Mon Patchouly by Ramon Monegal is for lovers of dark and rich patchouli fragrances that embrace the sweet ambery element as well as the more traditionally masculine wood/tobacco one without committing to either gender. If there's any label to be put on Mon Patchouly is "evening" or "date night", though I'm just as probe to wearing it casually (then again I'm all for taking a French bordello sillage to the DMV or the post office, so you might not want to adopt this particular habit of mine). In any case, Ramon Monegal's interpretation of patchouli is neither a dusty earthy one (Borneo 1834-type) nor is it a red fruitchouli; also, there's nothing hippie headshoppy about it. If you insist on categorizing Mon Patchouly, I'd put it next to the utterly wonderful and tragically discontinued Tom Ford Private Blend Purple Patchouli.
There's a hint of oak moss in Mon Patchouly, enough to give it the aura of a chypre. The opening notes are sweet and floral in an almost abstract way. The list of notes calls it jasmine and I sort of get it, but it's more like a big bouquet of various colorful blooms than a white summer night. There's nothing summery in Ramon Monegal's patchouli. This is truly a hat and coat perfume, meant for a perfectly put-together and accessorized outfit. While Mon Patchouly is a modern fragrance (and created in the modern chypre style, though considerably heavier and thicker than Chanel's 31 Rue Cambon), it is very perfumy, perhaps the reason I'm reminded of Tom Ford's patchouli. The masterful use of light and shadow (vanilla-leather, jasmine-patchouli/moss) is fascinating to the fragonerd in me, but the reason I'm so in love with Mon Patchouli is that it smells delicious and seductive to my oriental-loving heart.
Mon Patchouli develops and deepens on skin; it also becomes sweeter, and despite not seeing vanilla anywhere on the list of notes, I'm pretty sure it's there in some form, and maybe also a little leather and tobacco. I don't have quite enough of the fragrance at hand (must rectify) to verify just how big a sillage it can create, but the projection of even a couple of drops is impressive, and the lasting power is a pure delight (as is the remnant on a scarf). I have yet to decide what will be my next Ramon Monegal full bottle, but this is a very strong candidate. It's that good.
Notes: Indonesian patchouli, oak moss absolute, incense, bourbon geranium, Egyptian jasmine, amber.
Ramon Monegal- Mon Patchouly ($185, 50ml) is available from Luckyscent, Bergdorf Goodman, select Neiman Marcus locations,a nd First In Fragrance. The sample for this review was sent to me by the company.
Photo: Model Carmen Dell'Orefice by Melvin Sokolsky for Harper's Bazaar, November 1960, via myvintagevogue.com.