Louban opens with sandalwood, vetiver, a shady and dry floral note which may be a generic synthetic rose, then also violet and a base accord of patchouli and resins (I read olibanum but it smells a bit darker and thicker to me, almost like benzoin). Shortly a sort of woody-green chypre, with a dry and camphoraceuos undertone, also with a metallic-soapy feel witnessing again the average-to-low quality of Montale ingredients. Not bad per se, but if you are familiar with '70s and '80s chypres à la Guy Laroche, this smells like a pale, poor and uninspired rip-off of those – probably not on purpose, as I doubt both Mancera and his customers care about (or even barely known) that heritage, but it does a bit. The difference is only the synthetic oud note, by the way quite light, and a general "contemporary" lightness, which I'd consider more lack of depth and substance. Finally it quickly evolves on a clean, soapy drydown with synthetic nuances (from salty to rubbery, I guess due to the oud note). Not horrible, but dull.
Louban opens on a very rich accord of oudh and bittersweet spices, with especial emphasis upon the cutting, saffron-like aspect of the oudh. It’s an arresting and effective opening, and it at first distinguishes Louban nicely from the run of Montale rose-and-oudh compositions. The rose does eventually emerge as the oudh settles, along with a brisk green note (violet leaf?) and an unusually clean, dry patchouli. The spices simultaneously darken and take on a burning quality that overrides any excessive sweetness that the rose might impart. What I miss entirely is the olibanum (frankincense) from which Louban takes its name.
Once the oudh has receded, Louban lightens up considerably, and while I’d hardly call it a bright or light fragrance, it is less dense and weighty than many of the other Montale oudhs. Like any scent based on a rose and oudh accord though, Louban is potent, with plenty of sillage and ample projection. On the other hand, if you find say, Black Aoud too bold and aggressive, you may enjoy this new scent much more.
As a gender-neutral woody rose and spice composition Louban competes with scents like Cabaret, Paestum Rose, and Czech & Speake’s Dark Rose. It is bolder and spicier than Cabaret, more generous in its oudh note than Dark Rose, but to my nose devoid, despite its name, of Paestum Rose’s prominent incense accord. In all fairness must also point out that there are several other Montale oudh scents that get the same job done, most conspicuously Royal Aoud, Aoud Damascus, and Attar.
If intended as an incence fragrance I consider Louban an utter failure. As yet another oudh and rose scent Louban does not add much to the Montale range, but I suppose it does fit Montale’s apparent strategy of multiple near(?) redundant releases. If its siblings didn’t already exist, or if Louban's composition better expressed the ingredient for which it's named, I would rate it higher, but as it is my enthusiasm is bridled.
Louban smells like a dusty rose with some hints of musk and incense. Not overly sweet, it has a balanced sweetness. It's not like other Aouds: this one stays close to skin with a big lasting power. Unisex for sure. Definetely worth it. Thumbs up!
Like other Montale fragrances, this opens with an Oud note. It is much less pronounced than say Dark Aoud or Black Aoud. The Violet leaves are prominent. After the green opening, it dries down to a brooding dusty rose. This is a wonderful smell, I just don't know if it works for men. I wore it all day, and at times loved the spicy rose, at times thought of my grandmother's rose sachet. It is complex and long lasting. You can always count on longevity and projection from Montale.
Déjà vu all over again… I wonder how many times I have written reviews about a Montale aoud /rose creation? I also wonder if I will ever be able to distinguish one of them from another without a straight-on direct comparison. As other reviewers have suggested, this fragrance suffers from a seemingly eternal Montale déjà vu production concept… Louban is very similar to one or two dozen other Montale fragrances I’ve tried, and there comes a time when it becomes pointless to put too fine a point on the differences between them, so all I’ll say is, If you liked the other Montale aoud / rose scents you’ll probably like this one; if you didn’t, you probably won’t.