Aha! I’m starting to sense a pattern here. Maurice Roucel takes Musc Ravageur out of the bedroom and into the nursery, refashioning it as Helmut Lang EDP.
It’s an amazing accomplishment when you think about it – it shares the same basic DNA as Musc Ravageur, and even smells somewhat similar – and yet the feel of one is a hundred million miles away from the other.
If Musc Ravageur is lying spread-eagled in the boudoir, spilling out of its red lace teddy and trying to disguise its Adam’s apple, Helmut Lang EDP is the tender gripe-water exhalation from a baby sleeping in its cradle. (The only teddy here being the one clutched in fat little baby fingers).
The opening of Helmut Lang EDP always reminds me pleasantly of nightly bath time rituals with my children: the Chicco calendula and lavender baby wash I use, the smell of plush cotton baby towels fresh from the drier, and the innocent smell of the skin at the nape of their necks, which I cannot resist nuzzling.
Few people talk about the sheer sensuality of children these days for risk of being misunderstood – but parents of small children will understand when I say that there is no greater sensual pleasure than the smell and touch of small children. It’s why parents can’t resist nuzzling and sniffing their kids. We are drawn helplessly to their velvety skin and their specific, milky smell.
Helmut Lang EDP smells milky and warm and fresh and innocent to me. It opens with the baby breath of heliotrope, neroli, and pretty orange blossoms. Later, it strikes me that the musk and vanilla is on the knife’s edge of being not-so-innocent after all. Maybe it’s even a little dirty. But not dirty in the Musc Ravageur fun, sex way. Just not as squeaky clean as you might expect from its opening. I don’t find it sexy, though (due to the nursery associations). Just touchingly human in scale, which is nice too.
Helmut Lang EDP is quite modern, airy, and stream-lined, a further departure from the butch oriental category wherein I mentally place Musc Ravageur. But I really should stop comparing them – leaving aside the obvious Maurice Roucel DNA they share – Helmut Lang EDP simply occupies a different place and function in my wardrobe, and I like them both on their own terms.
This review is for the reissue.
For me this starts out as a sweetish, clean musk with a metallic tinge & a hint of florals. l'm not especially keen on that metallic edge, but it quickly dissipates, & over the next few hours a more animalic musk nudges its way to the fore. This musk is soft, warm & friendly, not overly dirty or offensive, & lasts to the very end around ten hours later.
A very nice, intimate skin scent, this is just animalic enough to satisfy, but still just polite enough to be worn in public.
The new version of Helmut Lang's EDP is quite close to the new EDC, just with a slightly more prominent presence of tonka, vanilla and heliotrope - less metallic, transparent and "abstract" than the EDC and a bit more warm, substantial, more balmy and sweeter, and in a way more "conventionally" cozy and clean. Yet, it still carries as well that particular sort of architectural, dusty feel of "gray", so the avantgarde factor which makes Lang's range so unique is here as well. If you had to choose between the new EDP and EDC, my advice would to be to go for this; it's not exactly the same, but is fairly similar, just richer and a bit more persistent. Sadly I can not give my opinion about the faithfulness as regards to the original version, as I've never tried it. As-is, I consider it a really pleasant, clean, well-built scent, a bit costly but unique enough to be worth at least a try (by the way, I agree with the similarity with Labdanum 18).
Synthetic yet cozy, the 2014 re-issue of EdP is soft, warm, and frankly, quite brilliant. It feels deceptively simple, but it’s clear that there’s a great deal of nuance. It strikes the perfect balance between powdery florals, semi-sweet musks, and balmy vanilla with just a touch of cinnamon. It’s like a creamier, more edible Labdanum 18 or a refined and less dramatic Musc Ravageur, yet it feels more accomplished than both through its seeming unfussiness. Furthermore, there’s an insinuation of a laundry motif created through the tiniest inclusion of soapy lavender that makes the scent feel abnormally clean—like a plush toy taken straight from the drier.
It sits close to the skin, but not so close as to be considered a skin scent—and I could see how it could potentially be over-sprayed. However, there’s nothing belligerent about it—no harshness to the synthetics whatsoever, and it somehow keeps from being cloying even when it feels like it should be. It’s pillowy and soft but it doesn’t feel juvenile.
Sadly, I never had the chance to smell the original, and I’m sure that some changes were made at some point (there's an ebanol-style sandalwood lurking in the base), but this is pure, powdery comfort. It’s probably too pricey as it stands, but it does what it does so well that I imagine it won’t be hard to rationalize the price. Total comfort in a bottle.
Got this as a tester bottle from Fragrance Outlet. Pretty good, allot of vanilla i think. Very clean smelling to me. Doesn't hurt my nose like allot of them do.