STRONGLY synthetic and very similar to something you'd find in the CVS perfume section for $13.99. Whatever floral note is in this smells like a highly plasticized and artificially sweetened muguet of some sort. The "musc" present in this one was something cooked up in a lab in the same beaker that produced Miel de Bois.
Utterly chemical and slightly and sweetly repugnant.
Clair de Musk - Serge Lutens
Clean and clear soapy-floral, semi-sweet musk with a 'natural' fraicheur in its opening. Nice round and compact weight, wax-fatty notes, a glance of white florals and the smell of Zwitsal babypowder. Gets a too sharp tone of chemical freshness and sweetness that grows stronger and dominates the perfume for a long time. The dryout is mellow with more texture and grip, more room for powdery bitter-animalic indolic nuances and a minty coolness which overall is really nice. Too bad it takes too long to reach that.
Gorgeous honeyed musk. I recognize galaxolide, that Jovan musk that's simultaneously fecal, soapy, powdery, and floral. There's a pinch of laundry musk as well, especially in the beginning, with a petrol/coumarin Knize Ten-style sharp musk in the middle, while the drydown is more woody and floral, with hints of hawthorn and orange blossom. Of course, all of this happens in harmony with Serge's signature honey note, which is finally given a proper starring role here, remarkably balanced and quite beautifully done. I know Muscs Koublaï Khän gets all the attention, but this is very much worth a sniff if you like musks or honey perfumes.
Clair de Musc is very linear with a slight dirty musk that is enveloped in soapy notes. It has some powdery and floral elements floating through it. When I smell it I think of an era I wasn't born yet, to me it evokes a woman in the 1900's.
Clair de Musc's musk accord isn't as much like Muscs Koublai Khan's as Fleur de Citronnier's is. It's cleaner' and higher pitched and has the hallmarks of the white' musks: soap, sweetness and soft-cuddliness. But here's also where you'll find Clair de Musc's resemblance to Muscs Koublai Khan. Muscs Koublai Khan has just enough cleanliness to it to make you realize how dirty it is. The honeyed rose creates a feeling of purity that gets completely run over by the bawdiness of the the musk. If there is a narrative of innocence lost embedded in the perfume, the story is told in about as long as it takes to say, Wow. Innocence lost.
Clair de Musc tips the balance way in the other direction. The clean musk accord aims to cover any errant animalism but every now and again something unclean pops through. The scent of scalp, a whiff of armpit. It makes you realize this perfume isn't about cleanliness. It's about hygiene not quite holding its own against the scent of the human body. Remember the story of the first use of historical eaux like Eau de Cologne and Florida Water? They were for covering up the funk of unwashed bodies. Clair de Musc gives you that experience without you ever having to have a funky body yourself.
Some of the best musk perfumes are a variation on the idea, though perfumes like Kiehl's Musk No 1, Amouage Gold Man and Les Nereides Fleur Poudrée de Musc all land much further in the funk than Clair de Musc. The perpetual resurfacing of bodily scents emphasizes the degree of restraint needed to keep from falling into the indulgence of the flesh. There's a sexiness to the perfume that's easy to miss if it's not your bag.
From the angle of 2018 Clair de Musc is an interesting alternative to the trend in women's perfumery toward dull white musky drydowns. The perfume's musk notes are more detailed than the default pillowy basenotes built into so many mainstream florals.