Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Dark Aoud by Montale

Total Reviews: 51
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Wood, oud and pepper - this is the triad that greet me in the opening blast. The wood is a mix of a dry sandalwood, touches of teakwood, and, of course, the oud. Whilst the first two and quite nicely done, the oud is also a good version of this wood that is currently so popular. It lacks and kindness, screechiness, or intrusiveness, has a slightly creamy texture and is blending in well with the rest of the gang - a team player oud so to speak. This out is rather nuanced, and I would not be surprised if Montale is using some small amount of natural oud here too; the performance is less than in many synthetic oud products, which points in the same direction. The creaminess is enhanced by a saffron component that develops further down the olfactory track, and a restrained note of black pepper is interwoven with the wood triad.

Later on a slightly earthy vetiver adds some brightness, with a smooth suede added that works well with the oud. An ambery hint comes and goes, whilst I get a slight impression of a dry dustiness towards the end of this olfactory sojourn.

I get moderate sillage, very good projection, and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

A delectable autumnal out creation that is composed of a good-quality oud that is blended well and displays some original touches. A good Montale. 3.25/5
21st November, 2020
I sampled this along with Black Aoud and Full Incense. I liked the other two a lot (one potent rose oud, one potent incensy). But I didn't like this one at all: at least on my skin and to my nose it went rapidly to a sour-sweat drydown which reminded me of the equally unpleasant end-destination of Aramis. Not for me.
24th June, 2019
Bbrito Show all reviews
United States
Did a blind buy of this because I do love oud and I do love wood... and I'm testing it out today at work but definitely I'm enjoying it so far and so did my roommate this morning when I walked out... so, so far it's a thumbs up for me.
27th March, 2018
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Picked up a sample of this.....

This fragrance reminds me of Aoud Vanille from the house of Mancera (Montale's sister store/brand). Rosy but not completely floral, dark even slightly sharp but not harsh, sweet but not syrupy.

I love the masterfully blended notes of Sandalwood, Oud, Black Pepper, Saffron, Vetiver, and Leather. With these notes, you get the leather but a bright rosy feel as the dry down emerges. Afterwards, this beautiful sweet slightly powdery aroma envelops and it's very intriguing.

Dark Aoud, again reminds me of Aoud Vanille; Not sure if I need this since I have Aoud Vanille....we'll see! Overall, great fragrance!
07th November, 2017
Peppery sandalwood, actually quite pleasant. I do get some of the smokey oud but it’s not as heavy or dominant as other Montales I’ve tried. Also, there is just a touch of something sweet, maybe the amber, that makes it easier to wear and enjoy.

Excellent performance from Dark Aoud, so go easy on the trigger. Big projection and lasts all day.
23rd October, 2017
Dark Aoud is actually the first Montale Aoud fragrance that I've found pleasant from the very opening. The screechy trademark Montale synthetic aoud is still present but I also get a raw leather note and a creamy sandalwood. I'm not sure if there's vetiver in this, but I do sense a dry element in the later stages which is likely more a iso-e-super effect than vetiver. It's typical Montale; brashly conceived with a bombastic sillage and longevity. What redeems Dark Aoud is the scent is highly masculine and the combination of aoud, leather and sandalwood is intoxicating, albeit a synthetic, lab originated attraction. Let's face it, real sandalwood just isn't going to be noticeable 10 hours later. Love Montale for what they are, don't worry over what they aren't. Not my favorite from Montale but not bad either.
15th October, 2017
Dark Aoud is all synth oud, black leather, pepper/saffron, and sandalwood to me with the same spice notes that accompany some of their other fragrances. Not bad, but wouldn't buy. Update: bought. I was looking for a simple oud without the rose (that usually accompanies oud) and without the huge pricetag (Killian, MFK).

On my skin, the dry down is a bit more pleasant with less of the leather and spice and more of the sandalwood. It's super clean and refined so if you're searching for something funky or dirtier or interesting, go somewhere else. It reminds me of Moto Oud by Blackbird, only richer, and less pepper and rubber. If you want something dirtier, complex, and more adventurous than Dark Aoud, sample Clive Christian V.

After trying Killian's pure oud and MFK's Cashmere Oud, I went with this one and not only due to the pricetag. I found this way richer and opulent than the others. My takeaway: don't overlook Montale.

8/10 overall

23rd May, 2017 (last edited: 21st December, 2017)
Particular. Peculiar. A very puzzling scent from application to drydown. Absolutely not a blind buy or a gift; try Black Aoud for that.
I like Breath of God and The Bug, by Gorilla. Those scents are not at all conventional. Dark Aoud also reaches into a broad palette of scents and shows them in a way that could be very unsavory to others. I classify these three scents together as peculiar scents which are quite individual and unique to the wearer's esthetics.
04th May, 2017
Montale Dark Aoud is true to name in that it definitely evokes a certain darkness. Its only listed notes are oud and sandalwood, but I definitely get more of a vetiver/oud mix, myself, with some of the characteristic dirtiness of each, with some of the fresh side of vetiver as well.

Dark Aoud is frankly a raw, dry expression of the principal Montale DNA that's often discussed--the generic, dark oudlike essence that many associate with the brand. Imagine that enhanced with perhaps a touch of vetiver and sandalwood, and there you have Dark Aoud. Though probably synthetic, it strikes me as very essential, for some reason.

Needless to say, this is mainly suited for colder weather wearing, and for men, but it's a classic case of it working fine when and for whom the wearer wants.

It's mellow enough in its dry down to be regarded as sophisticated but unfortunately I find it unpleasant enough to not regard it as something that I like, but something I could take or leave, even if I had access to it for free.

Performance seems exceptional, as with most Montale fragrances, and in that respect the value is there if you love the scent, at circa $100 for 100ml on Notino, its usual discounted spot.

6 out of 10
02nd February, 2017
Dark Aoud opens strong with Montale's signature synthetic oud backed up by a punchy bitter leather note. It is very dry with almost no sweetness. After about the first hour mark, the leather gives way to the sandalwood and, together with a pinch of saffron, in a slow process, the scent tames down the bitterness giving way to a slightly sweet woody note, but leaving the oud as the star. Strong effort and a pleasing smell from start to finish, in both bitter and sweet forms.
21st September, 2016
I may be anosmic to some components (I am very skeptical about “selective anosmy”, though) but I don’t get anything “dark” here, not even by mistake. And no oud either, but that’s no surprise with Montale offerings. Dark Aoud seems to me a very inoffensive, quite pleasant, slightly boring and extremely artificial cedar-sandalwood scent with a polite, understated, mannered dry look – almost minimalistic, in some way. It feels very clean, slightly earthy-herbal too, with a mild touch of spices to add a delicately sparkling edge to the core woody galore. That’s it. No oud, not even a synthetic hint of that, and no darkness for me, at all. Quite the opposite, actually (you know what scent Dark Aoud reminds me of, if any? A Quiet Morning by Miller et Bertaux).

Despite the criminally misleading name and a certain feel of flatness it’s a decent scent though, almost nice - a very clean and discreet everlasting woody blend with no particular sparks of interest, but effortlessly enjoyable. A very safe and versatile workhorse, I guess. One of those clean, generic “IKEA-like” woody scents, just with some spices and an eau de parfum strength and longevity. Not exactly the catchiest scent around and definitely overpriced, but there’s worse than this.

21st January, 2016
What makes Aoud dark? The noble rot of trees is by appearance dark. But does it really smell “dark”? When I think of dark and evil fragrances, I think of Salvador Dali’s juice from the abyss, Pour Homme. Now that’s a fragrance for raising the undead. But is Dark Aoud really dark? I would say dense is a better adjective. Yeah, call it Dense Aoud. It’s probably the densest fragrance I own. It’s chock-full of Aoud, of course and makes no apologies for it. The Aoud is omni-present and never lets up during DAoud’s arc. There’s also a sandalwood note that when joined with the Aoud delivers a deep-wood accord and rounds off the rough edges of the Aoud a smidgen. Also, there’s also a sprinkle of black pepper too that pops up from the time to time. And that’s pretty much it. But like others have mentioned, it’s a linear affair. If you didn’t like it at first blast, you won’t like it 7 hours later either.

I don’t mind linear fragrances as long as the linearity packs the required punch and boy, does it ever! In the end, I find DAoud very comforting, like a roaring fireplace in the cold depths of winter. Only it's Aoud on the fire.

08th October, 2015
Definitely not for everyone,definitely SAMPLE before you buy,2 sprays is definitely more than enough, long lasting,very good sillage,just not for me...Montale is a great house and i will sample others in the future....
02nd July, 2015
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Another masterpiece by MONTALE and one noteworthy blend of woody notes for a MONTALE fanatic just like you and me not cheap perfume lovers!it is excatly as the name states...DARK scent that conjures up erotic thoughts of the dark is true:you will desire this scent.whatever you set out to do, wearing this will always leave people wanting more, and gives you that little extra confidence we all need at time.for me it is by far one of my oud favorite fragrances because this kind of scents evokes unforgettble memories for me. Mysterious,Classy, Sultry,Sophisticated,Exquisite,Dark,Warm, Dry,Strong and Infinitely Woody.

It opens up with a fantastic and intoxicating oud note which stays right the way through and i found it masculine,as the perfume dries down you will start noticing subtle hints of the sandalwood which gives the perfume a great dark quality.the scent is linear but really artistic,perfect for night wear for the mature person who wants to stand out in a crowd.this EDP is unisex but in my openion it is perfect on a confident&rich tycoon man who intention to make a statement with his perfume.if you are looking for a super warm oud,woody scent without rose notes DARK AOUD can be a real treasure for your collection.


Longevity?Very Good on my skin.

13th June, 2015
Since perfume became an obsession, Montale Dark Aoud, Black Aoud and Full Incense have always been on my horizon; I knew one day I'd have to know. Given their very limited availability even in Toronto - a city now half a million larger than Chicago and on track for 10 million people in ten years' time - and the fact Montale neither ship to Canada nor answer their email, I had held off until now. There was always something just a bit more collectible, more compulsive to come first. A dubious reputation for hype over quality among the hardcore perfumistas exceeded only by Creed and Bond No. 9 was also a consideration.

I started with Dark Aoud.

But first two words for the perplexed concerning Montale, reformulation, and the merits of linear development:

Some commenters to this thread [here referring to my original posting at Fragrantica; I post there as "Tremere"] expressed concern their bottle might be the result of a change to the formula resulting in a pale version of a former powerhouse. This is a not unreasonable concern given the vagaries of IFRA restriction, the specter of EU regulation, and the less then candid attitude of most perfume houses toward their most loyal enthusiasts.

In this instance I think it is unlikely. Neither of Dark Aoud's key themes in oud and sandalwood - or rather, "oud" and "sandalwood" - will have been affected by IFRA restrictions imposed since that time. By contrast, Montale is admirably clear as to the difference between concentrations offered in store (45% for regular buyers) vs the more consumer friendly concentration for products sold online (28% and 35% depending on the fragrance). Given the evident confusion this difference elicits among that part of the market capable of finding Montale's Facebook page, or this one, but unlikely to plumb the depths of the firm's website, they should consider making this distinction entirely obvious when providing samples.

But as I've said, they don't answer their email so I wouldn't hold my breath on this one neither.

As to linear fragrances, this is neither a good thing nor a bad thing but a question of taste, expectation, and cultural practice. While not a Middle Eastern exclusive, Dark Aoud strikes me to be a good emulation of the effect of Gulf Arab fragrance culture. Even in those instances where someone is wearing a Western perfume, this will be layered with other perfumes, a musk or, in the case of a close friend from Bahrain, a house blend created and re-created on an annual basis by the family matriarch and worn by the extended family throughout the year. This same friend enjoys Thierry Mugler's Alien but, believe me, you've never smelled it on him.

Luca Turin famously described the unfolding of a perfume as a chemical poem; it is an astonishing turn of phrase, one of the most beautiful figurations I have ever heard. In the West, we wear poetry, relying on the artistry of its creator to tell a story for us in its wearing. By contrast, my friend is wearing a symphony, one he composed and composes every day, throughout the day, by and for himself, combining the house fragrance of his extended family with a fine oud, ta'if, saffron, or white musk (in small quantities of fine grades in all instances) and the predictable - here predictable is an important and a good thing - progression and limited "frequency range" of Alien's jasmine and sweet white amber or Stella by Stella McCartney's evocation of rose.

He can tell what part of Europe both sides of your family descend from by the scent of your coat hanging on the back of a chair and then tell you what fragrance notes will work well with your body chemistry. We Westerners, even those few of us trying to pay attention, might as well be blind.

You will forgive my vexation to hear a fragrance dismissed as "linear". I can't speak to the rest of Montale's line, though I shall be exploring it in detail as the opportunity arises, but if Dark Aoud strikes you as linear, and this term carries for you a negative connotation, you need not worry: It wasn't made for you and you'd wear it wrong if you tried.

Not that I'm wearing it right. I don't have the finesse to take into account my diet, my mood, the ambient humidity, etc. etc. But I have at least in outline an impression of what I'm missing and how much I have to learn.

So instead of offering a truly educated opinion, the best I can offer is a evocation of scent in a few words. You will know the feeling: The excitement as I took the package from the courier's hand, arriving from Oman a full day earlier than expected, the hurried unwrapping of the parcel and the quick but careful incision into the box, pulling the canister from its cradle and - new to me - working the clever clip and fob free so as to free the atomizer. Then the decision... A small hit to test its potency? No, not good enough. I've waited so long and now I must know.

A big hit, my hand steady even as my heart wasn't, and firm, forceful and even pressure with the plunge of the atomizer registering with the juice, squirting onto my shirt, my neck, my shoulders, and somewhere a fleeting... wetness... on my hand, my wrist as the cloud dispersed. I scramble for the clip, trying to replace it around the neck of the atomizer in those aching moments between the mystery and knowing, finally knowing, and just as it snapped back into place it hits.
The rush.

"This is what a Pharaoh smells like." I heard the words. Someone had said them aloud. It was me. Or rather, some part of me still trifling with words on the far side of the eternal, the oceanic, and without perceptible boundary. Those words were spoken by some abbreviated version of me, whereas I was now here, and here, and here, each incarnation, each iteration, now comprehensible as a kaleidoscopic tessellation of a simultaneity itself only a shadow in four dimensions of some experiencing fact beyond mere Being. Mind a bird set free. Thoughts as passing clouds.

"Death is the moment of separation, which comes to every person in every family. When the body grows cold and stiff like wood, it has to be burnt like wood."

This is Montale Paris Dark Aoud. To think I hesitated.
25th April, 2015
The opening is a blast of that signature Montale medicinal oud along with a sharp sandalwood note that accompanies it. No it isn’t close in comparison to a legitimate aquilaria crassna oil, but if that’s what you’re looking for you’ve come to the wrong place. I have really grown to appreciate a synthetic oud over the years and Dark Aoud is a good example of a synthetic done well. It is a very “wearable” oud that doesn’t have any of the more barnyard/fecal qualities that are out there. Most importantly it is not jam packed full of floral notes that are in a milieu of oud based fragrances on the market. As it dries down it seems to take on an almost petroleum-like quality as black pepper and a subtle vetiver barely mix in with the oud and santal. There is also an airy openness that is present that I can put my finger on, but really seems to open the scent up into a wonderful, “heady” experience. Excellenct sillage and longevity.
03rd July, 2014
A bit surprising that this made its appearance so late in the day in Montale’s oud series as it is quite the archetypal ‘Arabic’ masculine scent – variants of which I have encountered emanating from Arab men. Intense, focussed, going ‘Daddy!’ with full-throttle phwoaar.
The concentration is what will first hit the wearer. This is a perfume that is pretty single minded: it makes a hell of statement with a full-on smoky, spicy, intensely woody, oud accord. Dry, with some sharp (as opposed to creamy) sandal in the base, and with great tonal variation in the overall effect, Dark Aoud is rich and thrilling. It has such an enlivening effect, it’s almost aphrodisiacal. However it does flatten quite considerably after about half a day’s wear (when in terms of volume it is still going strong), by which time a certain post-aphrodisiacal tiredness may ensue. Use sparingly for maximum enjoyment.
03rd July, 2014
I was really excited to test this fragrance and today I did it via my sample and what a big surprise!
The opening start with a strong and medicinal oud and sandalwood note and some pepper in the background.
The medicinal word is really true because to be honest with you smell exactly like medicine!
I can remember a guy in youtube said this fragrance smell like band-aids!
Smell like betadin, gauze and band-aids that nurses use in hospitals!!! :v
In the dry down the oud note settle down but still it does have that medicinal aroma and now the sandalwood shows up.
The mid of this fragrance remind me of "CDG Wonderwood" but remove the cedar from it and tune up the oud note!
There is hint of sweetness in the background too but not too much!
In the base you have sandalwood and oud note hand to hand with a light soapy vibe in the background.
Projection is soft and longevity is around 4 hours on my skin!
I like the oud note in the natural way not like this!!
I'm out of here!!
16th February, 2014
This is a sexy fragrance.
Montale creations are way too good and since i live in northern part of INDIA,ASIA this winter season takes a toll on it.
It works amazing in chilly winters.
Dark oud can be a signature scent!!!
Love it to the core
09th November, 2013
The scent of solitude

Overall rating: * * *

Dry as dust, austere, lonely. This is the scent of solitude. It is utterly lifeless, though not in an off-putting way. There simply isn't a hint of anything green, animalic, or organic anywhere to be found.

Dark Aoud is one of my favorites in the Montale line. Despite the mythology that has grown up around it, it is really a rather straightforward, uncomplicated fragrance. I think there is more to it than oud and sandalwood--maybe some vetiver and a bit of spice. But it is without question a minimalist creation from a house that has made its repuation on baroque interpretations of "Arabian" perfumery.

Pros: powerful longevity and projection
Cons: overly austere and lifeless"

26th August, 2013
Dark, dry, yet thick. Not feeling it.

Montale is hit or miss, if they hit they do it amazingly well. If they miss, well, they miss hard. Here is a miss - a more "gourmond" auod in my opinion comapred to Black Auod.

23rd August, 2013
Bone dry, intense, please dry down, come hither....

Dry, austere, dark, sightly industrial when first applied. Someone write that it was what Freddy Krugger smells like; perhaps a bit strong, but I follow. Shrek's cave? Shrek's date night scent? For the first couple of hours, I just do not like this, and cannot imagine wanting to smell like this. However, after about four hours in, it begins to calm down. The intense austerity gives way to a sweet note, almost rose like. At this point, the sandalwood is prominent, and it while there is still this chemically, almost motor oil synthetic grease like quality, I actually like it. The problem is that I had to endure wanting to sand paper my skin off to get to this place, and since the longevity on this is so good, it just is depending a bit more patience that I think I might have.

I can see wearing this to an all night dance party in a warehouse, but alas, those days are pretty much gone for me.

I am not sure how to rate this, as I would give it a 1 star for the few hours, 3.5 for the smell now, but a 5 for performance. Sounds like a quixotic 3 star to me.

30th July, 2013
Interesting Aoud

A rather linear (not a negative thing), yet beautiful blend of truly dark, somewhat medicinal aoud and sandalwood. Aoud lovers will almost certainly like this. I like it myself. I can imagine waring this in colder months of the year, and maybe at night, which in my opinion goes well with the dark mood the scent creates. I do not think Dark Aoud is feminine at all, but that does not mean ladies should not try... Longevity is great, projection is very good. Very interesting!

Pros: unique, longevity and sillage
Cons: somewhat medicinal"

25th July, 2013
My first Montale...

This is the first Montale fragrance that I've liked enough to merit purchasing a full bottle. I would like to wax poetic about this frag, but Darvant and others have pretty much captured it's vibe perfectly. This is a powerful, dark, and profound fragrance. It is not a scent that you would wear to a nightclub to garner attention from females. It feels very powerful and personal. It is as strong as anything that I've experienced in the world of scent, and not for the faint of heart. People on here and other websites have said things in regards to stronger formulations from Montale. I cannot fathom this. Maybe I lucked out on a strong bottle, but I have the regular EDP, and I would be afraid anything stronger would give me olfactory fatigue in short order. The first spray that I applied to my wrist, was so oily and concentrated that it did not dry down completely for maybe two hours. This stygian beauty was wafting its way to my nose for many, many hours. My impressions: Dark wood, almost black. Red velvet, ancient sins and self indulgences. The Marquis de Sade's signature scent.

Pros: Longevity, projection, depth
Cons: polarizing scent

19th June, 2013
Only few words can describe Dark Aoud: heavy, dense, linear, raw.

It's a very unidimensional scent: sandal, oud and musk from the beginning to the end.

Also there's a tiny note of incense (maybe frankincense due to the small sweetness that appears after some hours).

There's no comparition with other sandalwood bases fragrances: this is totally different.

If i could compare, i would say Bois des Iles is a little small bird and this is a hungry hyena.

Sillage, lasting power and projection are hazardous.

One of the best Montale releases so far.
10th May, 2013
Just wore it for two times and became a fan almost instantly. Such powerful silage and longevity. I like the smell (some people may not find it interesting). I would suggest you to get a sample to try before buying expensive big one. I am not a perfumer so not sure about note and other stuffs but it smells heavy. I think it would work better on men's skin than women. One of my favorite perfumes. Thumbs up MONTALE
08th May, 2013
cerjr Show all reviews
United States
I like this, but am not sure it is bottle worthy.

I had a sample that I wore for a week. The first time I tried, it opened a lot like many of the Tom Ford Signature Collection. I am a big fan of Oud Wood, and this has a very similar opening to that, so was very excited.

In the dry down, however, there came a sharpness that was less refined, more brutal than I was hoping for. I expected a bit more refinement, a bit more subtleness. This was more rough around the edges than the other top line oud's I've tried in the past.

The amount of money this costs, in my opinion, would be better spent on Tom Ford's Oud Wood.
24th March, 2013
Not as dark as I was expecting. I actually get a little freshness with some great wood and some Montale oud. A+
03rd March, 2013
Skelly Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Montale's Dark Aoud. Worn by Barbary Corsairs after a hard day boarding galleons with knives clenched between their teeth. It's Bluebeard's signature fragrance, and Beelzebub uses it as air freshener.

You should buy a sample. Just because. I can't think of many occasions when I'd actually wear it, and it scares all the other little bottles. But I'm glad it's there. Just in case.

01st March, 2013
The opening phase reads as "dark medicine cabinet" to my nose. This cabinet is rough-hewn from antique, precious woods like cedar & sandalwood, & contains ancient, arcane potions, unidentifiable from the illegible script on their worn, dusty labels. The wood has been singed in some long-ago house fire, & this slightly burnt note mingles with the fug of years of incense-burning, & some pepper spilled on a nearby worktop.
After the first couple of hours, this fragrance mellows into an altogether friendlier & softer peppery incense, with an undercurrent of vetiver & ambergris. From here it doesn't change, but projects & lasts for many hours, as is usual for a Montale.
Some reviews paint this as almost frighteningly dark, & definitely masculine, but l really enjoy that challenging opening as well as the soothing, incensy drydown. l recommend this one to ladies who love all things dark & edgy; l could well end up with a bottle of this myself. Great stuff!
27th February, 2013