Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tom Ford Private Blend- Urban Musk

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


  1. Do try the Miel de Bois + MKK =) it is great... if it gets too skanky add a little bit of Clair de Musc to tone it down... well try this at home first because you don't want to actually punch anyone with your wowza perfume lol

  2. The only one of these four which really moved me was White Suede, of which I managed to snag a new tester bottle on Ebay for c£50. I think the saffron in it may be reeling me in at some subliminal level, as I seem to be drawn to perfumes with that note. : - )

  3. I am a musk lover but have found my anosmia shifts from year to year. What I used to love I either can't smell or find makes me gag a little. These Tom Ford Musks are just OK to me- for $180 US a bottle I'd like something to knock my socks off and these just didn't do it. The Urban Musk & Jasmine Musk were the only ones that I liked.

    To this day, I am never disappointed by my Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk (Carolyn Bessett Kennedy's fave apparently)Auric Blends Egyptian Musk and my Coty Wild Musk. I can layer them with anything. I had to get rid of my Clair de Musc, my IP Musc Bleu bores me now, Montale White Musc is so close to Coty Wild Musk to my nose that I'll stick with the $10 Coty lol. MKK & Musc Ravageur were not musks to my nose. Yep, musks are a weird animal for sure.

  4. I'm still in the new stages of exploring musk, with Musc Ravageur being my baseline. However, I love Tom Ford's private blends, I just get overwhelmed when I try to test them in the store. I walked out with Champaca Absolute last time, and I'm not even a floral person! I need to go back and try Urban Musk.

  5. Oh, Gaia! You are so funny. Your second paragraph will all the suggestions for what urban musk could possibly mean is a real hoot. Masses of unwashed bodies packed into subway trains, overflowing garbage cans--what a delightful picture you paint ;-)

  6. Speaking of the Mystery of Musk project, will you be doing any more reviews? I've enjoyed what you have to say about the ones you've already written about - in fact, I've got a serious lemming for Kewdra now because of your review :)


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