Tag Archives: best musk perfume

Ten Bottles Please: L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP 2015

Escentual.com
Escentual.com

Narciso Rodriguez is a rare thing these days: a brand that is as popular with critics as it is with fans.  Even the big name bestsellers have their fair share of critics, but the NR range appears to be pretty universally loved, like Joanna Lumley or Sir David Attenborough.

I was recently sent a sample of L’Absolu NR For Her, (Patsi, was this from you? If so, thank you!)  and despite there being many, many NR flankers, they are good enough to stand alone and are not merely mass churned money spinners.  Narciso Rodriguez Poudre is a particular favourite of mine ( see why here).

labsolu for her

L’Absolu turns up the volume on three of my favourite notes. It opens with powdery tuberose and jasmine, making a fluffy edged cloud of creamy white flowers. The background of white musk starts emerging slowly until it joins the white flowers in size and volume. White flowers and white musk together needs a bit of grounding,  so along come robust patchouli to anchor it down and give this a musky, musty, loud but chic accord that makes me want bottles and bottles of it. There’s a bit of aromatic sandalwood in there too, which just sort of smooths the edges a bit.

labsolu bottleWhat I love about this is that fact that there are many fragrances with jasmine sambac and patchouli out there, and they smell platitudinous i.e. so familiar they all smell the same. Usually, they add vanilla too.

With L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her, this doesn’t happen.  The ingredients are blended beautifully into a final accord that smells like white soap, clean musk, earthy patchouli, and big tuberose, all in one big beautiful long-lasting flourish.

This makes me feel impeccable, like a proper lady. It won’t go with my school run outfit of jeans and a stripy top. This is what I will wear with grown up clothes and everyone will admire me and want to do my bidding because I am so chic.  When a perfume makes you feel this good, you need to buy it all.

Stockists

L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her eau de parfum is available from The Fragrance Shop UK, allbeauty and Escentual. Sample was a gift from friend of the blog and of me, Patsi. xxx  Opinions are my own.

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Avon Silky Soft Musk: New For 2016

silky soft musk

I was given a sample of Avon’s latest launch today: Avon Silky Soft Musk.  The original Avon Soft Musk is a classic everyday musk that gets on with its job and is excellent value for money.  I was expecting good things from Silky Soft Musk.

soft muskHowever, sadly this one won’t be for me, I’m afraid. As you know, everything on my blog is subjective. These are only my opinions. In fact there are several runaway, solid bestsellers that I can’t stand, but which will do very well without my endorsement. I could say the same thing about Silky Soft Musk.

There are only three notes: Musk, Lily and Vanilla. All are present and answered their names at registration. However, then the Vanilla completely takes over, dominates the other two, doesn’t give the others any air time and manages to have the last word. The Vanilla is thick and strong, and I half expected to find patchouli in the notes somewhere, such was its throaty rasp. Vanilla covers a vast spectrum: it can be boozy and liqueur like, it can add toasty warmth ( see Shalimar for evidence) or it can add a waxy cheapness like a cupcake shaped novelty candle. For me, Silky Soft Musk falls into the latter category.

However, I still love Avon Soft Musk. The recent change in packaging makes me think more flankers are ahead. I’ll keep an open mind.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Soft Musk and Avon Silky Soft Musk from AvonshopUK or from your Avon lady.

 

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Floris White Rose: Perfection

white rose

I have in my possession a small sample of Floris White Rose, and if I can possibly engineer it, I will soon have a full size bottle. Not only is this a dream-come-true sort of fragrance for me, but it has the loveliest whimsical background. Created way back in the early 1800s ( I can’t find the exact year), this was worn by Florence Nightingale, and rumoured to have been presented to Lady Emma Hamilton by Admiral Nelson. Now that’s what I call an impressive backstory.

Rumoured fan: Lady Emma Hamilton
Rumoured fan: Lady Emma Hamilton

Despite its fascinating heritage, this smells surprisingly modern. Roses have been done in every possible permutation within the fragrance industry. I’m certainly not saying this is a bad thing- quite the opposite-but a good rose scent has to be clever enough to stand apart from the competition, and this one does. White Rose had me all a-quiver.

White Rose has many layers. It opens with a burst of roses, which are never allowed to dominate. The carnations vie for attention straight away and this becomes a great double act. The carnations are, in turn, softened up by gentle violets and subtle clean musks. You can find sobering iris in there, as well as warm amber, but it’s those violets that kept calling my name. The carnations add  a grown up spikiness to it. The musk softens the base and the amber warms it all up.  Round this off with a delicate powdery finish and you have an uplifting musky floral that knocked my socks off. Every note works in chorus with the others, seguing from one to the other until it finds a stunning harmony. It’s clean, pretty, feminine and brought out shameless greed in me. I’m on a mission to own a big size one.

Longevity is excellent at around eight hours.

floris shop telegraph

Stockists

You can buy Floris White Rose from Floris, John Lewis or Amazon UK.

Photo credits

Top photo: Fragrantica. Photo of Lady Emma Hamilton by talesofcuriosity.com. Photo of Floris by The Telegraph.

 

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.

the_library_of_fragrance

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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Alyssa Ashley Musk: A Pocket Money Perfume

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 Alyssa Ashley Musk  has been around since cavemen, or so it feels.  Cavemen knew a thing or two about the attraction of scent. Musk is so classic it’s almost a cliché, and Alyssa Ashley Musk is no exception.

This is a delightful and rather simple musk.  It’s warm on the skin, and has a clean innocence: there’s nothing dirty or civety to see here; this is no Worth Courtesan (that stuff is filthy!).

I may be trying to compensate for reviewing a £300 bottle of perfume earlier today (Marc Jacobs Ivy £299 a bottle). Maybe that’s why I am singing the praises of this happy drugstore classic that remains eminently affordable and, I am reliably informed, pretty much the same as it ever was. Many a happy hippie smelled of this during the 70s, and I’m all for a bit of nostalgia.

AshleyModels

So what makes this different from other musks?  Well it’s less honeysuckle than Jovan White Musk, which is honey-sweet.  It’s a little similar to The Body Shop White Musk, but smells thinner. It’s not as floral or high pitched as Avon Soft Musk, and it smells a million times better than Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan, which smells of  old roll up cigarettes in a dirty ashtray. (See my review . Phew!).

Alyssa Ashley Musk is currently available for only £8.99 for a 100ml Eau parfumee cologen spray on Allbeauty.com (formerly Cheap Smells, and one of my favourite scent sites). There is always room in my bag for a drugstore classic.

What’s your favourite drugstore classic? Or Cheapie from the Chemist (if you’re in the UK)?

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Body Shop White Musk Oil: The Last Man Standing From the Long Lost Perfume Bar

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Sometimes the ageing classics get overlooked. It dawned on me that there is one perfume that I have been wearing for at least twenty five years and yet I haven’t reviewed it yet.

I first came across Body Shop White Musk at the glorious and much pined for (by me) Perfume Bar that every Body Shop used to have years ago. For those who have youth on their side and cannot remember this wonderful creation, please indulge me as I go down  Memory Lane.

In the 80s and 90s, each Body Shop had a Perfume Bar consisting of large glass jars with narrow necks, and long glass dipping sticks in each one. The jars would be on a circular stand, surrounded by eager customers, sniffing and testing. The happy bodyshop oilcustomer (i.e a younger me) would dip, dab and sniff until finding a scent she or he could not live without. The nice ladies at the counter would then fill a little plastic refillable bottle for you to take home, for a very reasonable price.

For many years I had tiny plastic 15ml and 30ml bottles of such much missed gems as Japanese Musk, Mostly Musk, and White Musk (sensing a theme?). I was not alone.  My mother loved “Annie” and always carried it in her handbag, and “Dewberry” was practically The Smell of the 80s.

Sadly all but a tiny few are discontinued, but if the Body Shop were ever to create this mirage of happiness again, I would be their most loyal customer. How I wish they would bring it back.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (1350527r) Anita Roddick of the Body Shop Various
 Photo by Rex Features (1350527r)
Anita Roddick of the Body Shop
Various

This review is for White Musk Oil. You will see that it is not for the White Musk EDT, Sheer spray, or for any of its flankers such as Libertine.  I find them all too light and fleeting. White Musk Oil has a particular staying power that I have not encountered with the EDT or flankers, or in fact any of today’s Body Shop fragrances.  A dab of White Musk Oil on the neck, crook of elbow and wrist and you are set up for an entire day.

It’s subtle enough not to offend in a small office, and lasting enough not to have to top up in the day.  One of my favourite things about this oil is that a 30ml bottle lasts me a year.  The Body Shop website often has half price offers on, which can make this even more of a bargain.

whitemusk

So what of the fragrance itself? Well according to the Body Shop website, this has notes of Lily, Iris, Rose and Vanilla. Personally I get Musk and maybe a very faint background of Lily, but no Rose or Vanilla and no cold hearted Iris.

I am shameless about never having grown out of it. Many people see it as student perfume they have left behind, but I have had more misty eyed compliments about this than about any other perfume I have ever worn.

The Good Old Days- photo from youbeauty.com
The Good Old Days- photo from youbeauty.com

I often forget I’m wearing it and spray another fragrance over the top, but I find this just makes both fragrances smell even better. It’s close to skin: people will get a waft when you hug them or lean over them, but they won’t faint like dominoes when you get in the lift.

You may well find a man sniffing nostalgically to himself and remembering his first girlfriend though.

This is proof, if proof were needed, that you don’t need big bucks to smell good.

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