Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

Source: thisoldhouse.com

Source: thisoldhouse.com

Musc Ravageur is my favorite fragrance from Frederic Malle, and also the only one which drew me in from the very first time I sniffed it, perhaps because it is the spiciest, most oriental scent in his line-up. Yet, I’m not sure Monsieur Malle would approve of my reasons for loving the fragrance because it has little to do with “ravaging” musk, and everything to do with gingerbread. To be precise, gingerbread flecked lightly with vanilla and a gentle, furry musk, then festively festooned in a haze of lightly ambered, golden sweetness. It’s delicious, cozy comfort, but far from a “ravaging” torrent of “turbulent” sensuality. I don’t mind one whit.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

Musc Ravageur in the 50 ml bottle. Source: Liberty London.

Musc Ravageur is an eau de parfum created by Maurice Roucel and released in 2000. The Malle website describes it as:

A sensual perfume, powerful yet perfectly controlled, dramatic and mysterious. Composed by Maurice Roucel as an “act of seduction and generosity”, Musc Ravageur is an uncompromising Oriental, which trumps current fads. Its explosive departure of bergamot, tangerine and cinnamon is set against a backdrop of vanilla, musk and amber. A sexy, turbulent perfume, in one word: ravageur.

According to that description, the notes in Musc Ravageur are:

Bergamot, tangerine, cinnamon, vanilla, musk, and amber.

Source: freehdwall.com

Source: freehdwall.com

I find the list perplexing. It doesn’t include some of the most prominent aspects of Musc Ravageur on my skin, like ginger or cloves. The list on Fragrantica bewilders me even more because it veers sharply from Malle’s official account to include lavender (which I don’t smell at all). Fragrantica does, however, mention cloves, along with sandalwood, guaiac wood and cedar. Obviously, a perfume house’s own description always trumps a secondary source, but I do think that Malle is omitting some key elements from Musc Ravageur just as he did in the case of Bigarade Concentrée. The latter has cumin — quite a bit of it, in fact — and a significantly large percentage of people agree, but there is nary a mention of “cumin” in the perfume’s description on Malle’s website. I think it’s the same sort of situation here with the cloves and ginger, and possibly with the sandalwood as well.

Gingerbread Cake by Mark Woods, at Shelbyville Times-Gazette, t-g.com.

Gingerbread Cake by Mark Woods, at Shelbyville Times-Gazette, t-g.com.

Musc Ravageur is a really simple scent on my skin from start to finish. It is almost entirely dominated by spicy gingerbread in a haze of golden, ambered warmth. The ginger is candied and sweet, dusted with spicy cloves, and light sprinkles of a much softer cinnamon. The cloves never smell meaty, sweaty, or peppered the way it can in some fragrances, probably because it’s highly refined and then cut through with both vanilla and tonka creaminess. It’s a minor touch on my skin in any event, at least in its own right, because it feels almost completely subsumed into the overall gingerbread bouquet.

Source: dailypets.co.uk

Source: dailypets.co.uk

The namesake note, the musk, runs through the base like very small streams trickling down a gingerbread mountain. The smell here reminds me of the description of one of my readers for another famous musk fragrance, Serge LutensMusc Koublai Khan: “a tiny, little, sweet kitty,” and not a very furry one, either. That’s how the musk note smells on my skin here. I’m sure Maurice Roucel used civet with a dash of ambrette seeds to make up the relevant accord, but he’s done so in a way that really isn’t very animalic at all. Fragrances with hefty amounts of animalic elements (like civet, hyrax, castoreum, or ambrette seeds) can smell like raunchy skankiness, a cat’s bottom, “‘Ho panties,” or urinous, leathery musk, but here you just have a little whiff of gingery kitten fur.

Source: archiveofourown.org

Source: archiveofourown.org

There are a few other aspects to that kitten worth talking about. Once in a while, she shows her claws by adding a streak of sharpness to the scent, but I generally had to sniff Musc Ravageur up close and deeply to notice it. When I smelt the fragrance from afar, the primary bouquet was almost solely spicy, sweet gingerbread within a light amber cocoon. It was only up close and deep in the base that the musk revealed itself in quiet, very tiny puffs of civet. That said, I noticed that the more I applied of Musc Ravageur, the more the kitten revealed her claws. When I used about 3 tiny spritzes from an atomiser equal to 2 sprays from a bottle, the musk’s sharpness was really limited to the base. However, when I went to town by applying about 6 sprays from my large decant, then the musk showed itself more prominently, smelt a little synthetic, and wasn’t so muted. Even then, though, it merely wove its way throughout the main notes like a small river, but was never a roaring flood that “ravaged” me. And it still wasn’t truly animalic; it was merely a slightly elevated amount of sharpness, like a kitten giving you a small scratch.

The other thing I noticed is that the quantity of the musk varied between my samples and my bottle, giving me rather first-hand proof that all the reformulation claims are true. I have a Malle manufacturer’s sample of Musc Ravageur that a friend sent me from New York about 18-months ago, and she obtained it even earlier than that, so it’s at least 2 years old, if not more. I also have another manufacturer’s sample that I obtained from the Malle store in Paris last year. And I have a large decant from a splitter who bought their Malle overseas a while back, though I’m not certain when. My decant bottle has a stronger amount of musk, while the newest manufacturer’s sample from last year has the least. Having spent most of my time with the samples, it was actually quite a surprise to me to receive my bottle split and suddenly be exposed to a noticeable musk element. Granted, it was still a kitten giving me a little scratch, but it had been virtual imperceptible before unless I sniffed hard and really focused on the base notes. By the same token, the bottle version was much spicier, more ambered and golden, richer, and deeper in depth.

The variations between the scent tells me that the reports are really true: the perfume has been diluted down. Frederic Malle has been blunt about the fact that he’s had to reformulate his fragrances due to the upcoming EU regulations, though he’s never specified which ones. Musc Ravageur originally came out in 2000, and I have absolutely no idea what it smelled like then. Perhaps the musk was strong enough to warrant a name like “Ravageur,” but I find it a little hard to believe because Malle’s overall aesthetic is never for truly brazen, “in your face” fiery boldness or intense extremes. Ultra-refined elegance is his signature, not “‘Ho panties” that overwhelm you with any actual raunchy dirtiness. Still, maybe it was that way once — but it’s not any more. If you’re hoping for a truly hardcore animalic oriental, you’ll be disappointed. If you’ve stayed away from Musc Ravageur because skanky notes are not your thing, then now may be the time to try the fragrance.

Source: afamilyfeast.com.  (Website link embedded within.)

Source: afamilyfeast.com. (Website link embedded within.)

Although Musc Ravageur is a very linear fragrance on my skin and its main contours remain virtually unchanged, there are some very small fluctuations in the prominence or degree of the secondary notes. The bergamot appears about 2.25 hours into the perfume’s evolution but it’s a muted note that, like everything else, hides behind the wall of spicy, sweet gingerbread. I never detect the tangerine, but the vanilla and cinnamon are sometimes noticeable in their own right instead of being subsumed into the main accord. I could swear there was a whiff of something vaguely floral (perhaps like a rose geranium?) that pops up occasionally in the background, especially when I apply a lot of Musc Ravageur, but it’s always so fleeting and insubstantial that I end up doubting myself.

Source: starbucks.com

Source: starbucks.com

At the start of the 4th hour, Musc Ravageur begins to shift more noticeably, and the drydown begins. A definite creaminess begins to streak through the base, and it seems more like the sandalwood mentioned by Fragrantica than merely the sort of creaminess you get from tonka beans. Over the next few hours, it slowly seeps up to the top, coating the gingerbread, turning it softer and milder, weakening the spices, but also diluting the amber as well. By the time the sixth hour rolls around, Musc Ravageur has turned hazier, sheerer, and more abstract in nature. It’s no longer gingerbread so much as a mix of spicy, sweet, creamy notes nestled within a fluffy, soft goldenness. There is no kitten in sight, and absolutely no musked sharpness. An occasional drop of honey seems to lurk about the edges, but the predominant feel is really just spiced creaminess, almost like a spiced Indian Chai. In its final moments, Musc Ravageur is merely a wisp of creamy sweetness infused with a tiny sliver of spiciness.

Musc Ravageur has good sillage and excellent longevity on my skin when I use the amount that a normal person would apply. I am what is called an “over-sprayer” when I use fragrances for myself in the privacy of my home, usually 5-6 sprays from an actual bottle at a minimum. (Yes, I said, “at a minimum.”) However, the standard amount I use for testing is substantially less because I try to replicate what the average person would use, especially if they’re relying on small sample vials. So, when I used 3 little spritzes from my Malle atomizer sample, equal to about 2 small sprays from an actual bottle, Musc Ravageur opened with roughly 3 inches of sillage. The numbers dropped after 2.25 hours to about an inch, but Musc Ravageur only became a skin scent on me after about 4.5 hours. Even then, it was easy to detect up close without much effort for a while. In general, with that amount, Musc Ravageur lasts about 10.5 hours. As a side note, when I apply my “over-sprayer” amount, the longevity goes up to 14+ hours, but the projection is not substantially more. There may be about 5 inches in the opening, but that’s about it.

Musc Ravageur is one of the greatly admired, popular Malle fragrances, but I was surprised to see a sharp split of opinion on Fragrantica. The issue seems to be the hype more than the actual fragrance itself. I’ll get to the issue of hype in a moment, but first a brief summary of people’s experiences. For the vast majority of commentators, Musc Ravageur is not a truly musky scent or one with any significant amount of skanky animalics, but a spicy, vanilla oriental with either cloves or cinnamon. One person said bluntly, “This fragrance is animalic just like Winnie the Pooh is.” A few found kinship with such widely disparate fragrances as Tobacco Vanille or Shalimar, presumably in terms of the overall feel or the role of the vanilla. Others, however, had quite a different experience: a handful brought up cat aromas (including one poor soul who referenced her cats’ litter box), while a few thought that it was like a masculine scent or like their grandfather’s shaving cream.

Obviously, skin chemistry is going to be key, but so will your experiences with animalic fragrances and your baseline definitions. Even if your skin brings out the civet, the key is what you’re used to as a point of comparison. If you only wear “clean and fresh” scents, then you may well find Musc Ravageur to smell animalic, masculine, or dirty. On the other hand, if you are used to spicy, bold orientals, or wear things like Absolue Pour Le Soir or vintage Kouros, then I doubt you’d find the Malle to be a true musk scent at all. And if you’re a fan of Serge LutensMusc Koublai Khan, you’ll probably think they’re at the same tame level but that the Malle is a more vanillic, gourmand interpretation.

Source: hdlatestwallpaper.com

Source: hdlatestwallpaper.com

Where people really split in their opinions and the reason why Musc Ravageur appears to be such a love it/hate it scent on Fragrantica seems to be the issue of expectations driven by hype. Quite simply, a lot of people just don’t see what all the fuss is about. They think it’s merely a nice, vanilla oriental with spices but little originality. I completely understand their perspective. While I don’t consider Musc Ravageur to be a vanilla fragrance, I do think that it’s merely a lovely gingerbread one with creaminess, and is nothing revolutionary. Maybe it once was, back in 2000, if it was ever genuinely skanky, but I’m unconvinced that mere skank alone would be enough to make Musc Ravageur a truly distinctive, edgy scent.

I don’t care, though, and I still love it. The thing for me is that Musc Ravageur is a comfort scent and, as I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, I have absolutely no problem with simplicity or linearity in that genre. In all honesty, I prefer it. It’s extremely difficult for me to turn off my mind and to stop instinctively analyzing fragrances, note by note, hour by hour, so when I wear something for myself after a long day, I want something I can simply enjoy without thinking about it. On a few occasions when I’ve worn complex fragrances to bed, I have actually pulled back from the edge of sleep after taking an inadvertent whiff of a more complicated fragrance, because my mind automatically start to dissect the changes in notes. (Yes, I know I’m very strange and completely OCD.) Musc Ravageur is a mindless fragrance for me, and I don’t mean that as the insult that it would seem. Some of the fragrances I enjoy the most are the simplest ones whose main characteristic is coziness. Musc Ravageur is merely a very polished take on that genre.

Source: harmonyglass.com

Source: harmonyglass.com

So, I fully agree that it isn’t a complex, truly original or groundbreaking scent. Does it deserve the hype? I don’t know. No, really, I don’t. I think it took technical mastery to make the musk such a little kitten, but was that intentional or merely an unexpected side-effect of reformulation? Since I never tried the 2000 original, I have no way of knowing, but I do think there is a definite amount of skill involved in the refined elegance of the musk even as it stands now, as well as the seamless fluidity of the notes and the perfume’s very balanced nature. But does all of this deserve Malle’s usual high price-tag? Not in my opinion, but I clearly succumbed nevertheless to buying a very large decant, while drawing the line at a full bottle or one of the travel trios. It’s clearly going to come down to a very personal valuation, and to just how much you enjoy (or need) cozy, spiced gingerbread and creamy Chai tea in your life.

Meharees. Source: Fragrantica

Meharees. Source: Fragrantica

Speaking of prices, a significant number of Fragrantica posters seem to think that a fragrance called Meharees by L’Ebolario is extremely similar to Musc Ravageur. As many as 124 people voted to that effect in the “reminds me of” category, and one commentator wrote: “Meharees is an identical copy of MR if not even better, i get better longevity sillage, and better compliments. Try meharees before you buy MR. you’ll save money.” I had never heard of Meharees before looking at Musc Ravageur’s page, but their notes are not the same. Fragrantica says Meharees doesn’t have cloves or civet-y musk, but myrrh, spices and dates instead.

Meharees. Photo: Louis/LifestyleAsia via businesspme.com

Meharees. Photo: Louis/LifestyleAsia via businesspme.com

Still, I was taken enough by the fact that 124 people were all “reminded of” the same thing to dig further and, afterwards, I confess I succumbed to a rare moment of impulsivity. Meharees has received really great reviews on Basenotes, particularly from those who never enjoyed the clove note in Musc Ravageur. I happen to really like cloves, but my attention was caught by the fact that Meharees is said to be a strong scent, and a very affordable one as well. A 50 ml bottle is a mere $43 on Amazon U.S., or roughly $51 with shipping; and it is available worldwide for only a little bit more on eBay. (L’Ebolario’s only American distributor, CyberCucina, does not ship to California, even if you buy through Amazon. Also, their international shipping goes through a third-party, so your best bet if you’re in either California or overseas may be the Italian vendors on eBay, especially as the scent is even cheaper there, so the overall cost still ends up being roughly the same, about $50.)

I loved the sound of a spicy, date-filled, vanillic version of Musc Ravageur, but I’m a complete sucker for a bargain above all else, so I actually just bought Meharees blindly from Amazon. I probably should have ordered a sample from Surrender to Chance first, since my past experiences with blind buys have usually ended badly, but $50 for 1.7 oz tempted me far too much, especially as the reviews on Basenotes, CyberCucina, and Amazon are overwhelmingly positive. The coup de gras was one woman’s comment on Amazon that it reminded her of Egypt, possibly because L’Ebolario actually intended for Meharees to suggest “exotic travels by camel through the vast African Sahara.” That was it. I had to try it! I will let you know whether it really is the “Musc Ravageur killer” that some people claim but, even if it’s not an identical clone, if Meharees is as lovely as reported, or if you have ever wanted an affordable, non-clove, possibly more vanillic cousin to the Malle, then it’s clearly a scent worth looking into.

As for Musc Ravageur, I really recommend trying it if you like spicy, quasi-gourmand orientals with a touch of civet-y musk. Frederic Malle’s fragrances generally haven’t swept me off my feet, but Musc Ravageur is the one exception. I think it’s wonderful.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Musc Ravageur is an eau de parfum that comes in a variety of sizes. There is a 10 ml spray for $50 or €34; a set of 3 x 10 ml for $125, €85, or £75; a 50 ml bottle for $180, €120, or £110; a 100 ml bottle for $260, €195, or £155; and a large body butter in a 200 ml size. You can buy Musc Ravageur directly from Malle’s U.S. or International websites. In the U.S.: Barney’s sells Musc Ravageur in several different sizes. You can also find it at Malle boutiques, and there are other U.S. retailers listed on the Malle website at the store link below. Outside of the U.S.: In Canada, Malle is exclusive to Holt Renfrew, but only a few of the fragrances are shown on the website. In the U.K., Musc Ravageur is sold at London’s Liberty in several sizes. The full Malle line is also sold at Les Senteurs. Elsewhere, you can generally find Malle perfumes at Skins in the Netherlands, Italy’s Alla Violetta, Australia’s Mecca Cosmetica, Dubai’s Harvey Nichols, Saudi Arabia’s D’NA, Singapore’s Malmaison by the Hour Glass, and many others. For all other countries, you can use the Store Locator to find a location nearest you from Japan to South Africa. Samples: Surrender to Chance sells Musc Ravageur starting at $7.79 for a 1 ml vial.

52 thoughts on “Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

  1. I admit that when I bought Musc Ravageur I did so for the Ravageur part. Admittedly it is not. I find it to be similar to Shalimar. Ok, not similar but Malle’s node to the grand damme. MKK is indeed dirty on my skin. Musc Tonkin is veryyy dirty! Kouros, well that’s sex in a bottle, and something I wish more men would wear. And on the right woman…dangerous! APLS is animalic in the sense of hot fleshy skin, the most warm perfume I own. MR on the other hand is my sensual creamy musk, with lots of vanilla and a woody sexiness. Not Ravageur, but beautiful nonetheless. Speaking of spicy, have you tried Noir Epices? It’s a very dry spicy perfume, and quite hard to pull, but I’ve seen what it can do on the right skin, and I wish I had the skin to pull it off.
    PS: I absolutely adore the kitten pics, they are adorable! 🙂

    • How interesting about how the various fragrances manifest themselves on your skin, particularly MKK. Vintage Kouros was great, wasn’t it? As for Shalimar, I don’t think Musc Ravageur is at all similar in terms of actual smell or notes, but I think I can understand what you mean as Malle’s nod to the grand dame. The treatment of vanilla with spices, civet, and some bergamot perhaps? But anything more than a vague theory, well, I can’t really see it, I’m afraid. Vintage Shalimar was so different on me with blackly resins, lots of leathery bits, and a much darker, heavier, more overtly oriental, non-gourmand feel.

      I’ve tried Noir Epices in passing, as well as at the Malle store, but it didn’t really capture my attention enough to spend a lot of time with it. I have a sample somewhere, and will get to it eventually. 🙂 I’m glad you liked the kitten photos. They were very fun to find. Merry Christmas, my dear, if you celebrate the day.

  2. I had to laugh while Reading your review, Kafka concerning THE fact it does not scent like a cat’s bottom 😉 On my skin it actually does. Like my cat Rubio. It does not smell like a kitten, as a matter of speech, at all on me, one reason I do not wear if very often. I have a small spray from THE all FM Collection Christmas box so I do not know which version That would be. Herbolario is sold in Amsterdam with body products so I look forward to Scenting them and Reading your review. Have a wonderful fragrant Christmas, my dear !

    • Merry Christmas to you, too, sweet Esperanza. Give Rubio a kiss for me. With regard to Musc Ravageur, as I said in the review, I think it depends a lot on individual skin chemistry, one’s personal baseline definitions or what one is used to in terms of skanky notes, and also the age of the bottle perhaps. Everyone seems to come up with something different, and that’s noticeable even in the comments posted here. Some think it’s not dirty at all, even for older bottles, while some others do to varying degrees. It’s really hard to come up with some consensus. I think it really is going to come down to each person’s individual baseline for what constitutes “skanky,” as well as what notes their skin emphasizes. 🙂

      I have to say, from what little I know of your personal tastes, I don’t see Musc Ravageur as being your thing even in a milder, less skanky form. Maybe the L’Erbolario will be better suited to you, but we’ll see. Again, happy holidays, sweetie.

  3. I had the rare pleasure of jumping out of bed, spraying on LOTS of MR, and going through the opening as I read your review. MR is one of my standard winter comfort scents, and I have a partial bottle that is probably about 4 years old. I think that you’re exactly right about the civet-ambrette accord (your nose for notes always amazes me!) and on me it’s rather pronounced, sharpened a bit by the clove, but still nowhere near cat box, just fur. And the rest reminds me a lot of really good gingerbread, not too sweet, sexy in the sense of deep and abiding comfort. Every now and then I “season” it with a spray or two of DSH Majhoun to add drizzlings of honey, and I can imagine spraying it over a base of Tobacco Vanille for an effect like spiced fruit compote with gingerbread crumbled over the top.

    I should add a note about my extremely perfume-consuming skin so that your newer readers don’t start asking where I live, so that they can avoid my sillage.

    • LOL about your skin and people avoiding your sillage. Heh. I found it interesting how even your 4-year old bottle doesn’t give you anything close to a cat box, only fur. It really underscores for me how individual baselines or experiences are key in reading people’s interpretations of Musc Ravageur. You’re someone who is used to very skanky fragrances, and loves dirty raunchiness in heavy, opulent orientals. So, by your standards, Musc Ravageur is merely a “comfort scent.” The most interesting thing to me, though, is how widely experiences diverge, even within the comments here. They are really all over the map. Skin chemistry obviously matters a great deal, but people always filter scent through the lens of their personal standards, experiences, exposure and the like. That’s clearly playing a very big role here.

  4. Agree with you that it is a wonderful scent, but not skanky in the least. Guess I will search for a vintage bottle for back up.

    Hadn’t thought about the Shalimar connection, but you are right, they certainly work the same terrain. In fact, Shalimar in its vintage formulations at least has more noticeable skank, from the civet.

    Roucel’s EdP for the Helmut Lang line has the same general approach as MR–simple comfort scent with clean musks & vanilla–albeit with heliotrope in the mix. I like that one, too.

    • Forgot to ask, kafka, any chance for a Best of 2014 post? I look forward to those to fill out my Try List.

      Have a wonderful holiday!

      • Yes, a “Best of” post is planned for sometime after Christmas but before Dec. 31st. It’s going to take quite a while to compile. 🙂 Happy holidays, James.

    • I think original (true, real) Shalimar has much more skank, not to mention a ton of leatheriness in the base. I personally don’t think the two fragrances work the same terrain except in the vaguest of terms, but others seem to. As for vintage Musc Ravageur, I don’t think you will find it very skanky by your personal standards and baselines. There may be more musk than there is now, but you’re used to a heavy amount of civet or raunchiness, so I don’t know if the old form of Musc Ravageur would really satisfy your itch. I don’t think Malle’s aesthetic or style as a whole is for truly raunchy, “in your face” scents.

  5. By the way, I am very eager to hear about your experience with Meharees. I can’t quite bring myself to buy those smells-just-like scents, but I’m very curious about them and will surely buy a bottle if it’s remotely similar.

  6. Kittens in a MR review? Wha? 🙂 My favorite Malle as well, Kafka (along with French Lover). Yes, L’Erbolario Meharees is indeed very similar, as is Le Labo Labdanum 18 (also by Maurice Roucel), BTW.

    • Hahaha, yes, kittens. 😀 I’m glad to hear Meharees is similar in your experience, though another commentator thinks very differently. I’m looking forward to trying it and seeing for myself. As for Labdanum 18, I’ve heard it’s got some kinship, but I haven’t tested it properly enough to know. A brief testing showed much less musk than what was even in Musc Ravageur. I need to give it a true wearing, though. I liked my early sniffs of it, though.

      Merry Christmas, my dear Scent Brother. 🙂

  7. I have a 7 bottles the FM collection and the rest in decants, and Musc Ravageur perhaps is my favourite one. I wear it when it’s really cold and foggy, as it usually is in my city. My bottle was bought 3 years ago and I have noticed the difference with a decant I had, just because I wanted to know if the reformulation was true…and I must say it is… BTW , the most noticed spice for me it’s nutmeg!
    Concerning the Meharees I bought a very cheap bottle in Italy (20€) and I sold it because it has NOTHING to do with MR. I still have the Meharee’s body milk and even this it takes long to be finished….

    PD: today is very cold and foggy, so I was wearing MR when I read your review 😉

    • A lot of people have commented that Musc Ravageur seems to have changed, and it does seem to be true, alas. Malle has been pretty blunt about how he’s had to reformulate a number of his fragrances, at great cost, time, and expense, but never said which ones in specific. But Musc Ravageur is one of the ones whose name comes up often when people talk about noticing changes, along with Vetiver Extraordinaire, Noir Epices, and Fleur de Cassie. It’s a shame.

      As for the Meharees, I’m sure it’s hardly the same quality as Musc Ravageur given the great difference in price. Still, a few people even in this thread have written that they found Meharees to be quite similar, so I’m looking forward to trying it for myself. What was it like on your skin, and how was it so different? I’m assuming little muskiness, since Meharees doesn’t seem to have any civet in it?

  8. Perfect post for Christmas. Yes, Musc Ravageour is my one and only Malle. On my skin it is a cozy, soft, tiny butterfly or the ticklish whiskers of a fluffy, furry, cloudy kitten with great sillage and longevity. I get zero musc, but I’ll try and over-spray a lot to see if the claws are revealed to me.
    NOOOOOOOOO, diluted? when? I got a huge bottle a few years ago and I am almost spritzing air by now so I am due to get another. I should have bought many bottles a few years ago when I first fell for this sweet kitty cat. I am disheartened. I don’t want more watered down version of my adored perfumes 🙁 grrrrrrrrrrrrr
    Happy Holidays my dearest K.

    • Happy Holidays, my sweet. As for Musc Ravageur, yeah, I think you might be a little disappointed if you sniffed it now. It’s not just me who thinks it’s changed and different. Perhaps you’ll be lucky and manage to stumble upon an older bottle on eBay?

      With regard to the musk, it’s interesting to me that you don’t detect it at all on your skin, even with your older version. I think that proves, once again, what I’ve been saying in this thread about how skin chemistry and personal baseline standards make a big difference in terms of how people see the scent. By your standards, I can’t see Musc Ravageur being dirty, skanky, or animalic at all. 🙂

  9. My bottle of MR dates from 2005 or 2006, and it is not skanky at all. It is a sweet musk with spice and lots of gaiac wood on my skin. I am an over-sprayer too, and I actually gassed myself out one time with MR, had to roll the windows down in the car and wash when I got to work. So now I spritz this one more judiciously. 🙂

    • LOL at how you gassed yourself out and are now more wary of over-spraying. 🙂 Your bottle is 8 or 9 years old but, interestingly, you don’t find the scent to be skanky at all, like several others here. Once again, as I keep saying in the comments, it all seems to come down to individual baselines for what one views as “skanky,” though obviously skin chemistry makes a difference as well. I would be love to know what you thought of the current version of Musc Ravageur. I think you’d notice definite changes. 🙁

  10. About a month ago, I was looking at L’erbolario after people were raving about one of their parfums smelling like/better than Hermes Ambre Narguilé, but I can’t recall which one. Meharee sounds like it but it can’t be. I should’ve said I was on CyberCucina, btw. Kafka, why can’t I find Lutens’ MKK anywhere? It’s out of stock everywhere. Ebay wants an exorbitant price. Yikes.

    • You got me curious so I went looking for MKK and you’re right. I wonder if they’re discontinuing it? If you’re interested, I did find a bottle of 75ml “Exclusive” on the Serge Lutens US website and theperfumeshoppe.com seems to have some regular bottles available..

      • MKK is not discontinued. You can read my explanation to Don up above on what the deal is. 🙂 As for the US Serge Lutens website, the problem as I explained to Don is that all the Paris Bell Jar exclusives (ie, the 75 ml, non-spray, bell bottles) are marked up by 80% in price as compared to their European price. That is intentional. So, yeah, one can buy all the exclusives in the US (via his website or his exclusive distributor, Barney’s New York), but you’re paying an astronomical amount. That is why some people use the services of Suzan, a perfume shopper, who will go to Paris and buy you the bell jar at the lower European price. She charges a small fee, but only a small one, and the perfume still ends up being less than what you’d pay if you bought it in America.

    • The reason you can’t find it everywhere is that you’re not supposed to. MKK was originally meant to be a scent limited only to Serge Lutens’ store at the Palais Royal in Paris. Not London, not the U.S., not anywhere but that one single store (and then, later, the French Lutens website). As I wrote to you last night from my phone, there are two lines that he has: the export bottles and the Paris Bell Jar Exclusives. From time to time, each of those 75ml Bell Jars fragrances was briefly released overseas in a 50 ml atomizer, but it was a limited thing and when supply ran out, it ran out.

      Roughly 2 years ago, Serge Lutens decided to make the Paris Bell Jar exclusives (like MKK) available on his US website and in a special deal with Barney’s US. The catch, though, was that the fragrances would be massively hiked up in price to retain their exclusivity. Hence, a bell jar that you can buy in Paris for about €120 or €130 (roughly about $150 to $160) would be sold in the US for a minimum of $300.

      Some of the Bell Jar exclusives that were originally exported in the rare 50 ml bottle — like Bois de Violettes, for example, or Bois et Fruits — are still easy to find in the cheaper form. Sometimes even, on rare occasion, Tubereuse Criminelle in the 50 ml bottle. MKK is **not** easy to find at all, because it is such a famous, legendary, much sought-after fragrance. Fumerie Turque is another one like that. In both cases, the 50 ml bottles were scooped up pretty quickly, and most vendors who had them at one point have probably run out by now. So, even if you do find one of the MKK atomiser bottles on eBay, the prices are going to be very high. So, that’s the whole story regarding Lutens’ most famous fragrances and their availability.

      • So the $300 atomizer on Ebay is what one would expect. I would love to smell Fumerie Turque. Thanks for clearing this confusing bit up for me. 🙂

  11. Maya, thank you for finding MKK on those sites. I didn’t look at theperfumeshoppe.com, but will. As for SL US site, I thought that was out too. I will check that out. Ebay seller wanted $300. Isn’t that a bit high? I can’t imagine MKK being discounted…..

    • Don, quick note tonight and I’ll respond properly tomorrow: MKK is a Paris Bell Jar Exclusive and has been so traditionally for years except for a brief period of time when it was sold as a 50 ml Export in the atomizer. Paris Bell Jars are exclusive to Serge Lutens’ Paris store, but can be bought in the US via the US Lutens website or Barney’s, with whom they have a special deal. However, all the Bell Jars are massively marked up as a consequence of the rare option of buying them outside of the Paris store. The mark up is as much as 80% because they now start at $300 US. If you read my MKK review, you will find information on a woman, a personal shopper, who will buy Lutens for you in Paris at the lower Paris prices. The eBay price isn’t surprising for any Lutens fragrance classified as a Paris Bell Jar scent. The MKK review may have old links to places that used to sell the 50 ml export version, but that is a very rare form/size/bottle for MKK.

      • Oh wow. I thought the one I saw on Ebay was an atomizer. Ok Kafka, thanks once again for clearing up my confusion. And I look forward to anymore info you’ll have for me. Goodnight 🙂

    • Don, I just looked at The Perfume Shoppe and couldn’t find it. I
      originally found MKK doing a google search for “muscs koublai khan” so I tried that again. I found it on page 4 of the search. I wondered what would happen if I clicked on the add to cart and I got this – Call to Order 480-991-3446 (USA) : Muscs Koublai Khan EDP Sp 50ml Limited Edition. It’s listed for $140, but I don’t know if they actually have any or not. And yes, I have OCD moments too. 🙂

  12. Oddly enough, considering I like and own a number of Malles, I hadn’t tried Musc Ravageur until last year when Sigrun sent me a sample – and then I got another sample this past April when visiting the Barneys store in San Francisco. Overall, my experience is similar to yours, except you actually get more spice than I do. As you said, it’s not a ravaging musk by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t give a whit either, as it’s an easy and elegant form of cozy. (So much so that it was tempting to buy a bottle at Barneys that day, but in the end, I went for something stronger – Arquiste Anima Dulcis). I’ll look forward to when you receive Meharees and report on it, because if I do get a hankering to purchase Musc Ravageur, I might go the Merharees route instead.

    Anyway, purrfect review, Kafka. 🙂 I loved the ginger kitty photos and your note of the commenter from Fragrantica who said, “This fragrance is animalic just like Winnie the Pooh is.” So funny and so true! I still keep an old copy of The House at Pooh Corner by my bed, which probably explains why I like MR, too. 😀

    • How interesting that Anima Dulcis was stronger on you! I think both fragrances are very light in weight, but Anima Dulcis was sadly very gauzy and wispy on my skin after the opening, and it didn’t last long on me, either. It’s such a lovely scent, though. I’m glad you had more luck with it, and I’m not surprised at all to hear you fell for it, as I think it’s the nicest from the Arquiste line.

      I’ll keep you informed on the Meharees. Happy Holidays, my dearest, sweet Suzanne!

      • Hi again, Kafka. Yes, Anima Dulcis quiets down too, so I know what you mean, but it has more oomph for me than Musc Ravageur (though I like both fragrances a lot).

        The reason I’m replying back, though, is to wish you very Happy Holidays, too!! You deserve it for your writing alone. Here’s hoping your fondest holiday wishes come true. <3

  13. How funny – another poster noted that Meharees has frequently been mentioned as a “dupe” for Hermes Ambre Narguile, and in fact that’s why I went to try out Meharees! For what it’s worth, I thought it bore a strong resemblance to Ambre Narguile, except with a heavy overlay of something chemical and unpleasant…. hopefully it will be better behaved on your skin!

    I think I may be anosmic to musk, or at least certain types of musk … I’ve tried a slew of them, with less-than-positive results. Narciso Rodriguez (5 minutes of grape juice, then nothing), MKK (something vaguely fecal), Kiehl’s original musk (the olfactory equivalent of white noise), and so on and so forth. But I feel obliged to give Musc Ravageur a try. It’s hard to resist gingerbread, kittens and spiced cookies!

    • I’m sorry for the delay in replying, but it’s been a mad rush with year-end stuff. I read your comment about the chemical aspect, and my heart sank. Then I got the fragrance and… my heart sank further. It definitely DOES resemble Musc Ravageur on my skin (and NOT Ambre Narguilé), but it is also got synthetic sharpness that was difficult for me. I know one gets what one pays for, and obviously there couldn’t be comparable quality, but I admit to being disappointed. Oh well, it’s nice to spray in the air and decent on fabric. You should definitely try Musc Ravageur, T.C., and not just to compare. I think you’ll enjoy the huge boost in quality, though I doubt you will experience any musk. It has much, much less than the amount in Meharees, and it doesn’t sound like you detected any in that one.

  14. Hi Kafka,
    Wonderful review of a remarkable scent. I finally got a bottle. It will be interesting to see how it compares with my 2 year old decant. Thank you for such thoughtful and detailed reviews. I love the way your mind (and nose) thinks!

  15. I had the chance to try Musc Ravageur for the first time last week. I went to this beautiful shop in Lisbon to buy a face oil, and asked to try the perfume … I love it immediately and the SA was so generous and gave me a sample. I have tried Meharees before, and from what I remember it is indeed similar, but it smells more synthetic and sharp then MR. As to Labdanum 18 I get a lot more vanilla, for me it feel easier to wear but not so interesting as MR.

    • I’m so glad to hear that Musc Ravageur was an instant love for you! As for Meharees, you’re completely right. I’ll be reviewing it some time next week, but it does have an unfortunate sharpness to it, a definite synthetic streak, and a difference in quality. It’s nice after a few hours and the synthetic edge dissipated, but it’s no MR. Then again, it’s cheaper and there is a reason for the big price differential. As for Labdanum 18, interesting that you get more vanilla. I get a lot more amber, and don’t find it quite so close to Musc Ravageur as others seem to. It’s nice but, like you, I prefer the Malle. 🙂

    • A funny review of which scent, Musc Ravageur or the Meharees that I talked about at the end? If you’re referring to Musc Ravageur, I hope it works out for you. Maybe you can let me know once you try it? 🙂

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  19. Great review of this masterpiece. It’s the first time I share my experience with a perfume here but a strange thing happened to me with this one so I thought I would share. I was exploring musc fragrances so I gave it a try and bought the 10ml small bottle. The first time I had a very Kouros like opening. Not a fan of Kouros… I could get some civet but not the “skanky” smell I was expecting. Still I liked the sweet and warm amber dry down. So I gave it another try and as the first time I didn’t get a very big performance and the dry down was kind of gentle, I sprayed more. Still Kouros opening, but this time I got much more civet. And when the sweet notes came, the civet was still there and I got a very warm musky dirty accord that I really really liked. And this time the projection and longevity got really good. So I wore it. Again and again. And now I don’t get so much the Kouros vibe anymore but instead I get exactly what I was looking for. That thing (at least on me) is not clean at all. It is really a “dirty pants” smell and mixed with the warm vanilla ambery dry down it is gorgeous. It does smell sexy and dirty, the civet never goes away, it mixes with some Jasmin also in the end I think, and at the end of the day if you run after a bus and get a little warmer, then it will explode under your shirt even 8 hours later. Now I’m trapped: my 10ml little bottle is nearly over and I will have no choice but getting a big one. Cheers from Paris

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  22. Hi,, I Loved your take on MR.. I personally own the new reformed one & I have also used the old vintage 2005 one.. Personally i felt that the reform has more vanilla, Cinnamon & less of the medicinal Cloves.. The quality has not been compromised even one bit, certain people may feel that it has been severly watered down but since the cloves have been Tweaked & made more smoother, the new reformed version feels a tad tamer than the vintage.. I love the new version better because to does not linger longer & waste time to dry down like the old one.. The new one seems more wearable & smells more sweeter & thicker to me.. The Old man Vibe which people talk about has been drastically reduced & its made the scent more wearable & enjoyable.. This is a very subjective opinion but this is exactly what i feel.. As per your take on Meharees.. I also have that & YES i agree that it smells exactly like MR but only in the Heart Note Phase.. The opening of MR is completely different & the opening of Meharees is like MR after an hour.. The cinnamon Vanillic drydown (which is not present in Meharees) of MR smells more opulant & denser than Meharees as the quality of the MR is on a different Stratospheric Level. MR puts a smile on my face whenever I spray it because it evokes a feel good factor of Richness all the time.. I would certainly spend the extra money & go for MR as it gives me more happiness when i wear it due to its rich quality infused ingredients.. 🙂

    Shaurya Kiran

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences with the different versions of Musc Ravageur, and also how the fragrance compares to Meharees! I think your comment will also be a help to people who may be considering Meharees, a different perspective and scent experience. Like you, though, I think Musc Ravageur’s quality is on a completely different and the scent is so wonderfully delicious.

      Thank you for stopping by.

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