Sultan is a noble title with several historical meanings. Originally, it was an Arabic abstract noun meaning "strength", "authority", "rulership", and Musk Sultan deserves all of those titles. Absolutely.
I just blindly bought Musk Sultan, since I was looking for its bros Wild Oud and Black Oud and I stumbled into it, the price was a bargain for an EDP, so I decided to add it to the order.
What do I smell... Whoa! Yeah, Musk Sultan first spray is like a big whoa! At the time of writing this review I have nearly 391 men's colognes in my wardrobe, and believe me, none of them smells anything like this. It is a rose-musk-based scent, though it has nothing in common with the rose in oud-centric scents or the musk in violet-centric ones. It is a modern Cologne, floral and musky.
Here there is a conflict between floral and musky, the light, delicate, and innocent rose is darkened by the warm musk. There are several variations on this conflict, one being the battle between the two of them, with one side Good having the floral as an Heart of Innocence, the other side Evil having the musky as an Heart of Darkness. But, the battle ends with a win-win result, the two of them are glorious.
That being said, Musk Sultan opens with a touch of crisp citrus, Italian quality I'd dare, that does not overpower but adds the right touch of freshness, and a blast of white floral accord, I would hazard grapefruit peel and petitgrain, and freesia. Freesia is an amazing flower with light properties, think of it as very fresh. There should be even some white flowers, so soft and delicate like lily-of-the-valley.
The light floral aura remains as the rose comes gently forward. This rose is lush and of the deepest red you have ever seen. Do you know these dark red roses that seem to have a black shadow on their petals? That kind of rose. But the perfume has also lucid moments that are sitting like dew drops on the petals, filtering the light. I might be wrong, but from time to time I get a blow of violet note very similar to that used in Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, they have the same vibe. The violet is soft, smooth, flowery and not green nor herbal like violet leaves. Perhaps, what I get is more jasmine rather than violet.
Then comes the “animalistic” quality: something musky and earthy emerges, but the floral scent remains. The result is a complex, textured scent, first light then dark. I get both white musk and moss, which add a masculine touch to the floral and the tart dry down develops perfectly on men’s skin. There is something resinous going on, I would bet cistus or labdanum. I might be wrong, perhaps it is more a kind of like modern patchouli, which just adds that woodiness and earthiness to the base.
This is a wonderfully sophisticated scent. It reads clearly as a floral and a luxurious one yet isn't especially heavy or dark. Not one of those rich roses suitable only for evening. The white musk is gentle and sparing, and far in the background. All other notes play a supporting role to the floral accord.
Ultimately, Musk Sultan is mysterious and dark like the atmosphere of a Benedictine abbey, maybe you remember the atmosphere in the film The Name of the Rose – mysterious and scary. You can feel the heavy wood of the library, the cold shadows in the old masonry and from the garden through a small window a sudden ray of light with the smell of a single dark rose underneath the window.
It comes in EDP format, which is lovely for autumn/winter, I imagine it a bit cloying for warmer sprint and summer, but I will dare and try it. About performance, I’ve been wearing it since this morning, it is still there and I do catch it whenever I move around. I seem it deserve 10 out of 10.
Noteworthy: I've revised this review the very morning after, when I got up and took off my shirt just before taking a shower... the scent was still there with the floral-musky accord alive and kicking!