Illuminum Black Musk Haute Perfume EDP Review

Illuminum Black Musk Haute perfume

Black Musk is headshop-ish. This is my disclaimer. It’s also why I probably I like it. I have this soft spot for nag champa oils and unlabeled musk oils one would find in any esoteric shop sprinkled across America. These places were my first introduction to personal fragrance, so I have nostalgia for these sort of fragrances.

Black Musk opens as a balsamic cough medicine with what may be called “opium musk” from your favorite mystic shop or a fly Ethiopian corner market. It’s a balsamic, slightly spicy incense. It becomes sweeter, more balsamic and verging on effervescent cherry cola at moments. It reminds me of cherry cola musk (from aroma to the dark juice in the bottle). Black Musk wears a sweet, 70’s style  patchouli-musk for the rest of the wear…which could be for the rest of eternity as this stuff is the longest wearing perfume on the planet.

Even though I really enjoy Black Musk, I don’t think I’d ever buy it. I know I can get this sort of thing from a handful of local shops dealing with imports. This smells and wears like one of those musk oils that you can pick up after you get your aura read or when you pick up dry herbs. Or when you buy calling cards. You know the sort of places that I’m talking about.

I think Black Musk is a great fragrance but it has a sort of incomplete feel, like it should be layered. And I’m sure it’s absolutely stunning layered over white florals or ouds, but at this price I expect for a fragrance to feel “complete”. Honestly, I’m just being picky because of the price. I really do enjoy wearing the fragrance, but I feel the price asks for me to be more contrary than usual. If it were $50, I’d be saying much nicer things.

Ewa Aulin

Notes listed include black tolu, opoponax, tonka, patchouli, incense and musk. Launch date 2011. PERFUMER – Michael Bodi

Give Black Musk a try if you like hippie-style musks. Or if you like perfumes like YOSH Omniscent, Nag Champa perfume oil and/or any “musk” labeled oil. If you are a really wealthy hippie, then try Black Musk.

Projeciton and longevity are above average. This is one of the longest wearing fragrances that I’ve ever tried. This adds to the headshop-y vibe of this. I think Black Musk could survive a summer festival. It seriously will linger on your skin for days…even with a shower.

The 3.4 oz bottle retails for $225 on Amazon.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONA really loud, strong balsamic musk. I have to thank Black Musk for reminding me of how much I like cheap headshop smells that come in genie lamp like bottles.

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*Sample provided by Illuminum. I am not financially compensated for this review. My opinions are my own. Product pic from Henri Bendel. Ewa Aulin pic from

9 thoughts on “Illuminum Black Musk Haute Perfume EDP Review

  1. I am a fan of Yosh Omniscent, and because of that I am intrigued with Black Musk, but not with it’s price. Any suggestions on lines like Madini or Attar Bazaar? thanks!

    1. I love Omniscent and really does “transform” to the wearer.

      I have some experience with Madini and Attar Bazaar. I have only a tried a few and as you can see, the lines are extensive. I’ve found that the oils are very potent and long wearing. Some of the musks are too potent for my tastes (especially the Madini ones). I’m sure one could dilute them in an oil base.

      Attar Bazaar India Musk could easily be a budget replacement for Black Musk. India Musk really does smell “dark” and has a mysteriousness to it. I love these sort of things and I do like Black Musk. But, I know that I can get a similar fix for under $50.

      The plus to Black Musk is that it does come in a spray bottle and is alcohol based which I prefer. The downside is that it is $225 plus tax.

    1. So, how many bottles will you be buying? 😉

      If they made a soap, may have to get it for the pups. Black Musk smells better than dog stink.

      Thank you! And I wish you the same!

    1. A week of showers? 😉

      I don’t know of a candle that smells like Black Musk, just incense from Ethiopian corner markets.

  2. One hundred percent with you regarding expecting fragrances to feel finished (I think we discussed this regarding some Lush fragrances too), so I know what you mean. But “balsamic cough syrup” sounds fun and weird. 🙂

    1. It reminds me a lot of an Italian cough syrup that now I can’t remember the name of. It was herbal-ish and balsamic.

      It really is an enjoyable fragrance. I just wish it weren’t over $200.

  3. Very nice blog on this website! about black musk. It is really difficult to find such a fantastic content with some useful information. I have been looking for information on this particular topic for longer time.

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