I like Mure et Musc, but I like Extreme even better. It is a bit sweeter and I get the fruity berries in this one, where they are not apparent on my skin in Mure et Musc. Minimal sillage, close to the skin, and still holds a faint musk note at 12 hours. Yum.
As much as I loathe dumb fruity florals, I can't help but love the berry smell in Mure et Musc. I think the original version (which is basically a classic chypre with berries mixed in) is probably more wearable than the Extreme, with its weird rubbery smell. To be honest, I've been trying to fall in love with Mure et Musc Extreme since buying a bottle as a newbie years ago. Smelled up close, that weird rubber doll smell is just so odd, but to steal a phrase from Robin's review, "it sort of sinks in and mixes with my skin" and smells amazing in its sillage. As I've learned not to overthink it, I've come to really enjoy Extreme, so I'd definitely suggest giving it a try, though don't skip over the original version before you make your choice.
OK, I have lived with the Mure et Musc Extreme for three years now and finally feel like I can review it.
My initial impression was just that it was "safe". Something easy to wear, nobody would notice really, not sexy, just good and pretty smelling, light. Great scent for a kindergarten teacher or for situations where perfume isn't appropriate; it flies under the radar. But it is also, conversely, the perfume that I get the most comments of "sexy" on from men, oddly enough. Consistently.
I really, really do love this smell. It's unspecified berries, citrus, and musk, but the musk is animal enough that the perfume doesn't sit on top like clothing, it sort of sinks in and mixes with my skin, it smells human, not like I am a plant, or fruit, or flower; and the fruity smell doesn't ever get unpleasant or cloying even in deepest summer here.
At times I am really quite irritated by paying so much for what is, really, just an idealized body wash scent, except that it's SO idealized that it's damn near ideal.
A story - a few months after I'd been going out with the Boyfriend (I always wore the Mure et Musc Extreme around him, we hadn't had any perfume conversation and it's my backup smell for those situations) , one day he says, smelling at me: "you always smell so good." So I say "yeah, that's the perfume, the mure et musc." and he replies, "no, I don't think so, it's your shampoo or something, or just the way you smell, your biology, you smell so GOOD." He really didn't believe it was perfume.
That, to me is the genius of the Mure et Musc Extreme. It doesn't smell like perfume, nope. Doesn't develop, doesn't challenge, is not artsy or elegant, it just smells good, like I smell good.
I like this better than the original, the original is more sour and herbal and 'bracing' to my nose, this Extreme version isn't more extreme, it's just lower pitched, the berries are tuned louder but the overall impression is softer, rounder.
More potent than the original, it's true, but also seeming different in its composition. Whereas the berry-musk accord in Mûre et Musc is perfectly balanced, here things tilt decisively toward the sweet fruit. As a result, it loses much of Mûre et Musc's miraculous poise.
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" never was more apt.
The fruity floral isn't my bag. There are a few exceptions to this habit, notably the intoxicating Badgley Mischka. I'm not starved for fruit, though. Eau de Cologne, which starts and ends with hesperedic notes, is by definition fruity, and it's hard to dislike eau de cologne. Otherwise there are three ways that I like fruit in my perfume.
1) The fruity chypre. Granted, chypres contain bergamot, a fruit in its own right. But in many of the great chypres of the 20th century it is the fruit that gives the genre such an enormous range of moods. It gives Rochas Femme its come-hither gaze, Diorella its hint of afternoon trysts, Chanel Cristalle its remoteness, and Prescriptives Calyx its brimming elation. The chypre’s moss gives the fruit a long shadow, and the world settles in to a slower, more deliberate, more poised state.
2) The woody, fruity perfumes like the Serge Lutens/Christopher Sheldrake Bois series (eg. Feminite du Bois, Bois et Fruit, Bois de Violette) and Keiko Mecheri Oliban. Dry woods/resins such as cedar and frankincense and sweet/tart fruit notes like plum and peach complement each other and have a raspy harmony. These perfumes purr and hum. They surround you and whisper in your ear. Christopher Sheldrake using woody amber aromachemicals revived this form in the 1980s and made a reference point for much of current perfumery.
3) The fruity musks. Some musks have have a berry-sweetness to them, and many fruits have a strong musky quality, especially when they're at the cusp of ripeness and rot. The fruit/musk pairing in perfumery feels preordained. Fruits provide a ‘flavor’ and musks add a roundness, backlighting. In the same way that butter and cream add both richness and ‘mouth feel’ to food, the fruity musks add a set of scents and olfactory qualities that might be called ‘nose-feel’.
So, Mure et Muscs Extreme. It is definitively fruity (blackberry) but the fruit never appears out of proportion or sickly-sweet. An astringency, a greenness runs right down the center of Mure et Musc Extreme. It highlights the sweetness and roundness of the perfume. It’s strong and can’t be missed, but it just highlight the berry/musk accord. The musk is the pillow on which the fruit sits, and since the fruit and musk notes are of equal duration, Mure et Muscs lands somewhere between a top-to-bottom traditional accord and a linear one. It changes from start to finish, but most of the changes are an ongoing modulation of the original set of notes. Different notes step forward at different times, and Mure et Musc demonstrates the best of the linear fragrance.