I bought this blind, trusting another Basenoter who compared it to one of my favorite dailywear fragrances. And yes, Dark Aoud is very similar to the drydown of Amouage's Memoir Man. I, of course, see that a good thing, but here the trajectory is fairly linear and actually very DIFFERENT than any other Montale I have smelled. For the first time in recent history, Montale's odd approach to naming seems to be dead-on with this one. It is DARK, in every way possible. I wore it all day yesterday (it lasts and lasts, but it's not like anyone will doubt that, being a Montale).
I'm not great with individual notes, but the "mood" I most describe in this is spicey, SMOLDERING ceder. Where Memoir Man is a crisp aromatic wood bonfire in a wet, green, coniferous forest.... Dark Aoud just decided to torch the place and turn the whole forest to embers. If you like this sort of thing (unending smoke and wood with that very specific love-it or hate-it Montale Oud Note, not that it is very strong here...), then you will like this fragrance. Suffice to say, I love it. No regrets on the blind buy. I do find a bit strange the release of this in the calendar year, however. I don't see this quirkily-painted bottle (which if fun - if you like the montale cans) getting much love in the warmer weather that is NOW. It's powerfully dark and begging to burst the synapsis of anyone near you on a cold fall or winter's day. But hell, wild fires do tend to reach their height in the summer... so there you go.
Moon Aoud (I got this as the 20ml offer from Direct-Purchase with Montale). I also really like this one. The name is weird, but so is the fragrance. I would love to see the official list of ingredients, as it is truly bizarre and a spray on my wrist at work had colleague asking "what the hell is that?" They like it, but they though someone was burning an incense stick somewhere. It is strong and pungent and spicey. Unlike Dark Aoud (which I found very linear), this one seems to travel all over the place...
At the onset - that bandaid characteristic of all Montales, but it is short lived and the blending in this is immediately more appreciated than in something like, Black Aoud, where it never stops. What happens next is a bit in gourmand territory (and in my experience, a bit rare with Montales) I do detect the dash of coffee, the link to red aoud (so is that the saffron?) and that very realistic leather (not soft and supple but raw) from Oud Cuir d'Arabie, but there is something rather "spacey" here as well (maybe Montale was NOT completely on drugs when they named this Moon Aoud). There is a slight rubber note (that I get very strongly with something like FAT ELECTRICIAN - the blend of vetiver and vanilla - but it is subtle and more smoothly blended here). Another clear note I'm picking up througout is LIPSTiCK. I have a sample of Histoires de Parfums Moulin Rouge, which was my first experience with this note in a fragrance - but if you wear or frequently kiss lipstick - you all know what I'm talking about.
Don't know how necessary this is if you have other Montale Aouds, but it's a good one if you don't. It's got the lasting power and sillage of the typical lineup, but might be superior in the blending and thus doesn't threaten to blow anyone away with any single offending note. It's fun, will certainly get comments, and true to the "oud" that has brought this house so much acclaim.