This fragrance starts of smelling EXACTLY like those urinal cakes they put in men's urinals to keep the smell down. Cedar, pine, some antiseptic chemical, Awful Dry down is just as bad. Longevity and projection food, but that isn't a plus with this fragrance.
14th August, 2012 (last edited: 19th October, 2012)
I LOVE the Montale house oud accord. This one is different, although it's clearly related in the top notes. The heart and drydown are pretty far afield.
Soft, woody, and nutty are good descriptions. What it really smells like to me is an old boiler-type humidifier. Even if you patiently clean off the scale that forms on these devices, there's still a humid, mildewy kind of odor that eventually comes to dominate the steam. I've replaced several humidifiers because of this issue, and I don't think I'd pay money to reproduce the effect by wearing Montale Original Aoud.
I tried a sample of this once and I thought I like it so I bought a bottle. Then I tried the sample again, a second, and third time... it is regrettable. The aoud is OK but in three minutes, when it dries down, all that's left is a simple, one-dimensional note, a solution of black pepper. Solution of black pepper. I smell black pepper in rain water, left out in the summer sun for a couple of weeks, the kind of thing you'd typically find mosquitoes flying around. No, it's not nice. I haven't opened the bottle but after I tried the sample 3 more times I might just give the bottle away.
An exceptionally smooth and creamy oud fragrance. Simple, gentle, to the point, and charming. Not at all like the other Montale oud fragrances I've tried.
If you're unused to oud, don't judge this until the top notes have burnt off - they are disturbingly reminiscent of rubber gloves AND cream cheese. This initial quirk is more than made up for by many hours of mellow oud goodness.
It is what it is - oud! Montale could have chosen to make this wicked stong, but they didn't. Instead, it's a perfectly manageable strength without being too weak, either. I have a suspicion that had they made this more concentrated it would have turned off most people. The result is a pleasant, woody oud. The other advantage of not having it be too strong as that one can appreciate the subtlety and complexity of what oud smells like without being muddied with accompanying notes.
It's very difficult to articulate exactly what this type of oud smells like. The closest I can come is this - when I was young there was a tobbaccoist/ in town who sold cigars, pipes, lotto tickets, etc. Walking into the store was to be flooded with a variety of aromas, not only tobacco but smoke from different sources and ash. This is similar - woody, smoky, a touch medicinal, and rich with many different layers.
I'm so glad to have finally acquired a sample of this - the Aoud series is very hit or miss for me - but this really puts many of the line in perspective. Were I to be in the marketplace for a Montale Aoud, I'd have a tough decision between this and a few others I really enjoy (White, Silver, Damascus, etc. and I own Cuir). Great, great fragrance.