After reading the many glowing reviews, I bought a bottle. Right from the get-go, I was pretty sure this one's not remaining in my shave den. The rose is absolutely sickening sweet. The "oud", and I used quotations, is almost non-exsistent, but rather a chemical hodgepodge that'll wreak havoc with your olfactory senses. I didn't give up right away, but rather gave it three separate tries, before the wife put her foot down. Can't say I blame her as this was an extreme disappointment. Sold.
If you want a Montale Aoud that doesn't trip your gag reflex, may I suggest Aoud Cuir d'Arabie. Now this scent is head over heels superior in every way.
I remember how impressed I was with the Montale Black Aoud I sampled in the late 1990's, it was dark,deep, prominent notes of Aoud and Patchouli with a very deep and recessed Dark rose, subtle, dusty sweetness, maybe it even had some natural materials at that time. It was absolutely bottle worthy then. The bottle I purchased recently really shocked me in an off-putting way.
From the word Go, this fragrance is Full throttle aroma chemical Choking/Gagging Rose that never stops, ever. A sent strip is still shrieking Rose 24hours later. I actually did not get much of any other notes to speak of. The heaviness of the rose of so strong, the Aoud is minimally detectible. "The iconic of Montale's house" Black Aoud--such a sad reformulation of what once was, it is unrecognizable to me and unwearable under any circumstances.
Unmistakable rose, one I think nearly everyone would have an associated memory whether a person or product. Based on the reviews I expected Black Aoud would fist my nostrils to Thrill Kill Kult but it is more reminiscent of a rose garden in peak bloom and these little bath tabs my mother used for DIY onsen/sauna time. Not nearly the teeth rattling shockwave I anticipated though I would not call this tame. A wearer would most definitely be making a wordless declaration about commitment to full on rose and not giving a damn who might not.
Love it. Oud done right. As if there is some sort of "honeyed" note in there like Mugler uses in Pure Havane. Not a honeyed tobacco, it's more like all of the remaining notes of Black Aoud have been honeyed.
In short, this rounds out the oud so it doesn't have its usual sharpness and is less predominant, less pungent.
Subtle rose, nicely done so it doesn't go towards feminine at all. More or less as we know it from 1 Million.