Serge Lutens Clair de Musc: tender is the musk

Musk light…

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


About Christos

Scientifically minded but obsessed with the subjective aspect of things. Photos copyright of MemoryOfScent, with special thanks to Pantelis Makkas You are welcome to link to my blog but you are definitely not allowed to copy text or use the photos without my permission. All text and main photos are originals and property of MemoryOfScent All perfumes are from my collection unless stated otherwise.


  1. hey Christo – is your title a pun on the book or the Blur song!? 😉

    • Actually I was thinking of the book but the song is also a very good metaphor because melodically it is very un-Blur-y and the lyrics so bitter-sweet. Thanks for adding another dimension 🙂

  2. I also liked the title 🙂 As to the perfume – one day… There are just too many of them.

  3. Lovely review. And I like the F. Scott Fitzgerald play on words in the title too.

  4. Oh, I got to test that now!

  5. This is yet another musk based fragrance that I have to try, along with Musc Khablai Khan. Great review Christos!

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