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


37 thoughts on “A Golden, Shimmering Sunset – Mona di Orio Oud Perfume Review

  1. Thanks very much for linking to my blog post! I agree that the combination of real oud and osmanthus is stunning. The perfume feels new and chic to me while still managing to reference history and nature. I’ve been impressed with every Mona di Orio scent I’ve tried, and I just feel that she’s a massive talent. The first full bottle I’m going for is Vanille- there’s no way I’m going to get through the winter without it!

    • You’re very welcome! I really enjoyed your review.

      I like your take on Oud, and I completely get what you mean when you say it feels chic whilst still referencing history and nature.

      I honestly cannot remember if I tried Vanille, but you make it sound like it’s a must try, I shall have to seek it out.

  2. Lovely review and such interesting analogies like “golden shimmering sunset” and ‘barnyard chic”. The last one made me laugh, but I have to agree with you completely :). To me Mona’s Oud is the time after the sunset – it’s comforting velvet darkness. Very attractive and familiar. And I do share your price concerns…the price puts this wonderful Oud into a “postponed” wishlist (like “ever”).

    • Hi AromaX, thanks for stopping by!

      Oud definitely rocks the ‘barnyard chic’ very well, it’s that lovely blend of skank/prettyness.

      I love your description of Oud as ‘velvet darkness’, it’s very evocative and I agree that due to the price it definitely has to go into the ‘postponed’ pile.

  3. Barnyard chic lol! Great review. The pairing of oud and osmanthus just sounds so good. Can’t wait to try it, especially as it’s the real thing. I do like By Kilian’s Rose Oud though.

  4. A lovely review (as always), Candy Perfume Boy! 😉

    I agree that this is (nostrils down) the BEST oudh perfume I have ever smelled. I was an herbalist apprentice in college and will never forget the smell of the oudh wood chips he brought back from India (Cambodian in origin)! Somewhere between “heavenly” and funky”, woody AND smoky with hints of dark incense…

    I agree with another perfume collector friend of mine that the “rose oud saffron” thing has been done to death, and adore the way Mona di Orio “framed” the main note with other (less used) notes. As a reviewer myself, I was struggling to express exactly what MdO’s Oudh reminded me of…and you hit the nail RIGHT on the head with a warm golden sunset.


    • The sample should have come with a warning: “Do not try this if you are likely to fall head over heels for something ridiculously expensive”

      I’m glad you’ve managed to get in on a split, it’s the best way to do it!

  5. What a beautiful review, Thomas, and so well-written. I really do think you should seek out employment in the perfume industry, in some capacity that puts your talents to good use. Perhaps writing copy for marketing materials? You have such a flair for the written word!

    As you know, Primal Mist is a luxury-priced perfume, so I can’t speak to the price of Oud except to say there are many factors that go into the retail price of any product. The cost of materials is just one factor among many. But I love how members of the perfume-loving community help one another. It’s wonderful!!

    ~Michelle for Primal Mist perfumes

    • Michelle, thank you for your kind words!

      I can understand why perfume can be so expensive, some natural ingredients do cost a huge amount, and as you say there are many other factors. If I won the lottery my outlook would be very different 😛

    • ‘Barnyard Chic’ is the in thing this autumn, or fall as you Americans would say! You do need to order some Mona samples, Oud is an absolute must try.

      The price is definitely ‘eek’, I’m think of selling my body to raise the coinage to buy it 😛

  6. I’m going to try this again after your amazing review – sometimes it’s like that, you have to revisit something again. I tested it before, but I thought it might have been wasted on me because I am not a fan of Oud on the whole.
    I do love Mona Di Orio’s work very much though, her Vanille and her Tubereuse are my very favourites.
    …On the other hand if I try this one, I dare not spend my children’s inheritance on it….

  7. Great review ! …
    You see, we do agree much more often than not. (In fact I am starting to believe you might just come close to being my closest “scent-twin” reviewer !? Too early to say, but it’s looking good ! ) …
    I too think Mona’s one of the best (if not even the absolute best) Oud frag to hit the market. The only thing I have against it is that I’m so addicted to it that I’ve gone and squandered my far too tiny 10ml decant in a matter of days only & now will have to resort to living without it ~ Damn! 😉
    There is just no way I could afford a whole bottle, and it sooo pains me !
    ~ That is the only single thing that is wrong with it.

  8. Pingback: Blown From Polar Fur – Mona di Orio Musc Perfume Review | thecandyperfumeboy

  9. Pingback: Something to Remember – Mona di Orio Tribute & Tubéreuse Perfume Review | thecandyperfumeboy

  10. Pingback: The Candy Perfume Boy’s Best Picks of 2011 | The Candy Perfume Boy

  11. Great review again. I’ve been longing to try this, and last time I was in Les Senteurs, I think i glared up at it for about a minute, wondering whether to try it.
    It’s like the By Killian’s and even some Frederic Malles (without trying to sound like I’m a cheap-skate), but of course this is a whole other level, do I want to try it? What if I love it? Would I really splash out on a bottle?
    I hate the whole “decant” or “split bottle” thing too even though I’m sure it’s a great way to own a bit of everything, but still.
    I think I’ll try this next time, it sounds lovely, but not a new love.

    • The cost of Oud is incredibly prohibitive and even if I had the money (which I really don’t) I would think long and hard about buying it. I just wish it came in a smaller size, perhaps a 30ml or even a 15ml.

      I think we should keep our minds open to trying all fragrances, even the cheap, pricey and ridiculously expensive. It’s all part of our perfumed education I guess.

  12. Pingback: The Candy Perfume Boy’s Guide to Oud | The Candy Perfume Boy

  13. Pingback: Saturday Poll: Pick Your Favourite Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or | The Candy Perfume Boy

  14. Pingback: Cerulean Oud – Maison Francis Kurkdijan OUD Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  15. Pingback: Haute Couture Perfume – Heeley Extraits: Agarwoud, Bubblegum Chic & L’Amandière Perfume Reviews | The Candy Perfume Boy

  16. Pingback: How Do You Wear Your Meat? – Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Cuir Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  17. Pingback: Globetrotting – Ormonde Jayne Tsarina, Nawab of Oudh, Qi and Montabaco Perfume Reviews | The Candy Perfume Boy

  18. Pingback: Missing the Magic Touch – By Kilian Playing with the Devil & Musk Oud Perfume Reviews | The Candy Perfume Boy

  19. Pingback: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Oud EDP Perfume Review | EauMG

  20. Pingback: Telling Stories – Mona di Orio Violette Fumée Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  21. Pingback: Monochromatic – Mona di Orio Myrrh Casati Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  22. Pingback: Scent a Celebrity Series: Wuthering Sniffs – Scenting Kate Bush | The Candy Perfume Boy

Join the Discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s