The Scent of Nostalgia
Old houses in the Deep South have a particular scent to them. They smell woody, but they also smell musty in a distinctive way as a result of the oppressive humidity especially during the summer months. They smell a bit like rotting wood, but also a bit like dust. The opening of Montale WHITE AOUD very well captures that scent. I am not sure what is creating this effect, but the light aoud note may be one contributing factor.
The roses are perceptible as well initially, but they seem far away, like dried petals pressed within the crumbling pages of old books. The overall olfactory experience ends up reminding me of my grandmother, a bona fide Southern Belle. I realize that this makes it sound as though I am calling WHITE AOUD an "old lady perfume", but this particular instantiation of that idea is very different from what most people appear to mean by the expression. No aldehydes and no oak moss here. Nor does this smell anything like SHALIMAR or L'HEURE BLEUE, which some have remarked is the dominant scent of senescent women in retirement homes.
As WHITE AOUD dries down, the "old house in the South" effect fades a bit, and the rose and patchouli come forth much more. I like some other rose-patchouli perfumes better than this one, but WHITE AOUD is nice for the trip down memory lane which it affords.