I’m often asking people to sniff things and when I do, a common response is “it’s a bit musky”. This always strikes me as an unusual answer, mainly because many of these fragrances would not be classified as musks in the typical sense. Perhaps people see ‘musky’ as anything that is slightly funky, or perhaps it’s just anything that is difficult to describe and where musk seems like the safe descriptor. Whatever it is, this got me to thinking seriously about what musk really smells like and what it brings to a fragrance.
What I do know however, is that musk is a spectrum, one that ranges from laundry-like purity to animalic pornography. It’s a wide scope for sure and one that traverses a huge range of fragrances. In this post, which is the start of a new series entitled ‘Six Scents’, I take a look at six fragrances on the musk spectrum, moving from the cleanliness of a spin cycle to the shocking sin of a scent between the thighs. Buckle up, fragrance nerds, because this is going to be quite a ride!
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.