Kiehl’s (Since 1851) Original Musk Blend No. 1 has been around a long time if you believe Kiehl’s PR: “Our original musk oil is believed to have been created in the 1920s at the ‘Kiehl Apothecary.’ Discovered there in a vat labeled ‘Love Oil’ in the late 50s, Kiehl’s signature scent was reintroduced to our patrons in 1963.” I recently sniffed Original Musk for the first time, and it reminds me of many higher priced perfumes: inside Original Musk there's a pinch of Hermès Eau d’ Hermès with its grainy, leather-cumin accord, a hint of Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan (“tough” musk with flowers), and a ghostly bit of, believe it or not, Chanel No. 5’s floral aldehydes.
Original Musk is, of course, a synthetic musk fragrance; it has “body” but it’s still a light version of musk — not heavy in the least. Kiehl’s lists Original Musk’s fragrance notes as bergamot nectar, orange blossom, lily, rose, ylang-ylang, neroli, tonka bean, white patchouli and musk.
There are no distinct stages of development in Original Musk…what you smell at first spray is basically what you smell hours later on skin (though the scent softens and becomes a bit more floral in character as it fades away). Original Musk opens with dense citrus and leather-cumin notes followed immediately by the scents of rich flowers (ylang-ylang and an aldehydic rose stand out most forcefully) and a light, modern musk augmented with an amber-y accord of sheer patchouli and tonka bean-vanilla (with a touch of moss?)
Original Musk smells a tad “retro” — overall, it’s a well-rounded “silky” musk fragrance, not a stark musk scent like Malin+Goetz Synthesized Musk. Kiehl’s Original Musk has good lasting power and minimal sillage; it’s one of the few non-fruity musks that I’d wear in warm weather. If you tried Original Musk long ago when it was only available in oil formulation, you may want to revisit it. Robin here at Now Smell This remembers Original Musk as smelling “patch-heavy...or at least heavy” but I don’t find Original Musk particularly patchouli-rich or too strong in Eau de Toilette strength.
At $39 for a 50 ml Eau de Toilette spray, Kiehl's Original Musk qualifies as a “cheap thrill.”