Friday, June 25, 2010

Parfumerie Generale Musc Maori 04: fragrance review

Pierre Guillame, the young and charismatic perfumer behind the Parfumerie Generale line, composed an unusual gourmand musk with subtle animalic vibrations beneath, like a male lion heard from a distance, which gives pause to think: Is it foody? Is it in dried fruits & wood Lutensian territory? Is it powdery musky? What is it exactly? There's nothing more exciting than a perfume that throws all caution to the wind and perplexes.

The opening of Musc Maori is as promised a strong, sweet cocoa note (juiced over by bergamot & orange) and with the smell of planked woods on which a subversive non homemaking type is preparing chocolate-chip cookies with a dash of Tia Maria coffee liqueur. Yet the aroma of chocolate slowly dissipates and we're experiencing the rise of a powdery, warm, almost clean musk with vanilla in the background, as if the person in question is slowly heating up in that enclosed space of the kitchen, "cooking" alongside the cookies, revealing the fleur de peau note that musks are famous for. After all, musk (like patchouli) does have a natural aspect of cocoa, so it makes sense to pair the two. A hint of floral (jasmine?) wrapped up in cellophane is peeking through, there is a rubber, dusty wood-glue note which is discombobulating. (Might I venture there is some Okoumal aroma-synthetic by Givaudan in there?)

Of course Tonka beans already have a chocolate facet, so coupled with a lactone and vanilla they would give this feel of chocolate being heated up. If it were naughtier, it would evoke bedroom play involving dribbled chocolate syrup, but it doesn't cross the line, even though it tethers there for a few seconds in promise. The overall impression is one of a linear, uncomplicated scent, which doesn't transform through distinct stages, but rather performs a diminuendo of its original motif.

You have to at least like gourmands to appreciate this one, although it isn't your typical Angel clone where the caramel and Caspirene glob you on the head, nor is it as dry and espresso-laced as the refined patchouli in Borneo 1834. The buttery, lactonic feel is reminiscent of Matin Calin by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, so those who like the latter and want a chocolate-milk version or one which reminds them of Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion should try it. The Non Blonde compares it to Lea Extreme without the almond-coconut tonality and I will take her word for it. I guess this makes it more feminine than unisex, although adventurous males with a sweet tooth might want to try it out. Musc Maori by Parfumerie Generale is something to be sampled for sure anyway: I can't think of a weirder, more kinky musk out there!

And since we're talking chocolate, how do you like yours? Dark, milky, in-between? With filling or not? Particular brands? I'm hungry!

Notes for Parfumerie Generale Musc Maori:
Bergamot, cocoa bean, Cumaru wood, coffee tree blossom, amber, Tonka bean, white musk.

Musc Maori 04 circulates as an Eau de Parfum which lasts for ages, in both 30ml/1oz, 50ml/1.7oz and 100ml/3.4oz sizes, available at Luckyscent, First in Fragrance and The Perfume Shoppe.

Photo of melted chocolate via lovecstasy. com


  1. Anonymous11:05

    Rose flavoured chocolate, of course! Strangely whenever I find one I like, the makers discontinue it, so I am forever on the hunt for another. If you have any suggestions, these would be most welcome. Jillie

  2. Oooh, this one sounds very promising. :)
    I like my chocolate rarely but from30% - 60% cocoa, so from milk to dark, and if there is a dark filling, all the better.


    Seriously, get that stuff away from me! Well, fine, other people can wear it, but not I.

    But I will try just about any dark chocolate I can get my hands on. Lindt is wonderful. Recently I discovered several flavors from Chuao; my favorite is Firecracker, which contains hot pepper and crackly little bits (like Pop Rocks, which you might remember if you were an American kid in the late '70s) that "explode" in your mouth.

  4. E, the way you can make me chuckle is just... discombobulating, LOL! Love, love, LOVE the passage about a person "cooking" whilst cooking/baking, so true... ;-)
    My choco-predilections take me further out to the dark end of the spectrum, with bits of orange, cherry, mint or almond shavings strewn to tease the taste buds.
    I'm no stranger to milky hazelnut+raisins combos, though.
    What about you? Have any recs?

  5. Anonymous14:28

    Organic milk chocolate with rose and crystallized ginger is the latest combination that I'm trying. The rose is like Turkish Delight - more of a voluptuous suggestion of rosy sweetness even though it is real rose oil in there - and the crystallized ginger provides a snappy crisp and warm contrast.
    Decadent and divine, rationed out a tiny piece or two per day (otherwise we'd be widening the doorways around here!).

    Anna in Edinburgh (supporting small "hand-made choc" shops because someone has to do the dirty work!)

  6. I really, really need to try some of these PG scents. So many of them sound wonderful. I'm love gourmand fragrances (Angel, too!), so would love to try this one.

    As to chocolate, the darker the better!!!

  7. I've never tried PG scents but this is strangely alluring, from the name itself (my bad, I know - shouldn't judge a book, etc...) to the musc & chocolate aspect. Then again, Angel is definitely not my cup of tea...

    I adore chocolate, but it must be dark and rich otherwise I won't even touch the stuff.

  8. Valentine19:11

    Oh dear. You have no idea how many lemmings you've created in your musks reviews. I usually love the drydowns of gourmand fragrances, but have a fierce aversion to overly sweet scents. This is a definite must-try simply because I not only like musk but absolutely love both the scent and taste of coffee and--I'll admit it--Palmer's, so you've really piqued my curiosity. CSP is usually way too foody and sweet, but then I've never tried Matin Calin, and I like Lea but have never tested the Extreme version. So even if this does turn out to be too cloying for my tastes, I'm now too interested to pass it up. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

  9. Ooooh, chocolate...if the edible kind, I like it white, I like it milk, I like it of the dark, 70% variety, I like it with chili (which sounds strange but can be wonderful), and I adore truffles made with Valrhona chocolate (my favorite brand).

    I would have foresworn I would ever, ever, ever like chocolate in a perfume. I hate Angel, can't wear it (which is not why I hate it), hate to smell it on anyone else. I'm a galbanum kind of gal, more than anything else (although I am also notoriously fickle! ;-) )

    But not so long ago, while buying a bottle of Dior Homme for myself, I came across Dior Homme Intense. My sister, who was with me at the time, nearly fainted with surprise when I went gaga over it - because on me, it morphed into some sinfully calorific chocolate/vanilla/smoky man-eating beast that knocked my local testosterone bomb clear out of the ballpark. He really did want to - eat me, and no mushroom, I!

    When it comes to musky scents, I wonder whether I suffer from some kind of musk anosmia - a lot of the ones I do try I can't smell, and as for the ones I can - forget it. Musc Kublai Khan - surely a beast in a bottle if there ever was - I cannot stand at all, although my sister loves it.

    I've never tried PG - it's very hard to find in my part of the world, and I have a long, long list of other things I'd rather try. But maybe I've missed out?

    If your review is anything to go by, then maybe I have!

  10. I join the club: no chocolate in my perfumes!!
    You know why? Cause I'm a chocolate maker and I smell and sell the stuff allll day long. With ginger, cinnamon, chili, orange, coffee, dry fruits... I sell a ganache Tonka that's really very good and had a marvellous ganache blackberry/ violet recently. And you know what, people always ask me how can I stay thin in this kind of shop: simple, I don't eat it anymore!
    I've heard that most of the noses don't put perfume too, that's one of the reason i would never be a nose.. (that and talent aditionally.; but mine is to buy and wear the stuff)
    And for PG, I'm enjoying right now the recent Papyrus de ciane, whish is very good!

  11. I've smelled the chocolat note done well in a couple of fragrances. Serge Lutens Vetyver Orientale and the original Naomi Campbell come to mind. But I still don't care for chocolat in fragrances.

    The description of Musc Maori made me think of the Israeli liquer named 'Sabra.' I used to love it when I was in my 20s. It's actually rather nice in coffee.

  12. Hi Jill!

    I like rose-flavored food, even though I don't find the note of rose in perfume that inspiring most of the time for myself (but I can appreciate the essence). When in the UK I used to like Beech's rose flavored chocolate. I think they still make it?

  13. Ines,

    there's a girl after my own heart: the good mill grinds all kinds ;-)

    Have you tried the Leonidas filled chocolates? Those and the ones by Daskalides are delectable.

  14. Hello there!!

    LOL, chocolate can be a very difficult note to get right in a perfume, since so often it smells like plastic or burnt stuff.

    Lindt is indeed very good and an affordable choice considering. Love the spicy stuff too, haven't tried the Firecracker, but really should! Thanks for the rec (nope, no American kid in the 70s)
    I have just discovered a "crackling" milk bar here, called Lacta Caramel, which has tiny hard bits of toffee and which leaves a lightly salty aftertaste, which is very appealing cutting the sweetness of the milk chocolate. Yum!

    BTW, have you received your prize with the raw materials yet? I'm getting a little worried!

  15. Dusan,

    glad I make you smile!! :-D

    Those with the little bits in them are like small surprise gifts which you just HAVE to taste to find out about, aren't they? I find it ever so torturous when presented with a box with an assortment, it's as if I have to try out each kind! Not the best thing for the figure, eh? LOL!

    See above for two recs (I could send you some local stuff, we're so close by it wouldn't spoil)
    I really like the Daskalides bitter stuff, but also the sweeter ones by Leonidas, especially the ones which are white chocolate on the outside with a darker filling or shaved chunks on the inside.

  16. Anna,

    aaaah...the pressure to resist temptation when it has to do with chocolate...I can sympathize!!

    Rose oil is exceptionally versatile in the kitchen I find and a good rose-flavoured chocolate is lovely. (so is rose-scented and tasting gum, but more on that on a later date)
    And kudos for supporting smaller brands, they do need our support especially when they have great products.

    Cheers to you!

  17. Karin,

    the PG line is quite worthwhile, there are many things to explore. I also like Iris Taizo quite a bit, along with Coze (should post a review soon).

    Bitter chocolate just feels...real, you know? :-)

  18. Patuxxa,

    it's certainly sample-worthy. It's quite different than Angel.

    Chocolate..."theobroma cacao", food of the gods literally.

  19. Valentine,

    thank you, I value this as a great compliment!

    I too find most CSP highly sweet, except for the masculines (and thus to be avoided), although there is something nuzzling about Matin Calin. Their "Cacao something" didn't hit the right notes for me.

    Do try the MM! It's so weird!

  20. Tarleisio,

    thanks for your most interesting comment!

    I find chili in chocolate delectable as well: in fact I like most spicy stuff (in food and in perfume) so that should come as no surprise. I believe the Mexican way of preparing chocolate involved chili, which sounds about right for that part of the world. And Valhrona is wonderful, no doubt about it. I use it to slowly melt in hot water and a little milk and drink it. I know...sounds absolutely decadent, but it's so filling, it counts as an afternoon snack. Or breakfast.

    Re: Dior Homme and iris: There IS a cocoa note in iris essence, which has been exploited to good effect in L'Erbolario Iris. (do try it, wonderful, wonderful stuff and very reasonably priced). Also it's going to be featured in the upcoming Hermessence by JCE next autumn (shhhht, this is a secret under wraps for now! I'm semi-revealing it for you)

    As to PG, there are quite a few gems in there. I really like Coze and

  21. Anatole,

    clearly we should meet: Your discard is my gain!
    (Kidding, but it does sound very very tempting!! What a dream job to be surrounded by lovely choco all day long). Then again I can see how being immersed in the stuff (oops, there goes again my imagination!) should eventually "ruin" it for someone. Same with perfumers, who additionally want to have a clean "palate" so to speak, from what the ones I have spoken to, have told me. It aids creation.

    By all means, PG is quite worthwhile. Pierre Guillaume is talented. I have been meaning to try Papyrus de Ciane and haven't been able to as of yet. Maybe a sample will come my way eventually.

  22. Morticia,

    chocolate can be very difficult to do right in perfume, I agree. Usually patchouli has great facets of chocolate/dark cocoa in it, Lutens has put it to good effect. Have you tried Film Noir by Ayala Moriel? It's very refined. has a nuance of bitter orange I recall or am I mistaken? I like the combo or chocolate and orange. (thinking of orange rind chunks dipped in dark chocolate). Should retry in coffee (sounds good), thanks for the recommendation!
    Melted chocolate is great in coffee too (Valhrona for instance, which melts well in bain-marie)

  23. Dear god, what WAS I thinking asking you for a rec?! It's like I've opened a can of... drool-worthy praline chocolate goodness from heaven!! Or so it looks on Daskalides' website :-p
    Oh and please don't start me on the boxed cholocates, my heavily Gemini-influenced astro chart (I'm a Leo btw) screams love of variety. And what's even more figure-unfriendly, I'll try anything twice :-)
    Thanks for your very kind (as usual) offer (which reminds me I'm looong overdue for ahem, a shipment), but I'll try to seek them out myself in your beautiful country, where I plan to spend a holiday this summer (if all goes to plan, touch wood). You're great as always! :*

  24. Well, I haven't tried the Leonidas and Daskalides, but after reading Dusan's comment I'm now scared to visit the site. :)
    Although, I always try to win over my fears so I'll go see what wonders are hiding there. ;)


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