Montale is a Paris-based perfumer with two lines: an oudh line based on the precious oudh (or agar) wood frequently used in Middle Eastern fragrances, and a regular perfume line. That is the extent of what I have been able to learn about Montale — if you know more, please comment! Montale's description of Patchouli Leaves is as follows:
Beautiful Patchouli leaves macerated for two years in the trunk of the oak tree combine with vanilla, amber and white musk on a base of Cystus ladaniferus from Tibet.
Cistus ladaniferus is the variety of rockrose commonly used to make labdanum.
As anyone who has been reading this blog regularly already knows, I am not a big fan of patchouli. That said, if I had to wear patchouli, this would be the perfume I would choose. That is not because it is light on the patchouli, because truly, it isn’t. It is just such a lovely, well balanced rendition. It has a pronounced earthy undertone — really, it smells a lot like warm, wet dirt, especially in the early stages — and I am catching lots of tree bark as well.
Patchouli Leaves also has amber and vanilla, and the vanilla does intensify as it dries down, but this is by no means a sweet scent. On the contrary, it is nicely dry, and just slightly resinous. Patchouli, especially when combined with amber, has a tendency to turn sour on my skin, but this stays very smooth. To my nose, it bears no relationship to the head shop version of patchouli, but I will admit that my husband’s first comment was: "smells like a Grateful Dead concert". Since he said the same thing about Rochas Femme, I would take his words with a pretty hefty dose of salt.
This is by far my favorite of the 6 or so Montale fragrances I have tried so far. I have only tried one in the oudh line, but I would say that even the regular line leans towards the rich, spicy style favored in the Middle East. They are certainly much heavier than your average modern perfume release. The perfumes are nicely packaged in aluminum bottles meant to protect the fragrance from light.
For purchasing information, see the listing for Montale under Perfume Houses.
Have a favorite from this line? Please comment!