(image Phil Spector)
Wonderful start! New York Musc opens smelling like you would imagine a dry cleaned cactus. Prickly and dry, giving a tactile impression like the tacky feel of drying varnish. It’s a beautifully constructed synthetic musk—not cuddly, not sweet, but also not like detergent. It feels deliberate and even insubordinate. This isn’t your mama’s musk. It’s got that New York nonchalant fuck-you tone.
But then there’s a strange, slow turning-of-the-screw progression away from dry-cleaner into a juicy-fruit gum, exceedingly sweet, soft musk. During these trapped-in-Jello middle notes, I feel like I’m wearing an hours-long bellyflop.
The third act, in what feels like a minor triumph simply because it’s rising from the fruit (cocktail) cellar, New York Musk ends on a nondescript patchouli musk tone. Unfortunately, and this is an intrinsic problem to a musk that you don’t like, the ending feels like an olfactory, nightmarish version of the ending of the Beetles song, “A Day in the Life”. There’s no deliberate ending. Eventually you just pick up your head and think, thank god, it’s over.