Reviews

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

I admit I jumped into the deep end with Muscs Koublai Khan. But what hooked me was that not one review of this scent was lukewarm; people either detested it or loved it. MKK was a 1.5 ml vial among 9-10 1 ml vials I purchased, almost all musks, ambers and/or leathers. On me MKK doesn't smell like urine cake, peed on toilet, clean or sweaty balls, cats in heat, barnyard, cows, ass, any of those things. I have worn it 3 times so far.

It goes on sharp at the top of my nose, but not irritating at all, more like the smell of a clear alcohol drink, a G&T on ice or martini with Hendricks. 10-15 minutes in, the closest it comes to the stables is a sweet clean smell redolent of well-tended horses. Then a little sour, a little salt to ground the increasing sweetness of the musk. It remains earthy in such a way that I sniff at my skin compulsively. I would love to smell it on a man. No longevity or sillage; on me, it is purely a skin scent, one that I have to reapply. About 2 inches from my skin, I can't smell it at all.

After a few hours it fades down to something approaching dusty, spicy old rose, but not. Doesn't resemble any flower that I know of. Unless it is flowers in a sun-dappled clearing in the depths of a deciduous forest where I have just dismounted my horse after a gallop. Flowers that grow in the sour, rich must of the leaves, combining with the scent of my horse, faint leather -- and above all my skin. It is a scent that waits to be pollinated, consummated, to be tasted, sniffed, or rubbed against.

I absolutely love this stuff. I am certain it would smell different on a man. On me it's female, carnal and subtly suggestive with no skank at all. (Trust me -- I've smelt Putain des Palaces, Bal a Versailles, and Bogue Maal.) MKK requires a man to come close to enjoy it.

I have a renewed fascination with perfume after years of abstaining due to fragrance allergies, prior to which I wore Bvlgary Black, YSL Paris before that, Equipage, and other green scents even earlier. After years of deprivation and envying the enticing sillage wafting off other women, I became convinced (hopeful) that with so many fragrances out there, there had to be at least one for me.

Now there is MKK, God bless Serge Lutens. I await 4 other SL vials including Tubereuse Criminelle, and FM Carnal Flower -- none of which I would have entertained trying were it not for my adoration of MKK. Something to be said for jumping in at the deep end.
24th June, 2015
This is a very incense based fragrance, so much so it really reminds me of strolling through the hippy markets in Goa and taking in all the glorious wafts of authentic Indian josticks.
13th April, 2015
Muscs Koublai Khan is funky like James Brown. I can vouch for that for real. If the God Father of Soul were still with us today, I would send him a bottle of this juice as a gift. When I wear it, I feel like listening to Sex Machine and shakin my money-maker.
02nd April, 2015
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Finally got a bottle after all these years! My mom went to Paris last week and she had to go all the way to Palais Royal Sheishedo to get it.

I am speechless, I love this scent. No need to deconstruct. You just have to smell it to appreciate it.

Masterpiece.
29th November, 2014
This is why I love Serge Lutens...

Muscs Koublaï Khän is a wonderfully animalic, raw but also a very soft, gorgeous scent. I really love this one, for a lot of reasons. I think mainly because I love to be challenged and I love the smell of classic perfume, like Jicky and Shalimar. I love the way those earlier perfumes were both soft and dirty and sensual all at the same time. Muscs Koublaï Khän and Musc Ravageur remind me of that.

I actually think that this one is much more authentic and raw than Musc Ravageur. I really get the honey and civet here. What Muscs Koublaï Khän is all about, is Honey and Civet and Rose and spices. In the beginning I get the florals and Musk side by side. It dries down to a beautiful Amber and Patchouli base. I don't get the Cumin but I do get the Ambrette seed and Caraway seed. Basically I would describe this as a spicy Rose fragrance. Nothing sweaty or "fecal" about it (as others have mentioned). This reminds me of sexy warm skin. Warm with perfume and a little hint of sweat, but not really too dirty. As others have said, it smells "intimate" and more than a little sexual. I think it's fantastic.

I would say a little application goes a long way. This is actually a fantastic dirty and spicy Rose fragrance, and very sexy to wear. I think anyone could wear this, male or female, and it would go well with fine clothes when you are all dressed up. It's powerful but soft, and sexy and seductive. This is why I love Serge Lutens, it makes me feel that real perfume is still being made even today. Be patient with this one, and perhaps you will see the beauty inside the beast. Beauty and sensuality, just pure joy.
10th September, 2014
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.
02nd August, 2014
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.
19th June, 2014
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.
06th June, 2014
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
Absurdly horrible. Smells like feces and urine combined into a fermenting mess of a fragrance.
05th May, 2014
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.
19th December, 2013 (last edited: 21st January, 2014)
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.

07th October, 2013
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
Advertisement — Reviews continue below

Skelly Show all reviews
United Kingdom
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...

-

15th July, 2013
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

03rd June, 2013
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.
26th February, 2013
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.
24th January, 2013
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.
22nd January, 2013
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.
16th January, 2013
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'.
06th January, 2013
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.
08th December, 2012

not bad but nothing extraordinary. It seems to be too similar to many other "musc" parfums. Overrated in my opinion.
17th November, 2012
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
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
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: 02nd October, 2012)
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.
14th September, 2012
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!
03rd September, 2012
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
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.
02nd June, 2012
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