Sunday, April 12, 2015


"It takes two to tango"

Mona di Orio loved to explore light and darkness while creating her beautiful perfumes. 
This is exactly what happened to her brand. It faced dark moments with her passing away in 2011 leaving Jeroen heartbroken and with a challenge in his hands: how to perpetuate a brand that no longer has its perfumer. But just like Mona wanted, the light was still there: JEROEN OUDE SOGTOEN.
I get frustrated sometimes when I find only articles mentioning his loss and how the brand is fighting to stay alive. Yes she was the perfumer. Indeed important. But not less important is the work that Jeroen has been doing as the creative director of the brand since its launch in 2004.

A creative director is a vital person in a project of fragrance development. As the name says itself, it is the person who gives direction to where the project is going to go. In case of fragrances, creative directors (as myself  - yes, I am creating fragrances) will be the starting point of the fragrance. They will bring an idea, a story to be told. They will set the mood, the tone, the personality and the path where they want to explore that idea. Many or most of them even choose the ingredients, or at least the main ingredients to transform the idea into a scent. Creative director and perfumer will work alined to bring together their own talents, backgrounds, taste and passion and when that happens, beauty is created!
A creative director doesn't have to know what ingredients to combine to make a rose smell real, but they are the ones choosing if it will be a rock n' roll rose or a classic one.

Jeroen was leading Mona since the beginning and that is the reason why the brand can continue to amaze us with scented beauties. Proof to that is that both beautiful fragrances EAU ABSOLUE EDP and VIOLETTE FUMÉE EDP were launched after Mona had passed away. The second was entirely created for Jeroen (it was his signature scent) and it was about what he loves, his memories, his tastes and after her death he decided to share with her fans. IMO, the most beautiful of the brand.
At that time I wrote "Their affinity, their connection, their perceptions are forever in his heart, but he misses her everyday, and IMO sharing the ONLY fragrance that she made especially for him and that till this day he was wearing only in special occasions is his way of coping with this great personal loss. Sharing HIS personal fragrance means that he want all of us to have a bit of their friendship; he wants to form a different, but somehow a bond with all of us".

Photo credit: MONA DI ORIO

So we are now in 2015 and truth is, IMO, Jeroen is not fighting to keep the brand alive, he is simply continuing to lead the brand. Some people mentioned "he is somehow moving forward" - That makes no justice whatsoever to all the work he has been doing in the brand since 2004. It is not somehow. It is with the same passion, hard work, research, sense of style, sense of luxury, sense of fashion and an amazing feeling for business that he always had! You can already see magnificent changes in the design of the website and the fragrance bottles. Elegance is something that they both had and is now explored even in a more refined way.

He is bringing back perfumes that were discontinued - LUX EDP and NUIT NOIRE EDP and adding a new collection called monogram with one scent so far called MYRRH CASATI EDP bringing perfumer Melanie Leroux. All fragrances are presented in the beautiful new round perfume bottle concept for the 10th anniversary of the brand.

I am going to start with NUIT NOIRE EDP. The perfume although kept in a revamped flacon it is coming in its original formula. To those saying otherwise Jeroen already explained that freshness is the only difference from perfumes mixed 5 years ago. Aside from that it is indeed the original formula. It belongs to the signature collection which brings scents that are really expressing Mona's passion for art and chiaroscuro, therefore they come in the black bottle.

Perfumer: Mona di Orio
Relaunch: 2015
Gender: I would say it is more suitable for the feminine gender
Olfactive notes: Orange flower, cardamom, ginger, orange, frankincense, cinnamon, tuberose, sandalwood, cloves, cedarwood, amber, leather, musk, tonka.
Brand description: Nuit Noire elicits the steaming sensuality of a dark, sultry night in North Africa, exotic, spicy, and animalic. A strikingly carnal affair, the raw energy and heat at the start rises from floral notes colliding with woods, spices and leather, but as it is with lovers, this sophisticated floriental dries down richly intimate into a velvety seduction of spices.The honeyed floral sweetness of orange blossom, intense tuberose, and robust, spicy cardamom seduce each other and tease for dominance. The indolic quality of the orange blossom and tuberose pulses with a ripe lushness. Brighter notes of ginger and oranges arrive on the hot wind of this vibrant souk and bring with it an intense accord of incense, spices and woods from frankincense, cinnamon, cloves and cedar and sandalwood. Notes of animalistic musk, comforting leather, vanilla-sweet tonka and warm resinous amber develop into a creamy, velvet intoxication. This primal nocturnal journey becomes darker and spicier.

The very first time I felt it on my skin I recall thinking  "It smells naughty"! 

Truth is that naughty is never obvious. It requires skills.
Yes, NUIT NOIRE EDP is slightly indecent and far way misbehaving with carnal floriental notes, but it is not a mundane perfume. It also contains a virginal girlie powdery side wrapped with vibrant ginger orang-y bow. 
Somehow lust is not explicit, it comes also hidden in layers of gourmandise. Like a couple on a dance floor orange flower, cardamom, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cloves and the vanilla-sweet tonka are a mouth watering combination that take turns into velvety creamy naughty notes of musk, amber, leather, tuberose and sandalwood. 
It is a seductive dance of light and darkness; feminine youth and male lust.
I could not find anything more enlightening than a scene of Scent of a Woman with Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar dancing Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gardel, when grumpy and blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slader leads beautiful, young Donna to the dance floor teaching her how to dance one of the most sexiest dances of all times: the Tango. Delicate flawless enlaced by roughness in one magical, sensitive and beautiful moment.

Also, if I had to put NUIT NOIRE EDP in one word, nobody better than Slader to define the fragrance:

Sample provided by Mona di Orio brand as usual (Jeroen and Henrike).

To order a 75ml/2.5 FL OZ fragrance go to MONA DI ORIO.
Click to find a RETAILER near you.

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