Blown From Polar Fur – Mona di Orio Musc Perfume Review

Kate Bush

This week I have been listening to the new Kate Bush album ’50 Words for Snow’, a striking and beautiful conceptual piece centred around falling snow. Kate Bush is a dab hand at creating a landscape with her music and in my mind these landscapes have been reflected in two of the Mona di Orio’s creations from the Les Nombres d’Or collection. Oud is the golden, shimmering sunset depicted in Kate’s conceptual piece ‘A Sky of Honey’ from the album ‘Aerial’ and Musc is the eerily quiet snow covered landscape depicted in ’50 Words for Snow’.

On the album’s title track, Kate encourages Stephen Fry to cite 50 words for snow (it sounds absolutely bonkers, as you would expect from Ms Bush, but it works), some of the words are real, some are made up and they become completely ridiculous & fantastical as the song progresses (‘Faloop’njoompoola’ anyone?). My favourite of these snowy terms is No 47 ‘Blown From Polar Fur’ (honourable mentions go to ‘Wenceslas Air’ and ‘Bad for Trains’) and it perfectly reflects the snowy nature of Musc.

Musc is part of Mona di Orio’s Les Nombres d’Or (The Golden Numbers) collection which refers to the golden ratio, a mathematical theory of proportion that is showcased in the collection via fragrances centred around a single note, masterfully accentuated by other ingredients.

The Notes

Top: Neroli and Angelique
Heart: Rose and Héliotrope
Base: Fève Tonka and Muscs [1]

How Does it Smell?

Musc is a tricky note for me, I have so far only found one musc that I truly love (Musc Ravageur by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle). I don’t like my musc to be overly animalic, I’d rather it was a purring pussycat than a roaring lion. I’m also not overly keen on the soft, fuzzy muscs or the clean ‘laundry’ muscs that are overused in today’s clean-obsessed fragrance world.

Mona di Orio’s musc is of a different kind and I’m going to designate this new category of musc as the ‘snowy musc’. Musc opens with bright, green notes and it has a strong powdery sweetness right from the start. The musc is also present from the beginning and as you would expect it acts as the main pillar for the entire composition.

At the heart of the fragrance is a soft, pale pink rose. The rose is the light, sweet powdery kind and it does a good job of accentuating the powder of the musk. There is also an almond-like sweetness thanks to the heliotrope and this almond nuance also prevents musc from veering off into baby powder territory, a fate that awaits a lot of ‘snowy muscs’ (I’m looking at you Teint de Neige!)

The base is a bed of powdery vanilla and by the time it appears most of the sweetness has settled. The vanilla is relatively dry and the musc gives the base a wonderfully plush texture. Musc is a subtle beauty, it doesn’t need to shout, and although it may seem like a simple fragrance it does take a lot of skill to create such a well proportioned blend.

I am surprised that I enjoy Musc as much as I do, I wouldn’t have picked it out as my kind of thing at all, but it refines the aspects of the snowy muscs that I didn’t enjoy (hugely sweet burned play-doh) and if it were cheaper and available in a much smaller bottle I would probably invest in some.


Musc is part of the Les Nombres d’Or collection and is available in 100ml Eau de Toilette for £115.

Also, Kate Bush’s new album ’50 Words for Snow’ is out tomorrow and is well worth a listen, it’s nothing short of a masterpiece.


This review is based on a sample of Musc lovingly donated by Ines (thank you!)


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21 thoughts on “Blown From Polar Fur – Mona di Orio Musc Perfume Review

  1. Ha! I thought you were more likely to love the tuberose trio than Musc. 🙂
    Just proves you never know what might work for who.
    that also includes me, I really have a problem with muscs but this one works well for me too. 🙂
    And your review is spot on.

    • It’s weird how things turn out isn’t it?

      I do love one of the tuberose trio, and really like another so I guess that isn’t too bad.

      I was surprised to enjoy Musc as much as I do, it really isn’t something I would pick out for myself at all, so thank you for sending it!

  2. I haven’t smelt any of these latest Mona di Orios, but you have piqued my curiosity with the wonderful description of it as “blown from polar fur”. I didn’t know Kate Bush was still making music! Now I do find Teint de Neige too much, so this sounds as though it is pitched just right. Is it anything like Snow Rose by Floris? I sense probably not – Musc sounds quieter and more musky – though I couldn’t help thinking of it as I read your review.

    • I’ve tried three so far and all have impressed me so they are definitely worth a try. Kate is still making music, although she usually leaves a big gap between records (13 years between The Red Shoes & Aerial and 6 since years for this one) but she is definitely as bonkers as ever.

      Teint de Neige was pure baby powder on me (interestingly, one of the ’50 Words for Snow’ in the song is ‘Phlegm de Neige’) and as you say Musc is pitched just right. I haven’t tried Snow Rose, but I love the name!

  3. This sounds likie a musk that appeals to people who normally have issues with the note – like me. I can’t tolerate big scary musks or laundry musks (like Kiehl’s Original Musk) but I like Musc Ravageur too and this soft, snowy, powdery musk sounds good .

    I must listen to the Kate Bush album on Spotify now, I’m intrigued!

  4. Ah, a fellow fan of bonkers birds singing. 🙂 I can’t wait to get my grubby mitts on this CD. I’m a real Snow Queen – loving Sir David’s Frozen Planet and can’t wait for the weather to get properly crisp and chilly.

    You’ve made me want to wear Teint de Neige tomorrow. I like the sound of this Mona, although I am not a massive fan of soft musks ordinarily – the neroli and heliotrope sound lovely. But I’m a huge fan of snow. And of cold, dry weather. It makes aldehydes shimmer gloriously. Alica got me into wearing Chanel 22 in biting old and it’s fantastic. Dimitri persuaded me to try Guerlain’s massive white floral Mahora in deep winter too and that was astonishingly good, especially when wrapped up in sheepskins – a dab of that huffing up off your chest is amazing. Try it with your tuberoses when the weather gets really parky.

    And as for 50 words for snow, rope our Scandi chums in for a poll: Pia Long/Nukapia, Ine Espenes, Eva Egeland et al. Heck, Ine lives in Tromso in the Arctic Circle! I bet those gals can come up with some spectacular terms for the fluffy stuff.

    • It’s good to see another fan of the bonkers bird singing! Since 50 Words for Snow I’ve started to listen to Aerial again, I’m addicted to A Sky of Honey!

      Now, Mahora in deep winter, I have to give that a try, I tend to wear it only in summer. I imagine that the sandalwood base would be especially comforting during the cold weather.

      I do agree that aldehydes work really well in winter, I only ever wear No 5 in the winter, it just fits the weather so perfectly. I do need to try No 22!

      We should ask Pia, Ine and Eva what their words for snow are!

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  6. I’m suprised actually. I haven’t tried this, but have tried some of Mona’s older creations. Nuit Noire in particular is extremely civet heavy, and I thought that her Musc would also be heavy on the animal secretions :’) I guess I was wrong.
    I’m the complete opposite, I like my musks quite heavy and animalic, so I’m not quite sure whether this would satisfy that.

    As for the Kate Bush, I’m gonna be a buzz kill and say I didn’t like the new album. Even the Directer’s Cut was better! 😛

    • I never got to try Nuit Noire before it was discontinued, I do quite like my animalics, just not in the musky scents, I’m more of a civet kind of guy!

      Musc is a very pretty little floral musk, and it doesn’t sound like it would be to your taste, but it may be worth a try.

      As for Kate Bush, I really like the new album but it’s not as good as Aerial, that was a masterpiece!

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