Positive Reviews of Les Nombres d'Or : Vanille by Mona di Orio

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    Colin Maillard's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    By far one of the nicest and most creative vanilla scents on the market. Vanille opens with an intriguing clash of notes, with vanilla standing just halfway a citrus top note, a boozy note and a base accord with both “creamy” sweet woods (sandalwood), spices and darker notes which to me smell like a sort of “roasted” leather/birch note, smoked and dry, with a hint of vetiver. Really subtle, yet providing and enjoyable, thin “black” base layer. That’s it initially, a martial and quite “angular” blend with a rather sharp and simple composition style, yet fascinating, ghastly in a way but also romantic: finally the Neoclassic inspiration behind many Mona di Orio scents finds a meaning here, and it’s well developed (instead of going completely wrong, like in several other scents by her). The mood and the atmosphere here are really charming and peculiar, a sort of decadent, odd, skeletal ambiance with dark, dry powdery notes, gloomy and smoky in a way, but also deceptively “white” and soapy. This dry note of vanilla smells like the smell of old books and papers – which is no news, as I recall having read somewhere a chemical similarity between “aged paper” and vanilla. If they had mummies during Renaissance, I guess this may have been their smell. Or, the smell of an antique closet stuffed with your great-grandma’s toiletries and books. In a way, and only for its first stages, it reminded me a bit of La troisième heure by Cartier (for its vanillic-dark structure, although here is all more dry, dusty, woody and less leathery), plus with a touch of clean, gray-ish musky-soapy-aldehydic notes. As minutes pass, say within the first hour, Vanille “warms” up becoming less dry and less smoked and letting resins and sandalwood emerge better, becoming overall softer, sweeter and more Oriental. Despite its name I wouldn’t really consider this a gourmand, but a solid, unisex, classy and really compelling creative take on vanilla, of which here Mona di Orio enhanced the dusty, dry and darker nuances. It’s still fun for me to realise how she was able to accomplish only either great scents or total disasters, but still, this one is really good.

    7,5-8/10

    12th November, 2014

    ClaireV's avatar

    Ireland Ireland

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    This is possibly one of the best-smelling vanilla fragrances I have ever laid my nose on, and it solves one of my personal dilemmas of being reluctant to spend a lot of money on a vanilla fragrance by being not very much focused on vanilla at all. Which kind of defeats the purpose, I know. Funnily enough, the lack of vanilla in this caused me to despise this fragrance when I first tested it a month or two into this hobby – I even kept my notes from that testing, which read: “1. Cloves, 2. Rum, 3. Orange, 4. Dark Woods, 5. Where is the bloody vanilla???”. Back then, it almost made me angry, thinking that somebody hated vanilla so much that they made a vanilla fragrance that avoided the note altogether.

    Perhaps my nose is different now, or maybe experience has simply pushed my taste beyond its initial starting position. Testing it now, I appreciate a few things I wasn't able or experienced enough to pick up on back then. First of all, there IS vanilla in this, but it is more an abstract representation of what a vanilla pod smells like, with all its rummy, dark, almost animalic flavors, rather than vanilla extract or a cupcake kind of vanilla. Second, this fragrance crosses several of my favorite types of fragrance categories with each other, and does it in an elegant, confident manner. Specifically, it crosses a Christmas-style pomander spice opening (reminiscent of Fendi’s Theorema and Frederic Malle’s Noir Epices) with a boozy, dark woods done “Pirate style” a la Lubin’s Idole, and follows it up with a long, creamy vanillic sandalwood dry down that recalls the gingerbread delights of Chanel’s Bois des Iles pure parfum. In fact, this fragrance strikes me as being far more about sandalwood than vanilla itself.

    But at least from a technical standpoint, this is clearly a stab at suggesting vanilla in an abstract manner rather than a direct paint-by-numbers job. The booziness and the dark, almost licorice-inflected woods are supposed to suggest the dark, sticky, almost alcoholic smell of the vanilla pod itself, whereas the creamy sandalwood stands in for the scads of vanilla cream we have come to expect of the very word “vanilla”. The drydown does come extremely close to the smell and feel of Bois des Iles pure parfum, but lasts for a much longer time, so I may be forgiven for thinking that Mona di Orio’s Vanille gives you the best of both worlds. Actually, it comes close to Holy Grail status for me, except (paradoxically) for the fact that I am hesitant to buy a fragrance that smells so much like three or four of my other favorite scents. I go back and forth on whether it’s redundant or not. I’ll probably buy it eventually, though, because it’s just beautiful and satisfying from every angle, and also because it’s the one vanilla that I keep thinking about long after I've emptied my sample.

    12th November, 2014

    dlane1953's avatar

    United States United States

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    An elegant and rich woody oriental

    First off, I have to point out, as others have, that this is not a classic vanilla fragrance. There's nothing gourmand about it, so if you like your vanilla "straight-up" and sweet then you might feel disappointed with this rendition. But if you're looking for something wonderfully rich, complex, and ever-changing, then you must sample Vanille.

    The unfolding of the notes is not linear, with the exception of the opening. The opening is greenish and citric, very fresh and somewhat short-lived. The rum doesn't become apparent right away, but instead comes and goes throughout the wearing. I don't like rum in fragrances, but the note is lightly used here and never offensive. The woody notes come into play rather quickly, with a touch of sweetness in the background. At no one point do I say "AHA! Vanilla!" The vanilla is woven into the tapestry of the fragrance very nicely, but is not the star of this show. As the fragrance dries down, you get occasional whiffs of dry vanilla surrounded by the deeper notes of amber, musk, and leather. Although the basenotes suggest heaviness, they are sweetened by the addition of vetiver and Tonka bean, so the fragrance is never without a touch of sweetness.

    I think it's an excellent unisex fragrance. I've been sampling during the hot, humid days of late summer here on the East Coast, and though some might think it too heavy for warm weather, I love it. I look forward to wearing when the weather cools off as well, since different facets will probably play out in cooler temps. Sillage is average, longevity over 16 hours. Highly recommended.

    Pros: Complex, rich, not sweet like most vanilla fragrances
    Cons: none"

    19th September, 2013

    lottalotta's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    This is so similar to Organza indecence to me, even after I compared them wrist to wrist. The Mona is slightly less sweet, but still the closest thing Ive ran across so far.

    27th April, 2013

    Incontinent's avatar



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    Mona di Orio's Vanille is an astoundingly artistic fragrance that really showcases what the art of perfumery can do. As far as dynamic dry-downs and the subtle in-and-outs of different notes and accords, it is absolutely on par with the Andy Tauers and L'Artisans.

    The initial blast is a cool spice packet reminiscent of Serge Luten's Amber Sultan. The notable notes include cinnamon, pepper, amber, cloves, and sandalwood. This lasts for a short time and is followed by an amazingly delicate cigarette smoke accord- patchouli and wood. I swear there's jasmine in there- it smells a lot like Jasmine and Cigarettes by Etat Libre d'Orage. Phase three begins the smooth vanilla and tonka bean, and I confess that this is actually my least favorite part of the fragrance. It's a bit too simple, a bit too similar to cooking vanilla, and yet it's balanced enough by the other accords that I'm not put off all that much. It's a concentrated, dark, and boozy vanilla.

    Les Nombres d'Or: Vanille is a showcase of fragrance as a work of art. It is as pleasant and easy to wear as it is easy to admire. It's a scent for the wearer, as opposed to one for an audience. 9/10

    26th February, 2013

    leto's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    One of the greatest vanille based fragrances I've ever encountered. Salutes the note from earthy-rooty beginning to a flowering of smooth and warm flavor. Totally justifies the price since it smells great and quite strong. You can have the whole day in your aura with just 2 sprays, it stays and stays, what a performance.

    25th February, 2013

    Possum-Pie's avatar

    United States United States

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    Spicy vanilla/tonka. Not overly gourmand because the sandalwood and ylang ylang keep it dry. Don't expect a sweet food vanilla, it is more sophisticated than that.

    30th October, 2012

    alfarom's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Personally I wouldn't classify this as a vanilla centered composition but more sort of a sweetish sandalwood fragrance. In this context Les Nombres d`Or Vanille is a well balanced woody composition that while being surely satisfying it's probably not among the most original fragrances around. Don't let this disencourage you, Vanille is an incredibly fine fragrance if you're up for a solid, not overly sweet, boisè.

    It opens with a boozy accord of citruses and rum to quickly evolve into a sweeter tonka/vanilla middle phase where spices and amber provide some body. Sandalwood start remarking its presence to gradually take over during the moderately sweet, woody drydown supported by a slight musky quality and some vetiver. Nice progression, smooth evolution, great balance but, in the end, we've seen this iteration of the woody/vanilla too many times. I can't say I dont like it but, considering the price tag, this is something I won't get antious to purchase...

    Downline: A nice vanilla for people who don't like straight forward vanillas.

    18th April, 2012

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    On application I'm getting a blast of orange and cloves with woods quickly arriving behind it. After a while I start to notice tonka bean with vetiver underpinning it.

    It stays unsweetened for a good few hours and it's like your smelling the tonka bean directly but its giving you a slight hint of what is to come.

    In the basenotes the vanilla and a touch of ambre come to the forefront and it starts to get sweeter but not too much.

    This fragrance is complex and smells good but it is a unusual take on vanille. If you like your vanilla full on you may be underwhelmed and unsatisfied. Though if you find vanille to cloying and sickly then this is what you may be looking for.

    A good complex vanille fragrance that is restrained but still a delight too smell.

    24th March, 2012

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    Mona di Orio Vanille is a complicated ambery boise  with  an undeniable orangy-boozy and rooty soul and with a final leather tone. The creamy and musky dust starts hesperidic, herbal, slightly laundry and sweetly alcoholic. Rum, spices and tasty fruits boast the scent out definitely lush and exotic. Some hint of shadowy smokyness is present in the blend till the end that is "yellow-green" by balsams and musk, slightly floral and suede veined. Pleasant, averagely resinous and exotic. There is some "corporeal dirtiness" in the middle of the trip that makes the fragrance to be captivating.

    23rd February, 2012 (Last Edited: 09th December, 2014)

    glorious1's avatar

    United States United States

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    Very surprising scent. I ordered a decant unsniffed. I am not sorry. I put it on just a little while ago. I smell boozy, the clove, leather, amber and wood.
    Not at all just a vanilla scent. I believe I LOVE this!

    09th February, 2012

    Harvest Moon's avatar

    England England

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    I don't normally like vanilla all that much, but I very juch love this one, particularly going into winter. I wouldn't wear it every day because it's on the heavy side, but sometimes I'm in the mood for this when I need some sofa time - think good book and chunky sweater. It's rather leathery and balsamy with none of the cloying vanillin sweetness encountered in other perfumes.
    Somebody mentioned boozy, never thought of that, but now that it's mentioned, a bit of that too.

    19th October, 2011

    drseid's avatar

    United States United States

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    Vanille was definitely different from what I expected... The top notes were just a hair boozy, but then the scent quickly transitions to a very dry vanilla bean heart with a hint of clove to support it. This is quite different from just about any vanilla based gourmand I can remember. I tend to not like vanilla based scents, but this dry vanilla bean heart really is sublime and can appeal to gourmand fans and haters alike, a rare feat indeed. It takes a bit of time to get used to, as it is dissimilar to what one initially expects, but it captivates by its individuality and clarity. Sandalwood dominates the base with even a hint of cinnamon, adding a nice support to the dry vanilla bean. It looks like I have found my reference vanilla scent. Projection and sillage are both average, but longevity is excellent. Vanille is my second favorite offering in the extremely strong Les Nombres d’Or lineup. This 4.5 out of 5 star offering is quite impressive, and easily worthy of full bottle purchase.

    04th October, 2011 (Last Edited: 02nd June, 2012)

    Jermel's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is my most favorite vanilla scent so far. The best part is the dry down. The top notes of bitter orange and rum are super yummy. However, the top notes disappear very quickly revealing a luscious vanilla, vetiver, and amber scent. About 2 hours later, there is just a gorgeous vanilla scent left. I would sample from lucky scents first but I think it's the most sexy unisex vanilla on the market.

    30th August, 2011

    vilt's avatar



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    It starts very citrusy, fresh but gentle, warm - I sense this "warm" feeling in all Mona's perfumes. Then vanilla scent starts to appear, still with citrus scent - that' why so not as usual vanilla. It let's me imagine a couple - man and a woman, dressed all in white at their sea shore house. This smell is very light, positive, careless. But it's also luxurious. Nothing dramatic, nothing fatal or mystic about this smell - it's just like slowly and tender making love on the beach. Very slow, but you enjoy it.
    After a couple of hours it turns into something too sweet for me. You are just drowning in sweetness.
    After 7 hours it's a sweet cinnamon smell, though there is no such note mentioned. Sweetness is not overwhelming anymore, it's warm, calm, still sweet.
    It lasts long, just wished the opening and middle took more time :) Not my scent, I prefer perfume that has more mystery in it, but Vanilla is a very good perfume, luxurious and different. So if I was more of that couple I imagined on the beach I would definetly wear it.

    Interesting note - when sprayed on my son - while vanilla was opening it also gave an interesting rusty metal smell on the skin. Nothing like that on me.

    30th August, 2011

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