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Montale Red Aoud
  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

By Kilian Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin

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

Showing Some Love for Montale and Red Aoud

When I first began reading the perfume blogs back in 2005, Montale Parfums, Paris, was most definitely a blog darling—and deservedly so, as this company played an influential role in introducing the western world to Arabian perfumery and familiarizing us with a note we knew little about at the time: aoud. We couldn’t get enough of aoud—or at least that seemed to be the perception of a good number of other niche and artisanal perfume brands which, a couple years later, jumped on the bandwagon and began adding aoud-based fragrances to their lines. Soon you could hardly execute a proper K-turn in the online perfume community without bumping into an aoud perfume.

Proving there really can be too much of a good thing (as well as that a little bit of aoud goes a long way in a fragrance wardrobe), by the end of 2009, one could hear rumblings in the perfume blogosphere indicating that this note-du-jour treatment of aoud was getting passé (not to mention downright fatiguing). Those were my sentiments, too: I found myself not wanting to wear my beloved Montale Black Aoud as often as I used to, nor my decant of Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline, and by spring 2010, samples of aoud-based scents that I received in fragrance swaps had gone unopened.

But in the same way that seasons cycle ’round and renew one’s interest in things that months ago we’d grown tired of, a vacation from Arabian-inspired fragrances and a change in the weather now finds me welcoming a couple select aoud perfumes back into my rotation. For the better part of September, the weather here has been full of blue-sky afternoons followed by crisply cool nights: perfect for wearing Montale Red Aoud—just a dab on each wrist, from my sample vial. Red Aoud is the smell of being punch-drunk with love, which is the way I feel about September and autumn in general.

Before I get on with my review of Red Aoud, I should state that in the aftermath of the aoud-fragrance explosion, Montale suffered some love loss in the online perfume community—and I should state, too, that even when Montale was enjoying its darling status, it was never universally admired. Some bloggers questioned the authenticity of the aoud used in Montale’s fragrances; part of their argument being that, as this uniquely-occurring resin which forms in the heartwood of an endangered species of trees (Aquilaria malaccensis) is precious and rare, use of the genuine article would render any fragrance containing it extremely costly. Such questions are rightly posed (and I’m glad they are) by folks more knowledgeable than I. But as for me, my love of Montale doesn’t rest on whether the aoud they employ is authentic or not. What I’ve come to appreciate about the line in general is the mesmerizing and expensive smell of their roses, leathers, resins, and patchoulis. (So concentrated that one small dab radiates beautifully on my skin all day, while one small spray delivers incredibly luxuriant sillage.) And what I’ve come to appreciate about their aouds, in particular, is the way their kohl-dark edges hypnotically enhance the roses they encircle.

In fact, kohl is a good analogy to use. Just as a sooty, well-blended line of kohl can make a pair of beautiful blue eyes look bluer, I find that the Montale aouds add definition and intensity to the rose accords they use in many of their fragrances. In Red Aoud, the bitter, slightly-smoky/slightly medicinal edge of aoud is not nearly as strong as it is in Black Aoud; here it’s smudged and sfumato-like, enveloping a gourmand rose, berried and nectarous, which it is careful not to overwhelm. This fruity aspect of rose is what ‘pops’ when one first puts on Red Aoud, with zingy notes of cumin and red pepper enhancing the effect. If on initial application, Red Aoud’s rose note is bright and perhaps a bit too intoxicated with its own beauty, well, that’s part of its spirit! Be patient with it, for in a short time it will come down from its high and smooth out in the nicest of ways.

In addition to the forementioned notes, saffron, cumin, iris, vetiver and sandalwood also make up the fragrance. While I can’t detect cumin at all, the combination of the other notes not only grounds the scent but firmly places it in the Arabian style of perfumery. Saffron adds an earthy, almost leathery nuance that, in addition to the aoud, becomes a perfect foil for the rose, acting like a tether to pull it back down from its initial giddy state, imparting a certain amount of gravity (not too much, but enough to tamp it down a bit). The saffron and aoud combination is what makes it smell exotic, too. Wearing Red Aoud, I think about Marc Antony, as he was portrayed in the final episodes of the HBO television series Rome. Besotted with Cleopatra and living with her in Egypt (where he seems to have forgotten that he was one of Rome’s greatest and most ruthless warrior politicians), he darkens his own eyes with kohl and allows drink, drugs and this exotic femme fatale to have their way with him.

Tipsy, exotic, heady and intense in its beauty, Montale Red Aoud isn’t something I could wear day after day (just as I couldn’t wear any rose perfume on a daily basis). But on a high-flying fall day when I am in wont of such pleasures, this one fits the bill nicely.


Montale Red Aoud is available from ParfumsRaffy.com, $135 for 50 ml and $175 for 100 ml. (ParfumsRaffy seems to have the best prices in the U.S. for the Montale line. My sample came from their store, included with a purchase I made last year.)


Images: top of page, actors Lyndsey Marshal and James Purefoy as Cleopatra and Marc Antony in the HBO series Rome is from premiumhollywood.com; bottle image is from ParfumsRaffy.com.




Posted by Suzanne Keller, 9/17/2010.


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