Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
A perfumer of Italian-Spanish descent, Mona di Orio has recently offered three fragrances under her eponymous line, Carnation, Lux and Nuit Noire. A protégé of Edmond Roudnitska, according to the online sources, Mona di Orio is a perfumer whose perfumes bear a classical fingerprint, much like Balanchine school ballet dancers possess certain stylistic and physical characteristics.
The perfumes blend brightness of the top accords with the sonorous richness of their oriental bases, the tapestries of musk, amber and tonka beans. Lux fuses the accord of Eau Sauvage into a vanillic base, with an almost Guerlinesque result. Nuit Noire is reminiscent of a cross between Chergui and Bal à Versailles. They are not weightless compositions; instead, they have intensity and density, and these qualities would no doubt find appeal among the diehard fans of oriental genre. It would be a stretch to say that any of these compositions are reminiscent of Edmond Roudnitska’s luminous and breathtaking arrangements. …
Carnation is the most original composition from Mona di Orio line, given both its unexpected pairing of graceful floral accord and suede-like amber and successful execution of the theme. I would haste to add that the peppery smell of clove pinks is not what the composition explores, instead presenting a vision of a red flower hot from the midday sun. In French, carnation means “complexion [of the skin],” and the composition makes just this allusion. The floral notes fall into an opulent layer, the warmth of the base smoldering under the satiny softness of jasmine and tuberose. The sweet powderiness of violet reigns in the indolic intensity of white flowers and lowers their voices to a seductive whisper.
The ornate overture of flowers leads into the baroque base of sandalwood and warm amber. The jewel-like tones of the heart accord are muted by the balsamic vanilla, maintaining the seductive innuendo hinted at by the top accord. Yet, the mellow warmth pervading the arrangement is a relief from the overt richness, thus creating a harmonious result. Like a summer day falling into the evening, the initial sumptuousness of Carnation softens into the gentle amber studded veil.
Carnation includes notes of bergamot, wallflower, geranium, ylang ylang, violet, jasmine, sandalwood, musk, amber, styrax. Mona di Orio line is available from Aedes, while the fragrances can also be found at Skins Cosmetics, Les Senteurs and other European locations as noted on the website.
Photo from Les Senteurs.