Mona di Orio Carnation : Perfume Review



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.

Mona_di_orio_bottle 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.



  • Christina H.: Sounds very intriguing!I think I’d fall for the heavy oriental fragrance.Were these edp or parfums?Hopefully,samples of these will be made available from Aedes when they get them in!Thank you for the lovely review.I will be quite interested in these. February 21, 2006 at 8:18am Reply

  • Ina: V., I just recently had a chance to sample these, and I agree with your descriptions completely. I think my favorite was Nuit Noire which I found similar to Guerlain Metallica. Do you smell any similarities? The bottles are so gorgeous and will be a definite lemming of mine once Aedes gets them. Great review, as always. 🙂 February 21, 2006 at 10:13am Reply

  • marchlion: Wow, these smell right up my alley, Guerlain lover that I am. And anything that reminds you of Bal a Versailles is a must-try. “Intense animalic breath” indeed! February 21, 2006 at 11:18am Reply

  • Linda: Great review, V! I can just imagine the fragrance. Carnation sounds very interesting! I hope that they will be at Aedes soon. Do you have any idea when? February 21, 2006 at 11:20am Reply

  • violetnoir: Wow! These sound amazing and akin the a “delrae-type” line. I really want to test these.

    Thank you for reviewing them for us, V!

    Hugs! February 21, 2006 at 11:31am Reply

  • Marina: Lovely review and the scent sounds wonderful. I’ve ordered the samples of these 3 scents from Les Senters what seems like ages ago, and they still haven’t arrived, arrgh! 🙂 February 21, 2006 at 9:33am Reply

  • Cait: I am intrigued too. But every time I see this perfumer’s name I cannot help but think “golden monkey.” Mona de ORO. Only one letter’s difference. I know, I need to grow up. February 21, 2006 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Tania: Never even heard of Mona di Orio, but it all sounds very promising. Classical fingerprint, eh? I look forward to giving them a run in Aedes. Thanks for the tip. 🙂 February 21, 2006 at 12:32pm Reply

  • N: Dear V – great review. I tried this a couple of months ago in Les Senteurs when they just had testers.
    I enjoyed Nuit Noire the most. Hope all is well. 🙂 February 21, 2006 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Robin: My favorite was Lux (no surprise there) but didn’t love any of them, and found them somewhat of a let down after hearing she had studied with Edmond Roudnitska. February 21, 2006 at 7:03pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, they are the EDP, but they are rather rich. If you like oriental compositions, you would definitely enjoy them. February 21, 2006 at 2:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, oh no! I have never ordered from Les Senteurs, only visited, but I heard that their service is great. I hope that your samples will arrive soon. February 21, 2006 at 2:31pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ina, hmm, I did not notice any similarities to Metalys, which strikes me as aldehydic floral on an oriental base. Nuit Noire was between Bal a Versailles and Chergui. February 21, 2006 at 2:38pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, they are not Guerlainesque fragrances per se, but if you like animalic and ambery bases, these will be appealing. Lux made me think of Jicky, but the connection between the two is not more than the presence of vanilla and citrus. February 21, 2006 at 2:39pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Linda, I am not sure when. I saw a mention on Basenotes, but no specific day was mentioned. February 21, 2006 at 2:40pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I would be curious to hear how you like them. I think that you might like Carnation. I would say that they are not like Delrae fragrances. I would not even say that any of the three are very Roudnitska. The use of vanilla is certainly not something you would find in his fragrances. February 21, 2006 at 2:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, it is too funny. Well, I cannot even begin to say why I was never too interested to try Padparadscha. Most Russian speakers should understand. 🙂 I would only say that the name in Russian does not have very pleasant connotations. February 21, 2006 at 2:45pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, they are definitely classical. The term does not mean an outright endorsement, but Carnation is definitely the one to try. I thought that Carnation was the most special and original one, and it is quite well-made. February 21, 2006 at 2:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear N, did you see the bottles? Aren’t they beautiful (at least judging by the pictures)? Hope that you are well! February 21, 2006 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Katie: Wow, I’ve never heard of this line before, sounds quite intriguing. And this? “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.” Makes my mouth water just imaginingl what it must smell like. Thanks for that gorgeous description. February 21, 2006 at 3:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I would love to know more about Mona di Orio. I only read a bio on Les Senteurs, and it seems that she was studying under Roudnitska. I did not know that he had students other than his son, so I am very interested in this perfumer. I admit that Carnation was not an instant love for me, because I kept testing it after Nuit Noire, which is very animalic and intense (a bit too much so for my tastes). It managed to beat Carnation into the corner. Then I started giving each fragrance a long trial, and Carnation clearly emerged as a winner out of the three–unusual and interesting, but easy to appreciate as well. February 21, 2006 at 3:40pm Reply

  • Patty: I saw thes on Le Senteurs website the other day and almost hit the order button until I remembered it was in pounds. Yikes! I’m having a cheapskate day, I guess. It’s no worse than most others, but the Shalini that’s so beautiful that I refuse to buy for that much has me depressed. 🙁 February 21, 2006 at 4:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: They are not cheap, that is true. I wonder how much they would cost in the States. Shalini and JAR take the cake as far as expensive fragrances are concerned. February 21, 2006 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Marlen: These sound wonderful, V, thanks for the introduction…is there one that you feel might work particularly well for gourmand lovers? February 21, 2006 at 10:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I admit that they are not what I expected, but I think that Carnation is quite original. It is the only one I truly love out of the three. February 22, 2006 at 4:25pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marls, you are most welcome! I would say that Carnation might be the one, and while it is not gourmand, it has a nice luscious sweetness. Lux has vanilla, but overall it has the classical cologne structure. February 22, 2006 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Rita: Carnation: passionfruit almost repels me at first sniff, combined with pink soap, but then warm animalic sweetness has me continually checking the plastic scent on my arm every minute or so.. reminds me of styrax incense that should really be dammar.

    Lux: sparkles like sherbert in the nose while hugging a rough bark tree with cream on the tongue. Would love this on men

    Nuit Noir:almond blossoms with razzamatazz, succulent tropical flower in a boudouir but I couldn’t work in an office with a woman wearing this.

    I love your reviews. March 18, 2006 at 6:46pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Rita, thank you for your thoughts! Very interesting to hear how these perfumes sit on others. Which one is your favourite? March 18, 2006 at 9:44pm Reply

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