Mona di Orio: A fine tuberose for fall

I sampled Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse last summer and I have to admit that we did not hit it off at all; in fact, we downright got off on the wrong foot with each other.

Mona First, my often-bizarro skin somehow pulled a slightly bitter note — the bergamot, I’m guessing, which is puzzling because the “b” and I usually get along like a house afire. Then came a spicy, nutty streak that was so NOT in line with the chilly tuberose blast that I was expecting and hoping would give me shivers on a blistering July day.

Perhaps it was the peppercorn, the almond-leaning heliotrope, the coconut milk, or some combination of those. Even gourmand lover that I am, it just did not work. No way was I going anywhere near a bakery in that heat, even for a few minutes. I wasn’t tempted to scrub it off, but I essentially gave it the cold shoulder until it wore off.

Since then I’ve tried several other scents by Mona di Orio, and they were so well done that I had second thoughts. Perhaps my nose was on the fritz that day, my hormones were running amok, or maybe it really was the heat — who knows? But I figured I ought to give it another chance. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from riding with the Posse: If at first you don’t succeed …

So with chilly (at times, even cold) weather in full swing, I’ve revisited this earthy beauty. And what a difference 30 degrees makes! I can now appreciate this Mona in a way I couldn’t during the stifling heat of summer. The greenery is more pronounced this time around, the tuberose is fully visible but not overbearing, and the bakery has just closed its doors, leaving only a hint of gourmand behind. It’s got just enough warmth, thanks to its dry coconut note, and just enough fresh to be pleasing.

If there were a tuberose family reunion, Mona would be the lovely, level-headed cousin, who, despite being quiet, has quite a lot to say. She embraces her uniqueness, is happy with herself and can hold her own in any setting. No easy feat, that — being surrounded as she is with a very vocal (and sometimes diva-esque) collection of relatives ranging from Fracas and Tubereuse Criminelle, Carnal Flower, L’Artisan’s Nuit de Tubereuse, and more.

With her slightly friendlier, earthier personality, as other reviewers have noted, this Mona might be just the thing to make a tube lover out of those who find the big-gun scents overwhelming. And although I won’t be going FB with this, I’m happy to have a bit of it in my white flower arsenal, to wear whenever the mood strikes (in cool weather, natch).

Notes (from Luckyscent): pink peppercorn, bergamot, green leaves, tuberose absolute, benzoin, heliotrope, coconut milk, amber, musk

So please share: What scent, if any, has disappointed you at first blush but redeemed itself when you wore it later under different circumstances?

  • So many that I’ve come back to find them better. the one that stands out most in my mind is Gucci Guilty. Originally I was totally meh about it but keeping it in my bag and using it as my respritz frag has helped it to grow on me and it is often a compliment getter and I do love to be complimented. Interesting isn’t it?
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Portia! Sounds like a stealth fragrance that snuck up on you and grew on you with repeated wearings. I’ve not tried that Gucci, but if it’s raking in the compliments, you can’t argue with that. I’ll check it out next time I’m near a perfume counter. Thanks!

  • Heather Wood says:

    Bulgari Black was a major disappointment for me the first time I tried it. Harsh open, then 15 minutes of increasingly strong asphalt, then my husband’s nose wrinkled up hard, then I washed it off. Recently I tried it again when I was home alone, and within 20 minutes I had lovely fluctuating scents of vanilla, tea, soft spices, and maybe a hint of benzoin, with faint earth and tar as subtle undertones. As a perfume neophyte, the first thing I learned from the Posse is to leave it on there until you find out what’s really going to happen.

    • Ann says:

      Heather, you’ve very eloquently described my experience with BB. Very glad that you now enjoy it. Did your hubby like it better in round 2 as well?
      As for me, I don’t think I’ll be going anywhere near it for the next couple of weeks, as they’re re-paving my street and I’ve already got more than a snootful of tar just from today’s work. So I’ll be reaching for something completely different to counteract that smell, ha!

  • Sandstorm936 says:

    I’ve had a few perfumes pull a fast one on me. Chanel no. 5 was one of them and Mitsouko. Both of them require time for your nose to grow and smell more things.

    • Ann says:

      Yep, those are definitely challenging. I’m slowly warming up to the No. 5, but the struggle with Mitsouko goes on.

      • Alison says:

        No. 5 and I will never be friends, no matter how often I try or how they reformulate it. Been trying to work it for oh about 40 years now.

        Me, my favorite Chanel will always be No. 22.

        • Ann says:

          I hear you, Alison. I think sometimes you do have to just let it go if it’s not working. I’m about at that point myself with Mitsouko. And there are so many scents out there that DO work beautifully on our skins — so enjoy them!

  • Patty White says:

    Wow, this is a long list for me! FM Therese is STILL not on it. Serge MKK, Daim Blond. I remember thinking Daim Blond was so over the top the first time I smelled it. Now I think it’s tame. Same with MKK. I remember being completely underwhelmed by Apres L’ondee, and I have the post from 2006 to prove it! I think taste in perfume is always evolving, depending on how we challenge ourselves. The more you push outside of your comfort zone, the more likely you are to change your mind! 🙂 I do have this Mona around somewhere, I need to smell it soon!

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Patty! How funny about the MKK and the DB. (Although the MKK wasn’t as bad as I feared, it is never going to be my first choice to wear, ha!) You’re so right about how our tastes change and evolve. Hope you like the Mona …

  • Alison says:

    As an osmanthus lover I was crazy to try Serge Lutens’s Daim Blond a couple of years ago. It was also my first Serge to try in a serious way. I couldn’t believe how much I hated it! In my shock and disappointment I scrubbed it right off. But it got on some clothes and kept haunting me until I tried it again, and it’s now one of my favorites. Lesson learned, especially with the Serge Lutens line!

    I also adore that big white diva floral, Tuberose Criminelle.

    • Ann says:

      So glad you gave the Daim Blond another chance. It was one of the first leather scents I tried and could wear easily; it definitely helped pave the way for me to appreciate and even enjoy other leathers. Like you said, sometimes a scent will haunt you and end up winning you over. I love TC too — that first blast is just such a rush — and the drydown is beautiful too.

      • Alison says:

        I know the first blast of TC is often described as a petroleum-distillate smell but for some reason on me it smells like honeysuckle – . I kind of wish I got the blast that everyone talks about!

  • Sherri says:

    Hi Ann, So glad you gave the Mona Tubereuse another try. It’s really different, and one of the few tuberoses I can wear! Rosarita, you need to try it. It’s warmer and less of a diva than most.

    Lots of perfumes have taken me a long time to fall in love with, especially Malles. I thought I hated Portrait of a Lady until I dropped a sample on the bathroom floor. Our bathroom smelled sooo good for the next week, and now I want a FB. Parfum de Therese, Dia, Fleur de Cassie, and Mona DiOrio are others that I was initially disappointed in, but now love!

    • Ann says:

      Yay, Sherri! You’ve got some real beauties there. I still can’t do the FM Cassie as it goes a bit ugly on my skin, but I enjoy the others you mentioned. And I’m definitely coming around to the PoaL, especially in the luscious body butter — yum!

  • Suzanne says:

    Hi Ann. The perfume that I did the biggest turnaround with was Frederic Malle’s Le Parfum de Therese. And more recently, Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. In both cases, went from finding them weirdly unwearable to drop-dead gorgeous. I find that if the perfume is (in my mind) sort of weird, there’s a better chance that I’ll keep sniffing it and come around to it eventually. Whereas if the perfume is something I view as boring (as many mainstream fragrances are), I rarely give it another chance. 😀

    • Ann says:

      Hey, sweetie! Those are both lovely scents — happy you love them now. I’m especially keen on the Fille. I think you’re right — odd scents at least keep you trying — boring ones are just the kiss of death.

  • rosarita says:

    First of all, my cousin Barb is just like that. And I have a similar perfume experience with Donna Karan Gold edp. I tried it first in summer and it felt suffocating but I really love it in cold weather; the amber comes out more and the whole thing just feels warm and elegant. Someday maybe I’ll try the Mona di Orio tuberose, I keep thinking there must be a tuberose that doesn’t hate me and one day I’ll find it.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, lady! How are you? I think we all have a relative like that — they help make up for the crazy ones, thank heavens. Do try a sample of the Mona — it’s definitely worth a shot!

  • Martha says:

    I tried Mitsouko one day, in the afternoon, and hated it. It was too, sharp and too spicy. A few days later, I tried again and grew to appreciate it for the classic it is. I tried Aftelier’s Honey Blossom, in the afternoon, and had to wash it off because it was sickeningly sweet. The next day I tried it again and really liked it because it is a soft, comforting, orange blossom scent. It seems that when I try a fragrance late in the day, there is some weird chemical reaction with my skin (wrists, specifically) that throws off the true nature of the perfume. Or, maybe, it’s just that my olfactory system is off late in the day. Who knows?

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Martha. Glad you came around to the Aftelier and the Mitsouko (I’m still working on the latter with little success). I think you’re right to keep trying as there are so many factors which could influence the scent. Or maybe you were just holding your mouth the wrong way, ha! 🙂