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Friday, September 29, 2006

Perfume Review: Montale Perfumes. Oud Ambre, Greyland, and Oud Cuir Arabie

Review by Kelley

For the second part of my Montale reviews, I know I had promised to review an entirely different set of fragrances…so spank me! As I was testing my samples, I realized that I had a small group of these fragrances that all fit a theme. You all are probably going to think I am twisted and strange (I probably am!) but I couldn’t help myself. I want to see if anybody else agrees with me on these.

Oud Ambre

A very old oud combined with magnificent amber for a duo with vitality thanks to the Cystus ladaniferus from the Indies and to 50 other ingredients.

Amber is fossilized tree resin and was formed thousands if not millions of years ago. Being related to incense, it has a warm, golden incense or pine smell. For me, Oud Ambre has little to do with amber. Oh, I am sure it’s in there…somewhere, but to me this is all about sex. Yes, you read that correctly. This reminds me of Serge Lutens infamous house note (Muscs Koublaï Khän and Cuir Mauresque in particular) and also Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit.

The liquid is a gorgeous, thick golden brown color. It opens with a slightly odd woody accord (not the medicinal oud smell I was looking for) with all other notes subdued in a strangely quiet mix of notes. None of the notes really stand out at first. Because of the high oil content of all Montales, the back of my hand is very shiny. As the scent heats up, the beauty of this scent starts to radiate. It is a beautiful, sexy leather scent.

I am instantly transported back to traveling cross-country and having to stop at a truck stop bathroom. I smell sweet urinal cake which is frequently used in men’s bathrooms to cover up the urine smell. The same thing is happening here in this fragrance. There is a dirty civet note that is hiding under the more dominant notes. Oh, but there is more! There is an odor in here that reminds me of mingling body fluids. I don’t find Oud Amber as raunchy as MKK or Cuir Mauresque or as hard to wear as La Nuit. This is a slightly cleaner version. I am thinking that the oud adds an interesting twist to this creation. That is why I can say with all confidence that this smells like hot sex…on the floor of a truck stop bathroom. When I smell this, I have visions of tangled legs and shiny sweat and crumpled paper towels strewn about the white tile floor. MKK is almost impossible for me to wear and La Nuit has a few notes that really turn me off but Oud Ambre is just lovely. As it dries down, there is a slightly powdery quality that makes this seem so much softer than most leather scents. Sillage is excellent (I am wearing barely a drop) and longevity comes in at around 8 hours. This should be worn only when you have one thing on your mind (and it’s not church). This is fornication in a can.

Oud Cuir Arabie

Combination of tobacco, leather and burnt dry wood notes, here the Oud produces all of its strength and softness.

I tried doing some research on the use of leather in fragrance. I found in the Wikipedia that the smell of leather, which closely resembles ambergris, comes from the use of Labdanum which is obtained from the Cistus shrub (rockrose). The odor is tenacious and long lasting. Its odor is described as sweet, woody, ambergris, dry musk or a lot like leather.

I doused myself with my sample and still it wasn’t strong enough. When I first put this on, I pick up a black tea note…along with leather. This is the most “true to life” leather I have ever smelled in a perfume. This is what sweaty leather pants smell like, or the luscious smell of a new car. The oud adds a strange chemical quality to the scent which is no accident. When you sit in a new car you smell new plastic and fresh epoxy…and leather seats, it’s a stew of animal and chemical smells. I love it. This is what someone would wear that was into bondage. It is black leather coats and harnesses and riding crops. Yeehaw.

Sillage for this is low and stays very close to the skin for the duration of the scent. I would guess that it lasts about 3 or 4 hours on me. If I had a bottle of this, I would spray my chest and then quickly press my shirt into it so it would last longer. Not much development either although the oud note starts to disappear after about an hour and it becomes more of a pure leather scent. So, I call this Montale, S&M in a can.


This is a very woody composition of cedar, sandalwood from Mysore, spices from Sri Lanka, on a sensual base of musk and benzoin.

Now, this is probably my all time favorite Montale fragrance which I was hoping to save to the very end but it fits so nicely with my theme of sex that I had to review it with the others. This one was love at first sniff for me and I bought a full can.

What does it smell like? When I first spray it on, I smell cumin and cedar (it has similarities to Diptyque’s L’autre). This is the smell of a hot construction worker sweating in the sun. Oh yes, this is the dreaded B.O. note that so many people loathe. Not me. This is my pheromone of choice. It’s a little like hairy armpits and maybe a little bit…like crotch. It’s sweaty and hot. I can feel my pulse quicken when I wear Greyland. The musk in this doesn’t enter the picture until the dry down and the scent becomes sweeter in the middle notes and base notes. I smell the sweet blond sandalwood that Montale loves to use in the base notes as well. There isn’t much development with this scent either. The spices start to drop out after about three hours and I am left with cedar and sandalwood and musk. Like I said, this scent is fantastic and makes me feel week in the knees. Sillage is great at first and then after the spices are gone, the scent stays close to the skin. It seems to last about 8 to 12 hours for me. This is hot sweaty construction worker in a can.

These can all be ordered in the United States, at which is the cheapest place I could find the Montale line by far. Oud Ambre and Oud Cuir d’Arabie are both $189 for the 3.4 ounce can. Greyland is $122 for the same size.


Blogger Marina said...

Whew. It's hot in here or what.

Now, I thought that the description, "fornication in a can" cannot be beat. But "hot sweaty construction worker in a can" beats it hands down.

I am not necessarily as big a fan of Montales as you are, but I do think that the great Montales all smell like sex, in one way or another. There are 3 great Montales, imho- Jasmin Full, Vetiver des Sables and Oud Cuir Arabie. The latter smells like sex in a new, expensive car.

You are a bad example, Kelley. I'll go now before I say something I'll regret. :-D Thank you for such a hot review!

10:53 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Marina, you are more than welcome. I am hoping that no one infers that I am attracted to the construction worker photo that I included...that was just for laughs!

Jasmin Full is tied for my favorite Montale along with Greyland. I have to admit that it is breathtaking! Vetiver des Sables with it's wood and vetiver is also very nice and it reminds me of horses (don't ask!). Even though I love almost the whole line, I find them simplistic and linear. Still, there are a few that are spectacular in their simplisity.

12:22 AM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

"fornication in a can"? "hot sweaty construction worker in a can"? I may have to put that throught the de-skank-o-tron....

12:34 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, how I love Cuir d'Arabie--on both me and my husband! It is the truest black leather scent I know, and--unlike DSH Erotica, which smells of cheap leather or vinyl--this leather is very plush and rich. The only reason I don't wear it more is that my husband has designated it his favorite scent. I like Greyland, too, although it is quite different--and I'm not sure whether I have tried Oud Ambre. I pretty much enjoy all Montale ouds, but at a certain point they begin to blur together to me. But--fornication in a can! That should stand out! I must try again!

7:43 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, Evil One-
Quick, fan me, fan me...

These babies are fascinating, although admittedly not for all tastes.
Some, I prefer layered with others- it improves longevity and adds complementary facets [i.e., MR with Patchouli Leaves]

Lovely, perverse, and endearing post...

What a guy!

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

Sex on the restroom floor?!? Eeeewwww! (squeamish, runs away to wash ... hands)

I have to try Arabie, it sounds like my cup of skank. My only true Montale love is Jasmin Full.

8:39 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first review was very hot, the second was hot, the last one however - was a little gross. Armpits? Crotch? SOOOOO not for me. But hey, I don't judge. I think you would have a field day in Brazil - armpits and crotch everywhere!

8:39 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Definitely a contender for hot post of the year award. :-) Oud Cuir Arabie is one of my favorite scents of all time and I will have to retry Oud Ambre and Greyland now.

8:53 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


You probably need to just toss me into the de-skank-o-tron!

10:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

I am so proud of all of the readers of Columbina's blog for being so experienced...with fragrances, I mean. I guess I am just startled that so many know all about Montale when I just discovered them this year. I guess the prices kept me away but now that I am firmly addicted, price is not the same kind of obstacle that it once was.

Lilyofbp, I know what you mean about the oud line. I have to sample them two at a time, on the back of each hand in order to catch the difference. This can be time consuming and confusing, especially if the sillage is good! I also have this weird thing that happens to me with Oud Lime and that is that for days after I wear it I think I can still smell it! It's this strange ghost effect. I will be sitting at my drafting table and all of the sudden I will smile, thinking about the notes of Oud Lime that I am smelling and then remember that I am not wearing it. Yesterday I kept trying to see if maybe I had spilled some on my shirt because I could smell it all day. I asked a good friend and she didn't smell anything at all on my shirt. What's up with that?

10:54 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Chaya Ruchama, I would love to know more about you. I have been reading your posts on Andy's blog and here and there and you seem to be filled with joy and love. I have to admit that your writing always makes me smile!

You, my dear, are a ray of sunshine in this confusing, angry world!

Big hug from Mexico!


11:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


I laughed out loud at your post! I am going to try Oud Queen Rose tonight! Sex in a fur coat! LOL. I am saving all the oud rose scents for another post but maybe I need to get started?

11:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


The Cuir d'Arabie is the most amazing scent. I have never experienced a leather with such pure notes. It's not spicy or dirty or gourmand...just leather. At first I can detect that black tea note but it quickly becomes the most true to life leather I have encountered. It's simply astonishing. Please check it out.

11:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Flor, sorry about the crotch comment but I guess I am just a big pervert. I asked my mom to smell Greyland and tell me what she thought...she smelled spaghetti spices!!! LOL!! She didn't smell armpits or crotch at all. I am laughing about that still. Spaghetti spices?

It's funny how we all percieve things differently, isn't it?

11:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


I would like to thank the academy for this award! I am just honored to be included...oops, maybe I am jumping the gun a little.

When I get done with these reviews, I am going to need a new project. I better get searching for another obscure perfume house...

11:10 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm wondering where you get your knowledge of limb entanglement on restroom floors. You're quite the poet of sleaze. I'm impressed, you mucky pup!

I haven't tried one Montale. The packaging has always put me off, which I know is ridiculous, but a lad's gotta draw a line somewhere ain't he?

I too need, at this point, to declare my ardour for Chaya. She is the sunshine after a storm and laughter of a stream combined.

12:13 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All these images of sex in the bathroom, tangled legs, armpits and crotches, you had me fantasizing while reading your hot hot reviews.

Ahh !!! I need a cigarette now :).

12:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


Believe me, it's all my vivid imagination. I haven't been on a date in years and certainly not to a truck stop bathroom.

6:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

shychai, definitely not good breakfast reading and certainly should be rated "R".

6:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Vijay, you are too kind...and very funny!

6:22 PM EDT  
Blogger Shannon said...

Kelley, that was insanely hot! And now, you've made me curious for these ... You know that I love all things leather, I.must.try.STAT!

I tried my first Montales recently, Blue Amber was my favorite so far ...

9:19 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

What a lucky woman I am...

Gentle Vijaji the Enabler, Mssrs. Kelley and Leopoldo,Dusancik the Playful...

You all add inestimable richness to my lovely,messy,flawed existence.

To quote Leonard Cohen:

Ring out the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything-
That's how the light gets in...

Ain't life, and love, grand?

6:31 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everybody has their own associations. I can perfectly enjoy some of your pictures, kelley, and phantasize a bit on some others, complete with restroom atmosphere, and - oh yes - in Brazil even! But I would leave Oud Cuir d'Arabie at home. I wouldn't want to associate it with many other smells. Body..., but rest rooms are best enjoyed on their own.
Good leather, for me, is something rather archaic and extremely masculine: Huns, horses, whips, tribes, warriors' sandals and boots, saddle and trousers(nothing like folesom kitsch).
No scent smelled before, brought me as close to my ancient idea of leather as ACA has done!

2:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Shannon, your Orris sample is officially on it's way! My sister picked it up and then took it to the post office!

Thanks for the compliment. Is I practice and become less ignorant about fragrances, I am finding that I love leather scents. I don't know what it is...maybe I am growing up?

I wasn't able to get the Blue Amber sample but I will work on Vijay to be sure he gets that one in.

4:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Chaya, yes, life and love are grand. And, you my dear, deverve to be worshipped!

4:46 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Narcus, you are a riot! I loved your writing. Are you a Basenotes member or have I just heard of you by reputation? Keep up the good work!

4:48 PM EDT  
Blogger Solander said...

I can't for the life of me imagine how either "sex on a truck stop restroom floor" (eww) or "construction worker's sweaty crotch" can be hot, but I still must try Aoud ambre and Greyland! I love me some skank. I'll just hope for different pictures in my head...

11:49 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eberhard = narcus

4:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Solander, I hope I didn't ruin the experience for you. Luckily, visual images aren't as long lasting as scent memories so the giant butt crack image won't last long! For my money, Greyland is the clear winner. It's such an unusual fragrance. I love it.

5:32 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Narcus/Eberhard, yes, I plan on more reviews as long as I don't offend too many people. Thanks for the compliment. I am sure you are right about the weather and the fact that Montales are created for more temporate climates. The weather here is very mild all year and they work beautifully. I am thinking that either extreme would ruin these fragile scents.

5:35 PM EDT  
Blogger AnyasGardenPerfumes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:49 AM EDT  
Blogger AnyasGardenPerfumes said...

Kelley, although they state it is "amber", it is very possible it is not a distillation of the resin of Pinus succinifera (sp?) More likely they have an accord of labdanum, benzoin, vanilla, etc. -- all typical of the base of "amber" perfumes. Is that what it smells like to you?

Lord knows you have a bead on what everything else smells like in your reviews -- LOL.

7:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Seeing a mention of Ambergris i was curious to know if there is a market for it anymore as i curently have a one pound piece. Please advise.
thank you

12:27 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could be that I didn't read you review carefully enough. Your assertion that: "Amber is fossilized tree resin and was formed thousands if not millions of years ago. Being related to incense, it has a warm, golden incense or pine smell.", is a misunderstanding of the ingredient "amber" in perfumes. A clarification is in order here. There are two very different kinds of "amber". The amber you described has NO SMELL and is used in the jewelry industry. The other "amber" or "ambergris" used in perfumes is a very different animal altogether (literally). The "amber" ingredient in perfumes is derived from aged whale vomit (with a very strong animalic scent). Not just any whale either but the sperm whale as I understand it. After the whale has vomited these rather large globs of vomit, they actually float for months on the open seas until they end up on some beach and are found by people who understand their value to the perfume industry. This whale vomit actually ages while floating and sunning both in the water and on the beaches where they end up. It is the aged vomit (not fosilized tree resin - also called "amber") which is the "amber" ingredient in perfumes. The whale vomit "amber" and the fosilized tree resin "amber" are two very different things actually. For more info, just google "amber", "perfume", "whale vomit".

4:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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8:37 PM EST  
Anonymous Dias said...

Excellent reviews. I really like the way you have put it. I was relly on the hunt for "sexy" smells and except for some of Demeter's perfumes, there really was any in the true sense. Your suggestions seems real and true. I will try for sure and then see.


10:07 PM EST  

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