Aoud Lime by Montale

Year: 2005

Notes: saffron, Indian rose, Italian iris, oud from Pakistan, patchouli, amber, sandalwood
Every once in a while, one encounters a fragrance that challenges any previously held notions of perfumery – a fragrance that challenges the wearer to remain patient and to repeatedly revisit it, in order to fully comprehend the essence of its soul. Montale's Aoud Lime is such a fragrance, from an oud line that was years ahead of the current oud phenomenon in Western perfumery.

For a complete oud novice, the opening may be rather unpleasant – a harsh and medicinal blast that's, initially, reminiscent of insect repellent spray. It may not be a great introduction to oud (where its scent profile is largely determined by its age, grade, geographical origin and method of distillation) but such a note never promised to be pleasant to the olfactory senses, as its complex properties prevent it from abiding to such wishes.

With a combination of oud, a metallic-smelling rose and plenty of saffron, the 'insect repellent spray' opening is dry, high-pitched, bitter and rather coarse. It's also very characteristic of a typical lime accord, suggesting that the name doesn't refer to its actual constituents but more to what it smells akin to.

The patchouli arrives at a later point and provides an earthy quality to the proceedings, while remaining firmly in the background. However, the citrus-like aroma still persists while allowing the rose to grow in prominence. The notes are so well-blended that its transition (from the shocking opening to a soft amber and sandalwood base) is so effortlessly executed – so much that the composition could easily be perceived as linear.

Aoud Lime is a very unique, heady and unapologetically brash oud aromatic, and would probably be considered more masculine than unisex to many. With marvellous longevity and sillage, it's also one of the more satisfying oud releases, as well as being one of Montale's best creations.