When it comes to decent fragrance at an equally decent price, one really cannot go wrong with The Body Shop. Admittedly their perfume output isn’t anywhere near as artistic or exciting as that found within the stores of their rival Lush (Gorilla Perfume really is very good), but it cannot be denied that, for the most part, The Body Shop creates things that smell nice and won’t require anybody to sell any kidneys on eBay to fund – and in this world of hyper-luxe niche brands, that’s pretty refreshing.
Perhaps the most enjoyable and iconic perfume The Body Shop has to offer is White Musk. Originally launched in 1981, White Musk has been a cheap staple for those who want a good everyday scent without breaking the bank or demanding too much attention. I’m a big fan of the White Musk Oil, which is great for those days where one just wants something lovely and incognito, but the scent in all of its many incarnations is a worthy take on ephemeral musk.
In continuation of the White Musk narrative, The Body Shop has launched White Musk Smoky Rose – a perfume that is meant to be a more sultry and seductive take on the 1981 classic suitable for evening wear. The perfume was created by Sophie Labbé of IFF and is billed as “a darkly seductive, floriental evening scent”. So is this TBS’s ‘Noir Musk’ (a truly dark perfume) or is it just another White Musk flanker? The answer is neither.
Black Rose, Tobacco Flower, Imortelle Flower and Cruelty-Free Sensual Musks
How Does it Smell?
White Musk Smoky Rose is ‘White Musk’ in name only and does not share any of the original’s powdery and effervescent signature. From the first spritz it clearly comes across as an entirely different beast together, with an opening of milky fruit, sticky maple syrup and soft wisps of rose. It does all feel a little bit too ‘candied’ at first, but the spicier notes come through quick enough to create a more smoked effect, as promised.
The rose itself isn’t particularly prominent – it gently hums rather than blooms. Its sweetness is captured by the caramelised sugar or imortelle and wrapped in a veil of unsweetened vanilla, allowing for a relatively well-balanced composition. What is perhaps most interesting about the rose, and White Musk Smoky Rose in general, is the odd plasticky vibe that smells slightly scorched. It’s unconventional (and refreshing) for a perfume and a brand that does not set out to make waves,
In the base, White Musk Smoky Rose settles to a simple vanilla and musk affair that is pleasingly soft. I find that there is a strong resurgence of sugar as things get down to the nitty gritty in the base but thankfully nothing every feels cloying, sickly or hard to handle due to the transparency of the white musk. A lot of the fruity florals on the market could certainly take a few cues from White Musk Smoky Rose’s clever use of control, a word that many are unfamiliar with.
As with most things The Body Shop does, White Musk Smoky Rose is a well crafted fragrance that does what it says on the tin. It’s not something I would rush out to buy personally, nor would I recommend it as a decent rose scent (there really are so many more ‘true roses’ out there that this one simply cannot compete) but I would say that those in the market for a decent (and un-sickly) fruity floral with hidden depth should definitely seek this one out.
White Musk Smoky Rose is available in Eau de Parfum (30ml for £13), Eau de Toilette (30ml for £10 and 60ml for £15) and Fragrance Mist (100ml for £7.50). Matching body products are also available.
Sample of White Musk Smoky Rose EDT via The Body Shop. Notes and quotes via press release. Image 1 via parfumblog.hu. Image 2 via cosmeticsbusiness.com.