This sounds like an incredibly backhanded way to start a review, but let’s just get it out of the way asap: The Body Shop Red Musk Perfume Oil is easily the most adult fragrance I’ve ever experienced from The Body Shop.
Ok, ok. Like I said, that’s kind of backhanded. I actually really like The Body Shop’s scent range – I’ve spoken at length about how much Atlas Mountain Rose means to me, and I always find myself remarking on how attention-grabbing their fruit themed products are – but I probably wouldn’t automatically think ‘nuanced’ or ‘subtle’ or any other adjective that hints toward it being a scent that’s more a piece of perfumer’s craft and less… sugary. Fruity. Body Shop-y.
I’ve had Red Musk on my shelf, in its box and completely untouched since… Christmas? Earlier? I didn’t touch it because – and this is really silly, I realise – because it had musk in the name. Lemme tell ya, I loathe musk. My high school years overlapped the heyday of Impulse body sprays and during that time I had enough of sickly sweet vanilla and musk to last me the rest of my life. I don’t even like musk sticks! So Red Musk was cursed to languish forever in musk limbo, until I finally gave up and decided to give it a try.
My god. I don’t know why I waited so long.
If you passed a blind tester of Red Musk to me and asked me to hazard a guess what parfum house I thought it might hail from, I’d say Hermès without missing a beat, no questions asked. Red Musk sits in the same kind of ballpark of Hermès Terre d’Hermès : earthy and peppery, with a big note of dried tobacco rounding it out into a rich, bassy juice.
If you’re thinking that this is a sweet musk scent, I’m happy to say that it’s not. The musk lingers deep in the base notes, cowed into submission by a slightly leathery tobacco note and plenty of spicy cinnamon. There’s a small hint of sweetness, but its held in balance by plenty of peppercorn to add spice and lift. The scent is truly unisex, lacking the soapy scents of typical men’s perfume, and more nuanced than most women’s fragrances. While I’m wearing this in winter and enjoying it, I’d absolutely wear this in warmer weather. The pepper and tobacco would make for a divine evening perfume on warm and sultry summer nights.
Honestly, the only real downside to Red Musk is that it just doesn’t last on me. The silage is quite intimate, great if you’re someone who doesn’t like their perfume to enter the room before you do, but the wear time is only a few hours before it fades away completely. The longevity is still quite short even when rubbed into my cuffs and collar. I’m sure layered it with the obsequious matching body lotion and body mist would extend it out to an all-day wear, but I’d much prefer to have one product that lasts versus a daily fragrance cocktail.
The short version: if you don’t like sweet fragrances, give Red Musk a try. If you want a truly unisex all season perfume, give Red Musk a try. Heck, if you’ve never tried any of The Body Shop’s fragrance offerings, definitely give Red Musk a whirl.
This item was generously provided to swatchgirl.com.