Vanille by Mona di Orio

Hiya Posse Perfumistas! We don’t hear much about Mona di Orio’s brand anymore. Even though it’s still going strong. They release a new fragrance fairly regularly. The bottle has had a redesign which I don’t love but apparently most buyers do. Today I thought we could look at the very first full bottle of hers that I bought, Vanille. You’ll see by the pic (taken last year so more gone now) it has had some wear over the last six or more years. Maybe 2/5 left, if I’m lucky. It’s hard to be really sure but I feel 1/3 is probably nearer the mark.

Vanille by Mona di Orio 2011

Vanille by Mona di Orio

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bitter orange, Clove, Rum
Heart: Gaiac wood, Petitgrain, Tolu balm, Vanilla, Ylang-ylang
Base: Ambergris, Leather, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vetiver

Vanilla is a note that people either adore or abhor. Interestingly, though this is called Vanille and it is the central note, I find what surrounds it and how MdO placed it to be so beautiful, unusual and intricate that vanilla ends up seeming like part of an ensemble rather than a star. So if you and vanilla aren’t close buddies then this could be a gateway fragrance for you. Vanilla light, as it were.

The opening is like an orange and rum based island paradise cocktail, the clove giving it an extra zing. We are talking tall glass and easy to drink.

The heart dries out somewhat and woody resinousness cuts through the vanilla/ylang sweet cream thing making it less Samsara (though you can definitely get glimpses later with the added sandalwood) and a bit more Arabie. Though to say they are the same is not my intent. More like a similarity of personality.

The dry down maintains a clove hint, has softly animalic overtones that are all so well blended I don’t pick up the soloists ambergris, leather or musk per se. What I do get is a resin/vanilla sweet cloud. Not bakery. More like the smell of a beautiful old wood table that has been lovingly waxed and polished every month. Though no honey is mentioned in the notes i really smell it melding with the vanilla, woods and other players. Vanille is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Longevity is excellent and diffusion moderate, 100% unisex and beautiful. Definitely worth a sniff if you’ve not, or a resniff if you have. Also, Vanille is the perfect summer weight warm fragrance.

You might like to read my other Mona di Orio Perfume Posse post on Myrhh Casati.

Have you tried Vanille? Or do you have a favourite MdO?
Portia xx

  • Ed says:

    This is one of my loves. I have gone through 2 decants of this. I just cant bring myself to drop €180 on a full bottle… My other bottles might get jealous!

  • Pamela Frasier says:

    MdO was my introduction to real perfume. Prior to this I mostly wore patchouli oil from Tenzing Momo in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. I got her sample set of Les Nombres D’Or and loved every single one except Ambre (just not a huge amber fan). I ended up purchasing full bottles of Eau Absolue, Tubéreuse, and Vanille. I also discovered Patchouly Boheme which I believe was a MdO collaboration for Laurent Mazzone and truly takes me to punk rock roots with class. My other favorite perfume goddess is Olivia Giacobetti and my trifecta of Hiris, En Passant, and Dzing. I learn a lot from you all. Thank you!

  • Patty says:

    This is one of my favorites of hers! along with the Violette Fumee.

    • Portia says:

      AHHH Violette Fumée! I always forget about that one Patty. I did smell it once, maybe it needs a revisit?
      Portia xx

  • Cassieflower says:

    I had a decant of this. Past tense unfortunately. I found it to have a lovely honeyed aspect, a lot more going on than straight up vanilla. Creamy and warm. Loved it.

  • Shiva-woman says:

    Oooohh. This sounds like a try and then maybe a buy! I don’t like my vanilla straight up but rather more complex and nuanced, and yes the waxed table and honey aspects sound lovely.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Shina-woman,
      I’ll be very interested to read your thoughts if you do try it. As you can probably tell it’s one of my faves.
      Portia xx

  • SonomaVelvet says:

    Great review Portia. Many years ago I had a decant of Vanille and Violet Fumee and loved them both along with her Tubereuse. I think I must have my memories of them mingling because I thought I remembered a bit of smokyness in Vanille. I think perhaps it’s been long enough that I don’t actually recall the scents any more, just the memory of the recollection? Anyway, I don’t recall the smell of Tubereuse but it was the perfume that hooked me on tuberose. I can hardly believe it now because the scent of tuberose is one of my favourites but I had trouble with it at first. Mona’s Tubereuse was the one that ‘brought me over’. Now I have a few scents based around tuberose but Mona’s creation is long gone.

    • Musette says:

      This idea of ‘the memory of the recollection’ is persackly the idea that was forming in my sieve-y little mind – her Violet Fumee was my first intro to her line and I now only remember the memory of remembering it, though within that memory I remember loving it. I did try her Vanille and, tbh, if I were ever to love a vanilla fragrance, this probably would be the one.


    • Portia says:

      I love that MdO was your gateway tuberose SV. She definitely had a way with notes and setting them intricately.
      Portia xx

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Vanilla as a dominant note can be a little iffy. My ultimate fave is Havana Vanille. I don’t know why L’Artisan discontinued this one. I might have a decant but I have to look.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Eldarwen22,
      I had the rerelease of Havana Vanille, Vanille Absolument. Thick and ropey coils of crunchy vanilla and booze yeah?
      Portia xx

  • Cinnamon says:

    I have not tried a MdO for years. I sampled Nuit Noir when it first came out and found, as with many noir-named fragrances, it wasn’t very ‘noir’. I don’t remember it working on me and I didn’t revisit the house. This sounds lovely, and I do like vanilla in perfume, but it’s just not something I would actively seek out.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Cinnamon,
      I don’y know if you remember how soundly Luca Turin trashed her first releases. Brutal. It was the pervading view for ages till we all decided to try them anyway.
      Portia xx

  • Berengaria says:

    My mother gave me a perfume for my 50th birthday and this is the one I picked. One of the very few vanilla’s I truly adore – or wait – the only one…

  • March says:

    Well, this sounds absolutely delightful! BTW it’s back to being cool and rainy here, unusual for June, and I am wearing Isabey Tendre Nuit thanks to you. There’s something about the damp that really brings it out.

    • Portia says:

      Hey March! I am so happy you are loving your Isabey Tendre Nuit. So wearable and pretty. I put mine away for the cooler months, maybe I’ll bring it back out again.
      Portia xx

  • nancysg says:

    I don’t own the Vanille, but several others from the line. I am also sad about the new bottles. The champagne bottles were so unique. I remember having a difficult time figuring out how to open them the very first time I handled a tester, but the nature of them was Part of the joy of her perfumes. The new bottle caps are problematic in terms of coming off unexpectedly!

    • Portia says:

      YES! I constantly pick them up by the lid and then have to cricket catch the juice as it heads towards the floor. SO ANNOYING!
      I think we ALL had that exact problem with the original lid. They were cool and fun.
      Portia x

  • Kathleen says:

    I have this. I find it to be a very ‘clear’ vanilla. I don’t know why I choose that word, but it’s what, first, pops into my head when I sniff. I’ve been a fan of her fragrances. Her interesting, almost powdery, Ambre is wonderful. Her Violette Fumee, smokey, whilst still smelling of violet and not at all cloying as many violets can be. Amyitis was my first. I don’t know what’s going on there but it’s enjoyable. My favourite is Oud. The original. I think the name has been changed, which means it’s different. Usually, cheaper, but more expensive

    • Portia says:

      Hey Kathleen,
      Jin wears the original Oud. It smells amazing on him. For a while it was the most expensive perfume in the house.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    I love and have quite a few MdO scents, including this one. I have an old & new one but they are in different locations so I can’t test side by side, but I feel they are not radically different. But nowadays with reformulations I would definitely test before repurchasing as some have definitely been reformulated. Your description of a waxed wood table is spot on. This is a great year-round non-sugary vanilla.

    • Portia says:

      Hi there TaraC!
      So happy that you love MdO.
      I’m just going through mine now.
      Oiro, Carnation and Bohea Boheme are all on the sale list. The first two because they are so precious I don’t dare wear them and it makes me sad to have them sitting here unworn. BB has stopped smelling good on me, I’m not sure what’s happened but I’m also finding the aldehydes in CHANEL No 22 are tormenting me.
      Currently I’m wearing MdO Musc to see if it stays or goes. I really want it to be just a little more crunchy, maybe I’m missing some of the musks they use.
      Portia xx

  • April Peery says:

    I love this one, it’s very beguiling and complex, I adore the older bottle as well.

  • Janice says:

    Hi Portia,

    My bottle looks just about like yours, maybe even a bit emptier, and I’ve been wondering if the formula has changed since I bought it years ago because this is one I would definitely want to repurchase. In addition to the notes you describe I get a very “green” feeling from this, maybe the vetiver? One of my favorite vanillas.

    • Portia says:

      Not sure about the formula Janice but I think there must have been some IFRA compliance measures of toxins. Hopefully they’ve kept it pretty similar.
      Remember also that your new bottle will smell lighter, fresher and less expansive until it’s settled and oxygenated a bit.
      Portia x