I had a hard time deciphering Tom Ford's White Musk Collection when it first came out last year. I enjoy the entire Tom Ford Private Blend line and love many of the perfumes, but Ford's habit of mass releases is making the sniffing and choosing too overwhelming. Every time I played with the testers at Saks or Bergdorf I ended up forgetting which was which. Add to that the general softness of these scents that gets lost in the department store's air, the fact they all require several sprays to show their true selves and develop right and you get a very confused blogger. It was only when I got larger decants of the four White Musks and started giving them my full attention that things started falling into place for me.
I have no idea what Urban Musk means. Did Tom Ford mean the funk of the NYC subway? The smell in the East Village the night before garbage day? The unwashed hair of some the hipsters in Williamsburg? Where does an urban musk even come from? I mean, after the Mystery Of Musk project I've definitely broadened my musky horizons and learned to identify the feeling of musk, but I can't describe any of it as "urban". Still, there's something about Ford's Urban Musk that's a bit angular, less fuzzy, maybe.
I might be anosmic to some of the musk molecules used in this fragrance. I smell it, but at times the core drifts away from me and then comes back. I feel like I'm missing a piece of the composition, even though I greatly enjoy everything that's around it. I like the floral opening. It's a somewhat abstract jasmine, maybe a bit too synthetic but the whole man-made industrialized feel might also be part of the urban concept. Most of the perfume as I perceive it is about honeyed sweet musk. Any strongly barnyard/animalic aspect is lost on me here. Then again, part of the reason I adore musky perfumes is because they tend to smell cuddly and soft on me, as my skin neutralizes any beastly aromas. The same goes for honey. Miel de Bois is nothing but loveliness for me (note to self and to scent twin- let's try layering MdB and MKK and see what happens), while some people describe it in litter box terms.
While Urban Musk never veers far from skin level, its longevity is very satisfying. I get whiffs of its vanilla and leather dry-down 12 hours and more after application.
Is it a must-have for musk afictionados? I can't say. Sample first to make sure you actually smell all of it and enjoy the entire journey, even if it was sort of meh at the store. Give Urban Musk some air and time before dismissing it. I'm glad I did, even if I definitely don't need a full bottle of this one.
Tom Ford Private Blend, including the White Musk Collection, is available at Tom Ford boutiques worldwide and top department stores. $180 for 1.7oz.
Photo of Natalie Wood in the 1950s from theniftyfifties.tumblr.com