L’Artisan Mure et Musc and Mure et Musc Extreme : Perfume Reviews

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Blackberry_cluster

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I often forget that L’Artisan Mûre et Musc is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in just two years. Created in 1978 by Jean Laporte, the original L’Artisan Parfumeur founder, it became one of the first fragrances exploring the softness of musk with minimal ornamentation. The cologne version (now discontinued) was created by perfumer Akiko Kamei.

What differentiates Mûre et Musc from earlier perfumes exploring the same theme, such Jovan Musk (1971), is its ingenious fusing of a blackberry note into the musk accord. While the synthetics nitromusks favored in the first half of the century are marked by soapiness and floral warmth, many musks that became popular in the second half possess distinct fruity facets (please see my earlier article on the topic of musks.) …

By incorporating a blackberry note, Mûre et Musc creates a perfect natural harmony, which hardly needs any other embellishments, save for the cool aldehydic mist in the top notes and the soft woods in the base.

The marriage of fruit and musk is as wonderful as tomato and basil pairing in Italian cooking. Yet, I find the minimalist refinement of Mûre et Musc to be more interesting from the artistic standpoint. My preferred version to wear is Mûre et Musc Extrême, which followed the highly successful Mûre et Musc in 1993. Created by perfumer Karine Dubreuil who is also responsible for Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pivoine Magnifica, Eclat d’Arpege, and L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, Mûre et Musc Extrême heightens the inky blackberry sweetness, seductively melting the jammy fruit over the musky base. The fruity richness fades as the composition develops, but it marks the animalic breath of musk with pleasing sweetness.

Admittedly, at times it can have an effect of a melody that keeps haunting despite one’s efforts to forget it, but one cannot fault Mûre et Musc Extrême for not being memorable. The best thing about either Mûre et Musc or Mûre et Musc Extrême is that their fruity notes lack the all too frequent associations with either fruit salads or popsicles. Neither smells like anything I would be tempted to eat.

Mûre et Musc or Mûre et Musc Extrême and other L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances are available at Aedes, Barneys New York, Beautycafe, Bergdorf Goodman, Bluemercury, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Theperfumeshoppe. European shoppers can find the line at First-in-Fragrance.

Photo: Blackberries from oregonberry.com

Please see other L’Artisan reviews:
Ananas Fizz
Bois Farine
Dzing!
Fleur D’Oranger
La Chasse Aux Papillons
La Chasse Aux Papillons Extrême
L’Eau du Fleuriste (brief description)
Les Epices de la Passion: Safran Troublant, Piment Brûlant, Poivre Piquant
Passage d’Enfer
Tea For Two
Tubéreuse
Voleur de Roses

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30 Comments

  • Karin: I’ve only tried Mure et Musc. It does make me wish I lived close to NYC so I could take advantage of the many places to experience different scents that are not here at all, even an hour away, though they all say they will order. I want to try them first! February 24, 2006 at 7:15am Reply

  • Laura: Oh, you’ve taught me about another wonderful perfumer! I really like Pivoine Magnifica and Mure et Musc Extreme! I have a vague fond memory of Eclat, too. I will follow her career with interest now–you’ll help us all do that, won’t you ;D. February 24, 2006 at 7:59am Reply

  • Christina H.: I bought that cute little black berry bottle that has the Mure et Musc and loved it so much that I wanted to “kick it up a notch” and got the extreme!I love both very much.One is much more subdued but they are refreshingly easy,simple scents that I find a pleasure to wear!Thank you once again for a lovely review! February 24, 2006 at 8:31am Reply

  • Marina: I like both the regular and the extreme version, exactly for the fact you point out, they don’t smell like anything one would want to eat.
    You mentioning tomato and basil, on the other hand, really made me hungry now 🙂 February 24, 2006 at 9:44am Reply

  • MarkDavid: Very nice review. Out of all of the L’Artisans I’ve tried, this is probably the only one I would consider buying. Now, I haven’t come close to sampling the entire line, but the ones I have just haven’t done it for me. But this is a beautiful fragrance and one I have gotten compliments on many times when I’ve worn my sample. February 24, 2006 at 10:41am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Karin, I definitely recommend trying first. Mûre et Musc Extrême (EDP) is much sweeter, and I know some people who do not like the original prefer the EDP version and vice versa. February 24, 2006 at 11:16am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: L, Karine Dubreuil is a talented perfumer, and I think that her fragrances are well-done, although I do not really care for Eclat d’Arpege. As for your question, I do what I can. 🙂 February 24, 2006 at 11:19am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Christina, my pleasure! I have been eyeing the gorgeous bottle for a while, but I do not wear Mûre et Musc often enough to warranty a purchase. Mûre et Musc Extrême, on the other hand, would have convinced me to splurge. February 24, 2006 at 11:21am Reply

  • Judith: Hmmmm. . . I clearly need to try these again. I tried them briefly awhile ago, and found them both lovely but a bit too “jammy” for me to wear. I think I actually preferred the original, because it seemed less sweet. February 24, 2006 at 11:21am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: M, yes, I do not like many fruity notes used as dominant motifs because they often make me think of candy. That is not what I want to smell on me. In this case, the gourmand effect is minimal, to say the least. February 24, 2006 at 11:22am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Mark, thank you. I have a few L’Artisan fragrances that I very much enjoy (Tea for Two, Dzing!, La Chasse Aux Papillons are among them), but overall I find many of the fragrances to have a thin quality that begins to bore me after a while. Mûre et Musc or Mûre et Musc Extrême are among my favourites, because they are very original. I also receive lots of compliments on them.

    I also like Santal, dry sandalwood and lime. A perfect summer fragrance. February 24, 2006 at 11:26am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: J, yes, the original is less sweet. I find that Mûre et Musc Extrême needs a good hour to settle, but once it does, the result is very sensual and warm. Did you see the limited edition Mûre et Musc bottle, shaped like a blackberry? Now, it can rival Songes moon bottle! 🙂 February 24, 2006 at 11:28am Reply

  • Judith: Yes, that bottle is absolutely gorgeous! The fig one is also very nice. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m enough of a fan of either fragrance to merit buying a bottle:( I’m still deciding on Songes, but that is much more likely! I think, though, that I still have some of my MeM samples somewhere, so I will try them again, and be sure to give the extreme enough time to settle (I’m pretty sure I didn’t when I first tried it) February 24, 2006 at 11:52am Reply

  • Robin: Cracking up at “haunting despite one’s efforts to forget it”.

    It is a wonderful scent but doesn’t suit me. Like everyone else though, I want that darn LE bottle. February 24, 2006 at 12:21pm Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I wanted so much to love these, but they both smell like pinesol or some pine-scented something on me. :):)

    Too bad, because I adore the new limited edition blackberry bottle. If I loved the fragrance, I would have bought it on the spot.

    Hugs! February 24, 2006 at 1:51pm Reply

  • KS: V: this scent always pleases me, makes me want to buy it. Then when I get another sample and wear it…I tire of it during the day! But 6 months later I try, try again…weird. (This has been going on for YEARS.) Best to use the aroma as a room spray or candle! K February 24, 2006 at 2:03pm Reply

  • Tania: I tried these so long ago that I scarcely remember them, but I do remember finding the musk in the Extreme version overwhelming, especially because, as you say, it’s so linear and yet so noticeable throughout that it can be annoying. There’s a Trish McEvoy scent that capitalizes on the blackberry aspect of musk and adds a vanilla, which turns it into a candied version of the L’Artisan idea. I thought it was pretty but that the L’Artisan idea was actually much more interesting to wear. I was considering revisiting these in the summer, actually, to see if I’d actually enjoy the muskiness now. February 24, 2006 at 2:05pm Reply

  • marchlion: It is possibly my least favorite — it is, as you said, haunting despite one’s efforts to forget it! However, the SA at the boutique here told me this is their most popular l’Artisan, and quite a few men are wearing it. February 24, 2006 at 3:58pm Reply

  • Tara: I need to try the extreme version – sadly the regular Mure et Musc smells like BO on me. 🙁 Maybe I’d have better luck with the other. February 24, 2006 at 3:59pm Reply

  • Cait: You psychic thing you! I grabbed my vial of Mure et Musc Extreme (that I never usually wear) on the way out the door this morning and then found that you had so fortuitously reviewed it.

    I like the way you describe the blackberries as inky.
    Interesting too that this blackberry musk is a recent innovation. I always heard/thought the combo was a traditional french cologne formula.

    I could eat this, in a pinch, but I’ve always been a good eater.
    Thanks for the review! February 24, 2006 at 4:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, I am trying to convince myself to like Songes in the EDP instead, because I really love the bottle! You should see it in person. It is simply stunning! February 24, 2006 at 8:07pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, seriously, the bottle is so wonderful. But alas, I do not love Mure et Musc. It is very persistent and then I get tired of it. February 24, 2006 at 11:41pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), I can actually understand what you mean about pinesol, because it has a sharp woody note, although it does not bother me nearly as much. I smell lots of musk, and it softens it. I can completely see why it would be bothersome though. February 24, 2006 at 11:43pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Kevin, have you tried the room spray (Mure Sauvage)? I highly recommend it. It has more blackberry than the fragrance, but overall the effect is less sweet. February 24, 2006 at 11:44pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: T, I tried Trish McEvoy perfume, but I thought that the treatment of the idea was bland. Pretty, but bland. Of course, the edgy, raw aspect of Mure et Musc is what I object to, yet at the same time I am drawn to it. Mure et Musc Extreme tempers the muskiness, but it does not trivialize it by turning the composition into something cute. February 24, 2006 at 11:52pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I love this on a man. I think that it is a very nice fragrance, but whenever I wear it, I keep wishing that after a few hours it would just go away. February 24, 2006 at 11:56pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tara, they are sufficiently different that disliking one does not mean that you would dislike the other. I certainly recommend trying the Extreme version. February 24, 2006 at 11:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cait, what a coincidence! How did you like it? Inky is also part of the visual perception, especially when one picks blackberries. I love any berry, but whenever I am faced with the choice at my local supermarket, I pick blackberries. They are my favourites, for texture as much as scent. February 25, 2006 at 12:01am Reply

  • Cait: I am still thinking about how I liked it, but I like it more when I think of it as inky, so I’ll go with that. It is kind of virile. It makes me think of strapping lads. I love blackberries, too. They are great with foie gras. February 25, 2006 at 6:50pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Any sour fruit goes wonderfully with foie gras. The best accompaniment though is the stewed apple. It is more traditional, but I love the combination. February 26, 2006 at 12:21pm Reply

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