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Mûre et Musc - Blackberry and Musc, tart, fresh, sophisticated classic

Mûre et Musc EdT 50 ml.

The first truly “niche” fragrance I owned was from L’Artisan Parfumeur, the Paris perfume house created in 1978 by Jean Laporte.

I bought it in Bendel’s in NYC where I’d discovered the L’Artisan counter on the second floor. I’d never heard of the brand and since I was the only body in sight as well as a sucker for a sales pitch, I was given the full script by the Sales Assistant.  I sniffed six or seven of her personal favourites, then told her the kinds of scent I wore and liked, at which point she grabbed my hand (she was French) and passionately implored: 

“Try something new, get outside the box, expand your horizons, madame!” 

“She’s got a point,” said a quiet voice to my right. My best friend and future perfume partner had found me finally, and was silently sniffing the testers.

“I’ll take Timbuktu”, I said decisively, and since that day more than ten years ago, Gwen and I have slowly built our collections and added forty-two L’Artisan scents to the Decant Store. 

However, I have to admit that we’ve missed one, one very important fragrance in the L’Artisan pantheon, the  fragrance that established Pierre Laporte as a visionary perfumer and L’Artisan Parfumeur as the innovative brand in modern perfumery. The fragrance is Mûre et Musc, which set the perfume world buzzing with its innovative fusion of tart sweet wild blackberries with the warm fruity facets of the new synthetic “white musks”. The result was a fresh and playful but subtle and sexy scent that could be worn easily by women and men, and which, after its 1978 launch, immediately became a best-seller. Over forty years later, it still is. 

Watch “Mûre et Musc: Forty Years of an Icon”on the L’AP site – the story is told by Master Perfumer, Jean Claude Ellena, who worked closely with Laporte on the development of the new accord and the final fragrance. 

Mûre et Musc EdT is fresh, light and soft, typical of the fragrances from the late 1970’s. It’s one of those scents that can seem to fade quickly or disappear, but then has deceptive strength, returning unexpectedly in lovely sheer wafts. It’s somewhat dependent of skin chemistry, or what I think, more correctly, is nose chemistry - if you’re anosmic to musks you’ll miss some of it’s magic. I find it superb in hot weather, unobtrusive but always interesting with the tart blackberry, subtly sexy from the musks with their soft sweat-on-warm skin notes. 

The listed notes are citrus, blackberries, and musks, but of course there is much more going on. Jean Claude Ellena mentions citrus – bergamot and lemon, and herbs – tarragon and lavender. “As blackberry extract does not exist in perfumery, the inspired alchemist created it blending a molecule often found in flavoured foods, reminiscent of the coveting warmth of cooked raspberries, with a blackurrant note. The illusion is perfect: one can almost see, smell and touch 'blackberry'. “  But it’s not the big blackberries in fruit salad or blackberry jam, the note is the scent of small wild blackberry fruits on the stem, warmed by summer heat, scented with stems and dust and leaves and grass and earth underfoot. The aromatic citrus and herbs notes prevent re et Musc from being cloying or jammy, and oak moss in the base fills in green woody facets, keeping the sensation fresh and unfussy.  

Mûre et Musc is superbly uncomplicated, but beautifully refined in its simplicity. The citrus and blackberry accord fades through the long dry-down but never completely disappears, the musks are clean-sexy rather than funky, which give the scent a modern sophistication. 

If you are a perfume lover, this elegant musk should definitely be on your Try-Me list.

After all, there’s nothing else like it, it’s a classic, a game-changer, and still a best-seller. Plus it smells great. Doesn’t get better than that. 

Mûre et Musc is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

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