Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Russian Musk by Areej le Doré

Total Reviews: 4
The first thing you notice... is musk. Glorious beautiful full flavored musk. It hits with a lemon/bergamot combo reminiscent of the juice from a lemon/lime snowcone. The lemon marries to the pine early, and play together beautifully. Strong profile. If I bury my nose in I get just a small tinge of clove in the back. It smells better than this, and is more complex than this, but to get a feel for it, this could be described as a musky lemon pine scent. About 2 hours in I smelled a hint of smoke. It feels like it evolves in the intensities of the notes, while none disappear completely.
07th February, 2019
In some cases I feel this fragrance has been misunderstood (subjectivity aside), in terms of how "modern" it is. If anything, it's predecessor "Siberian Musk" was comparatively more modern. It had an oakmoss illusion that is more akin to the "neo" Chypre structure (which have actually been around since the late 60's, see the trend starters Paco Rabanne Calandre & Guerlain Chamade) but SM does not include substantial doses of evernyl, which played a prominent role into the 70's onwards' "oakmoss bombs". Many vintage Chypre perfumes we romanticise from those decades actually contained exceptionally little amounts of oakmoss, but were mostly evernyl based with the inclusion of tree moss, phenols and quinolines at varying dosages (whether Mitsouko was tinkered with during this Chypre revolution I do not know). One of the reasons that we perceive the evernyl nowadays is due to tree moss and little amounts of oakmoss being tinkered with, as well as the tinkering of citrus oils, eugenol related molecules being restricted, other base note fixatives etc etc, so it becomes harder to achieve the same effect.

And how does Russian Musk stand up to it's predecessor? Well, in my opinion it is superior. It does not have the vegetal musk attar to boost the deer musk which is what made SM more animalic IMO.

Without trying to sound argumentative, I think there has been a misunderstanding in the concern that these perfumes with real musk in are not hugely animalic. It is strange to think it would be as animalic as sniffing from the pod or even the tincture. One of the key players that I think has been overlooked (and isn't talked about as much compared to oakmoss tinkering) are the citruses, particularly the bergamot. To my nose, the bergamot used in here is the proper kind, not the furocoumarin/bergaptene stripped version (and I did get one small dark spot on my arm a day or so after wearing this, so it's understandable why it's regulated in the EU (although I think there should be warnings rather than mandatory restrictions). This type of bergamot is powerful. Combine the smell of a fraction of pleasantly sweet petrol, slightly acidic sweetness of American brand "froot loops", dark earthiness, slightly bitter lemon rind, and mandarin. In comparison, the FC free we are used to is nowhere near this complex or penetrating and far more volatile. This is one of the reasons why, along with the equally lovely lemon note (also being held down by proper base note fixatives), the opening of RM is long lasting in terms of citrus.

This penetrating opening and the nature of true unadulterated bergamot is what actually helps prevent the deer musk from becoming totally animalic, I dare say if you smelled various vintage formulas (pre 80's) blended fresh today, you might get a similar effect of animal essences being rounded out by the citrus components, and being shocked that the era in which these oils became tampered with smell far more sharp and piercing in terms of animalic-ness.

So after this ramble, what is there to say? This perfume is not like a 70's oakmoss/evernyl bomb. It is truer to an early 20th century Chypre, with proper oakmoss that is rich but not shouting like the aforementioned sub-genre, proper bergamot, a big orange blossom/neroli heart with indolic jasmine-like qualities, tempered by a touch of rose. A deft touch of eugenol-ic nutmeg spice. Ever so slight non-cosmetic powder from tonka and smooth sandalwood. A labdanum-esque dry distilled amber, the resinous aspects being reinforced by the fir and pine which at first contributed to the complex opening, then turning resinous and slightly smokey. Proper patchouli and vetiver that supports the oakmoss instead of filling in for it as you see in actual modern Chypres. I only detect a little (but very judicious use of) tree moss and galbanum, which provide a little lift as the perfume develops, and the cypress turns cedary on me.

This is a true Chypre through and through (in some respects it can be more like the traditional cypriot concept which predates Chypre de Coty, some sources differ on whether Coty used oakmoss absolute or some form of "infusion"), and it can very easily confuse you. With the proper bergamot opening, the linaloolish aspects can trick you to think Fougere at first, or rosewood. Once the bergamot eventually starts to step aside as well as the beautiful 3D orange blossom, the natural absence of them hours into the evaporation curve can trick you into thinking oriental and dark, but the truth is still Chypre. It is the best of both worlds in terms of both having the characteristic Chypre abstraction and richness, but having just enough flags to be able to analyse how each component fits, the role they play also. The inclusion of aoud also reinforces the longevity of the perfume, on my skin it is more of a characteristic thickness that seamlessly melds with the other materials.

There is so much more I feel like I have not said, I will probably edit this review in the future. Apologies if this review turned word salad or repetitive, this perfume and its wormhole through time is like a drug to me. Addictive from furocoumarin beginning to oakmoss and musk finish. I am not one for aromatherapy, but this elegant perfume feels like tiny fireworks of pleasure inside the nose in places (not in the aldehydic way) and it grips the psyche.

Edit 1: The animalic and clean contrast of the musk makes you realise why nitromusks were so readily used as a replacement for deer musk, the facets aren't the same of course, but a little textural feeling and an important part of the musk profile. To my nose Adam has processed this Siberian-region musk and made it into a more magical Vietnamese tonkin grade musk, a perfect balance of facets rather than an overt sweet chocolate or excessive urinous facets. If some people wanted this fragrance to be more mossy, then I'd say decant some into an atomiser and add evernyl and quinoline to preference if a more green/leathery bite is needed.

Now to ramble on about the oakmoss, which I think is an under-appreciated part for being not as excessive as vintage perfumes that used materials like evernyl to boost the mossy nuances. Combined with the touch of tree moss, there is a sense of forest floor, but also a lovely leatheriness and savoury-sweetish black liquorice feel, far more complicated than just "forest floor". This is only heightened further by the deer musk, whose animalic side also has a smooth leathery facet, which is more noticeable during the last few hours of the evaporation curve as the oakmoss and musk become the only noticeable elements.

For such a complex perfume, I feel that the approachability of Russian Musk is understandable, especially with the embracing opening. I think Chypres have been romanticised as being almost like marmite, in which case any quinoline can have a very love-or-hate reaction, depending how they are dosed. The original Chypre de Coty parfum I think is actually more tame compared to its children, I can imagine a sunny bergamot opening making it very approachable, it was popular for a reason. I'd say leather focused chypres would be closer to the "defiant" / love it or hate it Chypre romanticisation. Quite a few vintages would have been somewhat mass appealing in the context of the times in which they were created, otherwise they wouldn't live in infamy today.

Edit 2: Recently noticed a dark fruity furocoumarin smell during a shower about 20 hours after applying. Apart from the dot on the arm that one time, my skin hasn't had a random dermal reaction or sensitivity to UV. I appreciate the citrus oils used all the more now, the bergamot lasts insanely long compared to the vacuum distilled type, shame the traditional type isn't used in most perfumes anymore to a significant degree.
15th July, 2018 (last edited: 17th March, 2019)
Genre: Oriental/Chypre

I’ve said elsewhere that I enjoy Russian Adam’s fragrances more for their exquisite content than for their composition, per se, and Russian Musk is no exception. In terms of structure, there is nothing here that strikes me as especially novel or intriguing. Indeed, the style seems so determinedly retro to me that I might not be able to distinguish Russian Musk amidst a lineup of vintage early 20th century orientals preserved in good condition.

Given what goes into this stuff, that still leaves plenty to enjoy. Russian Adam’s art seems to me less in combining than extracting superb materials, and I enjoy his work to the degree that the compositions do not get in the way of their contents. Russian Musk is a dense, complex fragrance, but not so much so that the ingredients are muted or muddled in their expression. I have a sense that this is what a solid, if “ordinary” fragrance might have smelled like in the days when things like natural deer musk, floral extracts, and real ambergris were the common currency of perfumery. I’ll never know, but I’ll enjoy Russian Musk when I’m in the mood for nostalgia.

Fantastic and very extended drydown, by the way…
03rd July, 2018
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My comparison to this stuff, I choose PG L'Ombre Fauve.

This gorgeous stuff dries down to a Mammalian Animalic
similiar.

Where the PG suggests, this stuff shouts out loud.

Where the PG turns to the cleanliness, this stuff heads down the path of the soiled.

They both purr.

The PG like a coiff-ed domestic.

This stuff is like a shaggy Siberian (Amur).

This, is....the Stuff.
04th May, 2018