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Eau Absolue – Pure magic, pure Mona di Orio - November 6, 2016

Mona di Orio "Eau Absolue" 2013 original packaging - fragrantica.com

Eau Fraiche        =>3%

Eau de Cologne  =>5%

Eau de Parfum    =>15%

What does the =>% difference mean?  It’s the difference in the amount of perfume oil in fragrance concentrations.

On the surface, this might seem simple, but just adding more of the perfume oil to the juice won’t necessarily result in the same wonderful scent in a stronger and longer-lasting concentration. For a perfumer it’s much more complicated. It takes a lot of talent and whole lot of patient tweaking to capture the bright sparkle of an eau fraiche in the layered complexity of an eau de parfum and end up with that same sparkle, only deeper, longer, and much more captivating.

Mona di Orio is one of my favourite perfumers, and Mona had talent in spades. Her fragrances play with light and dark notes, creating a chiaroscuro or “shadowed’ effect that gives each of them an unusual beauty. Read our stories about Myrrh Casati, Amyitis, Cuir and Violet Fumée - all four fragrances are listed in our Decant Store so you can discover her creative brilliance for yourself. Mona passed away suddenly in 2011 but left behind several fragrances since released by her partner Jeroen Oude Sogtoen.

One of these fragrances is Eau Absolue, launched after her death in 2013, as part of the Les Nombres d’Or collection. According to Jeroen, this fragrance is 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.” . The press release describes Eau Absolue as a “memoir steeped in Mona di Orio’s love for the Mediterranean….composed in her signature olfactory chiaroscuro construction”.

Eau Absolue bursts out of the bottle with classic eau fraiche effervescence,  clear lemony citrus which hangs in the early morning air, then sweetens with clementine and petitgrain, like sunshine warming the fruits and leaves on the citrus trees. In the heart, geranium and vetiver are green and earthy and dusty, pink pepper and bay leaf are green and spicy, and both mix with the warm orange-lemony citrus to make a honeyed beeswax accord, the green notes damping down the intensity of noon-day sun.

As the afternoon light fades darker notes waft up, an incense accord of cedar wood and labdanum, resinous and very lightly smoked, mixed with sensual musk. The light and dark accords weave in and out making Eau Absolue one of those fragrances I absolutely love, the kind that seem to get to the end of their intriguing story, and then start all over again, revealing new facets in the re-telling. Wood notes become lemony, musk becomes powdery, amber notes appear from nowhere, smelling of salty-sweet ocean. The play of light and dark is more fully revealed.

Eau Absolue is the smell of a day lived outdoors in a sun-filled, much-loved place. As an EdP, it has sparkle at first but soon deepens and blooms quietly on the skin through a long dry-down. It’s a scent that anybody can wear, any day of the year, anywhere. It is the scent of warmth and energy, of relaxation and comfort, of natural beauty that feeds the senses every waking moment. From beginning to end, Mona’s olfactory landscape of the Mediterranean has a beating heart, and it is full of joy.

Eau Absolue is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $7.00 for 1 ml.