Review: Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur

Notes: bergamot, tangerine, cinnamon, vanilla, musk, amber.

“I give these ‘fragrance authors’ complete freedom to explore and express their ideas. Each perfumer is free to use the most innovative technologies and the rarest raw materials the industry offers. This freedom drives the artist to construct a scent without conventional boundaries and to refine his or her idea and formula to the most precise detail. When it is achieved, I publish it at “Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle.”

These are the words of wisdom of Frédéric Malle, a gentleman who needs no introduction in the world of niche fragrance. As an innovator hes worked in conjunction with the worlds best noses to create a body of work which defy the conventionalities of modern perfumery; It’s this same innovative and non conformist approach which leads me to hold the house in such high regard and maintain a visceral approach to enjoying each creation.

I perceive each one as animated, vibrant and flirting with the abstract, and as clever artistic statements, they tantalize the senses with rich and colorful contrasts. Musc Ravageur is no exception and remains to this day a firm favorite in an extensive line.

As a so-called rich “oriental for grown ups“, Musc Ravageur is permeating with a sexy, playful flamboyance and a certain je ne sais quoi that only the French do best. Unfolding with a deceptive opening which has Maurice Roucel’s stylistic handwriting all over it, it’s a stark contrast to the eventual evolution, as it slowly and progressively weaves its magic into a lusty siren of a fragrance. Beginning with a mouth watering and tantalizing cool icy bergamot and tangerine, set against a broad backdrop of lavender, the surprise to come of rich woods, musks and spices are yet to make their full entrance to the boudiour, although they remain subtly present.

Allegedly Roucel was inspired by Guerlains classic Shalimar (which it does resemble with certain traits) but I can’t help at this phase being reminded of something which vaguely resembles a prelude to Gucci’s Envy, interesting. Never the less, it’s not particularly “dirty” at this point, but there are some very slight medicinal under currents attributed to the musk, which may equate for the *gasp* “old man smell” association which many seem to be mysteriously picking up. I don’t find the animalic/skank/(insert word here) particularly challenging or off putting, but rather intriguing, since it adds a certain element of mystique and French haute-naughtiness.

Though I do personally find the musk rather fleeting, which is prominent in the opening, yet remains elusive as the scent progresses, rendering the name almost a misnomer at times. Whether this is down to a probable cause of  being anosmic to the supposed variety of musks used is anybodies guess.

Next up comes the focal point and everybodies favorite part of the strip tease, when MR turns unapologetically gourmand and begins to purr like a kitten. Unfolding with a creamy-kaleidoscopic warmth of the sweet (vanilla) and spice (clove/cinnamon) enveloping the wearer like the proverbial cashmere blanket, cozy,dependable and comforting. Staying on this course for the majority of its stay, before slowly unwinding and settling down to lightly woody, ambery base with the rich vanilic sweetness remaining the dominant player. Delicious.

MR gives off a warm radiating projection, if not a little flamboyant, but without becoming vulgar, the balance of control remains impressive I must say. In closing I find the overall scent seriously seductive, decadent and immensely sensual, with the journey towing the fine line between aggressive and restrained, yet managing to pull it all off with some serious class, swagger and charm.

A perfect definition of a genderless fragrance, this one works equally well on a man, woman or beast and although a victim of hype through no fault of its own, it still remains mandatory testing for a new comer to the world of niche perfumery.

Rating: 9/10
Longevity: 9/10
Projection: 7/10
Occasion: Casual, Semi-Formal, Romantic


2 responses to “Review: Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur

  1. Pingback: Where to start? Part 2 (The Gourmands) |

  2. Pingback: Where to start? Part 5 (10 Modern niche classics) |

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