Top Five Montale Fragrances for All Occasions
Montale is quite a popular house. When people are looking for a scent that reaches the heavens, the brand is high on that list. From aggressive ouds to sweet roses and smoky incense, the French house has gained a following for being a brand that is dependable in the performance spectrum.
20 years ago, founder Pierre Montale was enchanted with the aromas of Saudi Arabia during a trip there. Luxurious oud, luscious full-bodied rose, smoldering incense, and warm amber were in abundance in the Kingdom, and he wanted to bring that to the western world from his home country of France. I was no easy task, given the limited exposure of oud in the western world.
Sure, we have scents like Yves Saint Laurent M7, which featured oud, but that was not in the Arabian way. Scents from the Middle East are aggressive but smell of fine ingredients at the same time. He was a man on a mission, and it seems that he succeeded when he first released his brand in 2003. The Parisian brand has become a staple for many lovers of the luxurious smells that originate from the middle of the world.
The company has quite an extensive portfolio of scents at this point, nearing almost 150 unique releases. One could easily be confused by the massive offerings and similarly named scents, but have no fear, I am here to tell you some of the better ones, at least in my humble opinion. I am sorry to disappoint you, but this list isn’t going to feature fan favorites such as Intense Cafe and Sensual Instinct. They are not my cup of tea. This is only my own curated selections from what I have smelled from them, and I haven’t smelled all of them because that would be quite the venture, but maybe one day I will.
Considering the cold weather that we have in the western world right now, this is the perfect time to embrace the houses deep and rich scents to shatter the icy feeling in the air. Although, one on this list is perfect to prepare for spring too!
Montale Honey Aoud:
Honey Aoud is probably the only fan favorite that will be featured on here, and it holds that status for a reason. It has the trademark Montale signature in the opening, that medicinal and jarring oud note with an aggressive honey that punches you in the face like a hook from Mike Tyson. But take heart, my friends, if you can survive that, then you will find a beautiful fragrance. When it dries down the woodiness of the oud comes forth and blends beautifully with a sticky honey note that is sprinkled with warm cinnamon. A touch of amber and vanilla in the base bolster the honey into an almost rich creaminess.
The fragrance reads as a very comforting and cozy scent, like a warm wool blanket hugging you on a snowy night. It’s a scent that has gained popularity for a reason, and that is probably because it feels like a part of you when you wear it. It’s just too easy to be drawn into its seductive embrace.
Honey, Oud, Cinnamon, Amber, Vanilla, Leather, and Patchouli
Arabians was the fragrance that convinced me that Montale was worth trying. I am typically not a fan of the sweet jammy rose that frequents their blends, but it is executed beautifully in Arabians. My favorite part is the warm cardamom that melds into clean lavender and sweet rose. However, the rose in this one isn’t as sweet and sticky as many other offerings from the house, and it is blended very well into the composition.
The oud is a bit different here as well, instead of the medicinal oud that Montale is known for, it uses a dark woody version with slight puffs of smoke that give it a resinous feeling. The slight medicinal smell that people get in the opening is most likely from the red thyme note, from what I can tell. The dry, yet smooth leather (which the oud is probably helping with) is the accord that puts everything into place for me in the deep dry down. That leather is coated in a warm amber that is sweetened by rose and spiced up by cardamom.
The scent is remarkably smooth and well-blended. It’s not as loud and aggressive as other scents from the Parisian house, and I think that is what makes it a step above many others. It’s quintessentially Arabian with a French flair of lavender. This scent represents Montale as a house.
Cardamom, Lavender, Oud, Red Thyme, Rose, Patchouli, Vetiver, Ambergris, and Musk.
Montale Oud Dream:
Oud Dream was likened to Penhaligon’s Halfeti, which is another favorite of mine. Much to my dismay, when I sprayed it on, I was greeted with that rose jam note that the brand is known for. I wasn’t pleased with this, but I decided to give it some time to develop. I was certainly rewarded for my patience as the rose combined with a smooth leathery oud and dark patchouli. The opening smelled nothing like Halfeti, but the dry down gets in the same ballpark, although it doesn’t quite have the same depth. The fragrance feels like it has some soft sueded saffron that is warmed by cardamom in it, even though these notes are not listed.
As is the case with many Montales, if you are patient, then you will be rewarded. The dry earthy leather that is bolstered by warm spice with a bit of sweet rose petals to add some nuance, is particularly well done. It quickly climbed to one of my favorites from the house for its exotic feeling that is not overly aggressive, and it would work very well for both formal and non-formal events.
Rose, Oud, and Patchouli
Montale Oud Pashima:
I am honestly unsure as to why this one never took off like previous releases did. It shares a slight similarity to the popular Louis Vuitton Ombre Nomade, but it is its own scent. I guess it is due to Montale releasing so many oud/rose scents, and that makes people skeptical of new ones. Soft earthy oud with a sueded feel meets fruity rose that is sweetened by vanilla but with a masterful hand. None of the notes feel like they are competing for the spotlight, and that is what makes Oud Pashima so charming. It feels like there is a slight resinous quality with incense in the blend.
It’s very well blended and has a surprising complexity despite only having four notes listed for it. The way the rose dances on top of the sueded quality of the oud with a slightly sweet resinous quality feels like it’s more expensive than it is. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t smell natural, but it doesn’t smell cheap either.
It’s a somewhat basic Middle Eastern scent but done in a way that makes it appealing. Some people have complained of performance issues with this one, but that is not the case for me. This is an 8-hour fragrance on my skin and I couldn’t ask for much more from it.
Oud, Rose, Vanilla, and Gray Musk
Montale Jasmin Full:
Jasmine tends to be a polarizing note for many men. As for myself, it enchants me. I love jasmine and can’t get enough of it. Jasmin Full is criminally underrated to me. We already know not to expect naturals with Montale, and it’s no different here. The difference is how this one is portrayed. The accord mimics jasmine sambac, which is the more masculine version of the coveted flower, in my opinion.
It’s creamier and richer, lacking the airy delicateness of the grandiflorum variety. The fragrance comes across as a garden of jasmine blooming in the spring, with the greener nuances from honeysuckle, that impart a feeling of the stems complete with the fresh petals of the flower. A touch of orange blossom completes it, and the citrus kiss from this is what makes me think of a sunny spring day.
Some people have commented on indolic qualities in the scent, but I don’t get any of that. It’s just a beautiful scent that puts me in a garden of beautiful white florals, and that makes me smile every time. Maybe it’s a scent memory that beckons me to the aroma of Jasmin Full, or perhaps I am just more in love with jasmine than I thought. Either way, I believe this is a great release from the house, and it pairs perfectly with the white button ups that I love to wear during the warmer seasons.
Jasmine, Honeysuckle, and Orange Blossom
Maybe your tastes are different from mine, but I believe these are the 5 best from the house out of the 50 or so that I have tried. Do you agree with any of these? What are your favorites from the brand? Let me know what I should try next from the house, and maybe I will do a full review on it so that others can find it as well. I will also give you a shout-out in the article for putting me on it.