Let me start by saying that I am not a musk lover; so far there have been only two musk scents that I wanted to own, both of them by Serge Lutens. The two could not be more different. The musk is usually regarded as one of the most sensual components in the perfumery; Muscs Koublai Khan, the first Lutens musk I adore, is the epitome of that sensuality. It is an incredibly dirty, animalic, breathtakingly erotic scent that makes my mouth dry and my knees weak. Now imagine the scent thst is the absolute opposite. Where Muscs Koublai Khan is corporeal, Clair de Musc, the second Lutens musk I love, is ethereal. Where Muscs Koublai Khan is grimy and soiled, Clair de Musc is luminous and transparent. Muscs Koublai Khan showcases musk’s earthy, sinful, very human aspect. Clair de Musc is purity and light that is out of this world.
So light is Clair de Musc, it almost has no smell. The wizards Lutens and Sheldrake created an olfactory equivalent of transparency, clearness and light. It starts with a gently citrusy accord of bergamot and even more delicate note of orange blossom, softly the floral notes (mostly the jasmine, to my nose, light and almost green) step in to be in turn joined by the whisper of sandalwood. The iris note brings a certain cold quality to the fragrance; Clair de Musc is cool and perfectly clear, like water from Galadriel’s pitcher, running to feel The Mirror of Seeing. Looking into the cold transparent depths of Clair de Musc one almost feels that it is possible to see there things that were, and things that are, and some things that have not yet come to pass. Whenever I smell Clair de Musc, I see Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, all long blonde hair and flowing white dress; it is no wonder that my geeky Lord of the Rings loving soul finds this fragrance irresistible.