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Friday, September 15, 2006

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.

Aoud Lime

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 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.


Blogger Marina said...


I am very excited that you are doing these Montale reviews, becaue I feel like I don't have the right skin chemistry with these scents and so could never ever do them justice. I've only ever "clicked" with two Montales, Jasmin Full (adore it!) and Oud Cuir Arabie. Soleil de Capri is nice too and I must say, as a hater of aquatic scents, I find Sandflowers to be actually quite wearable.

Aoud Lime on the other hand made me want to crawl out of my skin, that's how badly we clashed :-)

Thank you for the great reviews, I am looking forward to the next installment!

11:21 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I liked Aoud Lime, just not enough to pop for a full bottle. However your description make me want to revisit and you may have even seduced me with the description of Sandflowers to get over my anti-marine thing.

Oh, I am just jealous, I guess. I'm the skim-milk skinned one who could never go on the fishing trip in the Keys (and who never puts the top down before 7 in BH) and i would love to feel that without warning bells go off. Maybe the scent is the answer?

In any case- wonderfully enjoyable; write more!

12:21 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't find Aoud lime or Aoud ambre on the Suravi site, am I wrong? Pity, because I'd love to try them...

7:38 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

Wonderful reviews! Marine scents just don't work on me, but your review made Sandflowers sound so appealing I almost forgot that for a moment. "Kelp in love" - brilliant! :-) I've actually tried Sandflowers and it was nice, but still not something I'd wear. I am, however, a big fan of their oud scents, especially Cuir d'Arabie and Black Aoud. I'm going to have to retry Aoud Lime.

7:47 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, well, well! I am a big Montale fan (esp., like Elle, of the Aouds), but you managed to pick two I haven't tried yet! I do have a buncha samples of Sandflowers/sandsliver lying around somewhere, so I will try to sniff the one VERY soon. My favorites are Aoud Cuir d'Arabie (DH's infamous Vetiqueer), and Aoud Rose Petals. From the notes and my preferences, one would think I might prefer Aoud Queen Roses or Black Aoud to the Rose Petals, and SAs and friends always recommend these to me--but while I do like them very much, Rose Petals is just better (in fact it's divine) on my skin (and everyone agrees about this when s/he smells it; the wonders of chemistry!!). I've also tried Ambre and Steam Aoud, but I must admit that I'm getting a bit overwhelmed by all their (somewhat similar sounding) offerings. I'm now very curious about Rose Musk, so I hope you are reviewing that one. . .

9:12 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Addendum--I didn't realize at first that these were Kelley's reviews! You fooled me!
--I am now wearing Sandsilver, and I'm liking it very much! I know AnnE loves this, so I hope she weighs in.
--In addition to the others I listed, I have also tried Aoud Damascus, which I think is one of I's favorites (I wonder if their goal is to make a different Rose oud scent for every possibly skin chemistry), and some others--but I can't find Aoud Lime. I think I passed on this b/c it got generally bad reviews, but your wonderful description now has me interested. Thanks (I guess:)!

9:23 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Third (annoying) comment--I guess I was wrong about Ann and Sandflowers. Sorry, A (we cross-posted). And I promise not to post again!

9:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Just wanted to say that, as many rose scents as they have, Montale has yet to make one to suit my skin chemistry. *pouts*

Sandflowers and Sandalsliver are two different scent, right? I believe Sandalsliver was prevously called Skin. Am I wrong? Anyway, Sandalsliver smells practically indentical to YSL Nu on my skin.

9:29 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

OK, I lied! Skin became Sandsliver, which I am now wearing (and which is not at all marine--I wondered about that:) and Sandflowers is a completely different scent I have not tried. I love/hate Montale.

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Columbina, thanks for allowing my addiction room to grow. I too love Jasmin Full and would put it on before bed...convinced of good dreams to come. It is magnificent.

Aoud Lime isn't my favorite of the ouds either (but at least my skin doesn't crawl). I like it but the rose not is very strong and like I said, it's a stimulating kind of fragrance. With the amount of coffee I drink every day, I don't need stimulating fragrances. I think I like my spices a little stronger than Aoud Lime (love Sultan Safran/Safranier by CSP). I don't know, it seems too simple a composition for me. I am looking forward to reviewing my favorite (well for today) Royal Oud.

10:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


Believe me, I am with you buddy. My skin is lily-white. I have huge freckles on my shoulders because I was born before sun block was invented. I am not going to buy a bottle of Sandflowers or Aoud Lime. I like them but they don't make me go week in the Knees. I hate to say never because I have been known to change my mind. I mean look at me reviewing the line I previously hated. I couldn't stand oud until this year...and now I am hooked. I do think that Aoud Ambre is very Serge Luten-y. When I get done reviewing, send me your mailing address and I will get it to you.

10:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


Vijay is in the process of creating a whole new website and so hasn't updated the old one. Just ask him for a list. He is one of the nicest people I have ever come across. In my last package from him there were about 20 samples including most of the Amouage line.

10:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


While I am not a big fan of marine scents I do own a couple but I rarely wear them. I have a bottle of Surface that I have completely grown to hate. It is so neglected that I am glad it can't pick up the phone and call the DHS on me. I can appreciate them on others though. Funny how our tastes change! Funny how I prefer to smell marine scents on women. On men they are so predictable.

10:54 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for your wonderful review Kelley!
Yes, I agree, all those 20+ perfumes of the Montale line are usually playing "hard to get", and some work for you and some... don,t. *sigh*
I recently discovered for me "Aromatic Lime" which was high on my To-Sniff-List and is simply puurrfect in autumn (and for my skin chemistry...)
Wishing you a nice weekend,

3:23 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the Montale reviews. I have samples of nearly all their scents and am crazy about the Aromatic Lime, which is wonderful with my chemistry. Looking forward to your review of more Montales, especially the Aromatic Lime.

3:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


It's funny to me that the line isn't called "Rose Oud" or "Oud Rose" or maybe something more creative, because just about everything is full of rose! Aoud Lime is a wonderful rose and should be tested for compatability because it's a tricky one. I have a review coming up of Attar that is another rose fragrance with a twist. It has Mysore sandlewood and Bulgarian rose listed as it's ingredients is really all about ambergris! I will tell more later.

5:18 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


There are several in this line that I don't want to review because they are either boring or copies of other things. I find Attar (the review is coming up and I love it) to be very similar to Creed's Fleurs de Bulgary and Fougeres Marine is a Cool Water dupe.

Vijay also informed me that Sandalsliver is really Sandalsilver . Montale made a mistake on the samples!

5:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


Thanks for the compliments. I find it very odd that no one has mentioned my true love of the line, Greyland. I will have to do a review of it because it is breathtaking. It's cumin and sweet wood. Let's see, the ingredients are listed as cedar, sandalwood, spices, musk and benzoin. It's a spicy, sweaty wood scent. MMMM. So far, this is the only one that I own a full (large) bottle of...or should I say a full can of? I know, don't end a sentence in a preposition.

5:27 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...


I have a sample of Aromatic Lime but haven't tried it yet. I do love limes in fragrances so I will have to give it a shot soon. The ingredients are listed as "The strength of lime with bitter orange, saffron, galbanum and myrrh, built around vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli leaves", sounds great!

5:31 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful reviews! I do like Aoud Lime, too. My favorite Montale Aoud is the Cuir d'Arabie.

6:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the absolutely wonderful reviews. I would like to point out that I was the one that made the mistake about Sandalsliver not Montale. I told you it was Sandalsilver, I was wrong it is Sandalsliver. Sorry about that.

Looking forward to the next review :).

7:51 PM EDT  
Blogger Kelley said...

Thanks Vijay for straitening that out. I love the scent whatever it is called. It took several attempts before I figured that one out.

10:32 PM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Thanks for the post, Kelley!

Prince Vijay [and he really is a prince of a man] is a pleasure to talk with, and very knowledgeable.

I wear Black Aoud and love its mystery, but surprisingly, the Patchouli Leaves was ravishing- winey, oaken, delicately vanillic, and swoon-worthy!

I have yet to sample some others...
Look forward to your impressions...
and perhaps, more artwork? Please?

7:34 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have you seen the special promotion on the website?
The adress is

5:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Carrie LVP said...

Hey I noticed you've tried many marine scented perfumes. I'm looking for a really good marine scent myself. Which one out of the ones you've tried, would you say is the best so far?

I've been thinking about trying Sage Machado - Turquoise. But I'm not sure if one of your scents is better. If you ever decided to try Sage please write a review. I'll love to know which one you think is best.

12:23 AM EDT  

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