Category Archives: Musk perfume

The Body Shop Red Musk: Red, White and New

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The Body Shop White Musk is such a well loved classic that they wouldn’t dare to discontinue it.  Popular since the 1980s, it remains a steady seller and even those who don’t wear it have some nostalgia for it.  I know this because whenever I wore it to meetings in my previous job I would often hear “that reminds me of my first girlfriend/ the student house I shared/my wife when we first met”. Personally, I am never without my little bottle of Body Shop White Musk oil, which lasts me about a year. (But then I am promiscuous when it comes to other scents)

Good old White Musk
Good old White Musk

The Body Shop has already launched two flankers, both of which I have reviewed on this blog: White Musk Libertine and White Musk Smoky Rose. Sadly neither blew me away, but the new launch for 2014 is Red Musk, and they could be onto something here.

Red Musk opens with vodka and spice and beds down into a very tobacco-y haze that reminded one Fragrantica user of Serge Lutens Chergui.  A compliment indeed.  In fact, although lacking in the hay notes of Chergui, there is a touch of  Serge Lutens Louve in the dried scent of cherry tobacco as the drydown kicks in.  Several hours later, this is White Musk with a hint of spiced fruit cake, but a sugar free cake, solid with dense dark spice and none of the sickly cakiness I get so tired of in scent.

This has a masculine tang about it which makes it a perfect unisex fragrance, and is rounded off nicely with a tobacco-y musk Final Act.  All round, it’s not bad at all and I’m pleased to see this veer away from the sweet and further towards the rich.  Longevity is good at around six hours so far on skin and its been making my coat sleeves smell delicious.

Stockists:  Body Shop Red Musk is available online or in store. Readers in the USA can also get it online or instore via The Body Shop USA and in Canada there’s The Body Shop Canada.

Library of Fragrance Musk #7: The Perfect Ingredient

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Musk is a scent that should, in my opinion, be in every scent wardrobe.  However, out on the High Street, it’s not that easy to find a straight forward musk that hasn’t been tampered with.  I like to wear musk alone or, more often, layered with other scents and Library of Fragrance Musk #7 is perfect for this.

On the Demeter website the description of #7 reads :

Bergamot and lemon peel, with fresh herbs, amber and patchouli form the attitude of this fragrance, the first of our Musk’s to be declared commercial grade. White Musk # 7 is A fresh and delicate blend that speaks in whispers.

I definitely picked up on the bergamot in the opening and  a little heat from whispery amber in the base, but otherwise this is a straightforward, uncomplicated classic musk.

It’s a gentle almost single note musk that adds warmth and depth to the other fragrances in the line and goes especially well with Library of Fragrance cabochardPatchouli.  I also love Musk over anything with roses in, so I often layer Library of Fragrance Musk over The Body Shop Mountain Atlas Rose oil and also over any heavy hitters to tone it down a bit for day wear. (Very good over Gres Cabochard!).

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Library of Fragrance Musk #7 is a white musk that is ideal for daywear, passes the commuter test and lasts around five hours.  I recommend it alone or as an extra spoke in your wheel.  A musk base can add a new dimension to your existing scents and give you a different way of wearing them

Library of Fragrance Musk #7 is £15 a bottle or £25 for two from Boots.  In the USA and Canada, this is called Demeter Musk #7 . You can buy it on Amazon.com.

Library of Fragrance Patchouli: Taking Me Back to The Good Old Days

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Library of Fragrance Patchouli is a single note patchouli that is a rare thing indeed in today’s fragrance market.  Patchouli has been overused and over sweetened and often coupled with vanilla and red berries and fruits and chocolate and Ooh… everything in the candy store until its true identify has been quashed.

What I want from patchouli is that earthy, unctuous oily fragrance that I used to buy from the Indian market stall of my teenage years.  Surrounded by floaty skirts and joss skirts there clustered the tiny bottles of patchouli oil that did exactly what it said on the tin.  Library of Fragrance Patchouli brought those days back to me.  It is a single note patchouli that retains that unctuous oiliness that I recall from my youth and makes me think of denim jackets covered in Led Zeppelin badges that I remember so well from the 70s and early 80s.

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It embodies one of the great qualities of the Library of Fragrance range in so far as it is perfect alone or layered with other scents.  Friend of the Blog Heather in Texas (Hi Heather!) has written to me about the joys of layering, (although she uses mainly oils), and I reckon she’s onto something.

Out of so many new launches in the past year, and there have been hundreds, I have only found a rare handful that I genuinely like and would wear.  All too often the industry is  playing to their biggest market and that market is the young end of the market with a taste for fruity florals and candy sweet fruitichoulis.  You can’t blame them, it’s business not a charity after all, but some of us are feeling a bit left out, right?

Layering means I don’t have to put up with this, and Library of Fragrance Patchouli is an ideal way for me to add a bit of muscle to lighter scents, or to layer it with the excellent Library of Fragrance Musk#7.

Library of Fragrance scents are available from Boots on your local High Street or from their own website  Library of Fragrance.

Library of Fragrance- you can never have too many!
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Musc Ravageur: Maurice Roucel for Editions Frederic Malle 2000

musc   Musc Ravageur was created by prolific nose Maurice Roucel in 2000 and I think it’s safe to say that it has enjoyed cult success among perfumistas. Today and yesterday I have been wearing a roll on sample (thank you Lisa Wordbird) and here’s what I think:

Top notes: Lavender, mandarin and bergamot:  you would think this would make for a cologne-y opening number   à la Jo Malone Lime, Basil  & Mandarin, but it doesn’t.  In fact, it is warm and soft like blankets. I often find lavender quite a cold scent but I barely detect it here.

Middle notes:  Cinnamon and clove:  the faintest hint of cinnamon and no cloves.

Base notes: Sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla, Guaiac wood, amber, cedar and of course, musk:  It’s the base note that seems to last longest with me.  In fact, the whole thing merges seamlessly  into one long base note right from the get go.

When reviewing Miller Harris L’Air de Rien, Lisa Wordbird, who is a die hard fan of it, says it reminded her of flannelette sheets- you know those warm brushed cotton affairs that fall somewhere between fluffy and towel-y?  Well that’s what Musc Raveguer makes me think of.  There is a slept-in staleness about it that is not unpleasant.  There are flowers peeking out (is that the lavender emerging finally?) and the musk has a muffled sharpness like skin after soap.

Sillage is close to skin.  You could spray this liberally and only those who hug you would probably comment on your incredible smell. It’s the smell of someone up close, or the smell of someone who has got out of bed after retiring following a scented bath the night before.  It is the smell of intimacy and closeness. It doesn’t smell of sex the way Worth Courtesan does, and although it has some faint, vague similarities to L’Air de Rien, Musc Ravageur stands alone as the comforting, intimate smell of longing and romance.

You can imagine a misty eyed lover sniffing his girlfriend’s coat and saying “ahh, it smells of HER”.  And that, my dear friends, is Musc Ravageur.

Have you experienced Musc Ravageur? What did you think?  Do let me know.   I always love to hear from you.

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Gucci Eau de Parfum: It’s Persuasive…

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Having been in a huff with Gucci since 2007 (Have I not mentioned they discontinued Gucci Envy that year? I keep it very quiet. Not) I always approach their scents with a “this had better be good” look on my face (ask my kids if you can’t picture it). However trying Gucci Eau de Parfum today has meted this ice queen and I am happy to say that this really ain’t half bad.  You may notice I’m not falling over it with marriage proposals but that’s my skin: more of which anon. When I anointed myself with my Gucci EDP dabber sample, the immediate reaction was “Violets- Serge Lutens Bois de Violette!”.  You can imagine how pleased I was: I adore Bois de Violette. However sadly, this turned to Crayola wax crayons within minutes.

This has happened to me before with several other perfumes: (it’s my skin and may not happen to you), but I thought I’d bear with it as the phase often passes. Having looked up the notes on Fragrantica, I was surprised to see no Violets at all but Heliotrope instead.  I can see why I got confused as they are often used together.  The alleged Caraway note I did not really pick up on at all, although Fragrantica users voted it the most noticeable note.  Maybe I’m missing something, In any case, after an hour or two Gucci Eau de Parfum leaves me with a pleasant Incense-y skin Musk that still remains slightly waxy and with a muted Iris finish.

It’s one of those interesting scents that you can sniff and sniff and get something different from it each time. Apart from Caraway. Mine ran away.

Narciso Rodriguez Musc For Her: Up Close And Personal

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Every good fragrance wardrobe should have a musk. You can wear it alone or layer it, but it is a true staple, like a winter coat.

Today I am reviewing Narciso Rodriguez Musc For Her and I am sampling it in the form of the oil or “Her oil Perfume” as it says on the box. The oil seems hard to get hold of, so you might like to try the EDP, which may have more lasting power.  In my experience, oils last longer, but not in this case it would seem.  Or maybe its my hungry skin.

According to Fragrantica, this claims to have all sorts of notes in  it: Vetiver, Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Amber, Woods and Vanilla.  When I first applied it it smelled like stale air for just a minute and then it smelled like new shoes still in the box (for some people that would be  enough of a great smell if only they could bottle it!). Within five minutes this had settled down into a clean musk with a hint of Orange Blossom, and maybe the faintest whisper of Amber, but it would frankly be ambitious to try and pin down any of the other notes as this scent is sadly very fleeting on me.  The notes I could smell were like a blur, they have gone almost before you can name them.

This is very close to skin, but nonetheless lovely.  It is sexy, intimate and would only be experienced by those who hug or kiss you.  You’d never fill a room with this even if you smashed the whole bottle on the floor.

Yes, this is a lovely musk and no it doesn’t last long. If it lasts longer on you than it did on me (less than an hour, with my nose right up against my wrist) then I would say buy it.  It could be the staple your fragrance wardrobe needs.

 

 

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Prada Candy: Not For Kids

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www.fragrantica.com

I was charmed by the Prada Candy TV ad campaign over Christmas.  The slightly dodgy but beautiful threesome having a party and the throaty, heavily accented voiceover simply saying “Prada Candy”.  It looked like fun, being them. I guess that was the idea. So anyway, I thought I’d better check it out.

I was bracing myself, as the very word “Candy” makes my heart sink. Was it going to be a Britney?  All candy floss and vanilla and fruit?  Not a bit of it.

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www.prada.com

This is playful, yet grown up: a bit like the strange and pretty girl in the TV ad. It’s very sweet in the opening notes but thankfully there is no red fruit and vanilla and  cake mix.  Phew! Right from the start though, there is caramel. And something prickly and delicious that had me interested straight away.  Well, who would have though it? It’s my old friend Benzoin, whose heated, resin-y tones I  am always pleased to stumble across.  It is the Benzoin that makes me take this seriously.

(NB not to be confused with Benylin, as that’s cough mixture)

Yes, there is Caramel, and a bit of sexy Musk, but the Benzoin really radiates through the base notes so that anyone asking what your scent was might be surprised, like me, to find the word Candy in it.

The Caramel sweetness makes Prada Candy start like a ditzy blonde and bed down into a husky voiced newsreader wearing stockings under the desk.

It’s most definitely worth a second look, and then a third.

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Jean Desprez: Bal a Versailles: The Smell of Scandal

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 My dear chum Lisa Wordbird dropped round to IScent HQ yesterday with samples that made my eyes pop out.  As you know, it’s my blog-aversary in two days and what better way to round off the year than with this notorious and coveted legend?

Bal a Versailles is talked about in the way scandalous scarlet women are discussed.  Part of you is outraged whilst another secretly wishes that you looked that good in fishnets before noon.

Burlesque Artiste Pretty S'Vere courtesy of World of Oddy photography
Burlesque Artiste Pretty S’Vere courtesy of World of Oddy photography

 Bal a Versailles is too much of everything all at once, but somehow it really works. The opening is so brash and bright it borders on the medicinal for a few moments, before plunging like a slutty neckline into spice, resin, balsam and all things nice.

The notes are too numerous to list here, but here are the highlights: Leather, Amber, Benzoin, Vetiver and Balsam. The flowers are present and correct but they get a bit lost in the smokiness of the background, like Can Can dancers in a Cigar room: Jasmine, Roses, Violet Leaf, Lilac.

The whole cacophony results in a smoky, slightly metallic, spicy, leathery, woody fug, which to my mind has a lot in common with Caron Tabac Blond (see my earlier review on this blog).

I do have to marvel at the fact that I found no civet or animalic notes here, when so many Fragrantica users rate it as one of the most prominent notes.  This is unusual for me, as I found animalic notes in Worth Courtesan and Ivoire de Balmain (original, not the recent one) both of which you can find on my blog. In fact, the animal notes were so strong in both that they bordered on the smell of poor hygiene, yet Bal a Versailles?  Not a whisper of it.

That doesn’t stop it being what Lisa called “Definite Date Night” perfume. And by Date Night, we are not talking about a night at the cinema, but the kind that makes you sneak home the next day with your shoes in your hand.

Body Shop White Musk Libertine

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This pretty flanker attracted me immediately.  It’s related to Body Shop White Musk and  such a pretty shade of pale pink, how could I resist?  Well, once I smelled it, it turns out that Body Shop White Musk Libertine  was very easy to resist, much to my disappointment.

With a faint background of  my beloved Body Shop White Musk, this is sadly ruined by a need to please the Tween market.  This strikes me as ironic and I would bet my last penny that the majority of Body Shop White Musk fans are women of a certain age, such as moi, for whom it holds a fond nostalgia.

However, someone somewhere saw fit to add scents of Whipped Cream, Honey and Almonds. This would be great in a cake, but not so great on my skin.  In fact, it’s more or less anosmic on me, fading as fast as it blooms, only to make a brief reappearance half an hour later before going again. If they had just kept the Rose and maybe a hint of Almond, they may have obtained the Turkish Delight vibe they were aiming for, but sadly I feel not much has been achieved here.  Nice idea, nice bottle, but the result is bland and doesn’t stand out in a competitive market.

Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose: Less Than I Hoped For

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I tried The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rosetoday on my travels and was so attracted to the idea of the name that I asked the staff to open  a new tester, since the existing one was empty: a sure sign of the interest surrounding it.

When I first sprayed it, and when it was still wet, I could smell nothing at all.  When it dried, I could smell a faint hint of Musk, and , would you believe it? Caramel. If there are Roses I can’t smell them.  If they is a smokiness, it manifests itself as the smokiness you get from burnt sugar, or the bottom of a crème caramel.

Image This is pretty popular and has a good fanbase, but I think that’s because vanilla based gourmands seems to soar in popularity around Wintertime.  I love the idea of Smoky Rose, and I’ve always been a fan of TBS White Musk, so you would think this would be a winner. A smoked rose sounds so delicious in winter, but it wasn’t to be.  Sillage is very faint: close to skin straight away.  Longevity is so far two  hours, but faint.

I would love to get the Tobacco Flower, Roses, Frankincense  and Blackcurrant that I was promised, but for some reason this smells like heavily diluted White Musk with a Caramac bar rubbed over the top.

A great idea, poorly executed. Worth a try though, it might smell different on you. Incidentally, The Body Shop online works out much cheaper than buying instore. Sniff instore, buy online.