Let me start by saying that I would have graded something like this sold at its price point lower than I ultimately have here, until I came to the realization that any and all lower-cost alternatives are either discontinued and doomed to out-price it someday (if not already) or just aren't as good. This means that like it or not, the niche world has fully succeeded in repackaging your dad's cheap old cologne as a luxury for the nouveau riche, at least in regard to mid-century synthetic white musks like this one. Therefore, if you want to smell particularly this way and don't want to hunt down vintages, Perris Monte Carlo Musk Extrême (2012) is one of the few if not the only notable game in town anymore. I've never felt forced to recommend something in my life but here we are. Before I go on, here's a bit of context: Alyssa Ashley Musk (1968) came out in right in the thick of the counterculture movement of the late 60's, and became a hit for it's relative accessibility as a simple musk scent that came to replace the more expensive or dubious-quality musk oils littering head shops that were popular then. White musk fragrances soon exploded in popularity after that and competitors like Jovan or Coty all spun their own different takes, but most of them tried to more-closely emulate the deer musk used in the expensive oils by tossing in amber, spices, and other things while the Alyssa Ashley was more soapy and floral. Eventually parent company Parfums Parquet would use this type of soapy slightly-sour sulfuric musk in other places, notably in Monsieur Musk (1973). Thereafter, life went on for the next few decades, and cleaner more pure white musk fragrances would have a bit of resurgence in 90's, but none of them had this specific scent profile. Parquet would throw in the towel and IPD Fragrances would take over, issuing a super-powered extrait "eau parfum" version of the original Alyssa Ashley scent called Alyssa Ashley Musk Extrême (2009).
Sadly, this scent would be pulled from market almost instantly under the Alyssa Ashley name as The Perris Group bought Alyssa Ashley from a dying IPD, while Monsieur Musk would sold off to New Dana then reformulated into oblivion by descendant company Dana Classic Fragrances. Finally, we are brought to Perris Monte Carlo's version of Musk Extrême, which is an eau de parfum with a bit of a materials quality upgrade from perfumer Luca Maffei, who worked with the house for some of their launch fragrances in 2012. If you've smelled the original Alyssa Ashley version of this or even vintage batches of Monsieur Musk, you'll be in pretty familiar territory. For those who don't know, this is basically an older style white musk that was once likely powered by a nitromusk in the beginning, but has since been reworked with a different type, giving mostly the same result of a clean laundry musk profile with just a tiny bit of something sour and sulfuric like what turns up in civet-powered musks. Not fully urinous like actual civet musk, and balanced with that hotel soap/linen vibe, the musk here is one that was once ubiquitous but now rare in the modern perfume market. You get rose, carnation, jasmine, coumarin, vanilla and orris backing up this musk in the original Alyssa Ashley Musk Extrême, and all the same here save that Luca Maffei uses better grades of those materials and adds both a touch of amber and classic powdery sandalwood like the Monsieur Houbigant once had. This isn't the trailer trash monster of that latter scent thanks to blending and a bit more of a modern balance towards the floral elements, but this is still very much about carnation, a soapy rose, musk, and powder. Wear time is going to be just about all day here, and projection is a bit improved from the Alyssa Ashley take from 2009, but the extra powder does push this a bit into feminine territory for some. Best use here is as a bed scent or something cozy in winter, but you can wear this kind of musk anywhere really.
My biggest problem with this isn't really the way it smells, as Perris Monte Carlo Musk Extrême is one of the few synthetic white musk-powered "musk-type" scents that I enjoy, since I find the "browned" stuff Jovan and Coty put out into the 70's to be gross. My problem is with the fact that this scent profile was ubiquitous in availability but semi-unique in style, and for years was just about as accessible as any drugstore or entry-level designer brand. I've often warned about how these high-end niche brands that push luxury and prestige cheat by re-introducing things once remembered to be commonplace as something exclusive or elevated because most of the people who remember them as common are either dead or too old to be taken seriously by their younger, more affluent, but culturally brain-dead target market. We've seen Roja Dove, Tom Ford (via the Private Blends), and to a lesser extent Amouage, both repackage and reinvent the wheel this way to great success. Fortunately, enough of what they're trying to up-sell you usually still exists in the market that the savvy types will find out and just go spend $30 instead of $300 (or $1,500 yikes) for what is effectively dad's old clubber. But what happens when every reasonably-priced example gets discontinued or reformulated to the point of no longer being sufficient for the purpose via decades of companies buying each other out and purchasing/changing/re-introducing formulae at different market levels? Well, Perris Monte Carlo Musk Extrême unintentionally answers that question. If you want to smell like this, and don't like going down the vintage batch rabbit hole or the discontinued fragrance rabbit hole, then pony up the $190-ish dollars to smell like drug store musk from half a century ago. The alternative is pouring yourself over eBay auctions in hopes of getting a good price on something that isn't turned or the wrong vintage. That said, I like Perris Monte Carlo Musk Extrême, I just don't like that it's come to this. Thumbs up.
I got this as a sampler from a local Bloomingdale's. Seems fancy from the metallic packaging and name. It starts out really broad but unmistakably musky. Then, a lot of the other notes settle down, and there's a steady, sweet musk thing that goes on and on. This one reminds me of Coty Wild Musk, which I'd daringly try out while in high school. However, it is more predictable and cleaner, IMO. I don't know if I'd plunk down the big buck$ for it, but the EDP vial sampler will do for me.
This fragrance is basically an extremely muskey and soapy white musk with all its powdery and soapy/orangy ("laundry/neutral") vibe (reinforced by the sharp flowers implementation in association with hesperides and balsams). The aroma is clean and rosey with a plain balmy orangy/lemony temperament and a subtle floral spark rising up at distance. Extremely pleasant and deep (but "polished" and radiant, without any trace of mouldy dirtiness or sticky mossy woodsiness). The note of iris provides and extremely smooth powdery vibe which finally morphs towards a substance somewhat balmy (with a sort of musky bath/shower foam type of aroma) because of the interaction between balsams, musk and hesperides. Really comforting and pleasant but slightly one-dimensional yet not fully textured and classy in my opinion.