Monday 25 November 2019

SP MUSK by Sven Pritzkoleit

Over the years the ethical arguments surrounding the way certain fragrance ingredients are harvested has caused some to disappear from the perfumer’s palette. When I say “harvested” I don’t just mean picking a few flowers or pulling up some roots, I’m referring to the killing of animals so that we could get our hands on their hidden scented gems. One such example is deer musk. A staple of many perfumes for over a century, it is now replaced with synthetic or plant based alternatives. However, the scent has recently been recreated in all of its glory by SP Parfums and proudly released as SP Musk.

When we hear the name “Musk” in relation to perfumery you could easily be forgiven for immediately picturing the little round bottle that carried its name and was released by The Body Shop in 1981. A whole generation of people were brought up on Anita Roddick’s range of perfume oils and, with a dabber rod attached to the inside of the cap, it was easy to sweep the scent onto those all-important pulse points. It was marketed as a “cruelty free” alternative to the natural ingredient and, because the world was waking up to environmental impact, became a worldwide phenomenon.

I mentioned that musk had been used for over a century but, on the whole, the ingredient was used as a fixative for the fragrance. By that I mean that it helped to increase the lifespan of the perfume on the skin. Its presence was not always obvious because it was used in small amounts but, when the intensity was increased, it had the immediate ability to turn a fragrance from sensual to provocative. It’s this latter quality that is usually downplayed with modern synthetic equivalents but, in SP Musk, Sven Pritzkoleit has balanced sultry with sensuous.

Sven Pritzkoleit launched SP Parfums in 2016 and, although he had only begun creating in 2006, almost immediately found his stride with an incredible first collection. From Lignum Vitae Forte with its labdanum rich resins to last year’s green edged Rose Polaroid, Sven has become a master of the unexpected. He originally trained as a pharmacist, eventually going on to work for the family business in Germany, but his real love was perfumery. Reinventing a fragrance based around the famous “musk” ingredient was always going to be a challenge but, with SP Musk, Sven hasn’t shined away from some carnal thoughts.

The fragrance opens with the aroma of dry and aged waxed floorboards. This patchouli-like quality is quickly joined by a very clean jasmine, that has none of the usual animalic tones, alongside crisp notes of galbanum and bergamot. This is now where the carnal thoughts arrive in the form of a hawthorn note which does, for want of a better phrase, have the sensual skin scent of bodily intimacy. A honey touch adds a sweetness to the fragrance and there’s even a hint of whiskied ambrette seed and iris to help round off the animalic nuance. SP Musk is more sensual than sexual, but it still feels as though someone’s been naughty.

SP Musk is available from the SP Parfums website at priced at €38 for 7.5ml or €129 for 30ml. You can also click on the image below to read my interview with Sven Pritzkoleit from May 2018. [Sample provided by SP Parfums]

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