Mauritanie, originally uploaded by Ferdinand Reus.
“Sweeter than a fragrant fruit, my young man smells of musk; When I hold his apple in my hand, I’m open-mouthed with lust.”
Abu Nuwas al-Hakami (c. 756 - 813)
In contrast to the ethereal sweetness of Al Mesk Abyad, Al Mesk Aswad is lustful, forceful, dark and heavy, both in colour and in the dense, raw animalic energy it excudes. I got this in the Druze village of Yarka, at Majed’s Perfumery. Yet, although the Majed says this is true musk from the musk deer, I am quite sure there is none there; not just because of the price (20 NIS for 10ml of the pure essence), but also because it smells like an ever dirtier version of Tabu. Dark patchouli, leather and civet rein in this dark oil and a little dab is all you’ll need to anoint yourself king or queen of musk. It might eve surpass Youth Dew in its tenacity and intensity.
Other notes I can detect (besides the patchouli and civet) are camphor and a syrupy concord grape juice, cedar, and the musky-musty fragrance of spikenard and the animalic-powdery subtlety of opoponax. Sweet balsams emerge later on, but the perfume remains forceful and dominant through out its wearing. Use with a light hand is crucial for a thorough enjoyment of this dark elixir. So does a cool to moderate climate.
Al Mesk Aswad is a violent perfume. To say that it is bold would be an understatement. It is the scent extracted from the warrior’s sweat, the cries of the animals escaping from the hunters, the lustful cries of an urged lover... It is as forceful as an army of perfumers set to concur an un-abiding city with scentlar weapons: arrows dipped in thick sticky balsams, rocks smeared with animal maneuver.... Al Mesk Aswad attacks you and if you are not careful it may take over your nostrils.
Labels: Al Mesk Aswad, Animalic Notes, Arab Perfumery, Arabian Perfumes, Black Musk