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February 24, 2006

Fragrance Review: Mure et Musc and Mure et Musc Extreme by L’Artisan Parfumeur


I confess that I often forget that L’Artisan Mûre et Musc is going to celebrate its 30th anniversary in just two years. Created in 1978 by Jean Laporte, the original L’Artisan Parfumeur founder, it became one of the first fragrances exploring the softness of musk with minimal ornamentation.

What differentiates Mûre et Musc from earlier perfumes exploring the same theme, such Jovan Musk (1971), is its ingenious fusing of a blackberry note into the musk accord. While the synthetics nitromusks favoured in the first half of the century are marked by soapiness and floral warmth, many musks that became popular in the second half possess distinct fruity facets (please see my earlier article on the topic of musks.) …

By incorporating a blackberry note, Mûre et Musc creates a perfect natural harmony, which hardly needs any other embellishments, save for the cool aldehydic mist in the top notes and the soft woods in the base.

The marriage of fruit and musk is as wonderful as tomato and basil pairing in Italian cooking. Yet, I find the minimalist refinement of Mûre et Musc to be more interesting from the artistic standpoint. My preferred version to wear is Mûre et Musc Extrême, which followed the highly successful Mûre et Musc in 1993. Created by perfumer Karine Dubreuil who is also responsible for Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pivoine Magnifica, Eclat d’Arpege, and L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, Mûre et Musc Extrême heightens the inky blackberry sweetness, seductively melting the jammy fruit over the musky base. The fruity richness fades as the composition develops, but it marks the animalic breath of musk with pleasing sweetness.

Admittedly, at times it can have an effect of a melody that keeps haunting despite one’s efforts to forget it, but one cannot fault Mûre et Musc Extrême for not being memorable. The best thing about either Mûre et Musc or Mûre et Musc Extrême is that their fruity notes lack the all too frequent associations with either fruit salads or popsicles. Neither smells like anything I would be tempted to eat.

Mûre et Musc or Mûre et Musc Extrême and other L'Artisan Parfumeur fragrances are available at Aedes, Barneys New York, Beautycafe, Bergdorf Goodman, Bluemercury, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and Theperfumeshoppe. European shoppers can find the line at First-in-Fragrance.

Photo: Blackberries from

Please see other L'Artisan reviews:
Ananas Fizz
Bois Farine
Fleur D'Oranger
La Chasse Aux Papillons
La Chasse Aux Papillons Extrême
L’Eau du Fleuriste (brief description)
Les Epices de la Passion: Safran Troublant, Piment Brûlant, Poivre Piquant
Passage d'Enfer
Tea For Two
Voleur de Roses



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