Perfumer Mona di Orio who passed away suddenly in December 2011 left behind several formulas for new perfumes that have been released since that sad day. The latest is Eau Absolue, part of Mona's Les Nombres d'Or series. I have to admit that the name scared me a little. We all remember what happened when Uncle Serge went the Eau way. There was no need to worry. While Mona di Orio Eau Absolue is somewhat lighter than many fragrances in the line it is as complex and bewitching as we've come to expect.
Eau Absolue opens with a rather misleading burst of citrus. It's bracing and lemony, dry and slightly bitter like a very grownup drink. This early summer morning is followed closely by unfolding layers of crisp aromatics, woods and spices that surround and protect a resinous-incense core. Cistus labdanum can turn quite dirty and musky. In Eau Absolue Mona di Orio kept the barnyard at a safe distance, though there is an animalic presence in the late dry-down. Somehow the fragrance manages not to get its white shirt soiled even though it steps dangerously close at times.
The juxtaposition of clean and dirty notes makes the dry-down of Eau Absolue very enchanting. It's warm and slightly ambery, you can almost feel and smell crumbling soil that has soaked sunshine and clean air all day. Eau Absolue is almost bursting with life-- it's zesty, peppery, and just animalic enough to feel the heartbeat under the surface.
In terms of sillage and projection, my sample is a roll-on which keeps things closer to the skin than when you spray. Eau Absolue definitely has a strong presence, and long skin life (I admit to over-applying. I love it so much).
Notes: bergamot, clementine, petitgrain, litsea cubeba, geranium, vetiver, bay leaf, pink peppercorn, cedar wood, musk, cistus labdanum .
Mona di Orio- Eau Absolue (160 euro, 50ml EDP) will appear on the shelves around April 10th. You can preorder from monadiorio.com or wait till it arrives at the stores (MiN NY, Luckyscent). The press sample for this review was sent to me free of charge.
Art: Mediterranean Colors - Abstract Watercolor by E.M. Shafer