There are few images more precious to an adult than one that involves angst-ridden teen years, when we spent our time snatching vintage stuff of our mother's wardrobe, coupled with a few of our dear father's, lining our peepers in black khol like some Siouxsie wannabe and riding the Coty Wild Musk shelves out of their inventory stinking up every place we went to in the process. But now that Wild Musk is becoming increasingly difficult to find (and a reformulation or two have been implemented to disfigure a little of that fresh raw face that smiled beneath the angled fringe that recalled Flock of Seagulls) we view it with the nostalgic melancholy reserved for bruises that are slowly fading into yellow, having pained us for so long we sort of miss them when they're gone.
Musk notes are experiencing a revival lately, especially vintage animalic stuff which growls a bit teasingly when you approach, and Wild Musk is among the very best in a field that is becoming crowded with more pretentious and more expensive upstarts. But what sets apart this inexpensive beauty apart is that there is a cozy barber-shop atmosphere about this floriental, hot towels and shaving cream paraphernalia on smooth skin, a little rose and sandalwood powder in the air as well. And yet this is a fragrance that although can be unisex it has a very cuddly quality about it. Gentle, yet bawdy, warm and unobtrusive, but with a flirtatious edge, it deserves to be carried into adultdom with no intersections along the way. Not to mention that there is a special synergy between this creamy scent and the smell of sweat, carrying itself into intimacy without vulgarity. Compared to Jovan Musk the similarity is there, although I find Wild Musk creamier, a little sweeter and softer, especially in the oil edition. Not "dirty" or spicy as Muscs Kublai Khan or Khiel's older oil, yet not sanitized "clean" like the plethora of white musk offerings around (from Musc Bleu to The Body Shop White Musk), Wild Musk with its great lasting power on clothes and its vanillic trail stands at the utopian crossroads between the two directions.
Wild Musk came out in 1973, just when Coty and Coty International were united after being sold to Pfizer & Co ten years earlier (Imprevu is another one which is a follow up after this take-over), issuing a handful of popular products including Styx, Sweet Earth, and Wild Musk fragrances and the Equatone beauty-treatment line. This is also the time when the production facility relocated from New York City to Sanford, North Caroline, thus heralding a new era for the brand.
Perhaps the most characteristic trait is how Wild Musk had been taken over in that time-frame by arty types and carried over as a small hint that underneath the existentialist ennui and their assertions that culture is going through an agonizing death they were sensitive, affectionate souls after all.
Notes for Coty Wild Musk:
A solid note of musk is accented by bergamot, lavender, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, amber and vanilla
The formula of Wild Musk by Coty circulated as both an oil and an alcohol-spray version. The oil is superior in aspects of smoothness, although the spray is not bad either. The newer version does bear a difference to the older, due to the substitution of the musk components for reasons of biodegradability (see Musk Series part 2 for more info on nitro-musks) which makes it significantly tamer and with a more alcohol-prominent top. Intermediary-age boxes of the Cologne concentrate spray carry the swoosh design in a single ribbon instead of the flou, hazy rendition that the newer ones have. The even older ones had a completely different graphic as depicted in the ad, some of which had a rectangle bottle with a red cap and label (similar to Musk Patchouli).Bottles of the latest edition are carried at Walmart, Target's and drugstores, while older versions circulate on online etailers and Amazon.
What about you? Did you wear musk fragrances when you were (very) young? What were your choices?