Summer of Love Bottled: Kiehl’s Original Musk

One of my weakest spots is having an eye for details. Sure, it can also be considered a plus, but sometimes focusing on details diverts the attention from what really matters – watching a movie, for example. A guilty pleasure of mine is trying to spot renowned beauty products in movies or tv shows [1]: it’s a funny game I like playing especially when I’m tired because it relaxes me, but it can sometimes lead to unexpected results.

94c52834167b11e3996722000a9f18fe_7I’m a bit ashamed to say that I bought Kiehl’s Original Musk after spotting it in a Woody Allen movie…

tumblr_mqduk9jvQf1qiou2ro1_1280This summer I spent most of my nights watching movies, among which eight by Woody Allen. I had never watched Scoop before, so I took advantage of the holidays to. I quite enjoyed the film, but that is not the point. In one scene, Scarlett Johansson stood in front of a dresser, on which some Kiehl’s beauty products were sitting. The brown glass bottle is obviously Original Musk, the taller bottle being French rosewater [2]. I can’t tell you why but after spotting that perfume bottle on the dresser, something just clicked, which means I felt the need to buy it. Of course I had read a lot about this iconic perfume, but I had never had the chance to smell it. I don’t have any Kiehl’s counters nearby, so I decided to buy it online. Can you imagine the hazard? It’s not like you’re buying a pair of shoes. Perfumes are such a personal matter; it can be either love or hate for no apparent reason.

Long story short: when I got my bottle and sprayed the perfume on my forearm, I felt a huge wave of disgust/disappointment coming over. On me it smelled like a bitter medicine, mixed with washing machine detergent, a weird sensation that didn’t disappear in a few hours, as it usually happens (this perfume is extra long-lasting). I put it on my dresser and left it there, telling my husband he could use it if he wished. My mind went to the enthusiastic reviews I had read before my purchase and my disappointment grew stronger: where was the hippy yet refined musk smell with tinges of florals? I wanted my summer of love bottled! After some weeks I went back to it with a little hope and you know what? All my wishes came true. Maybe was the different weather (not so hot anymore), maybe was something different in my skin, but it was as if I was wearing a completely different perfume. I could finally smell that peculiar “clean” note which makes Original Musk so unique, mixed with citrusy notes of orange blossom, bergamot, floral notes of lily and rose, plus the sensual notes of tonka nut, musk and white patchouli. It’s a floral woody musk scent, so it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s summer of love bottled indeed, but don’t think of those heady musk fragrances which were in vogue in the 1970’s: there’s a beautiful and serene note which makes the “earthy” one disappear quite quickly. Now I find myself reaching for this perfume quite often and every time I spray it, my thought goes to that unfortunate moment in which I first tried it. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, though: it’s more like “thank God I bought it!”. Wearing Original Musk to me is like wearing an old t-shirt or a warm wool wrap, something you immediately feel comfortable (and sexy) in.

FYI: the current version of Original Musk Blend no. 1 was launched in 2004, but its history goes back in time. The label on the bottle reads that it “is believed to have been created in the 1920’s at the Kiehl’s Apothecary. Discovered there in a vat labeled Love Oil in the late 1950’s, Kiehl’s signature scent was reintroduced to our patrons in 1963.” Many perfume fans say the essence oil is better than the eau de toilette because it’s more reminiscent of the original 1960’s perfume; unfortunately I haven’t smelled the oil, but I’ll surely do in the future.

[1] It all started in 2011, when I spotted NARS make-up in an episode of Sex and the City, in Shopgirl, The Devil Wears Prada and Lost in Translation.

[2] In the same scene she also used a Mason Pearson hair brush.


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