The first couple of times I tested Musc Nomade from a sample vial I thought I was anosmic to something in its opening. All I got for the first 30 seconds was a sinus burning alcoholic smell before it turned to an actual perfume. Later wearings- both by dabbing or spraying- were much more pleasurable. I don't have any explanation to this, other than telling you that I had a very similar experience with Le Labo's Los Angeles Exclusive, Musc 25, so it's definitely something about one of the musks used in these perfumes.
Musc Nomade is the fourth perfume in Annick Goutal's Les Orientalistes series. It was released after the original trio (Ambre Fetiche, Myrrhe Ardente and Encens Flamboyant) but feels like an integral part of the collection. It's a definite departure from what we used to think of as a "typical Goutal" and seems to have been inspired and influenced by the Lutens/Sheldrake school of perfumery. Actually, when Les Orientalistes were first released in 2007 I wasn't completely convinced that anyone who owns and wears the likes of Ambre Sultan, Chergui or Fumerie Turque would really need the gentler, kinder Goutals. I was wrong, of course.
Musc Nomade might be somewhat related to Lutens' MKK. It shares that warm, smooth skin quality that feels to me soft, fuzzy and slightly fruity, but others find it dirty, beasty and armpity. It's definitely not a clean laundry musk and doesn't smell like all those faceless mainstream perfumes that mention "white musk" in their base notes. Musc Nomade might be more understated and easy on the uninitiated nose than the Mongolian warrior by Uncle Serge, but it's not any less sensual.
Spraying Musc Nomade doesn't produce a scary, horse galloping sillage. It keeps to itself in my personal space and stays there for very long hours. I sometimes forget I'm wearing it until I get that familiar whiff of something pleasant from my cleavage area, and it's part perfume and part skin. I guess it's the greatest compliment one can give a scent- when it becomes so much a part of you.
Just like my scent twin predicted many moons ago, I had to have it. I started with a couple of mini splash bottles purchased online and decanted some into a spray atomizer which seems like the better method of application in this case. I ended up buying a full size bottle because I can't have too many musks.
Musc Nomade and the rest of the Les Orientalistes ($175, 100 ml) seem to have vanished from the shelves of many department stores, including my local Saks and Bloomingdale's, but are still available from them as well as from Barneys online (including in the 50 ml bottles, $115). However, a couple of online retailers such as Rei Rien sell them at a (very) deep discount.
Photo of Jean Harlow: thedirtythirties.tumblr.com