Between the raunchy Muscs Koublaï Khan and the pristine Clair de Musc, it’s as though Serge Lutens had wanted to stretch the paradox of musk to its near-breaking point. And while Muscs Koublaï Khan epitomizes Lutens’ trademark baroque style, Clair de Musc veers into an unexpectedly serene, ethereal aesthetic.
The first sniff is all soap – if seraphim ever wash their wings, their suds must surely smell of Clair de Musc… With its hairspray aldehydes churning powdery swirls of carnation and iris, this feels like a pared-down version of grand, classic florals like Chanel N°22. The orange blossom and jasmine have clearly been sent home to scrub off their heady notes. Sandalwood is only allowed to join the fun if it promises to sit in the sidelines. Then, just as you’d forgotten about it, the musk rises to the foreground with the soft, nutty-rosy tones of ambrette, the vegetal musk, and Clair de Musc slyly extends a scented tendril towards her feral sister. She may be, after all, an angel with dirty wings.
Image: Francesca Woodman, Angel Series (1977)
I owned a Clair de Musc bottle but never repurchased it. I had so many compliments on it from men with this fragrance but I always felt like I was wearing "Eau de Bubblegum", just not intoxicating enough for me.RépondreSupprimer
I keep nursing samples and decants of Clair de Musc along, but I have never made the decision to buy a bottle. I find it perfect for days when I want a soft, yet substantial musk. It is perfection in that sense. Muted floral notes, powdery iris, gentle woods and a very slightly naughty musk. Yet I rarely find myself reaching for it. I think that I have that reaction to musks in general, no matter how good they are.RépondreSupprimer
Layering CdM is another story. I came home from a day of sniffing with friends recently and I had various scents on my arms, nothing overpowering. For fun, I spritzed some CdM over both arms. Within 15 minutes, the most gorgeous blend was wafting upward. I wish that I could recreate it!
First off -- that photo! Amazing!RépondreSupprimer
Secondly, I need to try this again. I have a vague memory of thinking, "Hmmmm... this could be something...." but somehow it never went any further. I need to remedy that.
How lovely, D. I must dig out a sample of this and re-test it. I love the photos.RépondreSupprimer
Si j'avais, I know exactly what you mean. I wouldn't say bubblegum, but it's not quite my vibe either!RépondreSupprimer
Melissa, that's an interesting idea... So CdM would actually act as musk is supposed to, by giving greater vividness to the other notes? I'll try that!RépondreSupprimer
StyleSpy, yes, Francesca Woodman was a great artist...RépondreSupprimer
CdM is kind of a sleeper. I'm not sure I need it but it surprised me in the drydown.
Jarvis, I'd be curious to know your impressions.RépondreSupprimer
what a lovely review. this does have a certain something doesn't it. on paper it is a fairly clean, good girl musc but there is obviously something in it's tone that is unexpected. It's one that I don't own but endlessly test. I think if I did own it I would end up wearing it a lot.RépondreSupprimer
I adore CdM. Funny how it took someone to point out how similar it was to No. 5 for me to notice.RépondreSupprimer
Rose, it's strange, what it does in phase two, isn't it?RépondreSupprimer
Dane, it just jumped out at me because of the big, huge soapy start. But then it veers off...RépondreSupprimer
I own it and like it, but I seem to avoid it most of the time because it becomes a bit strident and invasive after a couple of hours.RépondreSupprimer
Tara, I think that high-pitched vibe is the aldehyde/white floral/white musk thing I call soapy. I'd have issues with it too -- what I like is the dry down.RépondreSupprimer
At last someone reviewed it! Thank you very much. It's my favourite SL scent. It smells very French and classy to me, whatever "french" and "classy" means:)RépondreSupprimer
This is one that I actually asked an SA what she was wearing when walking through Barneys in Beverly Hills. Such delicious puffs of blameless sexiness; not at all manly, but glorious. The funk of a nice girl after tennis.RépondreSupprimer
J'm'en fous, I do know what you mean: that's the classic part of Clair de Musc. And also the slightly dirty one! ;-)RépondreSupprimer
Tom, I love your turn of phrase! Blameless sexiness is exactly it!RépondreSupprimer