There are brands which deliver over and over on their aesthetic. One of the most prolific, and consistent, Is Montale. The entire collection is made up of powerful perfumes. This is not the place to come if transparency is your thing. If powerhouse motifs using well-blended ingredients is your cup of tea, this is your brand. Montale Pure Love is another example of what they do well.
Most perfume lovers know Montale for their oud-containing perfumes. My favorites are the ones which have no oud in them. Pure Love is in this category. What usually draws me to them is the use of an overdose of a favorite ingredient. Unlike a soliflore-like construct where that overdosed ingredient would be supported with small bits of other ingredients, that is not the Montale Way. It is adding other complementary notes also at high concentration. The focal point for Pure Love is a gorgeous sandalwood.
The press release touts the sandalwood as the prized Mysore variety. I think I’ve grown a feel for detecting that variety of sandalwood and it doesn’t seem like that is the majority of what is here. What I think is here is the New Caledonia variety of sustainable sandalwood which I think comes closest to Mysore. There might be a small bit of Mysore mixed in, but this seems more likely to be a modern sustainable version. It takes nothing away from Pure Love because whatever the provenance of the sandalwood there is a ton of it here.
The sandalwood is out in front as citrus and cardamom provide a bright fanfare. A great woody vetiver provides the first harmony. At this concentration the overlap between these two stalwarts of modern perfumery shows off their versatility. The grassier nature of vetiver feels like dune grass over a hunk of desiccated driftwood. It is a classic for a reason, which shows. Vanilla comes to find the sweet creamy core of sandalwood. This is the base of many fragrances. Here, with the volume turned up, it finds a more comforting effect. A hint of ambergris and leather provide some well-chosen depth to the later stages.
Pure Love has 14-16 hour longevity and above average sillage.
This is probably my favorite straight-forward sandalwood perfume I’ve tried in a few years. Montale may not be subtle but, they sure can make great perfume. Pure Love proves it.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample provided by Montale.