Musk Cologne 
Bortnikoff (2019)

Average Rating:  5 User Reviews

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Bortnikoff
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Reviews of Musk Cologne by Bortnikoff

There are 5 reviews of Musk Cologne by Bortnikoff.


I've never been much for the cologne type scents. Fresh and light with citrus.

Then I smelled this. Talk about a beautiful scent!

The way this settles onto skin and gently radiates puts a lot of other scents to shame. It reeks of quality.

Not a lot of projection but you know you're wearing it and that's all that matters.

I could probably be happy if I wore this six days a week. Nothing should smell this good.

But a bit rich for my blood these days...
Jun 22, 2021


Bortnikoff Musk Cologne (2019) is a thing of beauty, but before I go into detail about it, I need to come clean about something. I'm not often enamored by the whole all-natural artisanal indie perfume subsection of the niche perfume world, and not because I like corporate-governed synthetic shill swill that smells like it was designed by marketing or machine learning either, I just hate the pomposity and hubris that always gets attached to what almost invariably ends up smelling like unwearable art experiments cooked up in a Greenwich Village apartment above a coffee shop with the tag line of "better ingredients equals better pizza". Well I'm sorry Papa John, but unless you pick up a thing or two about what smells compliment or contrast each other and at very least do a little of your own homework into chemistry (not saying you need a PhD in it or anything), I don't care how expensive your oud chips or rose oil is, because you're going to smash it together with sheer abandon and claim it superior to all commercial perfume on virtue of the fact alone that it's expensive and laborious to make. Granted, anyone making blanket statements needs to be self-aware enough to know that there will be exceptions that poke holes through such statements, and Bortnikoff has proven to be one such exception to the above statement. Need I say that there is actually a plot under the ingredients here, not just "it's real musk so it's automatically a master perfume", and that Bortnikoff doesn't try to pass off face powder spilled into spoiled coffee as high art? Yes, I'm still mad at Auphorie. No, I don't care if it's your favorite perfume house. I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars to smell like a garbage can, no matter how natural, rare or expensive the materials are.

Anyway, the premise behind Musk Cologne is to be a wearable potentially every day fragrance, an exercise in the classic French style of citrus, florals, and musks, made "the Bortnikoff way" with predominantly natural materials. The name "Musk Cologne" is a bit off too, as this is still an eau de parfum in concentration, but compared to some other things the house has released, might as well be a cologne. the initial envelope is a beautiful tangerine , orange, lemon, and bergamot oil mixture, all natural and devoid of any citral or boosted aldehydes to make it leap in your face. Instead, the citric sweetness and freshness gently wafts into your awareness before an indolic ylang-ylang note enters to add heft. The other white floral component here represent the few synthetic materials present because there is no viable natural source of muguet/lily of the valley, and honestly perfumers have been using stuff to simulate that since time immemorial anyway. The deer musk base is surprisingly subtle, but this is meant to be more about the combination of citrus and white flowers over musk anyway, and meant to be casually worn. The musk pairs with real Mysore sandalwood to create a classic creamy powderiness like you find in some turn-of-the-century fragrances such as D'Orsay Etiquette Bleue (1908), but rounded with the honeyed slightly-smoky edge of natural guaiac wood. All told, the only bit of disappointment if one really looks for some is that Musk Cologne tries to be so rigidly classic in design, but damn if it isn't a good take on what may be to some a "dated" style. Wear time is easily past 10 hours, although sillage is close to skin for most of it. Best use pretty much any time outside when you need something that projects.

Dmitry Bortnikov seems to have much interest in classic composition and innate talent as a self-taught indie perfumer, just as pretty much any other noteworthy player in the indie scene outside artisanal realms, like a Bruno Fazzolari or the late Vero Kern (RIP). It's therefore an unusual treat for me to get my nose on one of his creations, as like with most all-natural indies with a super-small batch release, his stuff is here today and sold out yesterday once superfans buy their backups on day one and scalpers snatch the rest for a good flip on eBay afterward. Luckily, Musk Cologne seems to be one that gets successive batches made of it, so maybe there isn't a specific irreplaceable vintage tincture of musk or sandalwood oil being used, and Dmitry is likely using the closest thing to a "communelle" of these ingredients as he can possibly make given their availability. It's all speculation at this point, but whatever the reason, it seems you can still pick it up reasonably in the short term future from authorized sellers unless that changes. After another rewarding experience with Bonheur (2018), one of his here-today-gone-forever fragrances, I'm convinced he's trying to frame himself as the closest modern equivalent to a pre-industrial 19th century perfumer as you can get, back when they were less chemist and more apothecary. Scarcity and price aside, Musk Cologne shows me that wearable and artistically satisfying experiences where blending is just as important as distillation of materials can exist in the world of artisanal perfumery, and that's exciting. Stylistic exploration may forever be trapped before a certain point in time, just because so many styles developed in the last 100 years are so heavily dependent on synthetics, but I don't think I'll ever tire of smelling a well-done citrus floral musk like this. Thumbs up.
Apr 19, 2021


Instant love for Musk Cologne by Bortnikoff! What a wonderful fresh dream of a fragrance with just a hint of real deer musk to give it some body and depth. This is orange/tangerine/lemon/bergamot in the opening but the deer musk is also present, playing softly in the background. The blending is divine with Musk Cologne and you could honestly wear this beautiful fragrance in virtually any situation. I pick up some soft ylang as well and the sandalwood and palosanto or "guiac" lend some foundation in the final phases. The one draw back might be the longevity and sillage as this becomes a skin scent faster than I'd like but honestly this is a must have cologne for me as it makes me happy as soon as I apply it. Two thumbs way up for Musk Cologne!!
Jan 15, 2020


Tropical flowers melding with citrus tangerine notes is soon joined by a rich musk and lovely sandalwood. These notes are constantly dancing around each other. There is also a hint of what smells like oud within this beautiful composition.

I get several hours in longevity with moderate projection, it does stay close to you.

All in all a lovely exotic smelling scent with quality natural ingredients.
Sep 22, 2019


The opening lemony orange notes come alive against the floral backdrop bouquet of flowers - Lily of the Valley, Magnolia, Tuberose and Ylang Ylang. These flowers are set in a deer musk and woods pedestal centered inside a well executed still life painting. At the opening it smells like an opulent orange citrus but after the heart takes over the essence shifts to an orange tinged opulent floral. The floral blend has a perfect floral arc that starts lightly with mild Lily of Valley, gentle Magnolia then resonates with a Tuberose crescendo over a surface of uplifting Ylang. The deer musk adds a soft dry fuzzy muskiness that slows the floral roll with sandalwood and guaiac wood serving as an invisible stop. Overall this "Musk" perfume is mostly a bouquet of opulent florals which incorporates a light musk wood base. Too floral for my taste and does not possess enough contrasts or mystery to grab my interest - not my style of perfume.
Sep 4, 2019

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