For today’s group experience we’re reviewing two scents from Montale, a company with a pretty extensive inventory — Basenotes lists 36 fragrances, a lot for a company that’s been in business since 2001. Montale’s fragrances are considered unisex by the company. How did your Posse pals feel about Montale Aoud Roses Petals and the opposite end of the spectrum, Aoud Cuir D’Arabie?
Aoud Roses Petals has notes of rose, geranium, amber, cedarwood, teakwood, oud.
Bryan: I have only come across a couple fragrances that (or is it which?) send me screaming to the sink to scrub skin away from bone. MPG Fleur d’Iris is the first…blech! Aoud Roses Petals is now the second. I have dissed some fragrances in the past, only to return to the blog, head held down in shame, to eat the words I spewed all over the laptop. Ether de Lilas by PG comes to mind…Ahem…This will NOT happen here. I gave it all night….cringing the entire time. From start to miserable finish, it was like a bleach/ammonia/rose nightmare! I enjoy Roses…I love Frederic Malle’s Une Rose. I love the Parfums de Rosine line. Well, most of them. This I just don’t get. I crave Tubereuse Criminelle, so I don’t shy away from the odd blasts of cool notes….This however is completely unforgiveable. Just unforgiveable.
Lee: I thought we were doing Aoud Flowers? Oh well…. (runs off to test this one. Waits four hours. Returns). More than virtually any other scents, these Montale Aouds are entirely different from start to finish. You can’t get an real impression of them in the first ten minutes, and if I did take that impression, I’d hate them. I was a very healthy pre-teen, but a very sickly teen, affected inexplicably by ENT disasters. These aouds are unpleasantly medicinal memory trips for me, enough to make me back away and feel a creeping sense of light-headedness and wan fever. But this scent changes. I don’t do roses very comfortably, but there’s nothing mosquito-pitched about this one – it’s a heady and dark tea rose scent of a very high quality. I can appreciate it, but not want to wear it.
Patty: You guys are wimps! It’s oud, for cry-yi-yi! Anyway… it is a little strong, but I like the contrast of the strong, strong medicine and those delicate little rose petals fighting for their lives in a vat of pitch. I can’t wear many of the ouds for very long, they are fierce and overpowering sometimes, but I still like them for what they are.
March: Lee, yeah, I know — she sent us this one instead. How strong is Aoud Roses Petals? Without opening the package, I could smell a 1ml, unleaking vial sealed in bubblewrap inside a plastic shipping pouch. Just to give you an idea. It’s not the sort of thing you’d want to spill on your upholstery. I applied four drops to my inner arm; two or three healthy sprays of this would likely kill me. It’s pretty much roses, geranium and oud, and you know how much I love rose in fragrance (not much). So I am surprised to report that I kind of like this. The geranium and oud do a great job of cutting the migraine-inducing plastic sweetness I dislike in rose. It’s spicy and deep and a little smoky, moving in the general direction of, say, OJ Ta’if — rose is only part of the story. After half an hour, the rose falls back even further and I’m left with an oud-amber-rose-geranium, in that order. I’d never buy this, but I might wear it again, the way I wear really strong fragrances — I apply a drop or two in the general vicinity of my navel, and enjoy catching hints of it as I go through the day.
Aoud Cuir D’Arabie has notes of tobacco, leather, oud and burnt wood.
Lee: In my early twenties, one of my best friends was friends with a 50something stoner biker. He had a grey whiskery beard, a receding hairline, and a permanently nicotine stained pony tail. He wore shirts with small dope burns all over them – these allowed his wiry chest hair to perform curlicues on the cotton. On his lower half, he always seemed to wear the same leather trousers. If I could imagine inhaling the buttock section of these pantaloons, that would be the first few minutes of Cuir d’Arabie. It really is that powerful. I don’t get oud here, just the entire process of leather manufacture, with all the smells of flesh, decay and render that entails. It’s the most accurate depiction of leather-in-action I’ve ever sniffed. It makes me feel like animal hide, which I guess in one way or another, I am. I just don’t want to be flailed quite yet, thank you very much.
Patty: Lee’s description is pretty spot on for the open, though I never smelled his best friend’s butt-end of his leather pants – not asking to, either. This thing is just rank on the open, but in a very pungent, interesting way. I do get a little oud in there, it’s slightly medicinal behind all that leather. But in a few minutes, it’s Saddle me Up, Cowboy! I adore this… just hand me my hairshirt and start flailing.
Bryan: Thank you Lee for the mental. If I’m ever feeling a bit “randy” at an awkward place, I’ll recall that image and go immediately from flushed to ice cold. I do however agree with the description. (Damn, I wish I could write like that). I don’t really hate this as much as the other Montale. I just wouldn’t ever, ever reach for it. I am knocked over the head with dirty leather…and not dirty in the skank, delicious way. I mean the Pleather wearin’ in the summertime trashy way. I really wanted to enjoy the Montales, but I am like 0 for 6…though that does leave 30 more, right? (Crystal Flowers is a joke and the Tiare is ok, but it’s better elsewhere). Here I just get ripe leather and some smoke (maybe that’s the oud). Missed again Montale…(stolen from Will and Grace…)
March: I thought what Lee was writing was complimentary, even up to and through the buttock/animal hide parts, so I guess I’m a little slow on the uptake. I also thought Cuir D’Arabie was sort of yummy. It comes right up to the skank line for me but doesn’t cross it the way, say, Miller Harris’ L’Air de Rien does. (Actually, Rien doesn’t cross the line so much as stomp it into the dust with its hobnail boots and sprint away.) Then the buttcrack accord backs off a bit and it’s a rich, deep, dirty (as in dirt) leather, like Tauer’s Lonestar Memories only with more motor oil and possibly some roadkill, like an armadillo or something, waaaaay off there in the distance. Now I’m off to assume another identity, since I used “dirt,” “buttcrack accord” and “roadkill” in a review of something I called “yummy.” I wouldn’t buy a bottle of this either, but I’d wear it to … something. Not sure what. Mucking stalls? Bridge night at a leather bar?
March: (later) hey, why not go for it? Roses Petals layers nicely with Cuir, which smothers the rose element pretty decisively, and you get the leather without so much of Cuir’s animal skin dirtiness. Either that or my nose broke. Also … Cuir and CB Musk Reinvention together are a smell to behold. The musky sweetness of Reinvention on top of the peat-y leather of Cuir morphs them both into a sultry thing that you hardcore skank lovers might appreciate.
Patty: You are right! I wonder what Rien and Musk and Arabie would do to each other after all the nekkid mechanic wrasslin in the horse corral? Maybe we should do that next Fourplay.
Lee: steady on, you freaks!