Cool Weather Cashmere! Donna Karan Black Cashmere & Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude (Perfume Reviews)

I love it when the weather changes in the Fall, and I know I'm not the only one. Today is a perfect example: the air is crisp, the leaves have just started to change the slightest little bit, and I can smell - somewhere far off - someone's fireplace burning. 

It's time to pull out my favorite jeans, lightweight sweaters, comfy long-sleeved tops and, of course, my boots. 

It's time to switch to my Autumn scents!

This time last year launched my little perfumista lifestyle. In fact, it did it with one of the scents I'm "reviewing" today! Yup - the lynchpin scent. The one that I followed down the rabbit hole. 

Designer Donna Karan created a scent that debuted in 1994: Cashmere Mist. She was inspired by the feel of cashmere against the skin --- who isn't? The notes for the scent are: lily of the valley, suede notes, bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine Maroc, sandalwood, orris, amber, vanilla, cedarwood, patchouli, and musk. I can see the cashmere reference just from the note list! The suede, the soft but feminine flowers, the vanilla, sandalwood and musk... all are soft and cozy. 

I haven't smelled it. 

Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude

For whatever reason, Cashmere Mist's flanker, Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude, caught my eye last year.  Or caught my nose. Is that weird to say? Certainly it's more accurate. 

Anyway, I am probably responsible for emptying at least one tester at the local Nordstrom last Fall. I'd spray it (multiple times) every time I worked a freelance gig there. It was different from most of the scents I had tried, which weren't so soft and musky. I was obsessed. 

Money was tight so I just couldn't justify springing for my own bottle when I was supposed to be saving for Christmas gifts! But it went on my own request list and -Wahoo!- Santa came through. Well, actually my husband came through. Thanks, honey!

I had Googled Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude (CMLN) a ton during the Fall, as only the obsessed can do. Maybe I was trying to figure out why it had such a hold on me? I'm not sure. Regardless, through my search I ended up finding all of the perfume blogs, the 'fumey communities, and all my new perfumista friends. 

CMLN is obviously a flanker to the original. The notes included cyclamen, lily of the valley, orange blossom, Moroccan jasmine, jasmine sambac, ylang ylang, sandalwood, cistus labdanum, suede, amber, musk, benzoin, and tonka bean. 

Not being familiar with the original, I can't really speak to the difference between the two scents, but from what I've read CMLN is softer, closer to the skin. 

Indeed, it is what I'd consider a skin scent. It wears close, softly hugging the skin. I can understand the link to cashmere, indeed. The soft florals gently fade into an amber musk, and the scent lasts a good number of hours. I get a small amount of sillage (scent trail) from CMLN - enough to make me smile when I catch it. Copious spraying can build the scent to a degree, but it always stays light, subtle, and feminine. 

It is probably not a terribly unique scent. I imagine more savvy perfumistas can name other scents like it, but I don't care. I really enjoy it, mostly in Fall. By the time Spring rolled around, I was not really enjoying it anymore. And there was my first lesson in "seasonal scents". I had never given much though to the fact that some perfumes worked better in warm weather, others in cool. I grabbed my bottle of CMLN a few days ago and gave it a tentative spritz. I was certain I had just fallen out of love with it, but no - it really, really works in the cool air. I'm glad I have it!

Black Cashmere
During my plummet down the rabbit hole, I kept investigating lists of "must-try" fragrances. Most of them were seasonally-oriented, and it was late Fall-early Winter. Naturally, Donna Karan's Black Cashmere came up on a lot of lists.

Apparently, Donna Karan wanted to create with this perfume the feeling of luxurious, sexy black cashmere. The scent has notes of saffron, masala spices, white pepper, clove, nutmeg, pimento berries, broom flower, patchouli, rose, incense, wengue wood, bois de miel, and labdanum.  

The first time I smelled Black Cashmere, I was head over heels in mad, passionate lust! I had never, ever before smelled something so spicy (that wasn't food, that is). Had you asked me the day before if I wanted to smell like spices and incense, I would have laughed and said no. What a fool! 

Black Cashmere starts, on me, with a blast of incense. Frankincense, I suspect, but I'm no incense specialist. There are nose-tickling peppers, too, and a little bit of clove. Where CMLN snuggles, making me feel cozy, Black Cashmere invigorates and makes me feel sexy! I want to pull on said black cashmere and some killer heels and go to a martini bar. 

The snuggle factor does kick in later, though. Much later. Like, hours and hours later. The spices lower in volume like lights on a dimmer switch. A sweet woody amber begins to take control, softly and slowly. Black Cashmere is much more sensual and cozy at this point, but the mood is still a little spicy, so beware.  This is from front to back a kickin' up a little trouble kind of scent!

I have to briefly mention those amazing bottles! I love CMLN's pink-champagne shade and the gracefully undulating flacon. It speaks well for the scent inside. Black Cashmere, on the other hand, is a glossy black pebble. It lies flat on the table and fits nicely in the hand. I have no perfume bottles like it and it's really rather cool. 

Both of these scents from Donna Karan are cozy and snuggly. Both embody the concept of cashmere well, in my opinion. And both are perfect for this cooling weather - just as a cashmere sweater is the ideal topper in Autumn. Unfortunately for many of us (me!), good cashmere is a little unattainable. It's luxe in feel and in price. Unfortunately for us all, Black Cashmere and Cashmere Mist Liquid Nude are also a little unattainable. Both are no longer on the Donna Karan line-up, though you can still get both -- for now -- on eBay and from etailers. In fact, CMLN is still showing on the Nordstrom website. I may need a back-up bottle of both. They're that good.

What are your favorite Fall scents? Do you wear cozy musks? How about spicy ones? Do you think it's worth it for me to try the original Cashmere Mist?


  1. I love those photographs - the black pebble bottle on the peeling wood looks stunning!

    As a matter of fact I own Cashmere Mist original and Black Cashmere, but haven't tried the new flanker. I'd be glad to send you a sample for you to compare. I have found the benzoin in CM a bit too fuzzy of late (I seem to be sensitive to scratchy textures in perfumes - that also bothers me in SL Daim Blond, say). So it may be that my tastes have changed since I first acquired my bottle in the early days of my perfume hobby. Cashmere Mist and Delicious Night were in fact the first two samples I ordered on Ebay as I teetered on the brink of the rabbit hole... One led to a FB, the other nearly put me off my new found interest altogether!

  2. I haven't tried Cashmere Mist. It was easy to find in Spain some years ago, but now that I want to try it, I can't find it anywhere.
    Your review of the flanker makes this sound great!

    And now, Black Cashmere. Wow! This is one of my favourite perfumes ever. Some years ago I was given several spray samples and they have become my little treasure. The scent is so relaxing for me... That perfume made me learn that I loved incense in fragrances. Sadly, Black Cashemere was discontinued. I know it has be re-launched but I haven't tried it yet.

    I prefer spicy notes to cozy musks and my favorite fall scents are État libre d'Orange Nombril Immense, Kenzo Amour Le Parfum, Diptyque Tam Dao...


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