Genghis Khan (1990)
by Marc de la Morandiere

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Genghis Khan information

Year of Launch1990
GenderMasculine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 35 votes)

People and companies

HouseMarc de la Morandiere
PackagingSerge Mansau

About Genghis Khan

Genghis Khan is a masculine fragrance by Marc de la Morandiere. The scent was launched in 1990 and the bottle was designed by Serge Mansau

Genghis Khan fragrance notes

Reviews of Genghis Khan

Soapy,woody and slightly green, this old school fragrance smells like many I've smelled before. Kind of reminds me of Lapidus Pour Homme, but better. 7.5/10
07th October, 2019
If you're familiar with 1980s masculines, you've likely already smelled some things that will remind you of Genghis Khan, and if someone had presented me with an unlabeled sample and told me it was an obscure Aramis scent that had been lost to time, I would have believed them.

Genghis Khan feels like a blend of mossy-spicy masculines with a slight "cool" undercurrent (it's vaguely reminiscent of--but is much better than--Aramis New West in certain stages). It's very easy to wear and very pleasant, but it's hard to recommend it above other scents in its lane when it currently commands such high prices.
23rd August, 2019
Not a lot is known about Marc de la Morandiere, other than that they were an early niche purveyor of perfume at a time when that level of the market was still extremely novel and designers hadn't yet succumbed to fully-synthetic designs or mass homologation of style. In essence, the kind of perfume Marc de la Morandiere offered at the time wasn't different enough in qualitative texture to be a superior alternative from mainstream perfume nor really break through, and like Annick Goutal, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, L'Artisan Parfumeur, and Diptyque, sort of just thrummed along carving out its own little slice of the market pie. Of course, this was only until conditions worsened enough through the 90's and into the 2000's to drive connoisseurs away from the beauty counters into high-end perfume boutiques or online and thus into the arms of houses like Marc de Morandiere, but the days of Genghis Khan (1990) had by then passed, with surviving bottles of the original eau de toilette fetching significant coin for being rather rare. Genghis Khan became something of a hyped trophy for vintage collectors with deep enough pockets to flaunt the "unicorns" of yesterday, and perennial favorites for the guys who were around long enough to have stocked up on it when new, until it was finally reissued as an eau de parfum in 2014, alleviating some of the aftermarket pressure. The original packaging is rather novel, and comes in a black urn with rather dramatic red letters, looking exotic and dangerous, even if modern bottles now have the uniformity and simplicity of design that is so often the hallmark of the now over-saturated niche market; oh how things come full circle. The smell of Genghis Khan is nowhere near as fierce compared to the packaging, but what you get may startle you nonetheless. This is a cusp fragrance, or a scent that was released at the crossroads of two distinctive stylistic periods in shift, so it's no wonder it got lost in the mix as fresh fruity and aquatic fare came into prominence when this first arrived.

Huge animalic powerhouses and deep aromatic oakmoss bombs were the catch of the day throughout much of the 1980's, with men's and women's perfumes being so bombastic and aggressive that they were for all intentions unisex and interchangeable. Compare Boss/Boss Number 1 by Hugo Boss (1985) to Knowing by Estée Lauder (1988), and see what I mean. Genghis Khan merges several tropes into one, being on one hand an aromatic chypre with a musky civet and patchouli base similar in tone to the above mentioned, but also a tobacco fragrance on the other hand, with mossy overtones and a bit of an astringent boozy tone not altogether different from Montana Parfum d'Homme (1989) or the later Aramis Havana (1994). There is some sandalwood here and a few hat tips to the fougère, but it all just simmers down to the chypre accord at the end. The opening is the expected rather-rakish bergamot, with a mix of cloves, lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme, and some pepper. The fougère element is strongest here, but once the boozy tobacco and nutmeg heart settle in, we stray closer to the Havana/Montana vibe. Something about this heart also reminds me of Roger & Gallet Open (1985) minus the fat vetiver accord, with the ashy feel of Open supplanted by an incense note that could be olibanum but I'm not so sure. The base is all chypre at the end, with musky civet, patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss, and amber, almost oriental with its richness but dry enough to dodge that summation. Again, this is not different enough from what designers at the time were doing to really be as niche as it lets on, but in modern times certainly fits the bill, as most of its competition is either discontinued or reformulated without the "vavoom" of restricted aromatics. Wear time is appreciable at 8 hours and sillage is definitely period correct, so go easy on the trigger and avoid hot weather. Sources have it the modern version leans more on patchouli than civet, so if animalics scare you, then you may want to track down a new bottle instead of the original presentation.

I like Genghis Khan, and I can see how somebody could fall in love with it, but I don't fully get the hype, although I seldom do with most vintage scents placed upon pedestals oh-so high for being "forgotten lost masterpieces of a time when life was better than it is now" blah blah blah. Not bashing anyone with rose-tinted glasses towards this genre of fragrances because I know full well nostalgia is a hell of a drug, but for those reading these remarks without a bottle to smell in person, do not be swayed by them. Genghis Khan is another "bit of this, bit of that" B-lister fragrance which appeals to fans of quirky stylistic mash-ups or the "left of center" vibe which takes a theme common from the era in which it hails then twists it in a semi-novel way, but is no holy grail sauce. Genghis Khan certainly delivers as a boozy tobacco dry animalic chypre, and while it fails to conjure images of the namesake conquer, does feel at home in a seedy bar somewhere in the wilds of tropical Southeast Asia. You'll certainly achieve alpha male status wearing this one, but if you buy any of the comparables mentioned you'll still get rather close to the same effect and have an entire wardrobe of options instead of just one fragrance that mixes them. People who love musky things may see this as superior to other boozy tobacco numbers, but the application here is dry and powdery, not of the sweaty jock strap variety that drives the hardcore Kouros (1981) fans wild. All in all, this Maltese Falcon among collectors is worth a pick up at a good price, but considering it doesn't truly do anything you can't get elsewhere, really just ends up being the trophy the packaging makes it out to be at first glance. Still, this is no fault of Marc de la Morandiere, as a modern version sans the urn bottle is available for less money if the odd but enjoyable scent is all that matters. Thumbs Up
30th July, 2019
I'm trying the vintage edt of this, and it's nice. It presents itself to me as a relation of Aramis Havana and Montana Parfum d'Homme. This version has a nice warmth to it.

With all these fragrances, and there are a few others I know I've sampled, but I can't remember which specifically, I like them, but I feel like I'm still developing a taste for them.

Through a more enthusiastic lens, I could smell this as a relation of Versace L'Homme, one of my favorites.
24th June, 2019
My take is what's within the mongol cauldron looking bottle <vintage> and will forever be associated with hyenas and a certain virtual persona of prolific posting prowess...

It is quite spicy. Clove, nutmeg and other kitchen spices. The backbone, though, seems a rum-like-sweetened resinous amber. It projects as much as I care for it to, even under clothing, and it lasts.

Bijan, Old Spice, Havana, Moschino pH, MPG Eau des Iles, Davidoff '84, Edition... these come to mind when I wear GK. Common aspects to a degree, though on the whole I'd say it's rather unique.
21st December, 2017
Stardate 20170818:

Reformulated EDP version in the old style bottle:

I do not know how different this is from the vintage but AFAIK the EDP in old style bottle is pretty close to original.

I sought this one out cause it is liked by many and is hyped. I must say this is one of the bigger disappointments I have had in this hobby.
Starts out with spices but then a discordant sour note emerges and destroys it. After a while the sourness subsides giving way to spices,patch and some sweet amber.
All in all a pretty average fragrance. Definitely not worth the price.
Neutral to Thumbs down.

Update :
Stardate 20190722:

Tried the EDT vintage version. Much better than EDP. The sourness is not as pronounced and is softened by musky powderiness. I find it office-safe and classier version of Joint by Roccobarocco.
It is musky (banned nitros) with a hint of civet.
Thumbs up for vintage version and Thumbs down for current. So neutral rating
18th August, 2017 (last edited: 22nd July, 2019)

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