Willy Wonka would die for this velvety, chocolatey little confection. But why are we showing you a picture of apricots when they aren’t listed in the notes?
Cumaru wood, coffee tree blossom, white musk, cocoa bean, amber, tonka bean, bergamot, milk chocolate, heliotropine.
Parfumerie Generale and Pierre Guillaume are staple favourites of The Sniff. The perfumes in the Parfumerie Generale line are accessible, classy, un-intimidating and a great way to get started in niche and artisan perfumery without feeling overwhelmed. They are a fantastic gateway drug to this complex and fascinating world and we would heartily recommend that you try them out.
We’ve previously reviewed a plethora of the Parfumerie Generale line including PG 5.1 Suede Osmanthe (leathery and soapy clean), PG 16 Jardins de Kerylos (figgy greenery) and PG 16.1 Bois Naufrage (naked skin and delicate woods). They’re all beautiful in their own right.
Pierre Guillaume has a reputation for producing great gourmand scents; that is perfumes that either take their inspiration from edible ingredients, or smell directly like replications of foodstuffs, often chocolate, coconut, toasted almonds, caramel, that sort of thing. And that is exactly what we have here.
PG 04 Musc Maori references chocolate throughout. It starts with this gorgeous, mouthwatering bouquet of milky, melting chocolate which is intensified and complicated by this slightly zingy back-note, reminiscent of a sort of green, springy caffeine buzz. The combination is great because it stops the scent immediately smelling over sweet and like something you might get in one of those children’s bath products. Instead, it elevates the perfume to a greater level of sophistication, and is exactly why we advocate buying niche and artisanal scents. It’s that thought, that care and craftsmanship that makes seeking out scents like this worthwhile.
The headquarters of The Sniff are in York, which is a city built on the chocolate industry (and railways). On warm, sunny days when the breeze was just right, it used to be possible to step outside your front door and out into a town that smelled of chocolate, warm, melting chocolate, carried on a wave of city air. This was all due to the factories that manufactured various chocolate products on the outskirts of town. It was absolutely glorious, and you could feel the mood of the city lifting as everyone enjoyed a brief respite from the regular city smells.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen so much nowadays, presumably because pollution regulations have got tighter, but it was a really lovely thing to behold. Musc Maori has the exact same vibe about it: warm, sunny, cheerful and deliciously chocolatey. It’s a spirit raising scent that is both comforting and cheerful. If a piece of cake is something that lifts your day, this will do the same thing without the calories.
Something really interesting happens in the heart, and which explains the apricots in our image. The chocolate never goes away throughout the scent, the sweetness does change and become slightly more bitter, slightly more cocoa-like as the scent wears, but once the perfume has settled the amber comes through really strongly. This, along with the chocolatey notes, plus the more bitter, juicy, less intense notes all combine to remind us of beautiful, fresh apricots. It doesn’t last throughout the wear, but when it appears it has this gloriously jammy intensity; think chocolate cake with apricot jam filling. Yes it is sweet and sticky and lovely, but there is also a freshness, and a texture that this particular combination of notes confer. It’s quite something. And it really makes one’s mouth water for a taste of this delicate but rich confection.
The sweetness continues into the base of the scent where it becomes richer, smoother as the tonka bean and amber notes work together. It’s velvety smooth, sumptuous and creamy in the base. It’s a scent that smells like the feel of eating chocolate – and not just because it smells similar. It has that luxurious, hedonistic, and slightly naughty decadence about it whilst retaining a familiar and un-intimidating feel. Just like chocolate does.
The white musk is also present here and it really helps round the fragrance out, giving it a more airy feel that is less sticky and jammy in the base than the heart of the perfume was, although the scent itself never really stops referencing some sort of delicious dream-cake that would only exist in a fantasy world, but which would be utterly glorious and would spoil your appetite for any other cakes thereafter.
The other stuff
PG 04 Musc Maori lasts really well. On each test we have done it has lasted well into late afternoon or early evening without the need to reapply. The sillage, or projection, of the scent is moderate. It isn’t a very shouty perfume, but it does project from the skin – the sort of perfume that people at handshake distance would be able to smell you were wearing, and the closer they got the more delectable you would seem!
Musc Maori is marketed as a unisex scent, but we felt that it did come down slightly more on the feminine side of the spectrum.
PG 04 Musc Maori is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £132 for 100ml EdP, £88 for 50ml EdP, or £61 for 30ml EdP (this latter size is only available from their Covent Garden boutique).
You can also buy Musc Maori direct from the Parfumerie Generale website where it is €146 for the 100ml bottle.
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