M/mink gives you two choices. Read the story and believe the myth, or smell the perfume. I'd recommend smelling perfume. It's wonderful.
The story goes that, in lieu of a traditional brief, the perfumer was asked to translate a block of solid ink into a perfume. I’m cynical enough to believe that this sort of premise is intended more for its ex post facto story value than for any actual artistic impetus. The block of ink might have been a motivating factor in the conceptualization of mink, but it is a fallacy to believe that the perfume continues to be 'about' ink. For the wearer, the ink bit is just a back-story. After the fact, such stories actually make a perfume appear contrived or a producer pretentious, and to get hooked into this sort of narrative even before you’ve smelled the perfume is limiting for the wearer.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm a fan of Mink. I simply disagree with everything I've ever read about it starting with the PR from Byredo. I don't find it linear. I don't think it's an assault on the senses. I don't find it anything like Sécrétions Magnifiques. It does share a cool, object-like quality with Comme des Garçon 2 Woman. While it does have a matte sweetness to it that suggests an inky quality, this is just one of its many abstract attributes. Like Bvlgari Black by Annick Menardo, M/mink is a successful creation of a new, beautiful scent that neither imitates a botanical scent, nor attempts to to offer you a recognizeable fragrance.
Smells to me like a remake of Salvador Dali Pour Homme, widely considered one of the most evil fragrances existing. Don't know how seriously people take the 'evil' part, the thing is that there's hardly anything positive in this. Maybe some kind of warmth in the style of, say, Heritage or Zino, but the very concept of the smell rejects anything pleasing I guess. Now, I wouldn't call it neither animalic nor dirty, nor chemical. Urine smell would be at least something more familiar. Even Muscs Koublai Khan steps on more familiar territory than this. Same for CdG's most industrial creations. At least there is something you can remotely refer to. These are alien dark flowers in a cave with no entrance. I rarely ask myself why would someone wear a particular fragrance. In this case I imagine it would be solely for the challenge of doing so.
Pros: Shock factor
Cons: Nihilist smell"
I finally got a chance to smell this fragrance from a sampler and I didn't get offended by it, in fact, I almost "loved it at first sniff".
First of all, M/Mink should be titled "M/M Ink". M/M is a design firm in Paris (they designed the famous Bjork "Post" album cover) but I forget why Byredo includes it in the perfume title. Like Byredo's Pulp, a scent all about fruits, M/Mink is about the scent of ink.
I grew up in Hong Kong and practiced Chinese calligraphy in grade school. I am very familiar with the scent of Chinese ink, and when I smell M/Mink, all my memories come back. My friend, who is a Taiwanese Chinese woman, said the same thing about this scent and she liked it very much.
For those who have traveled in China or Hong Kong, you might have stumbled across some stores that sell sun-dried seafood such as squid, scallops, and abalones. The smell is salty, pungent, fishy, but sweet. That smell, is M/Mink.
I am considering buying it, but will wear it discreetly, in winter.
M/Mink smells like the "good twin" to a lot of awful masculine fragrances with notes like honey, iodine and ozone turning into urinal and men's locker room: male body fluids with added cleaning fluids. M/Mink features a honey note that's almost, but not quite sickening: more murky wood than urine. I tend to categorically dislike fragrances with honey in them, but this I find wearable and interesting. There's also a touch of salt which reminds me more of sea breezes than body fluids, though there's an intriguing hint of naughtiness about it.
M/Mink smells old, murky and musty like the perfume clinging to a vintage fur, but it also smells very outdoorsy, wild and free: woody and animalic. I'm surprised that previous reviewers call it chemical and artificial because to my nose it's very natural-smelling, organic, feral, warm. It does have the intense "pow!" of synthetic smell molecules though. It's a "brown" scent for sure, thick and dense and reminiscent of burnished woods or the glint of light in guard hairs. Actually, it reminds me a lot of Neil Bartlett's wonderful novel "Skin Lane".
I'm also a bit surprised that previous reviewers categorise it as masculine. I completely disregard gender designations on scent, but to my nose M/Mink is traditionally feminine, like an old-world perfume. I guess it's the combination of sweetness, warmth and dirtiness that does it - masculine fragrances tend so often to have something nauseatingly fresh, cool, clean, antiseptic about them, like deodorants, even when they feature notes like woods and musk. M/Mink is the antithesis to that. Perhaps it tends to disagree with male skin chemistry?
Pine disinfectant mixed with bitter, metallic bilge water and noxious drain cleaner. There's no fur, hide or musk anywhere in here (it would be a blessing). Come to think of it, anything 'Fecal' would also be a relief. This smells like a concentrated, grotesque version of the bitter, metallic, Byredo house note that runs through all of their perfumes... amplified a million times into a monster.
Without question this is the most obnoxious, offensive smell I've come across in 20 years of fragrance sampling... and I'm a lover of unusual, daring experiments, bizarre combinations and own several 'challenging' scents.
A perfumery disaster IMO, completely unwearable, antisocial, incredibly expensive and horrible in the extreme.