My first impression of Clair de Musc was that it is an unnecessarily expensive version of Bodyshop White Musk. After that it has been sitting in my perfume cabinet neglected until I decided to give it another try. My initial reaction to this was very hasty I admit. First of all the musk here is not white at al. It is of the same creamy, dusty variety found in Muscs Koublai Khan, treated on a more conventional and feminine way. The opening features a very beautiful, slightly rooty iris note kissed by the honeyed musk of Serge Lutens. Iris and musk are a match made in heaven and these first opening minutes are really amazing. The iris fades leaving a light shimmering trail of coolness under the warm musk. A floral note that to my nose is jasmine adds the feminine dimension and makes the difference to the most masculine MKK. As the base warms up on the skin the musk kicks in with all its animalic glory. In fact this musk seems a lot more raw and animalic than the salty, fuzzy, almost peach skin musk of MKK.
Clair de Musc translates as Clear Musk but is also play on words: clair de lune means moonlight so the name of the fragrance could also mean Musk Light. And although it is a light scent it has a nocturnal disposition. It reminds me a lot of Fleur Poudrée de Musc with less innocent florals and less dangerous musks. It is easier to wear and its deceptive name and similarity to a clean musk seems like a cunning game with the concept of musk as it has evolved in modern perfumery. The merest hint of true musk in a perfume rings alarms of “old lady smell”. The sexual connotations of musk have been dissociated from the interpretation of this note, as if we have lost our connections with our animal instincts. Clair de Musc offers a possible bridge to allow us to reconnect with this aspect of musk. Simple and airy on first inspection but sexy and secretive on hindsight.
Notes from Fragrantica: iris, musk, neroli, bergamot
Notes from my nose: musk, iris, jasmine, honey