by, 10th October 2009 at 11:07 PM (6905 Views)
Musk is a very famous and broadly used ingredient in perfumery. Natural musk combines warm, sweet, animalic and ammoniacal aspects and does not only enriches the perfume composition, but also gives it more affinity with human skin and fixates the fragrance. It’s not used in perfumery anymore substituted by synthetic analogues. Unfortunately they don’t poses all the nuances of natural musk. Stripped off warm animalic and ammoniacal notes synthetic musk is too clean and its sweetness seems to be the only aspect left.
But Maurice Roucel succeeded to unleash the beast and to recreate the fragrance that shows the true character of the real natural musk without using any of it. Chandler Burr reveals the secret in his review. A transparent sweetness of synthetic musk base was fed with warm and animalic notes of synthetic castoreum and dirtied with some filthy animalic and ammoniacal aspects of synthetic civet. Et voila – a natural musk effect and no animal is hurt. But when you create a beast you should think about taming it. But what can balance the dark nasty devastating monster? Of course it should be something white, soft, sweet and kind like Mother Goose… or Vanilla (translated into perfumerian language). Musk and vanilla strengthened with spices like cinnamon and topped with the citrus notes of bergamot and tangerine – that’s the core of Musc Ravageur.
Luca Turin in his guide doesn’t show much enthusiasm about the wild musk creation of Maurice Roucel. He gives it 3 stars and calls it a “hippie musk”. Luca compares the fragrance with Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens. And the dry down of Musc Ravageur reminds Luca the dry down of Envy for man (Gucci). It’s funny to notice that original version of Envy (the one pour femme) is also created by Maurice Roucel in 1997. Well, to me Musc Ravageur indeed shares similar aspects with Ambre Sultan, but is more animalic.
Another interesting comparison is between Musc Ravageur and Shalimar by Guerlain. Well – both fragrances use noticeable doses of vanilla in combination with animal notes, amber and spices. They share similarities, but they are different. But if you like one of them you may like to try another as well. Unlike Shalimar Musc Ravageur doesn’t have any flowers in it – no floral heart at all (as said in the description of this scent). But is it entirely true? Maurice Roucel seems to use Magnolia as a signature scent for the most creations. I don’t recognize magnolia in Musc Ravageur, but I smell an interesting transparent note there. It seems to be an extension of the citrus note – fresh, slightly fruity and floral. It might be hedione and it is the only floral aspect I can find here – like frozen white flower petals.
There are also similarities between Musc Ravageur and Oud 27 (Le Labo). And if you like to try a clean version of transparent sweet musks washed and stripped of all filth and decorated with flowers you might like another creation of Maurice Roucel – Rochas for Man in a very suggestive bottle.
On my skin this fragrance begins with a funny cacophony of all notes playing at once dominated by animalic and ammoniac civet – it’s like the sounds of orchestra warming up just before the theatre performance. But as soon as alcohol evaporates the fragrance finds the balance on my skin. Warm, deep and sweet base of musk and vanilla is present from the beginning through the whole fragrance transforming into the amber. Citruses here are rather cold and frosty (but not crispy) than warm and sunny. The contrast between cold and fresh, but sweet and fruity citrus and warm sweet and deep base of amber, vanilla and musk is the main theme of this perfume. Sometimes I smell a note of almond that reminds me of Louve (Serge Lutens) and later I smell that soft transparent floral note coming from citrus. Spices are present, but they are rather supporters than the main actors. Silage of Musc Ravageur is moderate. I used two sprays on my body and one on my wrists and I couldn’t smell this fragrance all the time (unlike Ambre Sultan, for example). After 4-6 hours it was almost gone and I could only smell it only after putting my nose very close to the skin and warming it with my breath.
To me it’s a wonderful fragrance for the cold time of the year. The flowers are gone (and you can’t find them in the fragrance either), the air is cold and frosty like the citrus part of Musc Ravageur. But you are wearing warm jack, a scarf and gloves made of the warm ambery base. I guess I’ll put this scent together with my other Amber scents as the most animalic amber and use it when I need to use less sweet and a bit nasty amber that doesn’t give too much silage, but still warms my body and soul.
UPDATE: There is an entry about natural Musk in my blog ( here) I also think to write about synthetic musks as well when I have time.
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