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.
Top: Neroli and Angelique
Heart: Rose and Héliotrope
Base: Fève Tonka and Muscs 
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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