If Mona Lisa were Parisian and one hell of a sexy lady she would have worn Mona Lisa, the all natural perfume by Abdes Salaam/ Dominique Dubrana. Mona Lisa is a bespoke fragrance composed for a certain lady in the all too real life of Aspen, Colorado and Dubrana interacted with Laura Donna on mapping out the preferences of the lady in question.
She settled on a trio of natural civet, tuberose absolute and mandarin which Dubrana garlanded with other precious essences. The client, an entrepreneur and owner of Main Street Reprographics, a digital graphics company, named Mona, had asked for something "subtle but killer" - because for her, wearing fragrance is a social act as well as a personal pleasure.
The result? An Ava Gardner of a scent with the feel of Sarah-Moon-does-Seurat, laden with mystery and mock innocence. The real Mona was elated! "“I got it!! I just got my perfume. It is like nothing I have ever smelled before. It is a little bit musky, powdery. It is very light, like a feather. It is not an old scent, it is not a young scent, it seems very natural. As soon as I can I would like to create another. What fun having my own scent. I feel sooo special.” (through the Laura Donna blog)
Mona Lisa by La Via del Profumo doesn't really segregate into billows and notes, but has an amalgamated feel about it, very smooth, very soft, very feminine; the civet-animalic feel is so powdery velvet it gives a soft-focus effect to all the other notes and the florals especially. You can't pinpoint it as a tuberose scent for sure and that's a plus sometimes as too often tuberose scents are so focused on the glorious tuberose they become like a stage performance where only the central diva is noteworthy and all the others are in attendance. Here one has trouble seeing it predominate and it blends seamlessly and delicately. I would think that there was actually a tinctured alcohol with tuberose and civet in use for the composition and the rest of the ingredients are married to it through osmosis. Hardly recognisable as the intense floral of other compositions, it emits a slight hint of coconut. The animalic civet is giving such a powdery, plush feel, I am immediately seduced by my own arm! Mandarin remains succulent and juicy, especially lingering on clothes, a surprising effect given that after the initial outlay Mona Lisa stays very close to the skin. The background has an almondy, tonka bean ambience about it with the individual muskiness of ambrette seeds.
Mona Lisa smells enticing, like a proper French perfume of old instead of a random mix of natural essences and yet retains a vibrancy that instantly makes you feel good, reassuring, leaning to smell the scent on your arms again and again and again in all stages...
How does Dubrana do it? He doesn't say. It should remain thus: the enigmatic, sphinx-like smile of Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
You can buy a batch of Mona Lisa on the Profumo.it/Via del Profumo site. (The incensy Persona and the heavenly neroli-ladden Morning Blossom are also highly recommended while you're at it!)
Photo Metro by Kees Terberg via les-leves.com, Photo by Sarah Moon via jessnewyork.blogspot.com