Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Between the Sheets: Bruno Acampora's Musc

One of the many beautiful aspects of a love affair with fragrance is the element of serendipity involved in discovering fragrances. Many brands and websites offer free samples that accompany orders, and endless reading and sniffing leads to unexpected discoveries. It is this sort of happenstance (to tell the truth I can barely remember how I stumbled upon a sample of this gem) that led me to my favorite musk of all time, Bruno Acampora’s Musc. If, like me, you adore musk fragrances that hang close to the skin and smell—as YouTube fragrance guru Katie Puckrick often describes—“lived in” then this sexy perfume will be as cherished by you as it is by me. The serendipity of falling in love with Musc has caused me to fall even more in love with the Bruno Acampora fragrance selection as a whole. Case in point, my new obsession with number one wish list item, a fragrance by the brand called Nero.

Launched in 1975 as a perfume oil by Italian fragrance house Bruno Acampora, this "dirty" musk is not for the faint of heart. Claiming notes of musk (obviously), rose, violet, sandalwood, clove and vanilla this scent is not as candy coated as its listed notes lead one to believe. These days it tends to take me some time to make a decision about a perfume, but I fell in love with Musc on the very first application for its understated complexity and surprises around every corner. It has become the standard by which all other musk fragrances are measured, and I'm already unable to fathom my growing perfume collection without a bottle.


Upon application, my first impression of Acampora's Musc is the overwhelmingly wonderful umami of sticking your head into a bag of freshly harvested morel mushrooms. Truly, I do not exaggerate when I say that this smells exactly like earthy moss, mushrooms and sweet dirt for the first thirty seconds. If you are a fungi lover like me you will appreciate the warm earthiness of the initial scent: it's pleasantly dirty and there is a sort of naughty implication that sets the stage for the ensuing blast of sensual musk. 

Within one to two minutes, the musk takes center stage. If you are concerned about the earthy notes heave a sigh of relief, as they dissipate almost as quickly as you realize what it is that you are smelling. The initial mossy blast dissipated, the sensual musky heart of Musc is immediately upon you. Pardon the pun, but Bruno Acampora's rendition of musk is by no means a shrinking violet. Against my skin, the already "sweet" skin smell of musk is accompanied by the subtlest whiffs of rose, violet, sandalwood and clove that remind you that you are actually wearing perfume as opposed to the natural smell of clean, warm human skin. At risk of sounding a bit risqué, Musc would have almost too much of a "sex in the air" quality without these anchoring floral notes. 


Bruno Acampora's Musc has become my all time favorite not only for it's sensual complexity, but for its lasting power. Where others are as ephemeral as an afternoon between the sheets, Bruno Acampora's musk endures for upwards of seven hours on my skin. Though the complex musk is not at all omnipresent by the end of the day, sandalwood and vanilla serve as reminders of the more powerful fragrance and provide a lovely conclusion to a perfume that is perfectly executed. 

What fragrance post on Getting Cheeky would be complete without imagery? Though perfumes are bound to forge with experiences to create new memories, it's always a pleasure for me to pick out particular notes in a fragrance that resonate with me. Though Bruno Acampora's Musc should remind me of things that would cause me to blush to disclose, the memory that is at the forefront of my mind when I smell Bruno Acampora's Musc is my residence when I studied in Paris: la Maison Deutsch de la Meurthe at Cité Universitaire. My building was quite old, with creaking floor boards and a turret window (yes, it was as charming as it sounds). As with all old buildings sunlight warms the wood to give it a very unique smell and my memories of la Maison Deutsch de la Meurthe smell just like Bruno Acampora's Musc. So much so that in my "starved for time in Paris" reverie, this perfume is a wonderful if not wistful reminder of early mornings long past with the promise of another exciting day of discovery in Paris ahead of me.


Bruno Acampora's Musc is not for the faint of heart. Though this perfume screams subtle sensuality, I would recommend it only to those who are passionate about musk based fragrances. I have the Eau de Parfum version (USD $135) though it is also available in the beautifully packaged Perfume Oil as it was originally released in 1975 (USD $185).

What is your favorite musk fragrance?