Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Amandes Orientales by Montale : Perfume Review & Decant Draw

Back in summer, I promised you a review of Montale’s Amandes Orientales. Although I never forgot about it, I have sort of been putting off reviewing this amazing fragrance for a silly, yet common (for me) reason: When I love a fragrance this much, I tend to wait for that perfect day to review it, the day that I know will help me do it perfect justice. With an ever more hectic schedule ever since I returned from my vacation, that perfect, calm day seems farther and farther out of reach. At the same time several of you have been mailing me asking for almond recommendations and wondering about this particular Montale, so it seems this review cannot be put off any longer!

Now, if you are expecting a straightforward gourmand, you won’t find it here. And if you are craving after a simple, comforting almond-vanilla combination (as the official note listing on the Montale website might lead you indeed to expect), I’m afraid you won’t find it here either. What is Amandes Orientales then? It is nothing short of a groundbreaking, edgy gourmand that breaks the sweet/comforting mold and one that is far more complex than the simple note listing would have us think.

Even though Amandes Orientales does develop over time, it does not follow the classic top-heart-base pyramid construction.. The opening is tender, a touch of powder on a precious swan’s down puff. The nutty scent of golden-roasted almonds emerges almost immediately, urged forward by a creamy wave of ground-almond paste that is good enough to eat. But what you don’t expect is the improbably realistic, deep floral bloom upon which these nutty, gourmand almond notes rest. Heady and warm, the unfolding floral scent is that of a gorgeous bouquet of grand lilies. I wish I knew enough about lilies to specify the type, but in order to describe the scent I will refer to two different perfumes: Donna Karan’s Gold and Hermès’ Vanille Galante. Despite these two scents both featuring a very intense lily note, this is not the lily scent employed here. Both Gold and Vanille Galante feature a lily scent that is rather unnatural, cold, almost metallic and very obviously aquatic. The lily in Amandes Orientales is instead incredibly warm and carnal, very much the scent of lilies I’ve smelled in gardens and bought from florists. It forms a complete picture: the beautiful, narcotic, improbably beautiful scent, the yellow pollen on the stamens, the dizzying, sticky nectar. Most importantly, it imparts an intense sexually charged vibe to the perfume with its highly indolic nature. This entirely unexpected pervasive eroticism is what renders this perfume the most unique gourmand I’ve ever experienced. Its wanton animalic nature is incredibly provocative, but at the same time, being rendered through an exquisitely feminine floral note, it remains dashingly elegant and tasteful. A beautiful, confusing contradiction, Amandes Orientales is a fervid, lusty, almost pornographic temptress dressed in the most polished, stunningly affluent ensemble. And how can you not fall in love with a contradiction like that? It is simply masterful! The scrumptious almond elements and the voluptuously aphrodisiac floral epicenter are both enfolded in a marvelously dark, highly concentrated vanilla absolute. Its tendrils are almost sticky (but never overly or obviously sweet) and beautifully underscore the toasted nature of the almonds with their lightly smoky, inky character. This is a gourmand like no other.

I am offering a small decant of this stunning, unique eau de parfum to one reader. Anyone who posts a comment in this entry becomes eligible for winning the decant in a draw. Winner to be announced in a week’s time, next Wednesday.

Images: Unripe almonds, Flickr by ReefRaff. Lily via sxc.hu


20 comments:

DebbiZ said...

Sounds delicious, and very different! I am anxious to smell it.

Karin said...

Haven't tried any Montales. So many lines, so little time. :-) Would love to try this one. Gotta start somewhere, right?

And a note about Parisienne - I think I need it because of my obsession with Paris (though I don't currently own a bottle of the original YSL Paris...). Paris #1 is too overwhelming. I've sniffed Parisienne only in magazine scent strips, and it seems very light and tart - perfect for day wear, less heavy than Paris, and something that would put an instant smile on my face, dreaming of Paris. :-) Love that bottle and the pink juice, too!

Zazie said...

Hi Divina, I have been waiting for this review!!
I'm not the gourmand/vanilla lover (I'm actually the gourmand hater), but as an exception to the rule I love the way Montale -just as SL or Duchaufour- handles sweet edible notes (much more than their rather sharp oud, actually!), and makes me swoon. His Intense Tiaré is one of the few "vanilla" scents I own and love.
So I crave for a tiny sample of this new marvel... Please enter me in the draw...and finger crossed!

Deanna G. said...

Sounds lovely! Please include me in the draw, thanks :)

violetnoir said...

You have tempted me!

Please enter me in the drawing.

Hugs!

Ines said...

Everything sounds terribly intriguing except the almond paste part. :) You made me wonder if I'd like to try again an almond scent...

ScentScelf said...

Oh, D, I do know just what you mean by wanting to wait to review a scent until you can do it justice. Which is in and of itself a strong statement about Amandes Orientales; it has that much going on, that it coaxes/demands you to consider it over time before writing down your impressions.

It's very nice of you to offer a decant of your bottle...there is something really nice about sharing the love, isn't there? Thank you for both the review and the drawing.

Fabrice said...

Very intriguing... It would be great to be able to try it. Please include me in the draw. :-)

Anonymous said...

hi, I would be very glad to get a decant of this perfume. Alica -
alica@cleis.net

Thanks!!

Camilla B said...

A beautiful and tempting review as always!I would love to try this: you make it sound so ...tasty... and complex!
And of course, thank you for sharing your beloved perfume with us via the draw: I'm in!

RachaelG said...

Well of course I want to try it now. Lovely review, please include me in the draw, and thank you!

Mals86 said...

I love almonds, but nearly always find almond scents too sweet and foody for me. I love lilies, too - so I thank you for entering me in the draw.

And thanks for taking the time to give us a serious, reasoned - if swoony! - review.

Nina Z. said...

Oh, you make this sound heavenly! It's now on my "must try" list.

Simo said...

Ever since you mentioned this scent in the great travelogue series, I became intrigued...
And now this beautiful review!
I would love to try it!
Please count me in!!

heatherGEE said...

another draw?, awesome! keep em coming. You do the most in depth reviews, love em.

cillimao said...

I'd love to be lucky enough to try this out!
For once...
There are no Montale shops where I live, but after your descriptions I really wish to test this: I love almonds!!

Cirka said...

After reading your beautiful review I'd like to give it a try.
I love almonds especially in autumn.

Brigitte Smith said...

I always find myself entranced in the poetic language you use in your reviews. This sound gorgeous and unique. I would love to be entered in the draw. Thanks!

Sue said...

Divina, I think you can put your worries to rest: this is a gorgeously written review that made me feel like I was experiencing Amandes Orientales' evolution with you. :)

Thank you for the draw and thank you, as always, for the blog. I hope that you are well and enjoying lovely days along with beautiful scents!

Anonymous said...

Hi Divina,
I would love to be entered as well. Eating is sensory, if not sensuous, so perhaps a sexually charged almond scent is possible! Indolic seems to usually go with jasmine: this sounds like a unique scent.
Thanks,
Laura M