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Mona di Orio Les Nombres d'Or Oud
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Christos: Greek Sandals & Oud Cuir d'Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

Amouage Memoir Woman

Amouage Opus I

Amouage Opus III

Amouage Opus IV

Amouage Opus V

Amouage Opus VI

Amouage Tribute

Amouage Ubar

Annick Goutal Ambre Fetiche

Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant

Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Anima Dulcis

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

Caron French Cancan

Caron Parfum Sacre

Caron Tabac Blond

Caron Tubereuse

Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

Costes by Costes

Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman

Parfum d'Empire Equistrius

Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

Parfums DelRae Amoureuse

Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

Puredistance M

Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Serge Lutens Chêne

Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque

Serge Lutens Miel de Bois

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

Vero Profumo Mito

Viktoria Minya Hedonist

Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb

What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

Soldier of Love: Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Oud 

Though I do attempt to read widely, there are certain books that by now have written themselves into my DNA because I’ve read them so many times—not just for the story, but for the beauty of the prose itself, and that certainly is the case for Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier’s novel about the odyssey of a wounded confederate soldier named Inman who, in the last days of the Civil War, deserts the rebel cause and begins a long and treacherous walk to his home in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the woman he loves. For years it’s been my custom to read Cold Mountain in August or September, the latter being the month that Inman embarks on his journey, but this year our end of summer was so rainy and gray I couldn’t get in the mood to read it. I needed crisp autumn weather, which didn’t arrive until just last week, around the same time I received some perfume samples I ordered from LuckyScent—one of them being a sample of the new oud perfume from Mona di Orio. So last week I found myself raking up endless piles of fall leaves under a sky that was miraculously blue for November, wearing this perfume that unfolds like a narrative—by turns green, spicy, animalic, smoky, woody and gently nectarous—and thinking, This is so sexy … it reminds me of a man in a very rustic setting. But what kind of man? Not a cowboy, not a man I could fit into any kind of category except to say, romantic man in his most stripped-down form—emotionally, bodily, spiritually. A man who would travel a hard road to get to you if he had to, and who would make you want to travel down the same to reach him halfway.

And that’s when I thought of Cold Mountain and knew I would use it as a means of talking about this perfume. I have borrowed from this novel before to talk about a particular perfume, and I don’t feel guilty borrowing from it again because a measure of its greatness is the way it stirs the mind to think of it across a number of contexts—to form connections to the world outside its pages—and because that’s simply the way my bookish mind works: it turns on stories, it returns to stories, it has its hooks deep into them.

Inman is the man I thought of when I smelled Mona di Orio’s Oud, and more specifically, Inman in that specific moment of time when he is at the end of his hard road of traveling and he is finally in sight of his beloved, Ada, who has been on a journey of sorts, too. Ada wasn’t from the mountains originally—she grew up the privileged and only child of a minister in the well-to-do city of Charleston—and she and her father came to Cold Mountain when his failing health led him to accept a parish where the mountain air might prove curative. During the war, however, Ada’s father dies, and she is left alone and penniless with only the gentleman’s farm where they had been living—a farm which has gone fallow and which she has no skills whatsoever at turning around, until an itinerant young woman named Ruby comes along and shows her how it’s done. Ada’s transformation is that of a girl who has spent her days doing watercolor drawings and playing the piano to that of a woman who works the land until there are blisters on her hands and a solid understanding of subsistence-living in her head. She’s been on a hard road, too.

But now we’re at the point in the novel where Iman’s and Ada’s paths converge—a moment which always causes me to gasp, at least internally, when the two of them are finally standing close enough to recognize one another and yet they don’t: they are literally staring across the barrels of their drawn guns, on a snowy forest lane where Ada has just shot down a pair of turkeys, thinking their minds must be playing tricks on them, both of them so changed in the four years since they’ve seen each other. Inman, finally realizing it’s her that is standing before him with a shotgun and in men’s britches, puts down his pistol and calls out something: a declarative, lovestruck plea that only further confuses her: “He seemed to her some madman awander in the storm, knapsack on his back, snow in his beard and on his hat brim, speaking wild and tender words to whatever appeared before him, rock and tree and rill.” She tells him she doesn’t know him and Inman, who knows he is a shell-shocked stranger of his former self, turns to walk away. For a second though, he turns back to her and says that if he knew where to go, he’d go there.

It might have been timbre of voice, angle of profile. Something. Length of bone in his forearm, shape of knucklebones under the skin of his hands. But suddenly Ada knew him, or thought she did. She lowered the shotgun to where it would but cut him off at the knees. She said his name and he said yes.

Then Ada had only to look at his drawn face to see not a madman but human. He was blasted and ravaged, worn ragged and weary and thin, but he was nevertheless Inman. Hunger’s seal on his brow, like a shadow over him. Yearning for food, warmth, kindness. In the hollows of his eyes she could see that the depredations of the long war and the hard road home had left his mind scoured and his heart jailed within the bars of his ribs. Tears started in her eyes, but she blinked once and they were gone. She lowered the muzzles toward the ground and put her hammer to rest.

—You come with me, she said.

What is it about Mona di Orio’s oud perfume that reminds me of this passage? It might be the green and pine-like top notes that smell ruggedly like a man—like his movement through a forest. Maybe it’s the lean, mentholated smell of the composition in its earliest stage of wear that reminds me of the beautiful angularity of the male body, of the streamlined focus of his mind. And as the scent dramatically twists and turns towards the animalic, is this why it speaks to me of male yearning, of driving male hunger?

There is also within Mona’s oud perfume the smell of smoke and wood—a reminder of the home fires that burn brightly within every soul—that set us on a return path towards home; there is something vaguely cinnamon-like that speaks of quiet passion; and there is a weathered sweetness that suggests comfort and a surrender to love.

And all of these facets of the perfume unfold slowly, deliberately, lending it the sensibility of something that possesses intelligence. No wonder I smell it and can’t think about dissecting it and trying to write a proper review (not that I ever write those anyway). It’s the kind of fragrance that leads me, like Ada, to lower my muzzle, put my hammer to rest and say to it in my softest but firmest voice, You come with me.

Mona di Orio Les Nombres d’Or Oud—eau de parfum intense—has notes of Elemi, Green Mandarin, Petitgrain, Patchouli, Osmanthus, Nagarmotha, Cedarwood, Oudh, Musc and Ambergris. It can be purchased from LuckyScent.com, where a 100-ml bottle is a whopping $520 (and worth it, in my opinion, even if I won’t be buying it anytime soon, but simply enjoying the two samples I purchased. Gorgeous stuff, and a little goes a long way.)

Images: Bottle image is from LuckyScent.com; book image is from Amazo.com.
 
Cold Mountain, copyright © 1997 by Charles Frazier (The Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1997, p. 321)

Posted by
Suzanne
Keller, 11/10/2011.


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