Thursday, July 24, 2008

Twin Peaks: Perfect Veil, Nude Musk and Opal

Sometimes the perfume lover is jaded after being entrapped into the midst of deep and meaningful perfumes which sing the praises of king Solomon and his court. Sometimes I just want to put on something that is cuddly and soft and doesn't smell like perfume as much, more like the perfected emanation of a gorgeous body pulsating with vigour and sensuality. This is especially sympatico to the hot summer weather of a southern region, when rich harmonies might risk wilting and becoming suffocating.
For those instances, I turn to light, clean musks. I intend to devote more time to musk and musky fragrances in general soon, but today's selection highlights that imperceptible aura that I described above perfectly.

"The concept behind this scent was to recreate the smell of clean, naked skin ... only better" and this is as good a definition of a skin-scent as any. The words belong to the ad copy for the cult favourite of celebrities, Perfect Veil by Creative Scentualization, a company founded by Sarah Horowitz-Thran. {Perhaps the most interesting part is that she custom-makes fragrances for clients, with her perfumer Marlene Stang. Prices range from $350 to $1,000. Call (888) 799-2060} How fragrances become the stuff of cult celebrity fandom is a matter which is rather complicated: there has to be some effective infiltration to the celebrity's PR or some word of mouth from another celebrity (that seems to work a lot more than you'd think!) or gifts to said person which prove welcome and thus sanctioned to be publicized and so on and so forth.
For what is worth, Perfect Veil is perfectly all right, with or without the famous entourage of young desirables who favour it. Its citrus piquancy at the beginning keeps it from becoming suffocatingly powdery or too sweet and the effect is not too much like laundry, which is always a risk when working with synthetic musks in the family of Galaxolide and such. The pairing of citrus and vanilla, after all, has the illustrious ancenstry of Shalimar, an impression that is gloriously modernised in the delicately powedery muskiness of Shalimar Light. But where the Shalimar fragrances wink seductively under heavily shadowed eyes and eventually grab you by the collar, these cleaner ones merely slip the spaghetti strap of an ivory microfiber teddy letting you the initiative.

Notes of Perfect Veil according to Luckyscent: lemon, bergamot, musk, vanilla and sandalwood.

For something that is composed by ingredients that do not run too expensive I find that Perfect Veil is on a par with two excellent alternatives, in line with this feature's mission: Nude Musk by Ava Luxe and Opal by Sonoma Scent Studio.

Ava Serena Franco of Ava Luxe is another artisanal perfumer with a stellar reputation of excellent customer service who has devoted lots of her time in creating different twists on musks among a diverse portfolio that includes the wonderful leathery Madame X. Her Nude Musk manages to be just perfect, almost a deadringer for Perfect Veil and yet endearing in its own right. Nude Musk is described as: "A clean and sexy skin musk with notes of sandalwood, bergamot, light musk, and vanilla. Light and slightly powdery. Long lasting". The description is stop-on and the powderiness is especially pleasant, like the most sensual talcum powder you have applied on your skin before gliding into freshly pressed cotton sheets of high thread-count.

Another beautiful skinscent in the musks family is Opal by Sonoma Scent Studio , a company run by perfumer Laurie Erickson in California. Laurie, no stranger to these pages, has been working on lots of interesting musky twists with an edge, some of which will be soon featured on Perfume Shrine, so I am just whetting your appetite today!
Opal in Eau de Parfum has amazing lasting power that will surround you with delicate whiffs of the smell of being desired all day long. A little sweetness is induced through the vanilla touch, never too much and the whole does not become soapy-like. I find it a little less powdery than Nude Musk, very pleasant and quite sensual. I can definitely see why it is a best-seller for Sonoma Scent Studio and I can't blame anyone for liking it. Like its gem-like name, it's silky soft, illuminated as if from within, caressing and smelling like the warm skin of a loved one. Upon testing it I received the most delicious compliments on how wonderful I smelled, not how nice my perfume was. And that's the whole difference with those fragrances: they're supposed to enhance your own presence instead of standing alone as a piece of artwork. Opal never wears you, you wear it!
It also comes in a concentrated perfume oil made with a natural pure fractionated coconut oil base; no alcohol, silicones, water, emulsifiers, sunscreen additives or colorants added. The fractionated coconut oil is light and non sticky, has no odour of its own, but a long shelf life, dries quickly, and is a light moisturizer on its own.

Notes for Opal: delicate musk, vanilla, ambrette, bergamot and sandalwood.

These are all playful and uncomplicated scents for when you want to let your hair down and enjoy being who you are. Don't burden them with pretentious ambitions and you will be having a wonderful time in a cheek-to-cheek slow dance with them.

Pic of 1920s bathing suit courtesy of Wikipedia


  1. I had the exact same reaction when I wore Opal. Nude Musk I think I liked a little bit more. Strangely I have never tried Perfect Veil.

  2. Anonymous15:51

    Hi Helg,

    I prefer Opal out of the 3 you mentioned.

    I hope you get a chance to try Laurie's Sienna Musk! I loooove it. It's my favorite musk based scent right now. It's spicey and when I say spicey, I mean a soft spice as you would find in L'Artisan's Safran Troublant but Sienna Musk is wearable and not something I would want to use on my food as I felt could be done with the Safran Troublant.

    Laurie also has another new one I've been testing called Gardenia Musk and it's another winner. I'm hoping to obtain a bottle here shortly. It's a soft floral (gardenia and jasmine) with musk subtley playing in the background. I love the opening, the middle and the drydown. It kind of reminds me of a very sheer A la Nuit due to the moist jasmine but it's definitely it's own perfume.

    Have a wonderful day.


  3. Anonymous19:57

    Should you decide to do a series on musk fragances, please consider including some of the musk frangrances from the Madini perfume essence oils.Their Musk Gazelle and Black Musk are exceptionally good.

    Best Regards,

  4. Anonymous21:25

    Nude Musk is on my up and coming list, and I have progressed from a sample to a decant. It's one of those scents that combine nice/interesting for me, and I really love a good skin scent. Was just mentioning elsewhere how much I love PG L'Ombre Fauve, for example, for similar "it's interesting AND I like to settle into it" reasons.

    (I really don't like the way that rationale comes out as trite...I mean, I like Bandit, and it was SIP Black Rosette that launched me into the rabbit hole of perfumery...but there's nothing wrong with combining complexity/interest with comfort, right?)


  5. J,

    I can certainly see what you mean, it produces that effect!

  6. D,

    how are you honey? Glad to see you!

    I LOVED Sienna Musk, it's so amazingly warm and spicy (love spicy!) the way you describe it: I get lots of ginger and cardamom, very good! It will definitely be reviewed here soon ;-)

    The SSS Gardenia Musk sounds delectable! Noted :_)

  7. Nattygold,

    thank you for stoping by and commenting and welcome to Perfume Shrine.
    The Madini line does have some gems, so these will be explored further: thank you so much for suggesting it!

  8. Scentscelf,

    thank you for commenting and welcome to Perfume Shrine!

    Not trite at all! Indeed there is something to be said about the interesting/comforting combination; since you mention the Parfumerie Generale scents, I have to say it happened to me with Coze. It has that feeling. (I plan to devote more time to this line in the future, has been sadly sidetracked, must remedy).
    Hope you find Nude Musk to your enjoyement!

  9. Wow, I gotta try that Opal, it sounds marvelous! All three seem delectable but your description of Opal really rings a bell with me.

    I have a little decant of Ava Luxe Gardenia Musk that I just love, trying not to use it all up too soon. It does a nice job of balancing the florals and the musk and it's not too strong. I have always been cautious about scents with "musk" in their name but I am learning to be brave!

  10. Thank you Flora for the compliment and for stopping by, sorry for the delay in replying to your interesting comment.
    Opal is very pleasurable to wear, especially if you don't want to fiddle too much with your perfumes but want something that always is relied upon to smell good.
    I also agree about the Gardenia Musk by Ava Luxe: very nice one (and not too musky, for those concerned), especially in pure parfum!

  11. OPAL sounds or "smells" promising, it fits my personality! I am going to grab one for myself - a Christmas gift.


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