Testing at high altitude

Still on holidays, I have moved from the islands to my maternal homeland, the Agrafa mountains and the untouched beauty of fir and plane forrests. A perfect opportunity to try some of the heavier fragrances in my boxes of samples.

Sandflowers, Montale (Pierre Montale): This is an amazing scent, totally misplaced in the Montale range. People who might love it will never look in this lineup to find a fragrance like this. It opens with an ozone blast, the real thing, not some “ozonic” note to be followed by an overdose of thyme, an ingredient I always associate with salty qualities in perfumes. The coexistence of the synthetic ozone note and natural thyme quickly gives birth to an inexplicable, almost metallic note that to me smells like dried blood. This is where weirdness comes into this composition. If you have found Secretions Magnifiques interesting but unwearable look no further. Unlike what the name suggests, Sandflowers has no floral notes. Sand is definitely there however. As the fragrance progresses to the drydown I get the exact smell of sun bleached, hot sand together with the smell of tanned skin, heated by midday sun rays, without any hint of suntan lotion. It feels like it is composed solely of base notes but there is no warmth in it, other than the hinted presence of sun. An amazing, perplexing fragrance. Definitely a skinscent, not in terms of projection as after all it is a Montale, but definitely in the way it captures the smell of clean skin washed by the sea and laced with iodine and salt. Sandflowers rarely gets reviewed probably because people who set out to review Montale’s find it repulsively weird and people who like this kind of minimalist provocation never think to look here for it. But if what I write sounds interesting, do look for a sample of this. It is very close to Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris, but more avant garde and evocative.

Oud Saffran, Montale (Pierre Montale): If oud is not your thing this is a good oud to try. Medicinal saffron is the key player here. Oud is there but the medicinal, tincture like aura comes from saffron. Some other spicy elements give warmth to the composition but remain in the background and never try to become identifiable.

Oud Forest, Montale (Pierre Montale): If you think that another oud-rose combo fragrance will make you scream with boredom this is a good Montale to sample. Oud, woods and a mild plummy-jammy sweetness work together to create a very nice blend. I do not think that “Forest” is the first thing I am thinking when I smell this, nevertheless I like it because as I said oud and rose work very well together but after all has been said and done and after having smelled Black Aoud, who needs another attempt at this. Oud Forest has won me because it shows that oud can be combined with other notes and still be beautiful.

Amber Spices, Montale (Pierre Montale): Have you ever tried the home-made liqueur, made of sour cherries, cinnamon and cloves? This is what Amber Spices reminds me in the opening. I get the metallic, medicinal aspect of cloves, the fruitiness of cherries and a velvety vanilla. I do not get a lot amber though and this is not a very sweet perfume. Initially I spritzed some of this on me and forgot about it but a couple of hours later I found on my skin a beautiful earthy patchouli that was hiding under the topnotes. I love the earthy side of patchouli and anything smelling like wet earth so this was a very pleasant turn for this fragrance.

Aromatic Lime, Montale (Pierre Montale): This smells like a mistake. Turpentine and paint diluant in the opening with hints of dried aromatic leaves, like laurel. Very strange, dry and invasive. About half an hour later I can get the smell of lime extract. Thick, rich and not fresh at all. This is one of those citrus scents that do not smell citrusy and cheery at all, like Citrus Paradisi. I think I can smell cumin here too. I can’t say I like it but I will definitely exhaust my sample because it smells so weird and inexplicable. A lime in the dry down notes!

Pure Gold, Montale (Pierre Montale): I do not know if this is what gold smells like but Pure Gold is one of those fragrances that smells rich! In the opening there is a lactonic note that I have found in other Montale perfumes leaning on the feminine side and it reminds of the good, old, cheap Choc de Cardin. I remember this from my childhood and I see some resemblance with Gucci Rush 2. Choc had a mesmerizing quality, bright, fruity-floral and extremely sharp. It was a woman’s fragrance by all means. Pure Gold reminded m of it in the opening with some jasmine and vanilla and the same round, sweet explosion up my nose. Pure Gold is a lot more complex. So many things going on there… Flowers, spices, vanilla, creaminess, volatility, coldness. Truly kaleidoscopic, slowly turns into this compact, elegant fruity-floral-aldehydic compact composition. It is a shame I cannot explore this in a quick sniff and I would never buy a full a bottle because it is way too feminine. But if any of you reading this has a full bottle and would like to arrange a decant swap with me I would be happy to explore this further.


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas http://pantelismakkas.blogspot.com/. You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. The Agrafa mountains look beautiful from the pictures I found by googling them. What a wonderful Holiday. AND your review is great. I so enjoy your point of view on perfume.

    • I love the mountains. It is so rare to find such untouched nature in Greece. The downside is that in wild nature internet reception is poor :-). It took me half an hour to post this.

  2. Now I will definitely try my Montale set.
    Portia xx

  3. Now I feel the need for some Montale! Didn’t really have a chance to discover them yet.

  4. Great review but I’m still staying away from Montale.

  5. Pingback: Slumberhouse samples part 2 and the beginning of a beautiful friendship « Memory Of Scent

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