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Monday, September 10, 2007

Perfume Review: Montale Confidential Collection Indian Saffron

Every self-respecting perfume brand must have an exclusive line. If the exclusive scents are at the same time limited editions, all the better. Montale call theirs "Confidential Collection". The collection consists of Santal de Mysore, Rose and Indian Saffron; all scents come in parfum strength. I only managed to try Saffron, and if its beauty is indicative of the overall quality of the collection, then I hope the "Confidential" Montale parfums will reach our shores, even if only in limited quantities and for a limited amount of time.

It is universally known that saffron is one of the most high-priced spices. The stigmas (the pollen-collecting organs of a saffron flower) of approximately 200,000 flowers produce only about 2 pounds of saffron, and in the olden days the value of saffron has been compared to that of gold. (Ian Hemphill, The Spice and Herb Bible.) Indian saffron is said to be the world's finest and therefore most expensive. With its rendition, Montale does justice to the precious spice, choosing to boldly and realistically replicate the strange and compelling earthy, woody, at times almost iodine and bittersweet aroma of saffron.

The beginning of Indian Saffron is shockingly, gloriously earthy. I have always considered CB I Hate Perfume Black March to be the most earthy fragrance, disturbing in its true-to-life quality, and Indian Saffron comes a very close second. The spice smells raw, like soft, pliable black soil; a woody accord runs through the composition, at times even leaving an oud-like impression, underscoring the dry, resinous, what Hemphill describes as "oaked-wine" aspect of saffron. After a long stretch of wonderful, woody, leathery earthiness, the composition dries down as a softer and a little sweeter "skin-scent", which makes one smell as if one spent a day in the Aladdin's cave, which was filled not with coins and jewelry but with just as precious dark-red dried saffron stigmas.

Indian Saffron is available at Montale boutique in Paris, EUR 300.00 for 50ml.

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Blogger Kelley said...

M, I had no idea that Montale had an exclusive collection! I love Saffron and will have to try this one. I have been reading a thread on Basenotes about ordering directly from Montale in Paris and how (if you ask nicely) they will add extra juice and make it stronger! I am seriously thinking of calling them to see if it's true. I will keep you up to date.

11:02 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too had no idea they had an exclusive collection, either! This does sound fabulous, and my interest is now peaked about the sandalwood and the rose fragrance.

So the saffron is a skin-scent or is that only after it has dried down significantly?

All things considered - thats not a bad price for 50mL of Parfum. Not when you put it next to the Aoud collection, really.


11:21 PM EDT  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Kelley, If you do I am going to importune and ask for a sample. I love that dusky quality of saffron; I hope these don't become a new obsession..

Marina, as always, you are leading me down the garden path by my nose!

12:21 AM EDT  
Blogger leopoldo said...

Maybe these will make me love Montale where nothing else has...

3:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I had no idea either until Judith and Nancy returned from Paris and told me. They cam make it stronger? You know, with Montale, for me, strength is not an issue :-) They LAST. And they have SILLAGE. :-)

6:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hear Rose is nothing special, but sandalwood is nice.
Saffron becomes a skin-scent after a long, long time of being not a skin-scent at all :-)

6:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Let me see what I did with my sample. I have a feeling I sent it to someone, but maybe not. I am 99% certain you'd love this one.

6:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

They might! Santal is supposed to be gorgeous too.

6:46 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

I thought you'd abandoned saffron as a suitor? Does this indicate a change of heart? How saffron-y does it get there at the end? I'm still on a Saffron Bender.

Yeah, laughing about "making them stronger." Louise came back from Paris, where they did so in the shop with the ones she bought. She was THRILLED. I of course was sitting there thinking who wants a stronger Montale? So people in the next county can smell you? ;-P

8:03 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

The rose scent has a 2-word name (Rose Blossom? something--Nancy, help me out here. . .), and NONE of us was at impressed by it. I mean, it was pretty, but nothing special, and not really dirty (and I DO like dark roses). But the saffron and the sandalwood are REALLY nice--and I can't imagine anyone wanting them (or other Montales) stronger--and I think of myself as someone who likes her perfume strong! As far as the price--you must of course take into account the rhinestones that they put on the little Montale tag!!

8:23 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

Okay, this is sounding pretty good if you are lining it up to Black March.

Montale is so exhausting, keeping track of what is out, which seems to be three new things a week, what they don't make anymore. :sigh: I do like a lot of their things, though!

8:26 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith, I can't remember the name of the rose perfume. We dismissed it pretty quickly, kvelling over the saffron and sandalwood instead. I was instantly bowled over by the saffron because it smelled just like dirt. Hallowed ground, so to speak.

8:38 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Judith - Oh well, thank God for the rhinestones then. My Goodness, what did we do before swarovski encrusted bottles, I ask you?

Why is the trend in bottle design these days tending towards making them look like Solid Gold Dancers?

This extra juice issue has me concerned. Why are they giving some people more and others less - all for the same price? And why is there room left in the bottle to even ADD any more to it? Shouldn't it be full to begin with?


9:14 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

300 euros!! Mark David might be right that it isn't a bad price all things considered, except "all things" apparently doesn't consider my budget. I will stick with Black March :-)

10:20 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

This is not a glorified, sweet version of saffron, which is what I am tired of :-) This smells like the real thing, raw and spicy.

2:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Rhinestones! Seriously. Does Montale think their clientele is a rhinestone-loving one? No, really. This earthy Saffron with rhinestones??

2:23 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Montale is so prolific, it is unbearable :-)

2:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The dirt is what lured me in here :-)

2:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Solid Gold Dancers, LOL! Good one!!

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I admire Black March, but can't wear it. But this one is soooo out of my price league too.

2:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Shockingly, Gloriously, Earthy.....I am soooo very intrigued! Given that I have been known to admit to enjoying just the slightest tinge of skunk and other such muskinesses when strolling down my garden path this sounds like a fragrance that I would simply adore. I really can't wait to try it!

3:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I hope they start selling it here, maybe without the rhinestones :-)

9:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Beth Schreibman Gehring said...

Please definitely without the rhinestones! To much like JLo "Glow" for me!

9:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Yep! :-)

8:49 AM EDT  

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