I say this a lot, the names of perfumes confound me. My most recent example comes from Patricia de
Nicolai. Regular readers know powdery types of fragrances aren’t high on my list of favorites. When my sample of Nicolai Poudre de Musc Intense was headed my way, I saw everything in a name to set off my alarms. Translated into “musk powder intense” I was expecting a huge powderpuff made even bigger because it was intense. When I received it, the powder is muted, while the musk is where the intense sort of applies, and I really like it.
I am unsure whether this is meant to be a sequel to 2012’s Musc Intense. It is certainly not a flanker since it shares few of the same notes. What it does share is a desire to explore musc as an ingredient when it is interrogated by fruit and floral. The predecessor was a full rose and pear accord wrapped around a sensual musk. This new creation still goes with fruit and flowers with an added idea of making it more expansive.
That concept flows from the first moments. Lemony petitgrain and raspberry form the fruity half while orange blossom is the floral antagonist. The petitgrain has its sharpness blunted with the juiciness of the raspberry. The orange blossom also retains its core of indoles reminding you it is a white flower. If you’re looking for powder it is here where the floral has the most presence. Things change rapidly after this.
Using hawthorn and aldehydes she agitates her fruity floral accord. The aldehydes add lift while the hawthorn strums the indoles in a gentle way. Then the animalic musk adds some slinkiness to it. Mme de Nicolai is not looking to unleash a musky skankfest here. She is trying to strike a balance between the deeper axis of hawthorn and musk with the fizz of the aldehydes and the brighter pieces prior to it. Over time the musk draws depth out of the fruity floral pieces. Where it ends on an ambery sandalwood base.
Poudre de Musc Intense has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
For all that the name made me cautious the perfume has delighted me. It has been a great choice on these first cool days of the fall. This is going to be an ideal shoulder season fragrance choice. Just don’t let the name fool you.
Disclosure: this review is based on a sample I purchased.