At my mall, The Body Shop is down just a few storefronts from Bath and Body Works. The store is much smaller than the Bath and Body Works and focuses more on cosmetics and skin care. Once in the store I saw a row of perfume oils that reminded me of my college days, but around the corner was a small display of Eaux de Toilette.
The sales associate who helped me said that Japanese Cherry Blossom — cherry blossom again! — and White Musk were their two biggest sellers. She quickly told me that their musk was "cruelty free" and not from real deer musk. I smiled as if this were news.
The Body Shop Japanese Cherry Blossom (The Body Shop website cites top notes of Fuji apple, Chinese magnolia, and osmanthus flower; heart of star jasmine, Japanese cherry blossom, and Japanese persimmon; base notes of sandalwood, hinoki wood, and fruity musk) is a good deal lighter than the Bath and Body Works Japanese Cherry Blossom. It takes cold flowers, a pinch of powder, and a hint of fruit, and creates an apple-tinged floral with a sweet wood base.
I see why Japanese Cherry Blossom is so popular. It is light, clean, pretty, and not in the least offensive. It is fine for a 12-year old or a matron, and it wouldn't ruffle noses at the office. It would make a nice soap for the guest powder room. To me, that isn't much of a recommendation for a fragrance. Plus, it lasts an hour tops on my skin. Japanese Cherry Blossom is the Pat Boone of perfume. Before he hit his metal phase, that is.
The other fragrance the sales associate said was popular, White Musk, has top notes of velvety musk, floral lily, and sensual ylang ylang; a heart of velvety musk, oriental jasmine, floral lily, and rose; and base notes of — yep — velvety musk, oriental jasmine, floral lily, iris, rose, and sweet vanilla. It's a huge favorite on Makeupalley, and it's easy to see why. For the price, someone wanting a sweet, warm musk could do a lot worse.
I compared White Musk Eau de Toilette to Serge Lutens Clair de Musc, which I always considered a baseline soft white musk. Suddenly Clair de Musc took on a whole new personality. I could smell its juicy iris and the light-as-a-breeze way it lofts musk through its body. In comparison, the Body Shop White Musk felt compressed and dull. But White Musk is less than a quarter of the price of Clair de Musc, and if the comfort and sexiness of a clean, soft musk for daily wear is what you're after, it would be wrong not to give it a try.
The Body Shop Japanese Cherry Blossom Eau de Toilette is $25 for 50 ml. White Musk Eau de Toilette is $17.50 for 30 ml and $26 for 60 ml. These fragrances are available at The Body Shop boutiques and online store.