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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