How to Smell: Cherry Musk

February 02, 2016

Every perfume tells a story, and that story always starts with the name. So when you come across a perfume called “Cherry Musk,” it might take your mind to dark places filled with shopping malls and scented spritzes for pre-teens—otherwise known as 1996.

But we bring good news! You can forget about the awful genre of bath and body products aimed at the 11 – 18 crowd. You can shut off your memories of the poor teen grooming and beauty choices that left you smelling like a vat of buttercream frosting and looking like you had declared war on your eyebrows. Think, instead, of the sweetness and promise of youth. Cherry Musk implies that clear-eyed innocence—but turns out to be very much a grownup’s perfume.

What it smells like

The first spray of Cherry Musk is a light burst of cherry served up on a bed of pink roses. There is no hint of candy or sugar, only a translucent haze of fruit and flower. You may detect a suggestion of citrus that has the sharp tartness of grapefruit, and that balancing act is part of what gives Cherry Musk such surprising maturity.

The other aspect that makes Cherry Musk a winner is the incredible restraint shown by the perfumer. Let’s face it: Sweet, gourmand perfumes sell like… well, hotcakes. And when working primarily with notes like cherry, musk, and vanilla, any perfumer could easily veer too sweet, pile on the sugar, and end up with a cloying confection that feels more edible than pretty. But Ramón Monegal avoids the trap with the skill of a master, giving us a pink wash of color that instantly blooms into a richer picture. Cherry Musk is sheer and infused like a good cup of tea.

Minutes into the composition, the rose intensifies, but because Cherry Musk stays away from heavy doses of oriental base notes, the rose never turns into a powerhouse. There’s no Grand Madame or diva here; only a soft violety rose that feels true to nature.

Soon, a trio of notes—strawberry, white musk, and vanilla—appears. The strawberry seems to melt into the cherry note to make an abstract image of rosy softness, and for a good long while, they sit atop the vanilla-musk combo and create an almondy sweetness.

Although the the development is not complex and the perfume stays rather close to the skin, Cherry Musk has remarkable lasting power. After six hours, it was still going strong—and that cherry note that charmed at the beginning still comes through, clear as ever. But still noticeably absent is the candy confection you might have feared when you first heard the name. This is a delightful perfume created with a steady hand from start to finish.

Cherry Musk is a great choice for a daytime or work scent. It probably lacks the roar you might want on an evening out, but really: Don’t we have plenty of those to choose from? What we were lacking is a refined, mature take on cherry. And now we have it.

Try a sample of Cherry Musk. You'll see what we mean. 



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