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.



6 thoughts on “Serge Lutens Clair de Musc: Petticoats and Good Shoes”

  1. Dearest Iscent
    Musk over Cabochard?
    Now that does sound divine.
    Funny you should talk about comparing the everyday with the allegedly exceptional.
    I’ve been trying Yardley’s Lily of the Valley against Diorissimo and whilst the former did not disgrace itself, the difference was instantly apparent.
    It’s a good sort of test isn’t it?
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    1. Dear Mr Dandy,

      Thank you for your input, always warmly welcomed. I’m afraid you have started a thirst in me for a Yardley floral. I shall be going to an excellent chemist I know that stocks a wide range and I shall be making a purchase anon. I have yet to try Diorissimo. I tried Miss Dior yesterday and it was very like Coco Mademoiselle to me. I have heard good things about Diorissimo, so I shall try that next.

      Your friend

  2. I agree, Perfumed Dandy – musk over Cabochard sounds fabulous. I must try it!

    I was once told a great tip by a lady in a parfumerie – she was a very experienced sales assistant and we were talking about the finer points of the Lutens range, about which she was very knowledgeable. She told me that the Lutens were fantastic to layer over each other, but that Clair de Musc was particularly useful because it tones down other perfumes. She explained that if you have oversprayed something strong, then you can use Clair de Musc to calm it down and make yourself elevator-appropriate.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you don’t have to shell out on Uncle Serge’s finest to tone down the excessive overspritzing of Borneo 1834. I reckon Jovan would work perfectly well.

    I do think that Clair de Musc is a clever fragrance. Because it’s an exceedingly good version of a classic ‘white musk’, which is such a ridiculously easy fragrance to wear every day. And for the elegant ladies out there who don’t want to wear Jovan, but want something more prestigious, you can see where it fits in. I bet it’s a best-seller.

    1. I can totally see why someone might be guilty of over spraying Borneo 1834! I loved it. It’s very interesting what you say about Clair de Musc being a layering scent. It doesn’t surprise me at all. I also agree with you that it does have a place in the market and won’t be in any trouble sales-wise.

      The calming properties of Musk- yes that makes sense too. It can soothe and make something loud a little softer, like the muffler pedal on a piano. Musk definitely has a place, it’s just a challenge to make a Musk different enough to make a splash, but similar enough to keep the Musk fans on board. It’s a fine line, but every wardrobe should have a couple of good Musks.

      Your comments are always so interesting and relevant. I’m very lucky to have you on board.

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