Puckrik On Perfume

Katie Puckrik ON Mar 15, 2010 AT 12:54 pm

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Reader request: In my quest to find the perfect fragrance for different aspects of my life, I’ve decided to begin my search for the ULTIMATE signature scent. Please help!
By Katie Puckrik

Dear Katie,

I have reached a point in my fragrance-collecting adventure where I start getting funny little ideas that turn into quests to find a scent that fits the description.

Example — violets are one of my favorite floral notes, and incense is another, and I had the idea to make my next purchase something with prominent violets/incense notes and I did: Silver Factory by Bond No. 9.

Now I am faced with a new dilemma that I need help with, because I have very little musk experience. I want a fragrance that smells like it could just be me. I want something that could come from the pores of my skin. A fragrance that becomes so intertwined in my natural chemistry that I could get away with lying and saying, “My perfume? Oh, I’m not wearing one!”. Am I making sense or is this a pipe dream?

Your Loyal Viewer,

Jake, those “funny little ideas” are the devils on the shoulder of any card-carrying fumehead. One minute, you’re sauntering down the avenue, trilby pushed back on your head, whistling a tune from Guys&  Dolls. The next, you’re wild-eyed and squirrelly-brained, pestering the perfume counter jockeys and running up your credit card on mail-order samples. Merciful heavens, the perfect oud-and-steak-tartar body splash has just got to be out there!

Thankfully in this instance, the “my skin but better” musk hunt is a well-traveled road to Mecca. We shall leave aside the more elaborate musk pairings, like Musc Ravageur with its vanilla, or Stella McCartney Stella with its rose, to focus on the creamy character of solo musk.

There are two approaches to musk perfume: clean and dirty. The dirty one, with emphasized beastiness, smells more realistically me-but-better, but if you’re a boy-in-a-bubble type who prefers their fragrances to be as scrubbed up as they are, the bright, soapy flavour of musk might be more your speed.

For clean musks, try:

Narciso Rodriguez Musc For Him oil (musk with hints of violet leaves and concrete; becoming hard to find)
Le Labo Musc 25 (bright, clean musk)
Kenzo Power (woody, musky floral)
C. O. Bigelow Musk Oil (clean, sweet musk)
LesNez  L’Antimatiere (it’s like invisible ink: a light musk fades up into consciousness after about 20 minutes)

On the dirty side, there is:

Bruno Acampora Musc (my personal favorite; the smell of slept-in sheets and unwashed shirts)
Annick Goutal Musc Nomade (warm, thick, a bit sweet and powdery)
Amouage Epic Man (a flamboyantly complex composition that dries down to the relative simplicity of leathery-oudy musk)
Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan (a “who let the dogs out” perfume of the first order. The eventual drydown gets you to “sexy skin smell”, but not before you do battle with all the passengers on Noah’s Ark.)

May this musk quest be fruitful, Jake. It better be — because I just spied another funny little idea lurking up ahead.

For more fragrance rants and rambles, click on Katie Puckrik Smells: http://www.katiepuckriksmells.com/

Missed Katie’s last post? If so then click here…

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