Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Parfum d'Empire- Musc Tonkin


There's a whole category of so-called dirty musk fragrances that smells human rather than animalic, and offers exposed clean(ish) skin instead of what's affectionately known as a sweaty camel. Musc Tonkin, a limited edition perfume from Parfum d'Empire hangs in the balance between the two. It was composed in a way that's supposed to closely imitate musk tonkin, a rare and coveted natural musk and is only offered in an extrait de parfum concentration, adding to the preciousness that surrounds this Parfum d'Empire offering.

The choice to bottle Musc Tonkin as a parfum is an interesting and fitting one. I often wondered how would MKK feel as an extrait (not that it's lacking in density as it is). Muscs Kublai Khan is quite potent and can be distracting if overapplied, though I admit I'm always tempted to fully anoint myself with it. Musc Tonkin moves closer to the skin following the first few minutes after spraying. The initial blast projects to high heaven, making a statement with a highly indolic, salty and almost marine presence. Yes, I said marine.The combination can be unsettling. It's interesting to observe that the "turd on the water" sensation is more in the air than on the skin or in the space between body and fabric. The husband who complained mightily on my sillage commented that Musc Tonkin smells different and much nicer when he got close (he has no problem with MKK and my other beloved stinkers).

My guess is that the issue is with the floral indoles. At this point in my perfumed journey I rarely mind them, and here I can fully enjoy the abstract flowers since Musc Tonkin blends these notes with leathery goodness, honey and beeswax and (I agree with the guesses on Luckyscent) an exceptionally dirty cistus. In any case, Musc Tonkin takes about 20-30 minuets to come fully into its musky self, when it's all about skin. Mostly clean skin, but already getting a bit ripe from walking in the sun and absorbing sea salt and air.

Parfum d'Empire often gives us statement fragrances and Musc Tonkin is no different. If you find Muscs Kublai Khan to be over the top there's little chance that this fragrance will sit well with you. Lovers of massive musks, though, will most likely adore it and lament the limited distribution.

Musc Tonkin is already sold out at Luckyscent but can be ordered directly from Parfum d'Empire's website (parfumdempire.fr): 120 euro, 50ml extrait de parfum.

Photo by Helmut Newton for Vogue Australia, 1964.

12 comments:

  1. LMAO, "turd on the water" made my morning. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, Nina :) I worried I was being too crass.

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  2. I adore musk scents, and real stinkers in particular (MKK). This fragrance sounds absolutely glorious. Esp. adding to my lust is the impression of salty notes and indoles. I will have to order a sample.

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    1. There's a good chance you'll like it. Us MKK wearers can definitely deal with MT. I'm thinking of weariing it next time I have to visit the DMV :)

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  3. Sorry to pick on a typo, but I have fallen in love with the notion of a fragrance that requires us to perform 20 to 30 minuets to make it settle down. My wife has always wanted me to learn to dance! It's enough to make me order a bottle...

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    1. Some fragrances definitely require us to work until we're deserving of them ;)

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  4. Hi!

    Glad to see your review. I was wondering how you and MT were getting along.

    ~Dawn

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    1. Dawn, I feel lucky that you needed to re-home MT. The husband may beg to differ, but we're having fun here.

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  5. I hate to spoil the fun and anticipation but I practically harassed the stores that would carry this scent untill it arrived, was all ready to buy it and even stock up untill I've tested it..
    All I got was salt, salt and more salt.I don't get the comparisons to MKK which I adore!! It reminded me somewhat of Womanity (did not see that mentioned anywhere)

    Taking the opportunity to thank you, Gaia, for your posts (first thing I check when turning on my computer. Love every piece of your writting!

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    1. Oh, I completely forgot about Womanity, but I do get the connection now that you mention it. I'm still undecided about Womanity, while MT is a true love.
      Thank you, Illdone. That's very heart-warming to hear :) .

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  6. How apt, I just received my bottle yesterday and first spritz was vintage, vixeny heaven. Thank God I sighed, finally . . . but then my nemesis, cucumber/melon/chemical schlock appeared and I tried to comfort myself that it would be shortlived, but so far no. I have no idea what he was thinking inserting this hideous and overused chemical into this masterpiece. I can only assume he lost his nerve at the last moment and "cleaned it up a little" and sadly, for me at least, ruined it. MKK doesn't have enough kick for me and I was hoping this would be it . . . Oh well, I still have my Cuir de Russie and Onda extrait and they're pretty darn good.

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  7. The comment regarding womanity is in the right direction. The closest idea to Musc Tonkin is S-ex by S-Pefume which features a very similar salty leather-like aspect. (In that case with some berries and wood)

    Glad to say I find this rather wearable. I expected something more "hot" smelling.. Actually, Musc Tonkin is quite clean to my nose with a bit of salt thrown in.

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