A Golden, Shimmering Sunset – Mona di Orio Oud Perfume Review

Golden Sunset

Oud is the latest addition to Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection, which focuses on creating perfumes centred around a single note in an intelligent and creative way. The fragrances within the collection are; Oud, Vanille, Tubereuse, Vetyver, Musc, Ambre and Cuir. The names may lead you to think that these fragrances are typical, single note scents, but that is far from the truth, each one is very much a composition with an interesting take on the eponymous note.

Les Nombres d’Or

“Seven sensational yet easy, relaxed fragrances from the Mistress of Perfumery.

Inspired by the ancient aesthetic theory of the Golden Ratio, Mona has created a suite of eaux de parfumss which have all her signature notes of glamour, mystery and romance but which are constructed with with the ultimate luxury of classic simplicity.” [1]

Oud in particular has received a lot of positive hype in the perfume blogosphere since it’s release earlier this year. Enthusiastic reviews from the likes of Olfactoria’s Travels and Eyeliner on a Cat, bloggers who’s opinion I hold in high esteem, had raised my hopes for this scent and I couldn’t wait to make my merry little way across to Les Senteurs in London to try it.

The Notes

Top: Petitgrain, Mandarin and Elemi
Heart: Osmanthus, Patchouli and Cypriol Oil
Base: Virginia Cedar, Amber and Oud from Laos [2]

How Does it Smell?

Having high expectations for a scent can be a dangerous thing, you leave yourself wide open for disappointment and perfume has a habit of never smelling the way you expect it to. When I finally did get to try Oud I have to admit that I didn’t fall on to the floor in orgasmic pleasure, I had spent the whole day smelling things and by the time I approached Oud my nose was tired and cranky. Luckily for me I walked away from Les Senteurs with a decent sized sample and could spend sometime getting to know it.

Oud has very much been the latest trend in perfumery for the last two years, most fragrance houses have an ‘oud’ in their collection and interestingly they all seem to shout about it. Unfortunately a lot of oud fragrances fail to capture the spirit of the note and tend to weigh it down with tons of rose, incense or vanilla. Mona di Orio’s Oud is different, it feels like a true oud, strikingly beautiful without any pretence.

Oud, unsurprisingly, opens with a strong oud note, it is the kind of oud that I would describe as ‘barnyard chic’, it has that skanky, livestock vibe that smells impossibly pretty. Think of the warm breath of another person and you’re on the right track. This Oud seems to have the barnyard and the chic (the pretty bit) in equal parts, it doesn’t smell funky or disgusting. The difference between this Oud and the slew of other, inferior ouds is that Mona di Orio has used REAL oud oil from Laos, something that a lot of perfume houses don’t do, mainly due to cost and the fact that oud oil can vary tremendously in terms of quality and smell.

Another thing that makes Oud different is that the oud note is paired with the chinese flower osmanthus rather than the very predictable pairing of oud and rose. The osmanthus adds a lovely apricot jam facet that works very subtly with the other notes, who knew that oud and fruit would go so well together? There is also a strong white floral element which is used with a soft touch and possibly comes from the coupling of the osmanthus and bright elemi.

I wouldn’t call Oud linear, it does develop as it works its way to the base, but the oud/osmanthus blend stays strong the whole way through, and in my opinion it is more than welcome. What does change as Oud develops is the addition of strong woods, for the majority of the scent the woods sort of hum quietly in the background but as Oud approaches its dry down they push their way into their foreground. The woods used here are cedar and sandalwood, they are warm, creamy and slightly spicy.

Despite being an Eau de Parfum Intense, Oud is not a powerhouse, which makes a refreshing change for an oud-based scent. Where other oud scents such as Black Aoud (a scent I wear and enjoy) feel dark and oppressive, Oud feels golden and it shimmers the way the sun does as it hits the ocean during a glorious sunset.

Does Oud live up to my expectations? Yes, it really does, after spending some time trying to wrap my head around it I have come to the conclusion that it is the most beautiful oud scent I think I have ever smelled. Is Oud £325 worth of good? That’s a harder question to answer, I would never spend that much on a perfume, for a start my partner would have me hung, drawn and quartered, and my bank balance would be just as mad at me. Is any perfume worth that amount of money? I’m not sure, but for now I am quite happy making do with my sample.

The BottleMona di Orio Oud

The bottle for Oud and all of the other fragrances within the Les Nombres d’Or collection are the same as Mona di Orio’s signature collection.

Each cuboid bottle is topped with a large black cap that is adorned with a metal tie, the kind that you would see adorning your favourite bottle of wine.

Oud also comes presented in a beautiful and very grand laquer presentation box. It is truly, very glamorous!


Oud is part of Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or collection and is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum Intense for £325.


This review is based on a sample of Oud sourced myself.

[1] fragrantica.com

[2] lessenteurs.com

Image 1 ottercabin.com

Image 2 luckyscent.com