Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Helmut Lang

I usually run away from musks as fast as I can, but this is one I actually like. Make no mistake--as modernized as it is, it's still one heavy, dirty musk, not the kind of scent I would use for careerwear lest someone think I haven't showered in a couple of days. Musk is best for any occasion other than when you want to make a polished presentation. It is said that when Josephine was betrayed by Napoleon (the man who had asked her once to not wash before he came home from war), she permeated his living spaces with animal musk, notoriously his least favorite smell and one of the longest-lasting smells in existence. Musk can last for years, as long as a scorned woman's indignation, so even if the musk you're about to use is (most likely) synthetic, don't just spray the stuff on--be respectful of its strength and go easy on your skin.

Helmut Lang Eau de Parfum (not Cologne, said to be a different scent--I also have parfum--EDP is strong enough) is one of the earliest fragrances, if not the very first fragrance, to feature a skin accord. I wondered what this might be when I first read that note, and later learned that what it meant was musk, or a particular type of skin musk (woody to me--not the flowery kind like Bonne Bell Skin Musk, not powdery-"clean" white musk). I smell a similar musk type in Marc Jacobs but not to the same patchouli-pungent degree. I also think the skin accord smells a bit breathy-vanillic (as opposed to creamy and rich), like tonka bean which is found in Guerlain Jicky. In fact, Jicky and Helmut Lang share some notes, except there's lots more lavender in Jicky, and Helmut Lang smells more like a very abstract, aromatic lemon-vanilla--with all the dirty, smoky incense-like skin musk accord. Maybe some of you will perceive it as a clean musk, but to me, this is the smell of serious BO, only made a bit gourmand-sweet with vanillic notes, and altogether, strangely appealing. Oh, I love the simple, chic bottle.

Helmut Lang (2000 Oriental-Woody): Lavender, Rosemary, Artemisia, Orange Tree, Jasmine, Rose, Heliotrope, Lily of the Valley, Virginian Cedarwood, Indian Sandalwood, Indonesian Patchouli, Vanilla, Skin Accord.