Reviews of Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

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    Dane77's avatar

    Denmark Denmark

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    Fascinating and very sophisticated, Muscs Koublaï Khän is a supremely balanced exercise in animalic notes and oriental associations. Vast amounts of “furry” ingredients (civet, musc, and ambrette seeds) conjoin to create a gorgeous illusion of relaxed physicality, living bodies, and warm skin. A light ambery sweetness and a pinch of rose support the main theme with perhaps a tiny dose of the Lutens hallmark spiciness. All in all, a beautiful, very relaxing, and supremely confident fragrance.
    Muscs Koublaï Khän has spawned a lot of heated discussion, controversy, and hysterical reactions – one might easily get the impression that this is some kind of ironic postmodern attempt to create something outrageous for the sake of that alone. That would be wrong; this is not État Libre d’Orange’s deconstructed bodies and avant-garde secretions. Muscs Koublaï Khän is essentially a contemporary reinterpretation of classic approaches to animalics in the finest French tradition. There is nothing ironic here. This is simply a magnificent civet-musc perfume with some wonderfully complex nuances and a charming carefree classiness. Exquisite.

    02 August, 2014

    Way Off Scenter's avatar

    United States United States

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    Genre: Oriental

    If ever a scent took long acquaintance to appreciate, it’s Muscs Koublaï Khan. My first (and second, and third, and fourth…) attempts at wearing Muscs Koublaï Khan all ended in puzzlement, if not utter revulsion. The unabashedly raunchy animal reek that assails the nose when this scent hits the skin goes beyond challenging: it’s outright scary. It’s every secretion ever extracted from a mammalian backside all rolled into one. Who in their right mind would want to smell like this? Me, it turns out.

    What changed my mind? During one of those seemingly endless attempts to wear and understand this scent, my wife came up behind me and asked me what I was wearing. I fumbled apologetically for a moment before she continued, with a leer: “That smells goooooood!” It was Mikey with Life cereal. (“He likes it?) Clearly there was something to be said for this pungent concoction.

    The fact is, if you can inure yourself to it, Muscs Koublaï Khan is kind of like a bulldog: it’s so ugly that it’s perversely beautiful. To wear it is to flaunt your gonadal urges and your mammalian stench. You just have to accept the fact that you’ll smell as if you're coming off of a sweaty sexual encounter on a bed with decidedly stale sheets. If you can swallow that, you can wear Muscs Koublaï Khan with pride. There are indeed times when I want to smell post-coital, and when those times come I reach for my bell jar of Muscs Koublaï Khan.

    19 June, 2014

    cybervoltage's avatar



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    After reading some of the horrific reviews of this online - I was skeptical. I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The opening does smell a bit like a dirty urinal (urinal cake and all), but that quickly disappears and what's left is a powdery, soft warm floral musk. This reminds me a lot of the old Classic Lagerfeld (1978) with the volume turned WAY down. The "dirty" anamalic elements in this composition are blended so masterfully that they don't scream out (post dry-down).

    I'm glad I decided to take a chance on this one! If "dirty musks" are making a comeback, this is the one for me.

    06 June, 2014

    deadidol's avatar



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    There are a number of scents that I’ve considered central to my collection for some time which, for whatever reason, I’ve never felt the need to review in the same manner that I review other scents—probably because my evaluation of them was finalized long ago. Serge Lutens' MKK is one of those scents that I've never had to question as anything less than a masterpiece and it’s probably one of the most impressive accomplishments of modern perfumery.

    If you’re reading these reviews of MKK, you probably have a sense of what this fragrance is about—or at least the hysterical “eww, gross” discourse that surrounds it. Yes, it’s carnal; yes, it’s a lurid; yes, it makes adherents of “fresh” and "sugary" scents start to cry. But despite the hyperbole, it’s an astonishing articulation, and quite possibly Sheldrake’s finest moment for the brand.

    From start to finish, this is musk as it should be—entirely animal with every “challenging” note of perfumery folded into it. It pushes against the borders of decorum in a bold way, yet never quite crosses the line. And that’s its brilliance; it’s entirely suggestive of some hardcore, vigorous human interactions, but it’s all an implication. It’s as if every dirty odor imaginable has been distilled with the most inexplicably appealing aspects extracted and showcased. There’s a facet of unwashed junk, a facet of indole, and a facet of decay, yet none of them smell off-putting in the slightest—instead, they’re rendered as magnetically alluring and distinguished on the skin. And that’s what makes the scent so special: the dexterity with which it walks a fine line between good taste and depravity. Outside of the musk, it’s essentially a polite floral with a slight resinous backbone. The florals (a minor rose) are subdued, but you get the impression that they’re critical the overall structure. It’s a tad powdery and, even at the time of its release, it felt like a bit of a throwback scent. Yet, ultimately, it's timeless.

    Because of the imagery that the scent evokes, it’s simply not that versatile—you don’t want to wear this to the gym, for example. But there are plenty of places where it’d be entirely suitable (use your imaginations). And in that sense, it could even be rendered quite formal. Completely unisex, completely provocative, and technically show-stopping. Sixteen years after its release and it’s still the touchstone and the model musk fragrance—it’s just that good.

    20th May, 2014

    noideawhatimsaying's avatar



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    Absurdly horrible. Smells like feces and urine combined into a fermenting mess of a fragrance.

    05 May, 2014

    scooptn's avatar

    United States United States

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    I don't get the dirty, stinky vibe at all. but it does seem to be a complex scent. If you over think it, then yes maybe a bit dirty. My only complaint, is the longevity on my skin is terrible. Maybe a couple of hours at best.

    I wore this again yesterday, and longevity was very good, not sure what the problem was with the first wearing.

    19 December, 2013 (Last Edited: 21st January, 2014)

    IAmKing's avatar



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    King of the Muscs

    I consider this the Niche King of the Muscs. A beautiful blend of my two favorite notes: Floral and Musk, and not just any musk: dirty, manly muscs. MKK starts off as a rose-floral and a hint of musk and as it dries down, a full blown dirty Musc. One spray is all I would reccommend. More than One, and you are asking for some serious trouble.

    I wouldnt recommend a Woman wearing this fragrance. It would be instantly a turn off for me, and some of my male friends agree wholeheartedly. MKK is a fragrance I would wear intimately or within the confines of my personal space, i.e. home, snuggled under the covers with a significant other. My other love, Musc Raveguer By Maurice Roucel, would be a musc I would wear on a date or black tie affair.

    07 October, 2013

    dapperdonblu's avatar



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    IAmKing Musk

    This is my very first Serge Lutens purchase.

    First off, I would like to say this to all High End Department stores i.e Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman. If you hire someone to represent the Fragrance section, make sure you quiz the individual on the fragrance they are representing, because I shouldnt have to stand there and explain to your employees what Serge Lutens is and what is Muscs Kublai Khan or Tuberuese Criminelle.

    Now, to MKK.

    Starts off from first spray of Florals and a lil bit of anamalic Musk. Then evolves to a full blown Dirty Musck, sexy and "sex" like.

    Ive been reading the reviews on many sites from smelling like ass to dirty nutts to rose smelling HOBOS. None of these is true. But I will tell you this, this fragrance is not fro the faint at heart. I couldnt see a woman wearing this. SOrry Ladies. It would be a total turn off. But it also takes a Manly-type of man, powerful and confident to pull this off.

    Longevity is a monster, but silliage is moderate, which it should be, because more than one or two sprays and you are asking for it.

    I would wear this fragrance more on a third or forth date out, or cozing up with a significant other. On the first date or sexy hookup, i would wear Musc Ravegeur, hands down!!

    20th September, 2013

    Skelly's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I've ordered a larger sample...

    I bought a small sample of this - along with a few others - from e-bay. On first application it smelt like a rancid, stale, beer soaked bar towel. But although all the others still have a fair amount left, this one's empty. I've ordered a larger sample...

    -

    15 July, 2013

    Shavely Manden's avatar



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    Like the inside of a public restroom

    I really wanted to like this one...sadly, it really smells like a poorly cleaned toilet on first application. It gets a little more manageable later, but the problem remains...its primary note on my skin is of stagnating urine. By all that's good, get a sample before investing in this one.

    Pros: Gets a tiny bit more powdery and manageable after a while
    Cons: Strong top note of urine on my skin

    03 June, 2013

    Jack Hunter's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    A nice floral dark muskness with the smell of fur and there seems to be a dryness at the heart of the scent. Like someone wearing a fur jacket on the desert sands.

    I find this very wearable to the office and do not understand the fuss this fragrance generates for been skanky.

    26 February, 2013

    Jkidd's avatar



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    I personally can not wear this yet...too skanky. However, I can admit that this is the very best Musk fragrance ever created. Maybe too grown up for me right now but nonetheless beautiful.

    24 January, 2013

    Wheatstraw2's avatar

    United States United States

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    What a disappointment. It's pretty cold out today and the weather got me into the mood to seek out a new powerhouse fragrance for my collection. I was thinking, heavyweight, deep, strong, and assertive. Based on (some of) the reviews, I bundled up and set out on foot to a neighborhood store to spray on some MKK. Seemed like a can't-miss. After all, Kublai Khan invaded countries. What guy wouldn't want to smell like a marauding invader for a few hours? So, eager with anticipation, I'm thinking, this one's gonna be good. Powerhouse, dictatorial, opulent, King Farouk - after he topped 300 pounds - that kind of thing. In any event, setting aside whatever the name of it is, I was looking forward to getting a new winter fragrance that would have a sort of density and gravitas to it.

    Well that's not how I experience this one. Instead, I get this grandmotherly, civet-laden, baby poop kind of vibe. Actually more feminine, in a nursing home kind of way, than masculine. In my view. Hey, some people actually like civet. I, apparently, don't. So I didn't make the purchase and I have to, for now, give up the idea of telling people that my cologne is named after a warrior king, which is fine, but I really wanted to like this one. It's got a great name but I really don't think it lives up to it. Maybe it should be called "Elderly Mrs. Khan"? In all fairness, I'll give it another try at some point, and give it a neutral for now.

    22 January, 2013

    teardrop's avatar

    England England

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    The opening is indeed a filthy, skanky musk, reminiscent of unwashed persons & untended public toilets. l can see its animalic appeal though, & l think it might work well on my Kouros-wearing bf! After a few minutes, it smooths out into a soft skin scent of animal fur with a faint, unidentifiable floral note & a touch of clean musk. ln the heart there's a little saltiness, & a sweet puff of powder in the base. After the opening, it wears very close to the skin on me, but l can still smell traces of it an outstanding fourteen hours after application.
    For myself, l prefer Musk Ravageur, finding it more complex & more on the feminine side. But l think MKK would be incredibly attractive on the right man.

    16 January, 2013

    qnagi's avatar

    England England

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    Imagine the film Jumanji where the floor boards begin to shake and the books begin to fall off the shelves. However, instead of running away from the stampede of rhinos, lions, giraffes and other wild African animals you get completely trampled on but somehow stay alive. Like a phoenix, you rise up, chest out and triumphant. The aroma from Muscs Koublai Khan is the above experience on my skin.

    Unique, special, intriguing and worth owning. Every fragrance collection should have a wild / animal one and this is almost literally, the 'mutts nuts'.

    06 January, 2013

    IndianapolisVet's avatar

    United States United States

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    The grown up version of Speed Stick Musk. A little perfumy, occasionally and randomly smells like poop, the rest of the time, just a damn fine musk. I enjoy this a little more every time I wear it.

    08 December, 2012

    Andrè Moreau's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    not bad but nothing extraordinary. It seems to be too similar to many other "musc" parfums. Overrated in my opinion.

    17 November, 2012

    leto's avatar

    Turkey Turkey

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    This is a great animalic musk with slight floral undertones. I can't get the "men's crotch" or "butthole" connotations, this is a very good fragrance slightly reminiscent of Shalimar.

    01st November, 2012

    JackTwist's avatar

    United States United States

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    To this date, I had only sampled A LA NUIT, a pure jasmine scent that lasts and lasts and is true to my favorite floral.

    MUSCS is another winner for me. Subtle, fragrant musk combines with an animalic note that is reminiscent of sweat and sex. Stunning and very sensual.

    Too bad this (like all SL creations) is so expensive. I will be saving for a bottle in the near future and will use sparingly to make it last.

    A real winner in my book.

    31st October, 2012

    hoschhti's avatar

    Germany Germany

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    In the beginning all I'm smelling is a slightly dirty, soapy and synthetic rose. After a while it starts smelling like my grandma! So you certainly understand that I don't want to smell like this! Totally overrated and absolutely not worth the buzz!

    01st October, 2012 (Last Edited: 02 October, 2012)

    jbordeau's avatar

    United States United States

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    No one mentions the prominent Sherlock Holmes's pipe smell of this. It has that, something sweet that could be honey or tobacco, and then the same fecal note you always notice in Grey Flannel. For so many people to identify so many nouns they associate with this fragrance is telling. Complex and worthy of sampling repeatedly.

    14 September, 2012

    tymanski's avatar



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    i've always had a bottle on hand for that precise time when nothing else would do. it IS a big,radiant, steamy fur that dries down to a lil wee pussy cat. musk.... plus a whole galaxy of contrasting elements (musk-rose, for starters).
    this is inspired and fearless perfumery.

    speaking of inspiration, i recently got the idea to layer my favourite indolic - the animalic jasmine SARRASINS - with MKK. it was wicked! so i went even further and actually combined 1/3 MKK with 2/3 Sarrasins in a spray bottle....... eureka!
    close to the holy grail, to my nose at least.

    vive serge lutens!

    03 September, 2012

    barclaydetolly's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is one of the few colognes I find disgustingly offensive. Bad, bad body odor. Really awful. I cannot convey how much I dislike this smell.

    20th June, 2012

    hellkelpie's avatar

    Australia Australia

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    I love a down and dirty musk, but all I got from this was musk sticks. For non-Australians: confectionery. Sweet, sweet and sugary musk-adjacent sweetness. Not a hint of animalic tendency. It must be skin chemistry at fault.

    02 June, 2012

    someperfumes's avatar

    United States United States

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    I do get the sweaty fecal notes, but they are so subtle, lurking in the background. But the foreground is warm, sensual, very comforting, and it makes me feel very sexy. I can't stop smelling my wrist!

    30th May, 2012

    Darvant's avatar

    Italy Italy

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    What a challenging fragrance, an hardly approachable animal and rosey musk of unbelievable beauty. At the beginning i catch immediately the musk, a touch of bergamot and a sort of rose-blackberries  chord. In a while a  strange and arcane brewing whiff of fermenting  animal substances (civet, cistus labdanum, amber, castoreum, honey, wax etc) starts to work and is like the flowers would restlessly strive to couteract the dirtiness. The outcome is a rosey mossy-mouldy beastly olfactory dirtiness. I know that many can find this kind of smell too much daring or beyond the limits and infact this one is just for the lovers of the genre. A wonderful musk envelops the elements and is a sort of smooth, mossy musk, a musk surrounded by mushrooms, truffles and moulds under my nose, a dissonant musk with floral-fruity retro accents and with some "stinky" and fecal deflections. I absolutely detect the fecal and sweaty human/organic note and it's the main responsible of the stinky dissonance i smell around. The patchouli is one of the standout elements and it's finally syrupy, mossy and dark as well as it is in Mazzolari Lui. The final aroma is obscure, mysterious, slightly incensey-waxy and fully decadent, the color of the juice is ideally dark-green and the ambiences conjured by the whiffs are sinister and stuffy old parisian rooms full of tapestries, golden lamps and candels. A bit disappointing the sillage to me. Wonderful work anyway.

    23 May, 2012 (Last Edited: 24 December, 2013)

    TOONS1200's avatar

    United States United States

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    this fragrance reminds me of waking up with dry drool all over your pillow. it smells like that with an added freshness/sweetness from rose. that's all she wrote. it's an okay scent as far as creativity, but otherwise i would pass on this one

    28 February, 2012

    rttoronto's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    Oh Muscs Koublaï Khän, where have you been all my life? This is by far the most beautiful and complex musk I have ever smelled. I think where it really shines is in the dry down.

    28 February, 2012

    kushkov's avatar

    United States United States

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    Wow, now this is what a musc should smell like.

    Off the top: Dark, earthy, spicy... wet fur? yes... fecal? hmm, maybe. Very animalic. Drydown is truly beautiful. Rose, civet, soap musk, and a bit of honey. The smell of sun-warmed skin. As another reviewer said, truly effortless to enjoy. I find this the sexiest smell I could smell on a woman. Truly, this is beautiful, give this a chance beyond the first hour.

    25 December, 2011

    bejahu's avatar

    United States United States

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    I have given this one several test runs. My sad conclusion is that this is an unwearable fragrance for me. It opens with the overwhelming barnyard smell of dried animal urine. Yes, I know this is a musk, but the strong urine-like smell is too extreme, too strong, and it last far too long.

    My apologies to the fans of this fragrance, and to Mr. Lutens, but this fragrance is repugnant to me. I cannot fathom a situation where I would want to smell so distasteful.

    Please do not blind buy this. Try before you buy. It is expensive, and, unfortunately on my skin, it is disgusting.

    18 December, 2011 (Last Edited: 03 August, 2012)

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