Musk Hall of Fame: A List of the Best & / or Most Talked About Musk Perfumes {Perfume List} {Perfume Short (Reviews)}

Rue du Petit Musc.jpg
Rue du Petit Musc in Paris 75004. The evocative name refers not so much to musk as to ancient brothels. © The Scented Salamander

A Musk Hall of Fame

Without further ado, here is our Musk Hall of Fame List which offers short and longer reviews of famous musk perfumes, as well as of our own very favorite ones.

The world of musks can be divided fundamentally into Clean Musks and Dirty Musks.

Auric Blends Love

A subtle, clean, yet warm musk oil perfume with woodsy undertones

Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess

The most popular perfume in the line - it is a mild sexy floral Egyptian musk which blooms beautifully on the skin, making you think of natural flowers.

V'Tae Egyptian Garden

It smells like a musk perfume from the Egyptian antiquity would, steeped in herbs, mysterious unguents, and secret macerated formulas. Of course, it used to be worn by a high Egyptian priestess: it evokes the honey, date, and almond effluvia that wafted from her well-oiled and well-massaged body. Longevity is so-so.

Gap Musk

A clean discreet, and lightly sweet white musk oil.

Coty Wild Musk Oil

The oil, we think, is better than the alcohol-based versions. A sweet woodsy musk oil reminiscent of high school dates for many people.

Kiehl's Original Musk Oil

This is another classic musk oil that we also prefer in the oil-based formula. Update: as of 2014, we'd say the Eau de Toilette is best if you prefer a slightly dirtier musk. According to the brand, it was discovered abandoned in a turn-of-the-century to 1920s vat labelled "Love Oil" in the basement of Kiehl's, established 1851. Everyone went crazy for it decades later. A musk oil with a marked floral lily-of-the-valley facet, which is a natural phenomenon associated with musk in small quantities...

A full review of Kiel's Original Musk Oil is now published on the blog.

Kiehl's Musk.jpg

Bourbon French Musk

This is reported to be a world-famous musk made in the French Quarter in New Orleans. They also boast about their jasmine scent and since the latter we did sniff and had to acknowledge its distinctive presence, we think the musk oil won't leave people indifferent.

The Body Shop White Musk Oil

A classic. It has been issued in alcohol-based formulas but we stick to our preference for the oil-based one. A clean musk. We prefer the Japanese Musk Oil from the same brand (discontinued.)

The Body Shop Japanese Musk Oil

A sharper, woodsier, and slightly more complex musk than the White Musk.

Alyssa Ashley Musk

A leathery and soapy musk that initially seemed to smell like the real thing but ultimately betrayed its fabricated nature. It is too synthetic and might even make you feel ill at such pretense.

CB Musk Reinvention

From memory: a greasy, unkempt musk that signals danger and a prowling presence in the dark. There is a suggestion of mental sickness and criminal intent - a very unsafe musk.

Narciso Rodriguez for Her

A lovely, feminine, and sexy musk with creamy floral and dewy jasmine facets. A terrific dry-down that is subtle, lightly floral, and almost beach-y. A bestseller.

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely

A lovely clean floral and musky chypre - and a bestseller. It is close to Narciso Rodriguez for Her, but slightly less fruity, slightly more heavily textured.

Jacomo Jacomo for Her

Animalic cedar combined with musk makes it a great courtesan skin scent, see review.

Worth Courtesan

Musk and powdery cocoa, see our review.

Alexander McQueen Kingdom

A reasonably excessive musky and sweaty perfume (cumin, cedar) that plays with the rules of polite washed society without truly trespassing them. It has a fresh facet to it and a subtle quality, which make it clear it adheres to mainstream clean values. For some it epitomizes hedonism and furiously unmade bed sheets.

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Because of the cumin note, see our review.

Réminiscence Musc

We tried it once briefly and immediately turned back our attention to the Patchouli scent from the same line, which is also their star product. Muskier sometimes does not mean necessarily sexier.

Bruno Acampora Musc

This scent is reportedly considered to be one of the best, or even the best in its league. It is a musk that is greasy, chocolate-y, woodsy, heavily-textured, and leaning towards the masculine. It is a solid musk to our nose, but ultimately it did not wow us, being too structured, a bit blocky, and not sinuous enough. An enthralling musk scent should have more of a serpentine, slithering, mysterious quality.

Serge Lutens Clair de Musc

At first a white musk that seemed a bit too classic and devoid of originality for a Serge Lutens, but which is in fact a subtle transparent crystalline musk that marries beautifully with whisper-soft floral notes (neroli, Tuscan iris, jasmine, rose...) The musk is vegetable and borrows this facet from ambrette seeds. A refined rose and musk fragrance as soft as the tactile sensation of a rose petal on the skin.

Lorenzo Villoresi Musk

A powdery floral and sweet musk perfume that we liked less than Teint de Neige made afterwards five years later (2000), with which it shares powdery notes. Although rather feminine-smelling at first blush, it is favored by men as well. It used to be a favorite of Brad Pitt's.

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur in edp and oil

See reviews

Les Néréides Musc Samarkand

See review

Les Néréides Musc de Java

A soft fruity musk with berries, and blackberry in particular, inspired by the famous blackberry and musk combination inaugurated by L'Artisan Parfumeur in 1978. At the start it is less subtle than Mûre et Musc, albeit pleasing and charming and softly alluring on its own. But the dry-down might win some over as the L'Artisan has moderate longevity and depth.

Les Néréides Fleur Poudrée de Musc

The dirtiest one amongst Les Néréides collection of musk perfumes. At first, you take in the scent of an elegantly powdered lady as you are walking on the street and end in her alcove among the crumpled sheets with a vision of nude silk stockings negligently thrown on a lacquered windscreen.

L'Artisan Cologne Mûre et Musc (Eau de Toilette)

Opens on a salty and peppery armful of crushed leaves and berries. Becomes musky, dry, and fresh, with green and blackberry notes remaining. A subtle fresh musk fragrance that feels like one is taking a stroll in the underbrush in the dewy morning. Unfortunately the promenade, like the early morning hours, do not last enough.

Our Favorites, which merit longer reviews if not yet fully reviewed on the blog:

Les Nez L'Antimatière

A complex musk or more to the point skin perfume that reaches a rare psychological depth. The smell of time and the skin of close relatives and lovers transferred onto leather and clothes. See review.

Guerlain Pamplelune

An intoxicating and elegant grapefruit and musk scent that wafts of the animalic and acrid facets of the grapefruit. It smells embarrassingly (especially in the US), yet delightfully so of an un-showered body. See review.

Diptyque L'Autre

A refined spicy sweaty dry musk. It delicately exudes the smell of an unwashed men's shirt.

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan

Kubilaï welcomes you in his ger or tent in the middle of the steppes, whose ground is strewn with precious silken Persian carpets decorated with garden-of-paradise motifs and alighted fragrant rose petals brought from afar. His sweat is complex and very refined and smells as precious as gold. You share a drink of kumiss with him poured in leather vessels circled with rare metals and are not loath to getting a bit closer to inhale him in more.

Shiséido Féminité du Bois

This is a closet musk perfume, which evokes pearly, elegant sexy sweat under an urbane demeanor.

Santa Maria Novella Muschio Oro

An unusual powdery musk perfume that is as light as fresh water and luminous as the halo of saints in a Florentine Renaissance painting. Liquid ancient gold.

Santa Maria Novella Muschio

A spicier, drier, more masculine powdery musk than Muschio Oro with overtones of licorice, licorice-y caramel, aniseed, Pastis and a suggestion of turpentine. Manet might have worn it in his streaked overalls while seating in a Parisian café drinking absinthe.

Annick Goutal Musc Nomade

See review

This list is a start and will obviously need to be updated by you, me and the industry pace of launches.

Added Entries:

Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin

The fragrance is fully reviewed here. This ought to be smelled for its attempt at emulating vintage musks and the mythical aura of natural deer musk of the best grade quality.

Photo of the Rue du Petit Musc in Paris by The Scented Salamander, Musk Oil from Kiehl's.

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48 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Do you sell Coty Wild musk oil or do you know where I can purchase it

    Gail Jennings
  2. Gail,

    The Scented Salamander is NOT the blogging arm of a perfume store. So we don't carry any type of perfumes, we just describe them and put them in context.

    Coty Wild Musk is available in places like Target, Walmart, I would think. Try eBay also.

  3. hi

    my girl friend loves for me to wear "musk"..found your reviews interesting....any you would recommend as more of a "guy"-kinda musk?



  4. Hi Allen,

    From this list (which is an open one) I'd say you could try Frederic Malle especially the oil, L'Antimatière, L'Autre, Muscs Koublaï Khan, CB Musk Reinvention...

    I'd also suggest you try the new Body Shop White Musk for Men and L'Air de Rien by Miller Harris.

    I thought that Fracas for Men has a great musky dry-down too (discounters).

  5. hi! thanks for your description about musk! in Italy it's difficult to find lots of parfums you've described and i love so much this essence!
    i could suggest Rumeur by Lanvin and Eau de Kasaneka by Menard...
    the first one is elegant, not barefaced with a subtle carnality. the second one isn't a typical musk essence but it approaches to a good and velvety musk.

  6. Hello, I am looking for a perfume that smells similar to Comptoir Sud Pacifique's Cristal de Musc (which I believe has notes of white and powdery musk). I love this scent but because it is an eau de parfum it never lasts. Can you recommend something similar?

  7. I would try Les Néréides Musk Samarkand first, then Annick Goutal Musc Nomade, Lorenzo Villoresi Musk, Serge Lutens Clair de Musc....but let me get back to you when I get a chance to sniff Cristal de Musc

  8. Hi,

    Just discovered this site and am already in love with it. I am looking for Santa Maria Novella Musc. I cannot find a place that sells it. Any suggestions?

    saint james
    • Yes, you can find it at

      Thank you for your kind words.

      Chant Wagner
  9. I'm hooked on The Original Musk Oil from Cabot. I've used it for 20 years (OMG) and it is amazing. I get it a Cooperlabs in CA.

  10. Is there a musk that can compare to the "Satana Musk Oil" (from the early 1980s)? I understand it was discontinued because it used animal products. I haven't found a musk (so far) that can compare to it's clean, fresh, long lasting fragrance. Please let me know if there is a musk that can compare with it. Also, there was another musk - Ashley's musk for men (edt spray) that disappeared. The Ashley's and Houbigant's of today just are not the same. Thanks.

  11. Hey
    does anyone know about coty wild musk?
    does it smell nice
    i like out of the world nice
    clean sensuality
    is it a good one?
    where can i purchase it?

  12. Does anyone know of a musk that smells similar to Cabot's Original Musk Oil, but stronger? The Cabot's Musk Oil scent barely registers.

  13. Anyone ever hear of RH Musk Oil from the 70's - it was the BEST!!!!

    Beth Callori
  14. Can anyone confirm that Coty (Exclamation) Wild Musk has been discontinued?

    If so, can anyone recommend something similar as am bereft.

    Thank you

  15. I also was looking for Musk rh factor thats how I found this site.Anyone know?

  16. No mention of Jovan musk for women and men? It is a pure, sweet, and light musk which outshines the majority of more expensive musk perfume. It has been selling well for 40 years for a good reason! I love it.

    Sabrina Nelson

    • Sabrina,

      You're right, Jovan should be added here and it will be. I'd like to compare the merits of the classic with the white musk version. Regarding the classic, I personally prefer the oil version, which has that characteristic sweet note even more present I think.

      Chant Wagner
  17. Here is a wonderful combo I have been using for years and people allways ask me what I am wearing.Jovan white musk spray and Tova.You can buy Tova at QVC

  18. what about avon 'soft musk'?
    i love that scent

    • I'll have to try that one and add it to the line-up! Thanks for the rec!

      Chant Wagner
  19. I think you tried a wrong bottle of Alyssa Ashley Musk, this version start with a flowery-aldheidic blend, but evolve in a beautiful Musk enriched with Iris and Civet. All musks are sintetic today, as animalic natural oils are out of law.


    • The version I tested was one I bought a few years ago at a Walmart. I should try it again. Are you referring to a recent version or to an older one?

      Chant Wagner
  20. Also Cabaret, Gres and Musk, Renee (very popular in Australia).

  21. Hi just ran across your site. I found a store in the French Quarter that sells Middle Eastern style apparel and they have this marvelous oil. My son says in the bottle he doesn't like it but when I wear it he loves it. The name of the oil is Krishna Musk by Song of India. My problem is I don't remember the name of the store it was purchased in. All I know is it's in the Quarters. If by chance you can help me find the store or locate the oil somewhere else it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks...

    • It's available on

      Chant Wagner
  22. Bourbon French Perfume shop in New Orleans makes a musk oil, but I prefer the old version the best. I have contacted them as to why they changed it and their response was that an ingredient they got from France was no longer available. Do you know where I can get a similar old version? Maybe in France?


    • Hello,

      I would love to be able to answer your question but I don't know that oil, especially in its former form. I could answer your question if I could take a sniff out of a sample. Otherwise, perhaps some passing readers might advise the rest of us.

      Alternatively, I supposed I could try to see with Bourbon French what that molecule is but please consider the fact that it might not be available anymore to all and so would not be available anywhere. There might however be some musk oil blends that approximate your favorite version, best.


      Chant Wagner
  23. MUSK by Romane from the 70s is my favorite Give it a try

    • I see, Musk by Romane, "The Male Scent"...I will put it on my to-try list. Thank you for the recommendation.

      Chant Wagner
      • I loved wearing Satana musk oil back in the 70's. I cannot forget the sensual scent of musk which I have never found in other musk oil products.

        If anyone out there has come across any musk oil similar to Satana please let me know.

        • Definitely! The Satana Musk of the early 70's was in a small glass bottle with a square black top. I can remember the day I bought it at Spencer's Gifts. A drop if that musk was thick and would last forever. I am 60 now and I remember my friend's dad would know if I got close to the house. Lol. This was 1971-72. If anyone locates a bottle, let me know! :-)

  24. Is there a musk that can compare to the "Satana Musk Oil" (from the early 1980s)? I haven't found a musk oil that can compare to it's clean, fresh, long lasting fragrance. Please let me know if there is a musk that can compare with it.

    • I'm pretty sure there is. I don't know, or rather haven't smelled Satana Musk Oil, which is apparently from the 1970s. Maybe someone might chime in on this topic.

      Chant Wagner
  25. in the late 70's or early 80's I order a sample of
    French Musk 5oz parume
    contains SD Alchol 39c,
    Jacques Bernier Inc Dist
    New York,NY 10016
    this as it is on label I have the bottle all these years in hopes of finding it .. anyone Know this name and where I can get it? The most coments I ever received was when I worn this. Am 58 have worn many!! Now wear white musk by Jovon

    Kathy Ostberg
  26. I absolutely LOVE the scent of both Narciso Rodriguez For Her Musk Oil ($155/1.6 oz/Neiman Marcus) and the Narciso Rodriguez For Her Musc Collection Eau de Parfum ($124/3.3 oz/Neiman Marcus). Once I put it on my skin, it smells wonderful. Unfortunately both only last on my skin for about 20 minutes! And I had both my husband and grown daughter take a sniff, and they agreed the scent was totally gone! A very pricey experiment! Can anyone recommend other scents I should try that captures the scent I love, but hopefully would last longer? Thanks in advance.

    Sharon Norman
    • Have you tried perfume oils called "Egyptian musk"? This is the original idea for the scent. You could try Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk which is said to be an influence on the Narciso Rodriguez perfume, or Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess oil, and work your way though samples of other musk blends, until it feels right for you.

      Recently, I re-smelled Les Bains du Marais Musc Blanc Huile de Soin, and it felt like it was subtle enough to approximate the musky sillage of Narciso Rodriguez.

      Chant Wagner
    • I have been looking for the same for decades. please post here if you find it or something close to it.

  27. I also used Santana Musk oil back in the 70s. It was the best! I still have a bottle from back then (photos available), but here's some interesting information. Back somewhere in the early 2000s I was at the Freehold Mall (NJ) at a prom dress store buying something for my daughter. I looked at the shelf behind the register and lo and behold I saw a square bottle (not exactly the same as the original) and a very familiar logo on the label. It was my beloved Santana Oil of Musk from my high school days! I started talking to the store owner who told me a friend of his had owned the original company and had barrels of this stuff left over. My heart leaped and I bought some. It was exactly the same smell. Since then I have tried to find him again, but have had no luck.

    Originally, Santana Oil of musk was distributed by Satana Inc. in Boundbrook, NJ. The difference in the spelling of the name is not a typo. That's how the bottle top reads. The newly bottled musk was distributed by Marrakech, Inc in Edison NJ.

    I guarantee it's the same stuff. If anyone can help me find this man I would appreciate it.

    • OMG Cathy, I have been looking for that musk oil for years. I have tried every website I can find. Do you know his name so I can find out if they are selling their inventory or whats left of it. 'there is not one I have tried that even comes close to comparing to Satana. I also love his foxmor oil it was the most unusual and wonderful scent. Some one somewhere has to know if he has any inventory left to sell but I haven't found any thing so far. You seemed to have the most information more than any site i have looked on. But I will keep looking and if and when I do find anything I will let you know right away. 'do u know who owned the original company?

  28. OMG. I've been looking for the same musk oil for years. Please let me know too.

    • I just don't understand ... every vintage, discoutinued or rare musk oils they have tons of other items but never
      Satana. There must be someone somewhere who know who would have left over stock. Please if anyone knows anything about this company or the name of the inventor any information at all so I can try to track him down. then I would stock up lol. I know he also made another product called foxmor (sp) oil that was also awsome and I would love to find some of that also.

  29. Use to love Royal Copenhagen White Musk. Fabulous smell

    Then they sold it to fakes.

    • Ach! I've seen it in the past but never tested it I'm afraid.

      Chant Wagner
  30. I'm looking for a musk oil I wore in the early 70's. It was in a square bottle with a square black top. Do you know anything about this?

    • Right off the top of my head, no. But maybe someone else can help you id it.

      Chant Wagner
  31. I have been looking for a musk made by Caswell-Massey. It was around for many years and was in a small brown bottle with a black lid which was a dropper. I contacted the company and was told it was discontinued. Any one know of this or something similar to this - it was the greatest.

    Geri B
    • Don't know it personally but would have the same request regarding Japanese Musk oil by The Body Shop...

      Chant Wagner

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