemming- the Abinoams :-)

8:19 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am running over...

8:19 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Aha! I am so pleased you also got not only Guerlain but the exact same scent I thought of when I smelled Carnation. Proves I am not completely mad.

8:20 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Hey, I think I got my samples mixed up; THIS is the one that smells like Philtre! And that drydown ... ooooooooh -- how did I miss that the last time?!?! Very incense-y. I really like this.

1:40 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

The drydown is the best part here, isn't it? That incensy thing is wonderful.

1:53 PM EST  

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