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Kiehl’s Original Musk – Silky smooth, quiet, and sexy

Kiehl's Original Musk blend No.1 - kiehl'

The musk note is sometimes overlooked, but we love it. We own several great musk fragrances, such as:

Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens, the Holy Grail “beautiful skank” musk for musk note lovers, perfume lovers, and lovers in general.

Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal, the elusive, quirky, now-I smell-it, now-I-don’t airy musk for sensualists

Musc Tonkin by Parfums d’Empire, the intoxicating buttery leather musk for hedonists

Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, the opulent spiced woods musk for seducers

And now one more…

Kiehl’s Original Musk, Blend No. 1. - this is a musk for everybody.

Kiehl’s Apothecary in New York City has been in business since 1851, and according to their website, introduced their Musk Oil in the 1920’s. It was shockingly called Love Oil at the time, and was re-introduced in 1963, renamed as Original Musk Oil. I wore it and loved it in the 1970’s, in fact,  everybody loved the subtle clean musky scent that smelled like salty sweaty sexy skin, and Kiehl’s Musk became THE unisex scent of that era. The EdT, a lighter version of the oil version, was launched in 2004 as Kiehl’s Original Musk Blend No. 1 and is sold at every Kiehl’s counter for an extremely reasonable price.

You might be wondering what’’s so special about the musk note.

Well, musk is very powerful stuff!  The use of real musk from any kind of deer has been prohibited worldwide since 1979, but synthetic musk is universally used in perfumes, and in just about every scented product you can think of. Soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, cleaners, air fresheners, candles contain musk because the synthetic versions are cheap, and we humans seem to like they way they smell.

Commercial musks range in smell from clean, light, and slightly sweet, like clean linen, to dark and funky like real animalic musk, which smells rank, sweaty, hairy, with a fatty sweetness. On its own, animalic musk comes close to smelling like feces, but when mixed with other notes, it becomes the butter in the sauce, the cream in the coffee, the element which transforms all the parts into a magical gorgeous olfactory whole. 

Kiehl’s Original Musk Blend No. 1 is expertly blended. It develops quickly and then settles into elegant muskiness which lasts for hours. The first spritz is thick with aldehydes, cosmetic and soapy, but don’t be discouraged because the Dove Soap vibe soon fades, slowly replaced by an earthy and powdery but very delicate sweetness, citrus and white florals surrounding a pure rosy heart.

In the dry-down, the base notes emerge as a caramel-infused accord of white patchouli, amber, tonka and vanilla, rich and dark. Like thick cream, the musk blends seamlessly with the base so that Original Musk transforms into what I can describe as a lighter softer quieter cleaner Muscs Koublai Khan. Just a bit skanky, just a little bit dirty.

Everyone should own a bottle of Kiehl’s Original Musk. It’s one of those fragrances that you reach for when you can’t make up your mind, and at the end of the day you’ll be happy you chose it. It makes you feel good. It’s not too sweet or floral, or too soapy or clean, or too strong or strange. It’s a musk for everyone that wears close to the skin like a good musk should, subtle, silky, and quietly sexy.

Kiehl’s Original Musk is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.