When you describe something as ‘musky’ it’s normally met with a raised eyebrow and flared nostrils. Musky is a word which conjures up the negative, but in the world of perfumes it’s far from how it sounds. Musk used in scent isn’t moth-balls-in-the-wardrobe musk, it’s warm, endearing and creates a layer of intrigue to a fragrance profile. It also adds an element of long-lasting staying power, because when all the jazzy notes leave the stage, it’s musk that’s left carrying the encore.
We’re giving musky perfumes the spotlight they truly deserve with our top ten picks that are loved by you and our in-house experts.
Velvet Orchid, Tom Ford
There is nothing subtle about this scent. So, if you want someone to notice you when you walk on by or make a lasting impression on your date, this bold bottle of Tom Ford decadence is the antidote. Blending bouquets of Turkish rose, black orchid and orange blossom with pops of honey, myrrh, bergamot and rum, it’s a fragrance note lesson in more is more.
Fronted by pop sensation Dua Lipa and following on from the success of the signature scent, Yves Saint Lauren’s latest Libre Eau de Toilette drop was a winner from the word go. Adding a fresher spin on things this time around, it throws together pops of lavender, orange blossom, white tea over a musk-meets-vanilla base.
Miss Absolutely Blooming, Dior
Thought musk perfumes were all dark, brooding and mysterious? Think again. Dior’s Miss Absolutely Blooming rewrites the stereotype by layering zingy notes of pomegranate, pink peppercorn, raspberry and peony accord over its musk base.
Lovely, Sarah Jessica Parker
As memorable as Carrie Bradshaw and as lovely as well, the name lets on. Sarah Jessica Parker’s very first fragrance has stood the test of time thanks to its love letter (or should that be column?) to musk.
Cloud, Ariana Grande
Not one to do things by half measures, Ariana Grande’s Cloud is a stand-out addition to our musky favourites. Starting with lavender blossom, juicy pear and bergamot that’s as melodic as her signature riffs, before moving on to a deliciously sweet heart (think creme de coconut, praline AND vanilla), it’s a blend of joy-inducing notes for pop princesses in the making.
Pure Musc, Narciso Rodriguez
Unlike other musk perfumes that use the note as a grounding base, Pure Musc by Narciso Rodriguez puts it at the heart for a scent with an ‘addictive’ touch. Designed to be worn solo for musk at its purist, or combined with the brand’s signature eponymous scents for bolder hit of florals, how will you wear yours?
Illicit Flower, Jimmy Choo
Want to dip your toe in the world of musky perfumes? Jimmy Choo’s Illicit Flower is a great place to start, with its crowd-pleasing blend of fruity and floral notes resting on a classically-soft musk, vanilla, and cashmere combination.
Olympéa Intense, Paco Rabanne
Inspired by a confident goddess of a woman, Olympéa Intense by Paco Rabanne throws together unexpected notes for an empowering finish. Most notably, a salty-vanilla amber accord with distinct orange flower, for a bolder take on the brand’s iconic scent.
Kenzo Flower, Kenzo
There’s not a lot of top 10 lists that Kenzo Flower doesn’t top thanks to its timeless, powdery floral appeal. But, flower power aside, it’s the distinct white musk heart that keeps us coming back to this classic time and time again.
Si Fiori, Armani
This rendition of Armani’s cult Si scent, elevates the floral factor to mimic the natural scent of a blooming Mediterranean garden at sunset. And once your senses have plucked the stems of neroli and rose, it will pick up the lingering remnants of – you guessed it – white musk and vanilla.