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Kiehl’s Original Musk


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, 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.

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. 

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 Blend No. 1 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 Original Musk. 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.

Notes: Bergamot nectar, orange blossom, rose, lily, ylang ylang, neroli, tonka bean, white patchouli, musk.

Type: EdT

Parfumeur: Kiehl’s Apothecary


Price: $4.00