In this perfume world of overdone, over-saturated ouds, it takes a lot to convince me that we still need another oud fragrance.
I know that Mona Di Orio's Oud was released over a year ago, and that many ouds have been released since then, but I can honestly say this is one of the best, if not the best, Western takes on the now-ubiquitous fragrance note. The notes, according to Luckyscent, include elemi, green mandarin, petitgrain, patchouli, nagarmotha, cedar, osmanthus, musk, ambergris and the essential ingredient, essential oud oil from Laos.
What strikes me most about this fragrance is how smooth, rich and enveloping it is. Mona Di Orio was never a restrained and subdued perfumer. All the perfumes I've tried are fairly bold compositions, and I think this probably resulted in love-it-or-hate-it opinions. The perfume I'm thinking of in particular was her brilliant Nuit Noir, a skanky take-it-or-leave-it jasmine. Mona's Les Nombres D'Or seems to have reached a larger and more accepting fan base, but smelling Oud today, I can still very much sense her bold spirit and path all the way from Nuit Noir to the present. Oud is very smooth though. No jagged edges here. No medicinal band oud, no rotting wood smells. At least, not on the surface. Like with all the very best of French perfumes, she managed to create something alluringly complex. Pull back the multiple layers and what is revealed is something with a bit more growl and flash of stockinged leg than first meets the eye.
Oud never ventures too far down that path though and its class shines through from start to finish. Osmanthus is known for its apricot-like facets, but equally it can have a hint of jasmine too, which is perhaps why I make the connection, albeit an extended one, with Nuit Noir. The musk and patchouli ground the fragrance, acting as a good counterpoint to the rich, almost honeyed oud and amber notes and leaves me feeling extremely satisfied. If ever there was a sign of this extremely talented perfumer, who tragically left us prematurely, it is Mona Di Orio's Oud.
Image credit - http://www.apetogentleman.com/