Scent Sample Sunday: Musc Intense

Scent Sample Sunday: Musc Intense

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.

Bottle of Patricia Nicolai's Musc Intense eau de parfum
Musc Intense, by Parfums de Nicolai; image from

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?

Scented Advent, December 4

Scented Advent, December 4

Day 4’s Advent SOTD is an odd one: it is Monoscent G, from A Lab On Fire. It is literally a wearable version of a synthetic scent molecule, Galaxolide S, in a denatured alcohol solution. A Lab On Fire first launched it as a stand-alone fragrance in 2015 or 2016, then re-launched it in 2019 with different packaging and in a larger size. Galaxolide S is an IFF “captive molecule”, i.e. IFF created it and owns the rights to it (as well as the original Galaxolide). I really can’t explain it any better than A Lab On Fire‘s website:

The original Galaxolide® was discovered by IFF’s Dr. Beets in 1957. Trying to simulate the odor of Nitro-musks it took many years of research to get from an idea to a commercial ingredient. The resulting Galaxolide® proved to be an outstanding musk with a very good price performance ratio.

The 1990s launch of Trésor, which marked a turning point for the personalization of perfume, kickstarted galaxolide’s worldwide success.

Introduced internally at IFF in 2007, the Galaxolide S molecule is an evolution the long-lasting and clean properties that made the original the most popular fragrance in the world. It boosts product quality by offering tremendous performance in all categories. Particularly in fragrance, it is able to fill out fragrances.

Interestingly, Fragrantica quotes a study as saying that about 3 in 10 people are anosmic to this molecule, i.e. they can’t smell it. I’m not one of those people, I can smell it on my wrist. Apparently it is used to add “bloom, lift, and longevity” to a wide range of fragrance accords.

I’m actually quite happy to try a sample of this, because I’ve been somewhat curious about these so-called molecular scents, but I’m afraid I don’t really get it. I’ll have to wave my wrist around my husband’s nose to see if 1) he can smell it, and 2) he perceives it as an appealing scent. I may also try layering it with something else, maybe one of the light Zara Emotions line, to see if it has any effect.

Have you tried any of the scents that are basically a captive molecule in solution? What do you think of them?

Molecular structure of IFF molecule Galaxolide
Galaxolide molecule, by IFF; image from
Scent Sample Sunday: Sylvaine Delacourte Dovana

Scent Sample Sunday: Sylvaine Delacourte Dovana

Sylvaine Delacourte is the former perfume creative director of Guerlain and current owner/founder of her own eponymous perfume brand and line. She has issued three themed collections of fragrances: the Vanilla Collection, the Musks Collection, and the Orange Blossom Collection. Dovana is one of the Musks Collection, and it is described as a “tender musk.” All of the Musks Collection are at 20% concentration, i.e. eau de parfum strength, and all are unisex.

The brand’s website says that Ms. Delacourte wanted this collection to feel like “olfactive pashiminas”, with a signature softness. Continue reading

Catch A Tiger By The Toe?

Catch A Tiger By The Toe?

It seems that the way one actually catches a tiger is by the nose. That is the conclusion of wildlife authorities in India, who have been trying for two years to catch a man-killing tigress in Maharashtra. One veterinarian swears by Calvin Klein’s Obsession, and perfumer Mandy Aftel comments on why that might work: Calvin Klein’s Obsession Could Be The Trick To Catching A Tiger.

P.S. If tigers like civet this much, imagine how they might respond to Kouros!