Nude, Nude & More Nude

by Nava

I think everybody knows what a sucker I am for Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, so of course I’m going to try every flanker of the scent, including the newest one, Liquid Nude. Big surprise; I love it. I’ve never been a fan of wearing Cashmere Mist in warm weather, even though it’s supposed to evoke the feeling of a “second skin”. Liquid Nude to me, is the perfect combination of orange blossom, with the tenacity of the original Cashmere Mist base, so it’s lighter and slightly fresher, but still manages to hang around without suffocating. It also passes the “aunt” test because the sample I’ve been wearing all week hasn’t raised any hackles or caused any headaches. It dries down with the same warm muskiness of the original, but the freshness of the orange blossom stays strong throughout. Dare I say, this might be the perfect orange blossom scent, since the warmer notes act as an anchor, preventing it from disappearing. I’ve always had that problem with orange blossom, but here, it hangs around and then some.

My discovery of Liquid Nude got me thinking about the concept of “nude” scents. That got me nostalgic for Bonne Bell Skin Musk and Alyssa Ashley Musk; also Body Time’s China Rain and that scent Dawn Spencer-Hurwitz did that was supposed to be an anti-perfume. March, help me out here, I know you know which one I’m talking about. Then Robin at Now Smell This posted yesterday about the latest Juliette Has a Gun fragrance, Not a Perfume, which is another one of those pure Ambrox scents (like Escentric Molecule 02), which I cannot smell. So, I’m wondering, why wear nude when you want to smell, well, nude?

For me, “nude” always meant musk. I don’t think of musk the same way other fragrance aficionados do. Unless we’re talking about the old barnyard monster, Muscs Koublai Khan, my favourite interpretation is more of a white musk that’s slightly floral, but that I must be able to smell. I cannot smell Narciso Rodriguez Musc for Her or any other type of Egyptian musk, but a clean smelling, slightly floral musk is something I can really get into now and again. I had a 1/4 oz. bottle of that DSH oil, but I cannot seem to locate it. Currently, I have one other “nude” in my collection, my bottle of Memoire Liquide Nudité Absolue, which I’m showing a lot of love to right now – it’s nude with a woody, slightly patchouli-tinged base that’s been mixing well with my Liquid Nude samples.

I was a bad girl last Saturday when I ventured over to the Murale store here in Toronto looking for June Jacobs sunblock (yes, they have June Jacobs!), which they did not carry, and instead walked out with a bottle of Nudité Intense, which I was even more shocked to find. This one is very close to the China Rain type floral musk that I love, and for $48.00, I thought, hey – practically free, right? These types of scents smell so right to me, that I just can’t get enough of them. Last year, my transitional fave was a spicy floral. This year, it’s clean musk. I’m waiting for just a bit more of a chill in the air before I break out my vial of Bruno Acampora Musk, which is almost as dirty as MKK, but not nearly as temperamental. Gee, now that I see it all on paper, I guess I am pretty well-stocked in the musk department.

It must be the onset of autumn, and spending time with my family during the Jewish holidays that has me nostalgic for these types of scents. After last week’s matzo ball and brisket extravaganza, I was once again feeling very blessed to be here in my favourite city, with my wonderfully nutty family, plus my little freelance writing business that’s chugging along with a few belches of smoke now and again. Life in my little corner of the world is pretty not bad. Oh, and I did manage to finagle payment out of my pain-in-the-rear-end client. Crisis averted; until next time.

For all of you who giggled and guffawed through the tale of my cousin Jessica’s colonoscopy two weeks ago, her results were clean as a whistle.

Now for some sharing: Tell me your favourite “clean” musky type scents.

Disclosure: Samples of Donna Karan Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude were obtained at The Bay. Memoire Liquide Nudité Absolue and Nudité Intense are from my personal collection.

  • Joe says:

    Hi Nava,
    A bit late here, but I’ll just chime in with a couple of favorite “clean-musky” type scents:
    – Hermès Eau de Gentiane Blanche: wore it this morning for the first time in awhile and I always enjoy how clean yet woody or “rooty” it seems.
    – Soivohle Transcendental Musc: Skin scent plus something perhaps slightly soapy.

  • Kim says:

    You can take away my perfumista card if you want – but I just don’t get musk. The light ones smell of nothing on my skin and the heavier ones I find too much (like MKK). And this from someone who loves L’Heure Bleu in the heat!

    I’m with Winifrieda – give me that dusky earthy oakmoss drydown!
    My first scent purchase when young was Lancome Magie Noire and then I graduated to Paloma and I’ve been corrupted by oakmoss ever since. Or maybe my nose is burnt out? Either way, clean musks just leave me with nothing…

  • Winifreida says:

    Oh gah, musk is monumentally difficult for us old dears…My idea of musk is a sweetly heady hard-to-describe presence, that was obviously based on the real thing and the banned nitros back in the day – my only parallels are Musk Ravegeur (Femme) and MKK (masc). In the olden days, ancient Brut, and Dana Ambush, would have sort of represented musk to me. And the flouro-pink musk sticks from the corner store…
    I wonder if the label ‘skin scent’ is dependent on just how borderline these are to smell; I know I am on the edge of sensing a lot of modern musks (which gives me a real devilish feeling when I soak my poitrine in ‘musk’).I love being naughty with the Miller Harris d’Rein for instance, that is an olden days ‘musk’ to me!
    As for the woody things, I am sure I have an anosmia to that Molecule in Escentic, all I get is engine oil, which I like but am in up to the eyebrows in up at the farm…
    My skin scents tend to be citrus; I love the sour sweaty far drydown of Pampelune…and I think oakmoss, there is nothing like the lingering husky earthiness of old Mitsouko.

    • Musette says:

      W –

      I clicked on your link – is that your life? 😮 (in an extremely ‘good’ way 😮 – wow.

      Do you wear Mitsouko on dives? How do the fish like it?

      Wow. What a great career!

      xo >-)

      • Winifreida says:

        heh! The fish! But I sure ‘get’ the current perfume trend in algae and seaweed! I have been a keen diver and have seen wondrous things in Planet Ocean; its the CEO who has managed the amazing feat of making a lifestyle around his great love, the sea…he is a bit bemused by my perfume obsession! Actually speaking of musk, he only has two categories of ‘fume if I ask for an opinion – “musk” and “vanilla”. My teenage daughter just adores musk, I wonder if it goes with the territory??

  • odonata9 says:

    Oh, I used to love Body Shop White Musk back in the day. Now I cannot stand it (like many of those things I wore back in high school and college). The only light musk-y thing I can think of that I like is Leslie Blodgett Bare Skin. I’d been looking for something a bit spicy and slightly sexy for evening wear (I tend to like citruses and greens, or vanillas) and thought it fit that pretty well. Unfortunatly, the hubby did not like it at all. He doesn’t like fragrances in general and can get migraines from some(lucky me!) but will generally put up with them as long as they are not too strong. This one got a “I don’t like that one.” Oh well, I tried.

    • Nava says:

      I liked White Musk way back when too, but as with a lot of their scents, my nose seems to have outgrown them.

      I liked that Leslie Blodgett scent, but it had no stamina whatsoever. Not on me, anyway.

  • March says:

    And while I’m on here, which Narciso did you fall for? Can I tell you how STRONG I find regular NR now? (speaking of orange blossom) and I got the metallic pink bottle … and I kind of want the silver one …

    • Nava says:

      It was the silver one. But remember how we thought the samples we got smelled so different from the Saks tester? I never did get anymore of it. Maybe I’ll have to re-investigate. :d

  • March says:

    Crap, and I meant to add, great post! I love nude scents. We all need the occasional break from Poison Esprit de Parfum.

  • March says:

    Sorry I’m late — couldn’t get on earlier! :-w The one I loved was DSH’s Special Formula X, which she came up with to figure how notes were going to play on a client’s skin. But folks started asking for X as a scent (that’s the way she tells it). It’s a wonderful skin musk.

    • lisa says:

      I’m with you, March; I adore Special Formula X! When I want just a clean and uncomplicated skin scent, there’s nothing better. I also love Dawn’s Egyptian Musk, which is a slightly richer SFX.

  • mals86 says:

    I am fonder of “clean musk” than I probably ought to be, given that it really doesn’t suit my personal taste. What it does is remind me of my mother.

    This is not a bad thing. I have a warm relationship with my mom, and tend to find her smell very comforting. (Never mind that I’m 42, sometimes you just want your mommy…)

    Some months ago, a friend had sent me a sample of SL Clair de Musc, and when I opened it, not expecting anything in particular, my mother came billowing out. It puzzled me for a couple of hours, until my brain came up with the mental picture of a bottle of Jovan Musk for Women on Mom’s dresser. A-HA! So THAT’S what it is. And then it occurred to me that Mom’s No. 5 is rich in musk too, so that “clean laundry” smell must appeal to her.

    I recently tested DSH’s Special Formula X, which is I think what you’re talking about. It smells of, mostly, *nothing* on me, with faint hints of clean laundry and flowers half a mile away. Entirely pleasant, but, you know, why should I bother? If I want to smell quietly nice, I’d still rather go with a light floral and put it on in very small amounts.

    In terms of “skin scents” that project about half an inch from your body, I like Infusion d’Iris, and that sample of Joe’s ELd’O Putain des Palaces works great for that sort of thing (I don’t need more, but it was nice). I’m also very fond of MJ Daisy, which is really quiet on me and, I think, one of my favorite examples of the “floral woody musk” genre. I do really love the drydown of Mariella Burani, which is all clean musk and tonka bean.

    But I happen to despise Cashmere Mist, which I had no particular feelings about before smelling it at Macy’s, but which struck me immediately as being horribly, horribly synthetic. Something about it just shrieks, “Chemicals!” to me, and I wouldn’t wear it if you paid me to. If I’ve got to smell perfume on someone else at a normal conversational distance, though, CM is at least inoffensive. BB Nude is lovely on my coworker, but I kept getting strangled by the Tang Dust/baby aspirin effect, so I don’t even remember the musk in it. Also, to admit my Philistinism, both Barbara Bui and Rykiel Woman bored me absolutely silly – as in, WHEN is this stuff gonna wear off so I can go put on real perfume??

    • mals86 says:

      Whoa. Wrote a whole book there.

      • Nava says:

        Thank you! Formula Special X – that was it. Why oh why could I not think of that??? Speaking of being in your 40s and the memory starting to go…

        I love all those scents: Bui, Sonya Rykiel. That’s comfort for me. And I am totally unapologetic in my love of Cashmere Mist considering how ubiquitous it is. Some days, there’s just nothing better.

    • Gretchen says:

      Tang dust! I could smell it the minute you named it. Fortunately, I’ve yet to smell it in a perfume, but I certainly wouldn’t spend perfume money to smell Tang. On the other hand, I remember enjoying the taste of baby aspirin when I was a child; it appealed to my taste for sour candy, I suppose. I didn’t sniff it for its aroma, however.

      • Nava says:

        Tang dust? As in oranges and chalk? That just about encompasses baby aspirin and Tang for me.

        What I love so much about orange blossom is that it is so not “orange”. You just have to cement it with something to keep it around longer than a minute. That’s why Liquid Nude hooked me so. :d

        • mals86 says:

          And see, I really don’t like OB at all, regardless of whether it’s tied to citrus. Could be the OB (oops, I just typed BO, which is pretty funny considering we’re discussing musk!) in Cashmere Mist I hate.

    • March says:

      That’s funny, Special X really puts itself out there on me… 😕 It’s a skin musk, but I can smell it in the air around me.

    • Elisa says:

      I think Cashmere Mist smells like deodorant. In general, though, I like clean musks, mostly as a bedtime scent or even a sheet spray. I use unscented laundry detergent (sensitive skin), so if I’m going to get clean musk, perfume is the only place I’m going to get it.

  • Isa says:

    I have to chose Musc Ravageur, although I know it’s not what we would call a “clean musk”.
    I have tried some clean musks so far, but I have not found one to love yet. Some are too light, laundry smelling (Il Profvmo Musc Bleu) and some are too classic. So I’m still looking for one to love.

    I don’t know if it’s considered a musk, but I enjoy Sarah Horowitz Perfect Veil :)

  • Musette says:

    I would have to gnaw my arm off! 8-x As most of you have read, ad :-&, I have real issues with musk. In fact, June Jacobs fragrance was a ‘loveforasecond 😮 :-& 8-x ‘ which caused me to give it to my bff, who loves it! Do they carry it at Murale, Nava? That stuff is difficult to get and Christmas is a-comin’…. I found it at the Spa at the Peninsula but they no longer seem to carry the fragrance, dangit!

    SO glad you got paid. A lot of my freelance friends are resorting to half up front now – too many deadbeats out there. Dunno if that would work for you, but ya nebber know until you present it.

    xo >-)

    • Nava says:

      Thanks A. The pay thing is definitely client specific. I have so many different arrangements in place now, I’m starting to lose track!

      The selection of June Jacobs at Murale was pretty large, but they didn’t have the fragrance or that SPF 30 zinc oxide sunblock I used to love. The SA was really pushing the spa bath products, but I wasn’t biting.

  • Carla says:

    Pleasures by EL. Also liked Aqua Universalis by Maison Francis K, but Pleasures lasts longer, is more floral, and is one-fifth the price, or thereabouts. (Did not like Cologne Pour Le Matin by Maison FK.) Pleasures is the perfect scent to wear when you think maybe you shouldn’t wear a scent. Never offended anyone. Not like SL Arabie…which I love…

    • Nava says:

      I’ve always enjoyed EL Pleasures because of the pink pepper. I haven’t worn it in ages because I actually did offend someone with it years ago.

  • Louise says:

    I’m sitting by, waiting for suggestions…I have yet to find a clean musk that works on me, though I do love the idea. Rosarita’s Vintage Wild Musk is the closest I’ve found, and yet, not quite right.

    Perhaps I just love a dirty musk? Or have a high threshold for nasty? MKK smells all warm and cuddly to me, M. Ravageur is lovely, easily wearable-but not really a true musk.

    Inform me, y’all!

  • rosarita says:

    Vintage Coty Wild Musk and Les Nereides Musc Samarkind are my favorites in this category – well, not true. That would be SL Clair de Musc, but it’s so close to less expensive versions. I’m a big musk w/a hint of floralcy fan, too. The Coty was a included in a swap and I have been wearing it almost daily.

  • Ula says:

    Oh, we must not forget the legendary Barbara Bui – Le Parfum. Although it’s a bit incensy, it’s very close to skin. Then Trussardi’s Skin & the maybe Billl Blass’s Nude?

  • Eric says:

    I wonder… I think, at its base, Brin de Reglisse is essentially musk. AND WHAT A MUSK. Oh my, it’s just so perfect. Warm and subtle, sweet and maybe a little sweaty. (I apply in the crook of my elbow only for this one; on my wrists, it’s powdery and it doesn’t last at all on fabric). I know it’s expensive but it was the first Hermessence I bought. And I still wear it, so. :P