Reviews of Black Aoud by Montale

Montale Black Aoud's title is appropriate, as this immediately conjures a dark oud, contra the more red pepper oud of Red Aoud, which I've tried previously. Rose and patchouli round out the eponymous note, creating a dark, heavy concoction that seems ideal for use on winter nights, given its density and seriousness. I found the patchouli more significant in the opening and the rose more significant in the dry down, which is the opposite of what I'd expected between the two. Nonetheless, this yields a softer, creamier dry down that does make the fragrance lean unisex, even, though I'm assuming this is marketed to men primarily.

Like Red Aoud, projection and longevity are very strong. Montales aren't in the highest price echelon but it's good that for nonetheless higher pricing ($120 / 50ml, $170 / 100ml), an EDP delivers in a powerful way. I'm starting to become convinced that Montale frags are pretty worthwhile, so I'm eager to try more, though more ideally when the temperature drops.

7 out of 10
2nd June 2015
wonderful sillage and longevity....peppery rose opening nicely blended with of the best from Montale, maybe the best!
21st April 2015

Dominant rose atop 'westernized' oud, i.e. synthetic medicinal. N-u-c-u-l-a-r strength. Projects for light-years. Lasts for eons.

As with many others, dialing in on the proper dose for this one makes all the difference. Half spray around the navel works for me. I'm not into big florals yet I've got a softspot for rose. The thing is, I don't want to smell like rose to others, rather I want to be distracted from time to time throughout the wearing with a hint or notion that there just might be a vase-full in the vicinity. A little bit of Black Aoud does it well and for a long long time. Too much and it's a no-go however. There are things worse than gassing out a room by smelling of a ton of roses, but still.
23rd March 2015
So...this is my fourth Montale experience and I hate to buck the trend but I just do not get it. I really want to LOVE one of Montale's offerings because I am searching hard for an affordable dark rose fragrance. And I like oud when blended (not as a solo note). Unfortunately, this fragrance is a major no-go for me.

In one word, this fragrance seemed "messy" when applied. Like others, I was curious about Montale's "ouds" and I hoped to experience a few fragrances...try to understand the hype. Like ALL the Montale fragrances I try, the opening of Black Aoud smells like an aldehydic, alcoholic, almost medicinal concoction that literally hurts my nose. Sensing a headache, I feel confused & dizzy...almost sick. I can barely tolerate the development of this fragrance on my skin because for nearly 30 minutes, Black Aoud is all over the place but consistently harsh harsh harsh...LOUD and almost vulgar.

After 20-30 minutes, I detect a bit of rose and BOAT LOADS of patchouli (which I really dislike as a primary note). As others have noted, Black Aoud is a loud, over-whelming, synthetic rose-oud fragrance that is not dark, rich, complex or mysterious. Resinous patchouli...that's about it. Pretty linear in the end with little development and no complexity.

But unlike the other Montale fragrances I tried, the longevity on Black Aoud is strong and silage is pretty high. Hate to say this but I had to scrub, eventually shower and wash all my clothing. And still, this fragrance persisted.

The house of Montale and I do not get along. This is another definite pass.
20th March 2015
Montale's entire existence is basically structured upon their ability to create a hundred or so variants of their house aesthetic – a crass take on Eastern perfumes that are well balanced, but tend to smell dodgy. The archetype for their success seems to be built on a blueprint that sits somewhere between White and Black Aoud. Black Aoud plays the standard Montale hand of rubbery saffron, spices, a woody-ambery base, and “rose," but in Black Aoud the focus in shifted more toward the rose that dominates much of the scent. This one is, first and foremost, and bitter rose. It's green and a bit stemmy, and it's undercut by saffron and spice. And that's really all Black Aoud is. The usual woody base is there, cranked up to comedic levels, and it's synthetic as all hell. Like the rest of Montale's Aoud scents, there's no oud in it – just a synthetic replacer that does the job perfectly well, but doesn't smell much like oud. It's really the model for everything that Montale does: vulgar and trashy, but dramatic, characterful, and somehow likable. It might smell cartoonish, and it'd be hard to pull it off tastefully (extremely low doses?), but it does what it sets out to do and makes no apologies along the way. It's sort of the olfactory equivalent of standing in the middle of a public space and screaming “Look at me! Look at me! Everybody look at me!” over and over. You have to love rose to enjoy this one–well, rose chemicals at least.
4th March 2015
Black Aoud is the benchmark for rose oud fragrances in modern Western perfumery. The problem with benchmark fragrances is that, just like in the computer industry, competitors come along and move the model forward or improve upon it, so if you circle back to try the prototype after having tried the mutations, like I did, it can seem like going back to a typewriter after having worked on a laptop. Black Aoud seems static and unexciting to me after having been wowed by some of the great riffs on the rose-oud-patchouli theme, like Rosam (Histoires de Parfums), Rose Gold Oudh (Tiziana Terenzi), and Rose Nacree du Desert (Guerlain), as well as brutally synthetic when compared to real oud oils.

It is worth trying only if you are curious about what Montale's oud accord smells like, because it is presented in exemplar form here – it smells alcoholic, high-pitched and vaguely poisonous, like sticking your nose over a pan of vodka off which you are boiling the alcohol. Personally, I get a desiccated rose petal note only in the opening, after which it is pretty much this boiling-alcohol style of oud accent until you reach the drydown, which is more pleasant and based around a bland patchouli and sandalwood pairing. I don't know where all this talk about a dark, masculine rose comes from. To me, this is an almost blindingly bright and synthetic rose-oud that is neither very dark nor mysterious. It doesn't evolve much and just sits on the skin, belching out these objectionable, almost brutal rubber oud fumes for a few hours and then nose dives into that pale patchouli and sandalwood combo.

I am in the minority on the longevity and projection also – it may be the newer, weaker versions I am testing (a mini directly from Montale Paris and a recent sample from a respectable web retailer), but the scent is extremely weak on my skin after the first couple of hours and I can barely perceive it after five hours. It is perhaps worth owning if you are the type of person who likes to collect the important milestone fragrances that have defined perfumery. But above and beyond that – meh. You can do better.
23rd February 2015
Montale's Dark Aoud is a gorgeous fragrance based on a dark rose note surrounded by patchouli and a deft, delicate handling of oud. The agarwood (oud) is less prominent, and creates a rusty deep woody background with the patchouli, letting the rose shine. The result is a deep, dark, haunting fragrance with great evocative qualities. It makes you dream of the orient, of the cosy alleys on dark cold evenings, of fragrant bazaars, and the alluring charms of an unseen land. It is not the most versatile fragrance, but who cares. It's a pleasure to wear on the right occasions, and is a very personal scent, much like another great oriental - Chergui. Deeply introspective, it has that rare ability to transport you to another time and place.
Wear this one on a winter evening, while reading Dubliners and sipping a favourite whiskey. You will not be disappointed.
15th February 2015
This is one of those scents that I tried a sample of based on reviews -- and I hated it when I first opened it. It smelled heavy, too masculine, the floral note was like dead roses (I don't care for florals to start with); and it was my very first aoud, which I think is an acquired taste. I put a drop on my wrist, and really didn't notice or think about it by the end of the day. I forgot about it until one day I saw it again and decided to wear it. I still did not like it for the first hour or so -- but after that, it mellowed out considerably -- the heavy strong dead rose smell faded away to something lighter and quite pleasant. The sandalwood was also more noticeable as time passed and overruled the floral, which I really liked. The aoud adds considerable drama to it. It turned into one of my favorite scents. It's described in some places as a masculine fragrance, in some places as unisex -- but personally I find it doesn't have a male-only scent to it, and I wear it comfortably as a woman. And as soon as I can afford it, I will buy a full bottle!
23rd January 2015
Genre: Woods

Savage splendor – that's Black Aoud: an uncompromisingly dark and woody rose scent that makes hash of the notion that roses are for old ladies and potpourri. In my earlier, unenthusiastic review of Black Aoud I wrote that I was disappointed with the scent because it was linear and had a simple structure. That conclusion, it turns out, was based on two mistaken premises.

First, I have learned over time that simple does not mean “inferior.” In fact some of the greatest modern fragrances I know have simple structures: En Passant, Parfum d'Habit, and Tam Dao come immediately to mind. So even if Black Aoud is simple, it's pungent oudh, exquisitely rendered rose, and robust leather and patchouli foundation make for an outstanding combination. Indeed, one of Black Aoud's most distinctive and appealing features is its brash, almost barbaric, impact ill served by too much nuance or complexity.

My second complaint, that Black Aoud did not develop, was simply unfounded. Black Aoud does indeed develop, and in interesting ways. The trick is that it takes up to twelve hours for the development to commence! Given Black Aoud's twenty-four hours plus longevity this ought not be all that surprising. When Black Aoud finally does start to evolve the rose note recedes to reveal more of the leather, which in turn takes on a warm, animalic edge. At the same time a rich, creamy sandalwood note emerges from the depths. The wood and leather notes are seasoned by patchouli, and then sweetened ever so slightly by the barest hint of amber.

As I've implied above, Black Aoud is an extraordinarily tenacious scent. In fact it's one of the longest-lasting scents I know. It's also extremely potent and leaves a great deal of sillage, so I advise applying it sparingly.
10th June 2014
Dark and rounchy Oud and rose (not in a bad way) make this one a winner for oud lovers. Settles down to a lovely patchouli and light rose with the oud still pushing for space. I like this one, but I am not that big of an oud lover. For that reason this one is not FBW for me. 7/10.
18th March 2014
You know, there are some jokes that are funny only in particular countries. when you say it among your people, they may laugh to death but if you say it in other country they will just stare at you and say ..... so ?! O.o
This fragrance has the same situation!
It's really interesting and exotic fragrance for many folks in US, Europe but if you live in Asia and specially countries like IRAN which I am and countries at the same area, when you wear something like this that mean you smell like the cheapest rose extract that is called "Golab" and you can buy a 1 liter bottle of it for less than $1.
People will make fun of you when you smell like this!
There is a city in IRAN called "Kashan" that is very famous in the world for having very big rose gardens and special rose extract that is exactly the smell of this fragrance!
This rose extract has different uses! mostly they use it in holy shrines and also we use it in our funerals on the body to smell good and also has usage for making local cookies in some cities of my country!
Do I like to smell like a holy shrine or a body before bury?! hell no!
Also oud has a very small role in this fragrance!
All thing that you get is syrupy sweet musky rose for a very long time and only some oud in the background and also patchouli which was the only part that I enjoyed.
And please for god sake don't tell me how oud smell like because I've grown up with smell of oud and rose like every other guy in my country!!
Both projection and longevity is amazing with this!
1st February 2014
Let's start with the good news: nearly all ouds by Montale share the same exact boring artificial oud notes, while Black Aoud doesn't really. It's very different from any other oud scent by Montale (still good news here), and actually it doesn't seem containing oud notes in the first place for me. The bad news is that it would have been so better if it was “just another oud by Montale”. Because as is, it smells revolting for me. It's basically an extremely dry, bitter, bold, rather pungent, extremely artificial and overwhelmingly horrid woody-patchouli powerhouse drenched in latex, with some faint rose-musky notes and an Oriental aura of dark spices, also slightly infused with something resembling to coffee. Basically Van Cleef pour Homme, Boucheron Homme and A*Men Cuir having a threesome in a seedy sex club scented with some supermarket rose room spray. And despite I am a fan of powerhouses, even the cheaper ones, I find this a complete failure. It's just too much. And not “too dark” or “too daring”. Just “too garbage”. It smells really too cheap, acrid, vile and screechy to be even barely wearable just for fun. And also, it seems to me completely uninspired and uncreative, given that it clumsily emulates a type of scent – the zombie macho drugstore powerhouse – you can get with a fraction of its price. Just get Van Cleef pour Homme, let it rot for a while, paint it in pink, here's Black Aoud. The drydown is tolerable (maybe it's just the relief speaking), but all in all it's still an abysmal pointless experience I wouldn't really recommend.

24th January 2014
Love/Hate Relationship with this juice.... Me and Black Aoud a love/hate relationship... we fight.. Often. Usually about once a week. One day, she's sexy, mysterious, her boobs are popping out of her blouse, her breath smells great, her eyes are stunning, and she's all over me. The next day, she's a crackwhore, she smells like a cheap old lady, she has bags under her eyes, and she wants nothing to do with me, or I, her. But when she and I are on the same page, it's a beautiful thing: They make sappy chick flicks about the things we do, R Kelly writes an X rated song about the things we're doing by the fireplace, classic porn is produced, and babies are made in the shower. Yes, there's some rose in it for the dark lady. The oud is in there for that strong, suave man that needs to announce to every woman in the room, that he's different from all the other men in there, and wants to take her home. I LOVE this fragrance.. about 3 days out of the week ..the other 4 days is a toss up. Sometimes we work, sometimes we fight. Pros: LongevityCons: Me and Black Aoud figh a lot!
29th June 2013
Synthetic aldehydic rose, with hints of spice and wood

I finally returned to this fragrance after several years. As the old saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Other reviewers have pointed out that, while Montale pioneered oud-based, "Arabian" fragrances for western consumers, they have long since been surpassed by other niche and even designer houses. In the years since Black Aoud was released, the market has been flooded with various takes on rose + oud. I expected to be disappointed by Black Aoud, perhaps even a bit embarrassed by it.

On the contrary, I found it to be a surprisingly pleasant experience. Portrait of a Lady is my personal "north star" for rose fragrances. I was instantly smitten with it and have remained so since my first application. Black Aoud is the closest analog to it that I have found. The rose notes are surprisingly similar--both of them have a kind of vast, airy, cloudlike quality that I find quite appealing. Differences emerge in the drydown. Black Aoud is a more typically Arabian fragrance--straightforward and relatively unchanging. In Portrait, the rose eventually yields to a dry patchouli. And yet...I am convinced that I detect a hint of that same "heart of patchouli" note in Black Aoud as well.

Scent: 4.5/5
Sillage: 5/5
Longevity: 5/5
Pros: longevity, clarity of the rose note
Cons: linear, a bit synthetic
24th June 2013
Awesome in one word!! Must try. Not quite sure if ladies would like it or not. Try the samples at least. Trust me it's worth trying it. Very special and different smell. Silage and longevity is more than expected. Love the smell
8th May 2013
This is the epitome of a dark rose scent. I imagine an older lady, quite evil, wearing this. Can a man pull it off? He better be dark and mysterious. Can a lady? Only if she's old and evil.

Not my thing.
13th April 2013
Got a sample of this and was shocked how awful this was. Smelled to me like a very powerful old grandma fragrance. Had to wash it off. For some reason I tried it again a few years later and now I love it. Even bought a bottle. As they say, this is a powerhouse fragrance and lasts ages, especially on clothes. Still a love or hate fragrance for many.
3rd March 2013
Lots of Oud and dark rose atr the two dominant components - a dark and rich mix of beautiful density and intensity. Over three hours this has good projection and is one of the best Ouds I know. I wore it in cold weather and it might be quite overwhelming in heat. A great composition.
11th February 2013
Black Aoud is a strong rose scent with an equally strong agarwood and patchouli base. It is clearly made of quality ingredients. It boasts great longevity; however, like many other fragrances I've sampled with great longevity, Black Aoud is a fairly linear scent.

I gave this a neutral, though, because it is simply not my style.
11th February 2013
Smells like Tom fords noir de noir with twice the oud. Normally I hate the smell of oud, very overrated note. In fact the reason I love creeds royal oud so much, is the oud is faint, almost nonexistent. Ok, back to black aoud. This is so rich, like eating gourmet chocolates. Rose and oud up front, it's almost as if the two notes go back and forth, sharing the spotlight giving way to a very convincing musk and sandalwood base. Here's the only problem, I own TF's noir de noir and even tho this scent is outstanding, ndn is constructed so much better. It does something to me psychologically, knowing that there's a better version of this fragrance on my dresser. If you don't own noir de noir, go pick this up ASAP one of the better rose/oud combos out
5th January 2013
This is a fine brooding rose fragrance. It is not as smooth or feminine as Montale's Luban, which my wife own. Luban is more feminine, but Black Aoud is a medicinal, brooding more masculine rose. It's oud is hidden among the very powerful rose fragrance. I don't give number ratings, but this is on a level below Dark Aoud and Louban among Montales. I still enjoy it and love Montale's longevity and projection.
18th December 2012
"Rose air freshener. Would be good as a candle." -my wife
8th December 2012
This seems to my nose identical to Lalique's classic from the same year (2006), Perles de Lalique.

The definitive rose chypre - strong, dark rose with the usual chypre support. Musky, sensual and definitely unisex.

A winner - regardless of who stole from whom.
12th November 2012