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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Perfume Review: Montale White Aoud

My name is Marina and I am a born-again Montale addict. I take back everything I have ever said about their oud line. There can't be too many aoud scents. And they don't all smell the same. And I will strike down with great vengeance and furious anger upon those who attempt to bad-mouth my new favorite line ... sorry, got carried away... The oud-skeptics like me (in my previous, empty, Montale-less existence) should try White Aoud to find out how different the note might smell in a softer, sweeter, lighter composition. The oud beginners and those wary of the note's dry, spicy forcefulness, might want to start their acquaintance with the genre by smelling the gentle White Oud. I never imagined that I would use such a word in relation to an aoud fragrance, but White Aoud smells...fluffy. Fluffy, cuddly, comforting and incredibly delightful.

The scent starts with a beautiful rose accord, which is simultaneously fruity (the natural fruitiness of roses) and spicy (saffron, cardamom and, of course, oud). The juicy deliciousness of the top notes makes me think of exotically piquant rose jam, or rather of fresher, less sweet rose coulis. The honeyed roses never quite disappear, but after a while a soft, fluffy accord of patchouli, sandalwood, amber and vanilla emerges at the forefront, moving the roses to the background.

It is hard to explain what I mean when I say that a fragrance smells fluffy...fluffiness to me implies delicate sweetness, an enveloping feel, a downy, velvety quality. It also alludes to an understated character of a composition. A fluffy scent is never heavy, heady or overwhelmingly sweet. The examples of other fluffy scents would be Dior Bois d'Argent, Bvlgari Black (yes, really, underneath all the rubber, Black is totally fluffy), Barbara Bui, Malone Blue Agava & Cacao, Guerlain Iris Ganache (in parts, especially in the drydown)...Solange Stoned, Guerlain Cuir Beluga and L de Lempicka are a little too sweet and "thick" to be truly fluffy, but they are still quite close to the fluffy ideal. I believe that it is vanilla used in a moderate proportion and paired with soft woods and amber and often with heliotrope and myrrh that creates the fluffy effect. Vanilla is certainly quite apparent in White Aoud and it is that note, together with amber and sandalwood, that softens the striking, sharp beauty of oud making it more approachable, transforming its cold and brutish sensuality into something almost innocent and childish, something delightfully cuddlesome.

White Aoud is available at Suravi, $150.00 for 50ml (100ml bottles are expected to be in stock shortly and will cost $210.00). Call to order, (813) 657-6773, and don't forget that members of Makeupalley and Basenotes get 10% off retail price and free shipping.


Blogger Kelley said...

All I have to say to you is...HA!

10:36 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, were right. I was wrong. I take back what I said about them before :-)

10:38 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Colombina, I enjoy that you're secure enough to admit you've changed your mind. For example, there was Rousse. :-) I haven't tried any of the fluffy fragrances you list. I'm way behind in the trying effort. But I liked the Montale ouds already. You're such fun!

12:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Are you trying to create another lemming? Yikes, this sounds gorgeous and heavenly. So very bad of you Colombina; I hope this smells horrible on me.

1:20 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I suppose I do need to revisit the Montales... Aoud Queen Roses was just a little too much of lots of notes I'm not comfortable with (yet?). On another theme: I've just sussed you out as a "Night of the Hunter" geek, Marina ! First the title of the blog and now a quote. Isn't it one of the most beautiful, poetic, frightening American movies ever made?

2:11 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just ordered 16 Montale samples from luckyscent - you see what you've done, Marina ?!

2:49 AM EDT  
Blogger violadiparma said...

Some of my friends say Aoud smells like beer for w while when weared. After what i read here am going to tell'em to drink it or...give it to me They dont deserve Aoud.

3:52 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I think there must be something in the water or in the air. Even before I knew you and Ina were in an oud mood, I had started having a mad craving for Black Aoud, Aoud Queen Roses and A Maze. And it's just gotten worse. You're right - the Montale ouds are not all the same. White Aoud is the most radically different on my skin. The vanilla is quite strong. Have to confess - in a very quiet whisper - it doesn't really work on me. But most of the others do.

6:35 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Montale still frightens me. Someday I'll be brave enough to try more Montales & when I do it will be the Aouds, but not yet, not now ...

7:40 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Wait till you see me publicly eating the words I said about Carnal Flower :-)))

8:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yes, ma'am, I am trying to create another lemming! :-) And it will smell beautiful on you, you 'll see.

8:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Hehe, you are on to me. When I started the blog, it used to have a subtitle, "...lacy things, things with curly hair". :-) But I got rid of it as I though it took the attention too far off from the perfume :-)

8:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You won't be sorry. There has got to be at least one that you'd like or even love. probably more than one. May I ask which ones you ordered?

8:05 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You know, I kind of agree, here is something there in an oud...but if it's beer than it's Guinness :-)

8:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

There has to go be something in the air. It's Montale's lucky month. Which one is your most favorite Montale scent?

8:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Then I think you should try the least scary one of them, White Aoud. See, it even has a halo.:-) It is harmless :-)

8:08 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not the Aoudness that frightens me, it's their unrelenting, cloying sweet heaviness. I can wear Aoud Cuir Arabie, sort of, even if it goes on like a leather shirt & stays leather shirt. All the non-Aoud ones I've tried make my eyes water, even on other people. So actually White Aoud frightens me more than the other Aouds. Methinks it a wolf in halo clothing. Or er, something.

8:25 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Don't be frightened of this one, it is very soft, not cloying at all. I actually am not a big fan of non-aouds in this line. Except for Jasmin Full, which I love. I too think that some of the Montale scents are unrelenting. On weekend I was re-trying Soleil di Capri. Man was it strong and did it last. And something like Chypre Vanille or Velvet Flowers just kills me on the spot.

8:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful review!!! I have a few Montale samples but have not gotten around to testing them yet...I am going to start with this one as soon as I get home tonight!

8:59 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, I am doubling Kelley's HA!!! White Aoud is very nice, and I think you capture it perfectly. I am looking forward to going to the Montale store in PARIS (I don't really need any more of their fragrances, but I have I feeling I might find myself gettting some:)

9:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope you find to love!

9:04 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Maybe they have some scents there that are not even known in the USA. Exciting!

9:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, White Oud sounds good. There isn't too much vanilla in there to ruin the thing, is there?

9:30 AM EDT  
Blogger Divina said...

YAY, Marina! I am so glad to read a new Montale review, I have been searching for all I could find and feasting on them ever since I came back from Paris, where I completely fell in love with the line. I am completely taken with everything I purchased from them. I guess reading about them makes me re-live the experience...

9:36 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Marina, basically I oredered a sample of everything stocked by luckyscent - except the Jasminy one. In the meantime I've found out that a german web site (g.r. Wuchsa) has some other ones as well...
So far I always avoided Montale, due to a very profane reason (I simply don't like the packaging...).

9:40 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I fear that I'm going to spend the whole day trying to wrap my mind around the concept of a fluffy oud. I think my brain might explode. :-/

9:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

No, not too much. just the right amount :-)

10:06 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Which ones did you buy? I'd love to know which ones are you r favorite from the line.

10:07 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not loving the packaging either. I think it is only slightly better than Comptoir Sud Pacific's spray cans :-)

10:08 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

It's not fluffy on you, eh? :-)

10:09 AM EDT  
Blogger NewKidOnTheBlog said...

Hi Marina. Sounds like you need a 12-step program. You must've done a good job explaining 'fluffy' fragrances - because even I - your scent-challenged husband understands what you mean - partially because I love 'fluffy' scents on you!


10:10 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Mr C!
How lovely to see you here :-) Do you like my photoshopping work? :-)
(Thank you for the "and I will strike down" quote).

10:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I absolutely support your fluffiness theory! All of those scents you mention perfectly fit in this category, including White Oud. :)

11:27 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I knew I could rely on you to support me re: fluffyness :-)

11:32 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

M, How do you think this White Aoud will stack up in 96 degree heat? I'm wondering if you've sampled the new Aoud Velvet? Sound a little more heat friendly...

Oh and BTW, thanks for offering up such fun everyday even in a world that seems to get worse and worse by the minute. I'd rather read your blog than watch the news in the morning.

We love you girl!!:-)

1:46 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

*places fingers firmly in ears* LalalalaLALALAH! Can't hear you! Don't want to know!

(am another 'Night of the Hunter' fan)

1:55 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...


I hope everything is well!
Aoud Velvet review is coming up tomorrow. Let me just say...I would not wear that one in the heat unless my life depended on it :-) White Aoud wears really well in this weather though. It isn't overly sweet or cloying in any way.

2:04 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You probably won't love this one. But there has got to be some Montale scents that you'd love.

2:05 PM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

You liked White Aoud way more than I did -- surprise, surprise :-)

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Exactly :-) I am trying to maintain the EFT status quo. :-)

2:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so happy right now:) I feel that Montale finally got it's crown back and I loved your description of White Aoud. I have been saddened in the past of the poor reviews that Montale has been receiving and I knew that given time, the world would recognize this gem of a I getting carried away? I just love their creations and I think now you do too:) Please do more posts on Montale, please!

2:26 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear Anonymous,
There are more reviews coming! You will soon get tired of hearing about Montale here on PST :-)

2:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Well, I'm not as enamored of all the aouds as you, and they tend to run together sometimes, but White Oud and Black Oud are my favorites of all of them just because they couldn't be more different while being the same.

2:44 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You just wait. They will sneak up on you too :-)

2:51 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

I'm with Leo- Those Aouds are fantastic- I haven't smelled one that I didn't love. So I am not smelling them.

I got the reference too- as a matter of fact I practically sneered at someone I know who questioned the title of this blog "and YOU went to film school?!?!"

4:33 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

A film school graduate didn't get the reference? Oh for shame! :-)))

4:35 PM EDT  
Blogger Maura said...

I couldn't resist my first post...White Aoud has that kind of power over me! This has been one of my favorite Montales and one of DH's as well...never fails to ellicit a comment ;o) My skin must wear Aouds differently...I get predominantly Aoud with just a hint of sweetness. I actually layer this occ with Vanille Abricot to tone down the opening...harassy!! Your review reminded me of the Velvet Aoud which is sweeter and fruitier but still "fluffy" to me! Great review!

6:51 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As you said before, when a Montale is bad, it's really bad, but when it's good you can't live without it. I haven't tried many from the aoud line, but i regularly wear Aromatic Lime and Boisè Vanille, they both come in the black painted can and in italy are not as expensive as in the US: 75,00 Euros for 100 ml. (the Lutens here are 73,00 Euros for 50 ml.)

6:52 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Vanille Apricot, interesting!
I have a feeling that Aoud Velvet smells so much better on you than it does on me :-(

6:54 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Did I say that? I like that :-D Well this one, to me, they have got very right.
You have such great prices over there!

6:55 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I adore White Aoud as well! I first fell in love with Montale last year via Jasmine Full, Blue Amber, then Black Aoud. Got a sample of the WO last week and kept my wrist to my nose for hours. Velvet Aoud is a winner for me too. Yet didn't care much for Soleil de Capri. Since I am not a rose fan, I haven't ventured there... Thanks for a wonderful post (as usual).

7:12 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Everyone seems to like Aoud Velvet, I am in the complete minority in not loving it :-(

7:24 PM EDT  

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