It has been too long since I wrote a “Scent Sample Sunday” post — I wrote so many posts in December for my “Scented Advent” series, and then I’ve been writing monthly posts for “Scent Semantics“, so I ran out of gas! But I’ve been really enjoying Patricia de Nicolai’s Musc Intense eau de parfum, a blind buy this winter, so here’s my review.
First, Musc Intense is a very soothing scent, which I am finding comforting this weekend as I watch the news from Ukraine after Russia’s invasion. I’m trying not to “doom-scroll” and I’m also committed to not sharing misinformation or disinformation, so I am limiting my intake of news to a few vetted sources like NPR and the New York Times while also following, reading, and empathizing with fragrance bloggers like Victoria of “Bois de Jasmin” and Undina of “Undina’s Looking Glass“, both of whom were born in Ukraine and still have ties and loved ones there.
Second, Musc Intense is just a lovely fragrance, and I find I am wearing it pretty regularly. Unlike some fragrances that almost divide themselves by seasons, Musc Intense is both unisex and multi-seasonal. To my nose, it isn’t particularly “musky”, either, if by that one means closer to animalic. It isn’t animalic at all, despite base notes of musk and (synthetic) civet. Here, the musk is that clean white musk beloved of many perfumistas (and disliked by others). It creates an aura of pillowy white softness over the development of the fragrance, which I’m really enjoying.
Musc Intense opens with a note that Patricia de Nicolai does particularly well: a refreshing, fruity pear accord. The full list of notes, according to Fragrantica, is: top notes — Turkish Rose, Pear and Galbanum; middle notes — Rose, Violet, Carnation and Jasmine; base notes — Musk, Civet, Amber and Sandalwood. There is just enough galbanum in the opening to provide some greenery and edge to the sweet, fresh pear accord. Rose notes emerge early on and persist through the development of Musc Intense, complemented by the other florals. A violet accord contributes to the soft, powdery feel of the scent, while jasmine makes it silky and carnation gives it just a touch of spice. These combinations are so deftly handled and so elegant, without being stuffy; and then they segue into warm, soft base notes that last for hours (more than 12, on my skin). I’ve started spritzing Musc Intense at bedtime, because it is so soft and caressing, and because I know I’ll smell it in the morning, and it will smell lovely!
I also appreciate the packaging of this and the other Parfums de Nicolai scents. It comes in a substantial cardboard box with a magnetic lid that one opens with a pull on a small ribbon, and a shaped inset to hold the bottle. The box is encased in a sturdy outer wrapping of clear plastic, which allows one to slip the box back into it when not in use. The bottle is also sturdy, and elegant, with an effective sprayer. The color scheme of white and gold with touches of black is very appealing to me. Isn’t it nice, when form, function, and fragrance all delight the senses?
Finally, the consideration given to its customers is also shown by the line’s offering its fragrances in 30 ml sizes as well as 100 ml, plus several different coffrets: one is a discovery set of 12 fragrances, very reasonably priced, and there are several travel set trios of 15 ml sprays. The prices for the smaller sizes are very consistent with the prices for the 100 ml, which is also considerate.
I have and love some other Nicolai fragrances: Odalisque is one, and another is Rose Royale. Some time ago, I gave my husband a bottle of New York, a wonderful aromatic citrus fougère which smells great on him. One of my fragrance “unicorns” is the discontinued Le Temps d’une Fete, and I’m also intrigued by descriptions of the Week-End series of fragrances.
Have you tried any of the Parfums de Nicolai, and do you have any favorites? How do you feel about “white musks” in fragrance?