Friday, July 1, 2011

Sample Give-Away + Review: Vanille from Mona Di Orio (2011)


A perfume should be able to speak for itself. But on some occasions, hearing its creator explain the logic behind its formulation adds considerable depth to how the scent is appreciated. Mona Di Orio's Vanille - one of four new additions to the Nombre D'Or line - is a case in point.

Anxious to steer away from more conventional interpretations of vanilla, Di Orio hit upon the idea of an old ship carrying spices between Europe and the east coast of Africa. In addition to the pods responsible for the world's favourite ice-cream flavour, the cargo would have included cloves, nutmeg and barrels of rum. The sailors would have eaten large quantities of bitter oranges to prevent the development of scurvy. And the ship itself would have been partially constructed from palo santo wood, the distillation of which provides the perfume industry with guaiac oil. Di Orio's intention was to harmonise these elements into a coherent whole, and I'm pleased to say that she's succeeded with commendable finesse.

The spices, the citrus fruit and the woody notes are all in evidence, seamlessly combined to create an effect that is subtle, luxurious and wholly surprising. Some may claim that the unmistakable scent of vanilla isn't sufficiently prominent in this composition to warrant the name Vanille, and there may be something in that argument. But there's no doubt that the effect of the vanilla absolute is all pervasive in the blend, imbuing the disparate elements - particularly the boozy, CO2 rum extract - with a well-judged dose of sensuous powderiness.

Vétyver and Tubéreuse - two other new Nombre D'Or entrants - may be more faithful in their representation of their eponymous materials, but Vanille gets my vote for its charming originality. Finely balanced and compelling, it may well be Di Orio's best work so far.

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Mona Di Orio in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]

For a chance to win a small sample of Vanille or Vétyver or Tubéreuse, please leave a comment on the subject of scented journeys.

NOTE: Apparently, Blogger has prevented a few people from being able to leave comments on various blogs. If this happens to you, feel free to email your entry to persolaise at gmail dot com.

Give-Away Draw Terms & Conditions:
i) the draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Thursday 7th July; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me before Thursday 14th July in order to claim his/her prize, an alternative winner will be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume / perfumery product posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will not be kept on record, nor will it be passed on to any third parties; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfume, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials.

Good luck!

Persolaise.

35 comments:

  1. I've been testing the Nombres d'Or samples too and I want to review them but don't know how to start.
    They are all really good. Ok, in my mind, FB worthy. But I guessed that might be the case as I love MdO's work.
    Thank you for the explanation behind Vanille, I was wondering what the idea was because it wasn't as vanillic as I thought it might be but that is a good thing (I have enough vanilla vanillas). :)

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  2. I hope blogger is nice to me. I would love to be entered. For me every journey is scented and in some ways the more mundane the journey the more I need a show stopping scent- but yesterday night I walked up Piccadily after a concert in Hyde Park and was hit with the most intense blast of scent from Green Park, it was a humind summer smell of grass and florals and I thought I wish I could bottle that very scent, right now, if I could I would wear it forever

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  3. A sailor ship carrying spices, rum, oranges and no doubt, sweaty sailors lol I like the sound of this fragrance.

    For me, scented journeys resonates with my own personal journeys and travels. Backpacking through China and Tibet I got to experience so many smells that I only long to smell again once more. The smell of lush, green humidity, and petrol fumes from a boat. The smell of yak butter candles in ancient temples, eclipsed by the smell of damp caves and mountainous air. The smells of raw miced yak meat, eggy soup, garlic bread, thinning air, herb shops, dried fish, human shit and piss, pond gardens and green tea. It was a journey I'll never experience quite the same way again. One that I wouldn't want to either.

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  4. Most of my scented journeys involve the tube and being in close proximity to unwashed people. I would love to try Vanille and improve the scent of my surroundings!

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  5. Not many scented journeys for me... I'm very much a homeboy, I guess. Of course, my car often smells really nice, either from my perfume or my wife's, when I go the short distance to work...

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  6. The strongest scent memory I have from travel (besides New York subway stations), is the place we stayed in Bariloche, Argentina. The rooms are scattered in various buildings along a pathway that goes up a steep hill - that way many of the rooms have great views - the pathway twists and winds through stands of fragrant lavender dripping with honeybees.

    I would love to be entered into the draw. Thank you.

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  7. Thank you for the review. What a compelling inspiration for this perfume. I have been wanting to try several of her creations, and this is just more incentive.

    On the subject of scented journeys, the one that comes to mind is a trip to Tasmania. I remember the smells of grass and farm animals mixing with air that was as fresh and misty as coastal air. It was like nowhere I've been.

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  8. Thanks for the opportunity! Scent journeys... Makes me think of the subway in my city, on some lines I can guess what station we're at simply by the smell of the station, some are very distinct. One smells like a guy I dated, another smells of particular spices...

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  9. Ines, that's exactly what makes Vanille interesting. It's a vanilla... but it isn't a 'vanilla vanilla' ;-)

    You know what I mean...

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  10. Rose, that sounds wonderful. Nature always wins hands down, doesn't it?

    You're in the draw.

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  11. Liam, there's no sweat on these sailors. They may have had a sip of rum, but they've also just come out of the shower.

    Oh dear... that's just made it even MORE interesting for you, hasn't it?

    Thanks for your travel stories. What does thinning air smell like??

    You're in the draw.

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  12. London, cities may not give us many enjoyable smells, but they certainly give our noses plenty to deal with.

    You're in the draw too.

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  13. Fernando, I love smelling my wife's perfume in the car too.

    You're in the draw.

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  14. Matildaben, thanks for that. I would never have associated lavender with Argentina.

    You're in the draw.

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  15. Anotherperfumeblog, that's another part of the world I must try to visit one of these days.

    You're in the draw too.

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  16. Alnysie, gosh, now there's an intriguing thought. A blindfolded trip on the Underground. Hmm...

    You're in the draw.

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  17. Yes indeed, I love a good whiff of the body odours, something tells me though, sailors clean, or not, are still probably a bit pongy. Best to leave them to dry out for a bit lol

    Thinning air, it's going to be hard to describe isn't it. Um, the best way I can put it is, barely there. I have asthma too, and whilst it never gives me much grief, standing in the mountains, smelling the air I was sniffing and sniffing trying to take more air in. It smelled green, but pale. Like fresh air that you have smelled before, but not present enough. Indeed my lungs were filling, but they were half filling. Maybe I had altitude sickness that day. On a different day I definitely did as I was hallucinating that night in the hostel and broke out in a fever. I wish I could describe the smell better. The other ones are easier, yak meat, yak butter candles, the caves, the temples, the burning juniper and zanba.

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  18. Persolaise, thank you for the review, I enjoyed the story behind the scent (and the explanation itself made this perfume more interesting - at least more interesting for testing).

    Thanks to everybody who shared their scented travel memories: I was reading them as I tried to come up with my own answer.

    Sorry, I can't think of a thing! Most of my memories are perfume-related. Probably I'm not much of a fan of nature/natural scents :)

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  19. Liam, that's fascinating, thank you.

    The closest I've come to experiencing what you describe is in the Middle East. Sometimes, air humidity levels are so high (they often reach 100%) that when you breathe in, it doesn't feel as though you're actually breathing in air... just moistness. Very strange.

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  20. Undina, don't worry. You've made an effort... so you're in the draw ;-)

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  21. I have been wanting to try these as I love the quality of MdO scents. This vanilla sounds very interesting and I have heard good things about the Vetiver as well.

    Now, scented jouneys... This has two meaning for me:
    1. a journey with a scent: August in Kythera, the scent of thyme, wild immortelle, all the herbs that have been blooming a few weeks before, are now scorched by the mediterrenean sun, infused with sea breeze. At times they smell like Annick Goutale Sables, at times like Habit Rouge edp. Magic
    2. a scent that has taken me on board a journey: Fougere Bengale, sweet spices, blond tobacco, low-key lavender. I feel like I am crawling on my belly like a tiger, hiding in dry grass, waiting for the prey

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  22. I´m currently in Reykjavik, Iceland. Reykjavik is a great city in many ways, lots of musicians, a unique sense of fashion and nature to die for. The air is the cleanest I´ve ever inhaled. In every breath there is lots and lots of cold fresh air with just a hint of salty sea, grass and seaweed. It´s great but now I´ve been here for a week and I´d love to smell a little little something more. Therefore, please include me in the draw, to be able to scent things up around here :) Thanks!

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  23. Memoryofscent, thanks for sharing. I really must try Sables one of these days.

    You're in the draw.

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  24. Flavourfanatic, there's something so life-affirming about clean air, isn't there?

    You're in the draw too.

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  25. I really enjoyed the description of Vanille. I love vanilla based fragrances but much prefer them with other scents mixed in so this sounds very intriguing.

    My scented journeys are most often my trips in to London. From my perfume which I get to enjoy on the train in, to the inevitable trip in to Selfridges or Liberty for a snoop in the beauty hall, to the journey home frequently laden with spritzed tester sticks. Strangely the scent of fig from a cosmetics brands that I love often evokes memories of these journeys too!

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  26. ModestyBrown, I don't think I've ever managed to go to London without returning with several scent blotters ;-)

    You're in the draw.

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  27. I'd be interetd in seeing how this compares conceptually with two masterpieces of scented journeys by Olivia Giacobetti: L'Artisan's Navegar (a pretty godd "cedar-e-super scent) and, perhaps closer to the present one, Idole de Lubin, which is also about rum and spices and the benchmark "journey" scent IMO.

    As a historian I can't help but notice that the concept is fraught with potential embarrassments. There was the problematic African Mask of Idole - beautiful in Art Deco terms, problematic as a stereotypization nad homogenization of "Africanness." Concerning a ship carrying spices from Africa to Europe I have to immediately think of what that ship, as part of the triangular Atlantic trade network , was carrying on its way from Africa to the Americas...slaves.

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  28. Journeys for yt?? That is a laugh!! My daily scented trek is from the downstairs - which smells of my 81 year old mom`s love of slightly burned toast w/ coffee - to the upstairs and my haven a roomful of scent flacons and related items! Breathe AHHHHHHHH!! :-)

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  29. Dukeofpallmall, I suppose the booziness is a slight link between Idole and Vanille, but that's about it. The latter is much lighter, cleaner and fresher.

    I've always found the Idole bottle problematic too, but I admit I hadn't considered the full implications of the issue of the ships' cargo.

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  30. Linda, I'm with your Mum! I love the scent of burnt bread and coffee.

    You're in the draw... and Dukeofpallmall, I forgot to say that you're in the draw too.

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  31. My scented journey is a person. A small white haired man who comes to the library I work in. His clothes are dirty, his face and hands too. He always sits in a remote corner and leafs through books of war photographs.
    He has a strong and peculiar smell of metal: iron, rust, soldering, earth, fir: very dry, distinct, unmistakable.
    Everytime he comes I am overwhelmed.
    His metallic smell take me to another realm,a place where certain beings are liked to elements, a mythic time of blacksmiths and sacrifices.
    It is easy to imagine he comes from the dephts of the eart, son of Vulcan the god of fire and forge.
    Did I tell you that his metal scent also remids me of fresh blood?
    It links him further to the wars and weapons he is so fond of.
    An alchemy binds all these impressions into a powerful whole that take me back in time, in a strange scented journey down below.

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  32. Isayah, that's a wonderful description, thank you.

    You're definitely in the draw.

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  33. Thanks Persolaise! and please excuse my typing! I should have read my text before hitting that «publish your comment» button!

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  34. Isayah, don't worry, I have a high typo tolerance level when it comes to comments.

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  35. *** THE DRAW IS NOW CLOSED ***

    Thanks very much for your entries.

    The winner will be announced on Sunday on www.persolaise.com

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