Sometimes I try a perfume, and from the moment it hits my wrists, I know I am going to have to wash it off. Mona di Orio Lux has the most bizarre candied citrus opening...it's the Jelly Belly you're afraid to eat. You pull it out of the bag, it's a color that could only be described as "burnt sienna," and it smells like someone made oranges with a chemistry set in the basement.
But. (Cutting right to the chase, not going to fake you out for another full paragraph.) Something happens with this one. I don't know what it is. The high citrus notes die off and the sweet becomes more bitter, and after that it becomes so interestingly unique. I'm not sure if it's fabulous or cloying. I applied this around, oh, eight-thirty this morning, and by eleven, I couldn't get enough of myself. I smelled fantastic...maybe. I might have been having one of those days where my purple dress paired with a really wide elastic hot pink belt over black leggings seemed to be hitting the high notes, making me feel like a super-thin supermodel right up until the late afternoon meeting where I overheard a co-worker refer to me as "Good n' Plenty." This has never really happened to me and I own exactly none of those items of clothing, but you get my point. Sometimes things are only fabulous to ourselves.
The thing about perfume is, you can't really ask. You can pull a friendly co-worker discreetly aside and ask if your tag is sticking out or if you have something stuck in your teeth or something stuck on your face, but shoving your wrist into said co-worker's nose and asking, "Is this awesome or is it just me?" somehow seems beyond the bounds of office etiquette.
After the sweet citrus dies away, Lux reveals an almost leathery undertone, dark and well-worn, woody and even a bit green. Further on, it becomes more buttery without losing its darker edge. Consider this while I list the notes:
Top: Sicilian lemon, litsea cubeba (huh?), petitgrain bigarade
Heart: vetiver, Marrocan cedarwood, sandalwood Mysore
Base: musk, amber, vanilla bourbon, labdanum
In case you were wondering (I was), litsea cubeba is an "evergreen shrub or small tree with lemon-scented leaves and small, pepper-like fruit." (Thank you, Wikipedia) I'm not sure what makes the top so horrifically sweet to me, but I think what comes after makes it worth it in the end. It's sophisticated in an off-putting way that's attractive. It's not at all masculine, but it's a handsome scent. It's Wallis Simpson!
*images from Aedes and Time.com