I'm so tired of all the complaints of the multiple offerings from the house of Montale that has been common the latest years in the perfumebloggosphere. Going from beeing praised when Montale started the oud-trend in the beginning/middle of the 00-decade, suddenly (when other houses followed and started to realease easier, light oud interpretations) the common thoughts went quite the opposite. Montale is for instance accused to have to 1) many, too similar smelling offerings, 2) using a sharp, syntetichal oud and 3) to release too many fragrances per year. My reaction to 1) and 3) is that it is up to the customer to try and decide and as long it's opportunities for sale on the worldmarket it's also reasonable to continue. Regarding 2) my opinion is that most perfumelines uses syntetical oud at most so Montale isn't differently then the others and I also think that they are using real oud to some extent in some of their offerings.As to the sharp oudnote there is used more or less in the Montales I have to confess I really like it. It's a distinct antipode to the other ingredients and lends character an longevity beyond 24h for the blends. I experience this oudnote as somehow cool-earthy-refreshing and I prefer the oud-line in summer even if the ouds also fits well in the colder seasons.
The last week I devoted myself to test some Montales from the oudline foremost to try out if they are so similar as claimed to. My answer is no, the typical Montale base is present in various proportions but as a whole I can smell apparent differences between the four that was tested and I was not bored at all, on the contrary. And when it comes to typical bases, most houses has their own characteristic base and I can't see why it shouldn't Montale do the same. My impression from the tested fragrances is as follows:
Aoud Queen Roses: This one is more about medium red, fresh roses then about oud. The oud is relatively unobtrusive in the background.
Black Oud: The most famous Montale and probably, all ifs and buts weighted, also the best. Dark roses, that together with the patchouli and oud creates an almost creamy leathery effect. This one almost always attracts compliments.
Aoud Leather: Not so heavy on the dark oudnote, here the oud ist the peppery interpretation. Together with a note that reminds me of lime and a light and bright leathernote this of is refreshing a warm summerday.
Aoud Amber: Aoud Amber is perhaps the most "cold season" of the four. To me the oud note is muted in AA, there is more of a sort of skanky, oriental-chypre charachter with resiny notes combined with notes which are mossy in charachter. This is a strange but enjoyable blend.
To summon up: I percived enough variation in the oud-theme to enjoy may four days of tour de Montale.