Congratulations Julia Guthrie.
You have won the 5 ml decant of Musk 7. Soon you'll be smelling of amber, patchouli and a bit of bacon!
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Wednesday, 17 September 2014
A couple of weeks ago I was offered the chance to trial some of the recently relaunched Demeter fragrance line (now called The Library of Fragrance in Europe). With evocative names abounding such as Thunderstorm and Snow, I was thrilled by the prospect.
I set out to choose a few of the diminutive bottles which took some considerable time, with 100 fragrances in the range it was decidedly difficult to narrow it down to just a few. Obviously, being an outdoorsy type I chose some replicant weather conditions straight away but then became somewhat stumped as to what to select next. Having never written about a true ‘musk’ on Odiferess, Musk ’hash’ 7 seemed an appropriate selection. Musk ‘hash’ 7 has nothing at all do with hash/hashish. It simply means that I can’t work out how to make a hash sign on my laptop! I shall thus refer to it as ‘Musk 7’.
After being a little emotionally refrigerated by the (very odd) squally weather condition scents, I was pleased to get my nose into something considerably warmer, more jovial and rather quirky.
Musk 7 is one of three musk scents from The Library of Fragrance, all claim to be based upon a synthetic white musk which is described as ‘clean, smooth and sweet’ as opposed to dirty and animalic. In complete opposition to the claim, my skin appears to be able to turn it into a superbly filthy and complex scent.
Complexity isn’t a term you’d associate with most of the line as The Library of Fragrance don’t create pyramid structure perfumes. Instead, they attempt to capture a specific isolated smell, either as a replicant (such as the gorgeously realistic Honeysuckle) or as a conceptual experience (a prime example being Laundromat). With this in mind, they are not ‘perfumey perfumes’. This presents a conundrum for me as I am an avid lover of a good old-fashioned structure that transforms throughout the wear.
However, being priced at a mere £15 for a 30 ml bottle and even cheaper in the USA in smaller sizes, there is definitely a niche for the brand to inhabit with their quirky linear scents. Launching in the UK at the high street pharmacy Boots last week, they chose to market just 30 of the almighty library. Included in the selection were mainly ‘friendly’ scents, many with a gourmand, optimistic or clean feel (which I think will be ideal affordable gifts for the teen market). Pleasingly, they have also included some more avant-garde concepts for us fume junkies to get excited by and the inevitable patchouli and amber for the many who adore this uber-trend.
I’d expected the musk to be a tad boring, in that it was likely to mimic the notorious White Musk from The Body Shop. Whilst it does share a similar opening, this is by no means the same scent. The ‘pretty’ is absent, replaced by a daring skin accord that will no doubt intrigue those with their noses permanently stuck to their wrist. In fact, had it arrived in a blank bottle from a secret benefactor I would have imagined it was a new release from Etat Libre D’Orange named ‘Hot Carpenter’.
(Here should be a photo of a hot carpenter but Google offered little until I turned the safe search off, the results were spectacularly un-publishable!)
It basically smells like unwashed (but certainly not unpleasant) skin mixed up with a little wood and leathery labdanum - a hot carpenter wearing a leather tool belt! I’ve longed to smell the almost mythical ‘complex musk’ accords spoken of so longingly by the perfume community. I’ve encountered the truly rank – the rather pissy and feral ‘tonkin’ style musks and the sexless – the ever so clean laundry yawn creators, but not the almost mythical ‘fatty’ skin musk. And here it is! In Musk 7 I can detect scalp (at a gentle midpoint between clean and grease laden), butter or even baker’s lard, skin from areas of the body without major secretions (an inoffensive bit of arm after a few day’s shower-free camping), brazil nut flesh, the warm fur of snoozy cat, bacon rind and a vaguely cheesy whiff (more Edam than Stilton). And I really rather like it.
Perhaps my position as 'cat lover' sways me but isn't warm cat fur a wonderful smell?
Memories of childhood baking - Trex brand lard
The truly inspired aspect of this creation is that they have added a patchouli and amber accord without it becoming a ‘patchouli and amber’ perfume. They are there, but in such a subtle manner that they remain in the background, rare amongst a sea of fragrances that shout these notes at ear trembling volume. Instead, they offer a woody warmth and a temperance to what would otherwise be a straight up lardy whiff.
Ultimately, I’d recommend this scent to the amber/woody oriental lovers as I think they’d appreciate the surprisingly sophisticated background. It won’t please those who hanker after a great scent trail as this wears very close to the skin. It does however last a lot longer than the others I sampled giving a good four hours wear and tonight, amazingly, it survived a lengthy bubble bath albeit in a slightly drowned capacity.
You may also enjoy my post on the fruity desert musk of L’ Erbolario - Meharees
For a chance to win a 5 ml decant of this creation, please leave a comment below or at the Odiferess Facebook page telling me your thoughts on musky scents. A winner will be randomly drawn on the 27th of September, sadly only available to UK readers due to the rubbish postal laws.
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Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Gustave Moreau - The Sirens, 1872
Much has been written about Liz Moores’ recently launched Papillon brand. It became an internet phenomenon long before the scents were ready for sale, mostly due to her prolific engagement with scent lover’s forums online.
What has not yet been discussed yet is the untamed erotic disposition of the scent that stirred me most significantly – Anubis.
True erotica isn’t concerned with the sex act, instead, it brings forth imagery to tease and rouse the imagination. It is enigmatic rather than explicit. In the fact that is more to do with the mind than actuality, erotica can play with concepts or imagery that perhaps you might not necessarily want to connect with in real life. I’m sure that no seafaring man wished to end his life shattered upon the bloody rocks, lured by the bewitching call of the Siren. And yet there is no doubt the fantasy of resting his cheek amongst the plentiful bosom of the sinister maritime songstress sisters would have surely whistled a breeze up his flagpole.
Anubis is primarily a smoky leather scent, underpinned with a spiritual incense that renders it ‘otherworldly’. My first thoughts were of David Hemmings playing the startlingly handsome Captain Nolan in the 1968 film – The Charge Of The Light Brigade. It’s not just the almighty horsey leather boots reference, it’s in his eyes. A star reigning long before the advent of Touche Eclat, his beauty was magnified by the dark shadows underneath eyes of sapphire. Shadows that hinted at late nights and Byronic decadence. Gothic chic – a deathly pallor.
Leather has traditionally signified the erotic in perfumery. It’s no wonder when we consider the connotations of this whiff. The obvious (and to me unappealing) signification is the relationship between leather and S&M. However a more intriguing idea is the imagery of the horseman, the hero that will rescue us from danger, or perhaps the highwayman that will hold us at peril. The young girl that reads stories of valiant horseback rescue may also be the girl who’s first love is a pony. In this case the ripe leather and grassy sweat smell of saddlery and the excitement of our first pair of proper riding boots is associated with the obsessive equine love of the teenage girl, creatures that we adored and nurtured and nuzzled long before we discovered boys.
Anubis contains an almost briny element, reminiscent of fresh sweat upon the skin or the seawater that clings to us following a dip in the sea. The sea brings me back to mythology and the great paintings of classical tales. Manchester Art Gallery displays a melancholically erotic depiction of Sappho, poet of Ancient Greece, said to have ended her life by jumping off a sea cliff driven quite mad by her love of a ferryman. Some years ago I swam in icy, weed riddled waters off the West Coast of Scotland. Under a black sky spattered with the incandescent spectacle of the Milky Way, I was struck by the terror of unseen creeping hands of the seaweed and yet overcome by the almighty feeling of being consumed by vivid raw nature in a vast landscape. When I stand in front of Sappho I feel both the terror of the sea and the absolute elemental nature of feminine sensuality.
Charles-August Mengin - Sappho, 1877
We are indeed creatures of Mother Nature, affected at base level by the stuff of the earth. Living in the modern world we take our sensual pleasures in our homes, most often in bed. But our fantasies often take us outside where our visions of amourous embraces are acted out in the forests and mountains, the picnic with the sun baked and bonded skin, the hidden shelter of a canopy of trees in an electrical storm, the whiff of a man’s hair tainted by wood smoke. Were I not afraid of the chanting, rituals and terrible fashion, I’d without doubt become a Pagan priestess.
Which leads me nicely back to Liz. Not that I’m suggesting that she is indeed a Pagan priestess, but she does live deep in the countryside surrounding by a gaggle of children, various pets and domesticated wildlife. It seems fitting that such an evocative perfume came from a nose with a profound love of rural life.
On Ormonde Woman and witchcraft
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