Friday, February 11, 2011

Fragrance of the Moment

There are some scathing reviews of this perfume online, so I knew I was in for something enigmatic. My gut feeling was right and I am not disappointed.

For starters, if you're looking for a truly Gourmand almond scent, this might not fit the bill, because it's not the usual hypersweet honeyed and musky interpretation of it - nor is it a very spicy one, as many almond lovers might come to expect of an almond. It's actually quite floral, slightly bitter like lemon peel on top, and a bit fruity, like there's a soft peach note in it somewhere, rounded out with what smells to me like moss. It has all of the classical elements of a Floral perfume in a pyramid structure, with overlapping Turkish Delight (lokum) character brought to the banquet table with honeyed almonds and rich Vanilla absolute. The 'dirty' note many reviewers have pointed out, I believe, is the floral note, which has a tinge of "Charmin tissue paper" smell to it, as I also find in Montale Intense Tiare and Chanel No.22 which is another love of mine (I guess that dirty note doesn't bother me enough to turn me off, although I admit it is rather unusual). I'm not sure if this undertone is an aldehyde, but all of these perfumes seem to be Aldehydic to a point (Chanel No.22 is the one Aldehydic Floral in the bunch), as often characterized by a fizzy powderiness. Montale Amandes Orientales is not, however, what I'd call a straight ahead Aldehydic powdery Floral, but rather a soft, lightly citrusy and mildly spicy Floral Oriental-Gourmand.

Another explanation for the "dirty" note might be the honey note itself, which, as I've covered in a previous post, is notorious for smelling urinous to many people (as well as it's known for being an aphrodisiac), but to my nose, the honey in Amandes Orientales is not at all urinous (for example, in the way I find Serge Lutens Miel de Bois). It's not even as animalic as I find the honey note in L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidée Blanche, a grand, complex fragrance so often maligned as smelling of urinal cake. What I get from Amandes Orientales is a perfect morsel of nutty lokum, finely powdered and so very refined in its tempered sweetness. The sweetness gets more intense in the final dry down stages when I detect a creamy, slightly caramelized vanillic accord moving towards the crème brulée range. It never actually goes that far, but close enough that I'm reminded of Laura Mercier (so, maybe it will be gourmand enough for sweets lovers).

Amandes Orientales (Parfums Pierre Montale, launched in year 2000) is listed as a shared fragrance between men and women. (Image: