As you know, I love musk scents. Clean musks, floral musks and woodsy musks – I love them all. Certain musks have the ability to morph and take on the chemistry of the wearer and become what I like to call a “skin scent”. This means the scent sits close to the skin and only get noticed when someone is close to you.
Lately I’ve been enjoying a sweet and sexy little gem of a musk scent by the English perfume house, Miller Harris. They created a perfume as an ode to Jane Birkin (she and Lyn Harris, the perfumer, are friends) called L’Air de Rien (air of nothing), which while sexy, was just a bit much for me. It wasn’t “nothing” on me and smelled a bit, well, “barnyard” on my skin. But then I read about a flanker of L’Air de Rien called Un Petit Rien. For Un Petit Rien, Jane asked Lyn for a lighter, more transparent scent, less of an oriental. So this perfume is clearer and more sparkling, representing both its muse’s mysterious side and her luminous one as well. The fragrance’s name has a secret meaning, since it refers to Serge Gainsbourg’s somewhat melancholy song, ‘Ces Petits Riens’ (“Little Nothings”). It has a neroli, oak moss and musk structure but somewhere in there are some sweet vanilla and tonka notes, which makes this scent a little mouth watering. A delicious tasty musk that wears like a sexy second skin? That’s my kind of perfume. The only issue with Petit Rien is that one now has to order it direct from Miller Harris in the UK as a special order. I got mine from MIN New York, but I’m not sure if they have any more bottles.
Santa Maria Novella is an old Italian perfume house with many lovely scents that I love. Melograno was the perfume worn by Vesper in Casino Royale, and I love it too. I have SMN Gardenia and consider it one of my most sensual floral perfumes. The sexy factor with SMN is likely the musk base that is common to all their scents. I tried their Muschio/Musk and it was just a bit too “much” somehow. I have used the term oily to refer to musks I don’t like but some may say too dirty or skanky. But make no mistake – if it’s the wrong musk for you, you will know immediately. And one man’s yucky musk may be another man’s invisible perfume, such is the oddness of the musk perfume molecule. So I was happy when I tried SMN Muschio Oro/Gold Musk and found it in the bright sparkly soapy musk family I love so much. Yes, it still has undertones of the SMN earthy musk I love in Gardenia but the “Gold” notes are sunny sweet flowers on top of the musk. If I had to compare it to anything, I would say it reminds me a bit of Camay soap. I loved Camay soap when I was a kid – maybe it is just the childhood memory of a cooling bath at the end of a hot day, then sitting outside in the cooler evening air in my pj’s with soapy fresh clean skin. There is a naughty-nice aspect to Santa Maria Novella Gold Musk but also a sweetness that is similar to Petit Rien.
These perfumes are not the same, but there is a similar thread that joins them, and that is the musk notes. Musks are among my favourite types of perfumes, and Gold Musk and Un Petit Rien are really getting lots of love from me lately.