musk: 6 posts

6 Luminous Musk Perfumes

Why should summer be all about colognes and fresh florals? Why not don a plush tuberose or a bittersweet chypre? Why not explore how our dark and glamorous favorites behave when the weather grows warmer and days longer? None of the “perfume wearing rules” annoy me more than the set-in-stone seasonal suggestions. I suspect that most of them are designed to make people buy more product, rather than enjoy what they already have. The only rule in perfume is to wear what smells good to you (in quantities appropriate for the occasion, of course). A new season is a new chance to experiment, and there is nothing better than experimenting with your favorites and discovering new facets in them.

Musk perfumes, for instance, are among the most versatile. They can be modulated by the type of application. They linger. They range from heavy and warm to radiant and bright. With this in mind here is my list of summer musks–although I wear them all year round.

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In Search of Dark, Opulent Musk

“Bring, bring that musk-scented wine! That wine is the key to joy, and it must be mine…” The medieval Persian reader scanning these lines by the 12th-century poet Nezami* would have understood instantly the subtle nuances of the word “musk.” Since natural musk was black, the reader would have envisioned a dark potion. Also, musk was considered the most sumptuous and alluring of scents, and musk-scented wine would surely be a libation to intoxicate one to the point of ecstasy. Most importantly, however, musk evoked seduction and passion, and in Nezami’s masterpiece about star-crossed lovers, Layla and Majnun, musk is the scented leitmotif.

The topic of my new FT column, In Search of Dark Musk, is the dark, intoxicating musk, and I search for a perfume with such a character. No white musks, clean musks or baby-skin musks will do. I want a musk that smolders and that would have been as close as possible to the kind of fragrance the Persian poet described.

You can read about the results of my search here, and of course, I look forward to reading your ideas on a perfume that smells dark and musky.

*Nezami or Nizami, Hafez or Hafiz? The Persian reading of these poets names’ is Nezami and Hafez, with a short “e”.  Nizami and Hafiz is an old-fashioned spelling, which still tends to be preferred by Western academics.

Image via FT; Persian miniature

 

Les Muscs et Les Parfums : The Osmotheque Event

On Wednesday, May 27th, the perfume conservatory Osmothèque will present a new lecture on the role of musks in perfumery. Titled “Les Muscs et Les Parfums”, the event will explore different facets of musks and the reason they are an essential ingredient in the perfumer’s palette. The lecture will be led by Max Gavarry, the author of famous fragrances such as Molyneux Vivre (1971), Guy Laroche J’ai Osé (1977), Rochas Mystère (1978), and Caron Infini (1972).

infini ad

When: May 27th, Wednesday at 18h30 (1.5-2 hours duration)
Where: 8 Avenue de la Porte de Champerret, 75017 Paris
Online Order Fees: 22€ per person; the reduced fee for students and members of Société des Amis de l’Osmothèque is 16€. Entry for students of ISIPCA is free. To reserve your tickets, please click here.

If anyone goes to the event, could you please let us know your thoughts about it in the comments here? Of course, if you want to write up a short report, we would love it.

Extra: you can also read about different types of musks used in your favorite fragrances in my article, Musk : Salt and Butter of Perfumery. It was written 10 years ago (and updated); it’s still among the most visited posts on Bois de Jasmin.

Parfums de Nicolai Musc Monoi : Perfume Review

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Summer ends the same way for me. It seems that only yesterday I made vacation plans, unearthed a swimming suit from a pile of winter clothes and bought an extra bottle of sunscreen. And then I wake up at the end of August and see that the local stationery store is advertising “start of school” sales and tall lindens lining the avenues in the city are slowly changing from green to gold. If I could hit a pause button for a moment, I would, if only to capture this languid, golden sensation of late summer days. But everything rushes forward inexorably, and the most I can do is reach for bottled summer fantasies, such as Parfums de Nicolaï Musc Monoi.

musk monoi

Monoi (also called tiare) is a tropical blossom that smells creamy and intensely sweet. It’s macerated in coconut oil to capture its heady perfume, and the scented oil is used on skin and hair. If you’ve ever seen a fragrance or body product advertised as having a tropical fragrance, then this monoi-coconut combination is something you’ve already encountered. In France, summer scent often means sweet orange blossom, such as L’Oreal’s classical Ambre Solaire sunscreen, and in Musc Monoi, perfumer Patricia de Nicolaï weaves both Mediterranean and tropical inspirations.

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Bond No. 9 New York Musk : New Perfume

Bond No. 9 is launching a new fragrance called New York Musk, which is a part of their New York Notes series (New York Oud, New York Amber appeared in it previously). New York Musk was created by perfumer Laurent LeGuernec,  and it includes notes of grapefruit flower, black currant, osmanthus, green lilies, nutmeg, musk, patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver. It is intended to be worn by both men and women.

In a virtuoso performance, New York Musk displays its versatility when surrounded by contemporary fruit and spice accents.  It opens with lightness and buoyancy: a blend of sparkling grapefruit flower, tart and tangy blackcurrant, and galbanum—a pine-like aromatic gum resin from Persia.  Then come the midnotes, reinforcing that theme:  Asian osmanthus flower, recalling peaches and apricots, combined with lemony-green lilies—yes, flowers that smell like fruits—while spiking this mix is spicy nutmeg.  Musk comes into play in the base notes, as it usually does, surrounded by its lingering cohorts, those willing conspirators in seduction, patchouli, sandalwood, and vetiver.

Appearing on-counter in November 2012, Bond No. 9 New York Musk will be sold at Bond No. 9’s five New York stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and bondno9.com.  Price:  100ml, $330; 50ml, $260. Via press release

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