Tag Archives: Maison Mona di Orio

Garden Fantasies, Mona di Orio Amyitis

Perfume world on the outside might seem quite small but only when you’re inside of it you realize how big it actually is. The history of perfumery spans through centuries, every era having their perfumers, connoiseurs and their own needs & purpose. We can only experience a ‘slice’ of this cake, slightly bigger one thanks to places like Osmotheque. Probably each of us has this one fragrance in the back of our heads that we always wanted to smell, but when we realized that, it was already too late. That’s why I’m happy to get a chance to wear something I missed in the past.

Opening of Amyitis offers an abundance of green leaves. This smell of verdancy brings to mind mysterious lands from old times fairytales. It takes you someplace where the fragrance of thick, fleshy leaves of succulents entwine with smell that sparkles the idea of the green fans of palm tree leaves. Part of the foliage is still fresh and vibrantly-colored but some start to have dried edges. All of these smells weave an intricate pattern that is so special that you wouln’t mistake it for anything else. It’s a late summer fantasy. After a couple of minutes I notice some herbaceous accords.

For a moment or two the impression is almost like mint but it’s slightly more metallic. Afterwards it evolves into a smell reminding me of oregano. None of them are actually included in Amyitis oficially but brand advises to pay attention to notes such as savory and capsicum (paprica) which makes me think that perhaps they interact with each other and with my skin creating this herbal, mint-like aroma. Hint of caraway introduces first feeling of sensuality – it will develop significantly in a later stage of development. In this perfume caraway is like the smell of warm body, warm skin.


The longer I have Mona di Orio Amyitis on my skin the more mellow it becomes. After a leafy & warm herbal part the perfume becomes more substantial and smooth. However what first attracts my attention is a gorgeous iris note that emerges. Usually silky or velvety, creamy or buttery at times. Here it is none of those. In Amyitis iris is like the plushiest, softest suede you could find and after a bit more time it becomes more rugged, gradually fading into dry-ish, aromatic woodiness of cedar. There’s also a pretty touch of sophisticated violet – its slightly candied and a tad ozonic too.

Cedarwood & iris are like an inseparable couple that I love since Prada Infusion d’Iris debut in 2007. Woody character of Amyitis deepens and darkens a little bit with the scent of guaiac wood. It helps to build a solid frame for the scent and it also allows for a development of a greater depth and dimension in the composition. Oakmoss with its shrub smell creates a feeling of something dried, parched. Something a little dusty. But I find a thrill here and I’m drawn to this pseudo-chypre smell. Saffron in the drydown creates an embracing feeling of warmth that intensifies thanks to amber and balsamic & sweet opoponax. It’s those smells that linger on my skin until evening comes.

Amyitis was one of the earliest compositions created by Mona di Orio for her own brand. In a result of post-surgery complications she passed away only at the age of 42, leaving behind a number of finished and unfinished perfume formulas. After this sudden loss co-founder Jeroen Oude Sogtoen decided about remodelling of the maison and many fragrances were discontinued. This year, to celebrate what would be Mona’s 50th birthday a Signature Collection was released – bringing back Oiro, Amyitis, Carnation and Jabu in their original, unaltered forms. These eau de parfums are only available in discovery set, allowing you to make a selection of three 10 ml spray bottles.

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Castle Made of Sand, Mona di Orio Santal Nabataea

Books about mysterious lands, people who lived there & their doings are among my favorites when it comes to reading, especially if some magic is involved in the storyline. While most authors create landscapes of cities, countries or continents with their pure imagination, some of the mythical places & civilizations were once more than real… Thought maybe not seen by many. Like Petra, a city carved in sandstone, that became the cradle of the Kingdom of Nabataea. Trade routes of that place and legacy of its people are now being reflected in new fragrance by Maison Mona di Orio.


Calm is the word I would use to describe the opening of Santal Nabataea and it would be the most misleading word I could use.  Because once the perfume accommodates on skin, it reveals a prominent accord of black pepper. Warm & quiet for the first couple of seconds it becomes a vibrant ingredient in no time. Realistic spiciness and a twist of freshness that it has in the back smell as if someone crushed a peppercorn right in front of you. It has that slightly metallic pungency that goes right inside your sinuses, fills your nose with its aroma and make you exhale slowly, with content.

After a few minutes a peppery edge of Santal Nabataea becomes softer and other notes start to emerge. Fruity facet appears at that time but its smell is very unusual. It is apricot, but the juiciness and soft, fuzzy skin of a fresh fruit have been replaced by more dusty, tangy and less lactonic smells – an interpretation of a dried apricot. Less appealing in appearance but richer in flavor. A bit of tartness that is somewhere distant in the background could be associated with black currant leaf mentioned by brand but I’ll cut my speculations here since its role is minor for me.


Heart of Mona di Orio Santal Nabataea is filled with a floral scent that is quite abstract to my nose, therefore difficult to describe with words. It’s like a combination of something like rose, honeysuckle and waxy leaves. The smell I get is sweet and has powdery nuances. Looking at the composition I’m guessing that this is how oleander smells like. I don’t know many fragrances that would use it, hence my problems in describing it properly. Probably the fact that when I smell it I get sort of an overlay of black pepper and some resinous ingredient over the oleander accord. My perception is disturbed.

Resinous facet that I just mentioned becomes more defined as time goes by. Opoponax, as that’s what it is, introduces a balmy, gently honeyed vibe to Santal Nabataea. Followed by a smoked woody facet the perfume becomes more mysterious and enigmatic. I really like this charred wood impression as it adds more dimension to the blend opening up the ‘space’ it creates around the wearer with its sillage. When sandalwood joins the composition it instantly makes a statement – it created a ‘stand still’ moment in which anything else stops to matter and santal steals the show.


Sandalwood of Santal Nabatea isn’t like a varnished furniture piece that has a glossy surface and expensive look. Experience it gives is more raw – more realistic because of that. Imagine a cupboard in which you keep some little chunks of sandalwood. Their scent fills the space inside of a drawer and as soon as you open it the fragrance pours into the room. And there’s also a sack of coffee beans inside. Twist to the drydown of new Mona di Orio perfume that I love is when an impression of clay smell appears. It gives a whole new vibe to the scent. Mineral, incensy and moist. Love it!

When I first tried Santal Nabataea it was one day during summer and I wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. I made a note that I should try it again once the summer is over. So I did and I totally fell in love with this Maison Mona di Orio new creation. I’m truly amazed how original and interesting it is. Plus added bonus in form of meeting brand’s in-house perfumer Fredrik Dalman in Florence made me appreciate Santal Nabataea even more. If you love sandalwood it’s a must-try. Hopefully you’ll find it as unusual as I did. It comes in EdP concentration, in 75 ml flacon and 10 ml travel spray.

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