Tag Archives: The Body Shop White Musk

The Body Shop Black Musk

black musk


Today I tried Black Musk in my local Body Shop. I’ve always been a fan of The Body Shop White Musk and consider it a staple in my fragrance wardrobe. There have been several brave flankers, but I still rate the original as the best. After trying Black Musk today, nothing changed that view.

Black Musk opens with a tang of fruit: the red berry like pink pepper was super strength and combined as it was with pear and vanilla, I was not impressed. In fact this reminded me a little of Clinique Aromatics in Black ( overall consensus: meh). Black Musk did improve however, and as it morphed into something reasonable I noticed some pleasant sandalwood and vetiver.

The base notes were recognizably a relative of White Musk, and if it had just been wrapped in the vetiver and sandalwood, I would have liked it. But no. There had to be chocolate and vanilla lobbed in at the end. It’s not so bad now it’s really settled. The confectionery has settled to a pleasant background sweetness, tamed by an infinitesimal touch of sober heliotrope. It has a masculine finish in fact, which means little to me as I think that if you like it, ignore the label and slap it on, regardless of gender.

Overall, I’ve yet to find a Body Shop fragrance as classic as White Musk, although I do rate Italian Summer Fig, Atlas Mountain Rose, Fijian Water Lotus and Honeymania. I don’t seem to be able to write any Body Shop review without mourning the Body Shop of the 80s and 90s. Oh Perfume Bar, how I long for you!


You can buys Black Musk online or try it in store. I have noticed that they do lots more special offers online so you might like to try in the shop then buy from the website.

The Body Shop Red Musk: Red, White and New



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.

The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose: Just Roses. Just Right.


Like good shoes and a good coat, every fragrance wardrobe should have a good rose.  This needn’t break the bank, as The Body Shop Mountain Atlas Rose proves so beautifully.

You may recall my recent review of The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily.  It was excellent quality and being an oil, it does not intrude on the personal space of other people when applied.

Likewise, the Mountain Atlas Rose that I am reviewing today is also in the form of an oil. I often find oils longer lasting than sprays since they don’t contain alcohol, which, in cheaper scents, evaporates quickly on application and sometimes takes the scent with it, if quality is poor. In fact, I tried the spray EDT of Atlas Mountain Rose sometime ago and it disappeared by the time I got home.  The oil is a different story ( and is cheaper!), which is why I have chosen it today.

Rose is a tricky one to get right and I applaud The Body Shop for going back to basics in this case. There is clearly a market for a simple rose scent: Paul Smith Rose is rarely out of the top ten these days, amongst all the fruity-choulis and fruity florals.

Atlas Mountain Rose has several notes: Citrus notes, Rose, Musk and Amber.

Whilst I would say that all these notes are present, they are so minor that they hardly need a mention in the credits.  They serve to round off the corners of a big rose splash and they serve to stop the Rose from getting a bit medicinal, which I find that Rose can sometimes do when untempered and unfettered.

This is a fabulous Turkish Delight style Rose and the faint Musk makes it soft and fuzzy like velvet. Longevity is not quite what I had hoped for from a Body Shop oil. For instance, Body Shop White Musk oil lasts about twelve hours on me (and a bottle lasts a year!). However, I got a decent five hours wear out of Atlas Mountain Rose and at £7.50  a bottle, I’m not complaining at all.

This is an excellent Rose scent for any fragrant wardrobe and I much prefer it to a spray. This is very pretty, does what it says on the tin and is a very good price.

The Body Shop: Amazonian Wild Lily


If you have read any of my previous Body Shop reviews, you will know that I find it hard to write about today’s Body Shop without going off down Memory Lane.  The Perfume Bar! Oh I miss your big glass jars of Samarkand, Mostly Musk, Dewberry, Japanese Musk and Annie!  How I miss Raspberry Ripple Bathing Bubbles, Peppermint Foot lotion and Elderflower Eye Gel! *Sob*, oh it’s not like it used to be.

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

The Body Shop today is very different since L’Oreal took it over, but they still stand by their eco and humanitarian principals so it’s not all bad.  The perfume range is affordable and good quality (some more than others), but the days of greatness are much missed.

Today I bought two perfume oils: Amazonian Wild Lily and Atlas Mountain Rose.  This review is for Amazonian Wild Lily in the perfume oil form.

First of all, I don’t find that Body Shop EDTs last as long as the oils, hence my choice of purchase.  Amazonian Wild Lily is, on first application, wonderfully green and fresh. The notes are White Lily, Iris, Papaya and Orchid.   The result of this combination is that the fruit gives a slightly melon-y, calone accord. However, whereas that would normally make me run for the hills, it’s not quite strong enough to dominate and the flowers overtake it.  The strongest note is Lily, but thankfully, the vegetal/celery note that I sometimes get with Lily is absent.  Longevity is very good with the oil: it’s only a 15ml bottle, but in my experience, this bottle will last a very long time.  A previous 30ml bottle of Body Shop White Musk Oil lasted over a year.

body shop

Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily would make an ideal perfume for daywear and especially office wear.  It doesn’t  have that brash alcohol that  sprays have, so it’s good for discreet application on a train or in a n office without people inevitably asking what that smell is. Sillage is subtle and close to skin, but sometimes you need that if you’re going to be in close proximity to others.

The overall effect is a floral, green scent that is both pleasant and inoffensive. The Lily is strong and pretty, making this a pretty and long-lasting scent that fits into the bargain category by costing a mere £7.50.

Oh, did I mention that this really reminds me of Marc Jacobs Daisy?

Body Shop White Musk Libertine


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


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.

Serge Lutens Clair de Musc: Petticoats and Good Shoes


 Clair de Musc is much warmer and friendlier than yesterday’s sombre La Fille de Berlin, but then Musk is often a friendly sort of warmer-upper. Despite this being a product of Uncle Serge and his gang, I’m afraid I have something rather facile to say about it. My first and unshakable thought on smelling this was Impulse Hint of Musk. I tried to shake it off, really I did, but even in the basenotes I was still thinking the same thing.

To try and get a handle on Clair de Musc, I wore Body Shop White Musk on the other arm and compared the two.  I needed to find out what makes Clair de Musc different. What’s Clair got that other musks haven’t? Let’s face it, if you’re going to spend in the region of £80 on a bottle of perfume, you need to know why it’s worth  forking out.


On first spray, it was , as I said, Impulse Hint of Musk. Nothing wrong with that, it’s the best Impulse there is (is that damning with faint praise?). However there were also yellow flowers or honey in Clair de Musc. Interestingly, my interpretation did not match the notes listed on Fragrantica at all. For instance, where Fragrantica had bergamot, iris and lily of the valley listed as notes, I had honey, honeysuckle and yellow flowers.  There is a whisper of iris, almost as if she opened the wrong door, glanced in and left again, leaving a Will O’ the Wisp waft. The Body Shop White Musk smelled sharp compared to this, which gives you an indication of Clair’s feathery softness.

 Clair de Musc is warm, kind and pleasant. I don’t feel that it brings anything dramatically different  to the Musk Party. In fact, I only really got interested when I layered it over Cabochard. Then I really perked up and began to take notice. However, I often layer my trusty  (and cheap) bottle of Jovan White Musk over other items in my scent wardrobe to similar effect.

 Clair de Musc has low sillage, (often a blessing), and average lasting power on me, say two hours. I would probably not wear it alone, and it’s pricey as a layering scent: a bit like spending more on your petticoat than you would on a pair of good shoes.

Cheaper Musks do the job. This is good, but is it worth £85? You may disagree. Samples are the way forward, my friends. The Jury’s out.



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


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

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.


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.