Not a fan of this.
Opens up with a promising lemon note and a woody background, and is quite nice in the beginning. However, from there on the citrus subsides and a sweetness, attributable perhaps to the tonka bean note, surfaces. I have trouble picking out the vetiver, but the fragrance retains a remotely earthy feel that is characteristic of so many vetivers. The overall effect is a nondescript, almost candy-sweet and vaguely woody scent without any class or character. Almost a scrubber.
If you are looking for a citrus-woody fragrance, look at Versace L'Homme. If you're looking for a vetiver, tonka bean or vetiver -tonka bean combination, look elsewhere.
Projection and longevity were nothing to write home about.
Citrus opening on a weird, unsettling, metallic/ozonic base – same note I detected in at least other 3 Monegal's. Mentholated and calone-ish balsamic accents, something shady and organic like oak moss, soft musks, some flowers. Wax-like vetiver – which I never like, and I don't get why so many contemporary vetivers do have that awful glue-like smell. I like this more when the flowers kind of "morphs" into a nice accord of sweet and talcum notes, while the vetiver note becomes more rubbery and soft. This creates a sort of weird but interesting suede-like texture which I quite enjoy. Then again, a change; this all melts and slowly becomes almost a chypre accord with a balsamic breeze – yes, kind of Mitsouko realm here, respectfully talking. While overall I don't like Monegal that much, I must admit I quite enjoy this fragrance – the notes, the materials are bit "meh...", but still it has a nice and intriguing story to tell, with quite a lot of twists and surprises.
16th April, 2014 (last edited: 17th April, 2014)
I really have no idea why I'm just not enjoying Umbra. This is the kind of scent that I usually love, and which almost always smell great on me.
It goes on with a blast of grapefruit before the bergamot/moss chypre smell comes through, supporting a leafy green smell that's as much mossy geranium as it is vetiver. The whole thing is a weird push/pull between the brightness of the citrus and the fusty mossy quality of the greens, which I think is what's turning me off. Somehow, they don't feel fully incorporated, like there's a note missing or maybe one too many ingredients. I honestly don't know, but something in there just isn't "clicking" for me, and I think it's just something personal.
I suppose it's mostly that there are so many excellent vetivers out there (Guerlain, Chanel, Givenchy, MPG, Dior, et al) that I have little patience for one that doesn't wow me.
This fragrance is the very best of what I look for in fragrance. Cool, peppery, uplifting, green, haunting as it draws you in to itself. It is a beautiful vetiver fragrance at its core, but the pepper plays such a big role that it is almost an equal partner. The green fir note is also very noticeable as it amplifies the vetiver while the moss note is like a background fog of atmosphere. I don't really smell tonka at all but I suppose it is used as a stabilizer or fixative for the other more volatile green, fir and pepper. This is a great fragrance for me and I enjoy wearing it. I highly recommend it.
A watered-down version of Vetiver Tonka, masculinised by reduced sweetness and a bit of added pepper. Very pleasant for the 3 hours it lasted.