February 23, 2013
Mona di Orio (Photo: Morino Studio)
Just three weeks after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 Saturday Night Live would go on the air and the producer Lorne Michaels asked then NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani the question “Can we be funny?” Mayor Giuliani’s response of “Why start now” was the indicator that smiling and laughter helps put tragedy in its place. In the world of olfactory art the premature death of perfumer Mona di Orio in December of 2011 felt like a promise unfulfilled. The posthumous release of Rose Etoile de Hollande felt like a fragrant eulogy and a reminder of that which was lost. The new release from Mona di Orio Parfums, in the Les Nombres D’Or collection, called Eau Absolue feels much like Mme di Orio asking us to have fun with her perfume again. Her partner Jeroen Oude Songtoen, in an e-mail exchange with EIC Michelyn Camen, said this of Eau Absolue; “It’s indeed other than what Mona launched till now, but for me this is the Mona pure and almost private.. Mona loved splashes.. eau fraiche as she called it.. being from the Mediterranean she was fond of citrus fruits and spices from that area..I think she shows here again her playing with light.. but in a very clear way.” I agree that this is a very different fragrance than any that have been released previously by Mona di Orio Parfums but it also carries that definable bit of olfactory chiaroscuro that seems to be Mme di Orio’s trademark.
Mona di Orio (Photos: www.beautyinsider.ru)
Eau Absolue is clearly meant to be Mme di Orio’s take on an eau fraiche but as where a true eau fraiche would have a perfume oil concentration of less than 5% and last for a short time the name Eau Absolue implies greater perfume oil concentration. So what Mme di Orio seems to be attempting is to try and capture the bright Mediterranean milieu as an eau fraiche architecture with more concentration. That seems like a simple concept but as I’ve found when perfumers work on extrait versions of lighter concentrations they just can’t up the amounts in equal proportions and get a good result. Mme di Orio realized this and so while Eau Absolue has all of the intense light one could ask of an eau fraiche early on by the end Mme di Orio just has to hold a hand to our fragrant eyes to add a little bit of shadow as contrast.
Mona di Orio (Photo: glouguele.fr)
Eau Absolue opens with a citrus triumvirate of bergamot, clementine, and petitgrain. This is a classic kind of eau fraiche beginning full of bracing citrus, sort of. What you often feel in an eau fraiche is a kind of charge to start. Eau Absolue is less bracing and more sun-soaked in quality as it exudes deep warmth along with the bright light. It somehow allows for a more languid development to take place but still feel lively in character. The heart of Eau Absolue is where this takes a turn for the different as a pinch of pink pepper leads the way to a grouping of green geranium, grassy vetiver, and spicy bay leaf. The bay leaf is a great choice by Mme di Orio as its unique kind of piquancy adds a distinct delineation to the very familiar geranium and vetiver so that they seem livelier. In the end of Eau Absolue a bit of shade must fall and Mme di Orio chooses musk, cedar, and labdanum to add that shadow to the very bright and warm development that occurred prior.
Eau Absolue has wonderful longevity for a fragrance of this kind. I smelled the remains of it the next morning on my scarf. The sillage is modest, unlike an eau fraiche.
Over a year since her passing I think Eau Absolue is Mme di Orio’s way of telling us it is okay to smile again when we wear her perfumes. Not to be sad but instead to be happy she could share her creations with us. Wearing Eau Absolue I feel that joy of creativity throughout.
Disclosure: This review was based on a press sample provided by Mona di Orio Parfums.
Thanks to Mona di Orio Parfums we have full bottle of Eau Absolue to giveaway; although the winner will have to be patient as it won’t be available until April 2013. To be eligible leave a comment on the last time you smiled or your favorite Mona di Orio fragrance. The draw will end on February 27, 2013.
We announce the winners only on site and on our Facebook page, so Like Cafleurebon and use our RSS option…or your dream prize will be just spilled perfume.
-Mark Behnke, Managing Editor