We decided to do a flight sampling of Monsieur Musk while bottles of various concentrations by all three makers were at hand. It's a warm, rainy day here in Lake Tahoe so the notes will be more pronounced than in our usual aridity.
The King of Monsieur Musk is for certain the vintage version by Houbigant. Notes we smell are: Bergamot, Lemon, Lavender, Leather, Tobacco Leaf, Rosa Damascene, Coumarin, Musk, Galbanum, and Moss. A Musky Fougere (also fits the Chypre format), with incredible density, nice development, and big sillage. It sits on the skin with a spicy, green, velvet quality that is unparalleled. Highly recommended. (Samples were taken from all three bottles in the photo, and found to be very similar, despite one being called "AfterShave/Cologne" instead of simply "AfterShave")
The next MM we sampled was the vintage "Cologne" by Parfums Parquet* in the clear bottle. The straw color was much lighter than the Houbigant juice, and so was the formula. I would put concentration of oils at about half that of the Houbigant AfterShave. A lilting Lemon opening gives way to a Waxy, Rosy heart with Green Notes. The Spice, which gave the original formula sparkle, is very subdued. Any costly Resins have been eliminated. The Musk is likely synthetic, and takes a good half an hour to really develop. It is mild and pleasant, but juxtaposed to its predecessor, it's a mere phantom of the original.
This brings us to the readily available and reasonably priced cologne currently issued by the third manufacturer of this scent, Dana. Compared to the Cologne by Parfums Parquet, Dana has amped up the opening with more Bergamot. They revived the Lavender from the Houbigant original, and replenished some of the Spice- albeit a jagged, shallow, and generic one. My guess is that it's some sort of "spice blend" put out by fragrance base manufacturers. Missing here, that's present in both previous versions, is a supple base (Leather and Moss in the Houbigant and Wax in the Parfums Parquet). Without adding the cost of a good fixative to the formula, it could benefit from a little Vanillin to warm things up. It's a sharp and empty, but on the skin of a man, it could come alive.
b.n. Fragrance Notes are not official, only our impressions.
*Although Basenotes has Parfums Parquet listed as the original maker, to the best of my knowledge it is a subsidiary or descendent of the House of Houbigant. I believe it owned and manufactured the MM formula before it came to Dana.