Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Today's Sample: Mona di Orio Nuit Noire

I'm new to this perfume thing. Basically, it all started like this: Per my standard routine, I was reading the NYT online at work one morning, getting ready to start my day, when I came across an article about beauty blogs. Intrigued, I decided to take a look. Shhh...don't tell anyone, but I ended up spending an entire day at work looking at blogs!

Some of the best things I found (although I wonder if my husband thinks so) were the fragrance blogs. All the stuff about makeup and hair care and clothing is a lot of fun, too, but I was more familiar with all that. But fragrance! Perfume! I've always loved it, but my experience was limited by what I could know, what they sold at the department stores. I knew about Hermes and Guerlain and even Aqua di Parma, but I knew nothing about all these others: Frederic Malle, Serge Lutens, L'Artisan, Fifi Chachnil, The Different Company, Diptyque. So much to learn.

And the people who review these fragrances know so much, it's such a joy to spend the day reading. Although I have titled this entry after the perfume I am sampling today (Samples! I'm keeping the folks at Aedes soooooo busy), I won't try to fool you. If you want real reviews, you need to move your mouse over to the "Links I Enjoy" area on the right and check out Now Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, Legerdenez, Peppermint Patty, and Perfume Smellin' Things. They have terrific reviews, along with links to even MORE places where you can read reviews and learn about the wonderful world of perfume.

Me, I have to rely on my nose, and on what I've worn before. Sometimes, this actually works. For example, on the dry down (look at me, using the lingo...but wait, is two words, or only one--drydown? argh), Ormonde Jayne's Ta'if smells very similar on my skin to Dior's Dune. I wore Dune for several years in my 20s, so it's a fragrance I know well. Turns out, two of the (many) base notes for Ta'if are broom and amber. What are the notes in Dune, according to Sephora? Peony, broom, and amber! Score! At least I think so. If any perfume experts ever read this, feel free to correct my wrong-headedness.

I got a sample of Mona di Orio's Nuit Noire to round out a sample order from Aedes. I was getting a sample of the Carnation (which I haven't tried yet), so I thought "What the heck?" and put it on the list, without any expert advice.

Mona di Orio's Web site lists the notes for Nuit Noire as follows:
Top: orange flower, cardamom, ginger, orange guinee
Middle: oliban, cinnamon, tuberose, sandalwood, clove, cedarwood
Base: amber, leather, musk, tonka

I am hoping someone will feature a "real" review of this scent soon (forgive me if there's one out there and I missed it...there's so much to read), so I'll know what it is that smells so unbelievably good. Honestly, if I had read the list of notes beforehand, I might have skipped this sample. The cardamom, the clove, and the amber especially would have led me to believe that this scent would be overpowering and sweet, but it isn't. Cedarwood, sandalwood, and cloves are notes in another fragrance I used to wear, YSL's Opium (another standard for girls in their 20s who only shop at dept. stores). I loved Opium, but in the last few years I found it too sweet and incense-like for my taste. And now, with all this exposure to new fragrances, I'm not sure what my taste is anymore.

Nuit Noire, I think, is what might be called "dry." There's a definite sweet undertone, but it's not at all overpowering. The dry might be the leather, and the sweet...maybe the amber? The tuberose? Because it's not the sharp sweet of cloves or cedar, and it's not woody, either. I am not familiar with some of these notes on their own, and if I were more so, I might be able to do it justice. For example, I haven't worn enough fragrances with tonka...could I be smelling that? Oliban, orange guinee...I need to look these up. I don't know what they are.

I guess I would say, think of rich, expensive leather interior in a fine automobile, and then imagine that someone wearing a beautiful, not overpowering, somewhat sweet perfume was driving this car. Someone elegant, understated. Nuit Noir is how the car would smell if you were to get in a few hours later and think, "my god, what smells so good?"

I've been keeping notes on my samples in a journal, but I might start tracking them here, where I can get some feedback. I'll try to backtrack and talk about some things I have tried, as well as chronicle the new stuff.

For a review of this fragrance, visit Perfume-Smellin' Things.