Monochromatic – Mona di Orio Myrrh Casati Perfume Review

Photo: Herb Ritts

Photo: Herb Ritts

It’s a simple fact that the late perfumer, Mona di Orio made beautiful perfumes. Having studied under the great Edmond Roudnitska (Dior’s Eau Sauvage & Diorissimo, and Rochas’ Femme), di Orio had a knack for creating romantic and surprising compositions that often turned a familiar signature on its head. Since her death, Mona’s co-founder, Jeroen Oude Sogtoen has remained faithful to her legacy and has released a number of fragrances from the archives – fragrances created by Mona di Orio before her untimely death. These have included the stunning Eau Absolue and the masterpiece that is Violette Fumée.

It seems that the brand is now turning a corner. There was always going to come a point where di Orio’s back catalogue of unreleased material would run out and an external perfumer would need to be invited in to compose something new. Now is that time and the brand is launching their first fragrance under their new Monogram collection, as well as re-releasing older perfumes (e.g. Nuit Noire and Lux) into the Signature collection. They’re also slowly re-packing the Les Nombres d’Or collection, starting with Oud, which is now called Oudh Osmanthus.

Myrrh Casati is Mona di Orio’s first fragrance composed by an external perfumer. Penned by Melanie Leroux, Myrrh Casati makes a statement as something quite different from the other perfumes within Mona di Orio’s extensive collection. The brand describe this ode to myrrh as being “extravagant, dark, [and] mysterious”, and I’d definitely agree with the latter two descriptors in that sentence – I’m just not entirely convinced that it is extravagant in the same way many of the Mona di Orio fragrances are. Myrrh Casati serves as an interesting diversification for the brand, for sure.

“Inspired by Marchesa Casati, the legendary patron of the arts and muse of eccentricity, known for her extravagant dark fashion and lavish fetes replete with exotic animals, gilded servants, and an infectious waft of incense and mystery that surrounded her.”

Myrrh Casati by Mona di Orio

Myrrh Casati by Mona di Orio

The Notes

Peruvian Red Berries, Pink Pepper, Guatemalan Cardamom, Saffron, Licorice, Siamese Benzoin, Myrrh and Incense from Somalia, Indonesian Patchouli, Indian Cypriol Nagarmotha and Guaiac Wood from Paraguay

How Does it Smell?

Myrrh Casati opens with an intense wave of dry and arid spices. Compared to other myrrh-based fragrances, such as Guerlain’s Myrrhe et Délires (Thierry Wasser; 2012) and Huitième Art’s Myrrhiad (Pierre Guillaume; 2011), this take on myrrh is entirely devoid of any sweetness or comfort, instead opting for a harsher and more exotic sensibility that is painted purely in black and white. Pepper and cardamom provide an almost foody opening, evoking the idea of a modern dish from somewhere hot and strange.

The heart and base are less spicy, and more resinous. Patchouli, incense and myrrh come together to create an effect that is ethereal and metallic. Everything wafts up from the skin in transparent wisps of silver steam, producing an almost white floral effect that is decidedly jasmine-esque. This transparency allows for the spices to really come through and stand out in a columnar fashion – there’s no soft crackle of spice here, it’s a steady rumble.

Myrrh Casati is well put together and pleasant, but it isn’t surprising or exciting. Mona di Orio’s perfumes always have a body and volume that feels voluptuous, and almost sensual. Myrrh Casati doesn’t quite capture all of the body-ody-ody one would hope to find in something bearing the Mona di Orio name. Now, that’s not to say that this is a bad perfume by any means, far from it in fact, but it would perhaps be fair to say that this is a fragrance that could come from any number of niche brands. It simply lacks a unique sense of identity, and that’s a shame.


Myrrh Casati is available in 75ml Eau de Parfum as part of Mona di Orio’s Monogram Collection.

Sample via Mona di Orio. Image 1 via Image 2 via Notes and quotes via press release.


18 thoughts on “Monochromatic – Mona di Orio Myrrh Casati Perfume Review

  1. I’ve only just tried a few Mona di Orio’s recently, as you can only buy them in ONE location in Australia! (Peony in Melbourne) I fell in LOVE with Violette Fumee and now wear it often. Thanks for this review..I will prey that I get to smell this one soon in the flesh! Myrrh can be a tough one to love! Many Thanks from downunder, AInslie X

    • Hi Ainslie! Violette Fumee is gorgeous, isn’t it? I really do need to get a bottle.

      Myrrh is difficult, I agree. I think some people with love this because it’s so dry but I just found it to be completely out of the house’s voluptuous style. Perhaps that’s a good thing? I’m not sure.

  2. Morning! Well that’s a bit of a shame, but really a tricky phase in the brand’s development I think. Her perfumes are truly beautiful in general – can’t believe how much Luca Turin stuck it to her in his book. I really wanted to try this one as I love myrrh – will still get a sample but will have lowered expectations. Hope your violet perfume talk went well. Would have loved to be there …

  3. Yes, I read Alex’s review and I don’t think he was blown away by this either. I am on a bit of a myrrh exploration kick atm, but I don’t think this new Mona would move me like Parfum Sacre, say. I like the two others you mention, but they are not that myrrh-forward despite the names! I guess I am looking for something overtly myrrh-y and purry, but not too forbidding, if that is possible.

    • I get what you mean. Perhaps this one will be a bit more of a pure myrrh for you. I can certainly see it being so. It’s more sparse than the Guerlain or Huitieme Art, which are a bit more of ‘myrrh avec bells and whistles’.

  4. I haven’t tried this yet but I am sad to hear it’s lost Mona’s signature voluptuous and womanly touch.

    I wish everyone would stop pairing myrrh with licorice, although you don’t seem to pick up on it in your review which gives me some hope.

  5. Loved the review! And almost afraid to try it because I hate to be disappointed by a “Mona”. I love her fragrances so much in that they always seem to take me somewhere and envelop me. I also very much enjoyed the RuPaul’s Drag Race reference! 😉 Great talk at Perfume Lovers last week.

    • “Stop relying on that body!” Gah, I love RuPaul’s Drag Race!

      I hate to be disappointed by a Mona too. This is the first one to have done so!

      Thanks for coming to the talk. I am so very glad that you enjoyed it 😀

  6. Pingback: Feral Beauty – Mona di Orio Nuit Noire & Lux Perfume Review | The Candy Perfume Boy

  7. Pingback: Mona di Orio Myrrh Casati EDP Perfume Review | EauMG

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