Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

Total Reviews: 156
I was really surprised with this one. It is really much prettier than I thought it would be. The wild imagery that is thrown around with this as a crazy dirty smell are not what I get from it. First and foremost here, I get musk. Lots of musk. I feel that I must just read musks as clean, because this being regarded as a dirtier one, I still think it smells pretty clean. There is something creeping unseen in the distant back that could possibly be the skankyness, I'm having a hard time pinpointing it. 4 hours in it is still readily apparent on my skin. I do get wafts occasionally. I feel like it is very powdery and clean at this stage. Like baby powder. Such a clean and innocent smell juxtaposed against the musk, that others read as naughty I would think would be a beautiful combo. I find this to be a really nice scent. Very sweet, and I don't mean like candy or sugar. Nicely blended. I cannot comment on the vintage, but if the histrionics online are true this one has been neutered. Still a good scent, but not worth the price tag IMO.
31st January, 2019
I just love this one. Brings back memories of the 70's. It is just the perfect combo of civet, labdanum, amber, ambrette, patchouli, musk, and vanilla, on my skin. I don't smell any cumin - thank God. This overall, smells like a powdery sweet scent. Nothing skanky, do I smell.
28th August, 2018
If you look for a strong musk civet fragrance this is it.
Not for everyone not everywhere, though.
Strong personality, protagonist, If you can dress it the place it's ok and the people around the good one this is one of the best scents ever.
Otherwise it can result heavy and inappropriate.
I don't agree with other opinions about stinking fecal etc.

I like it but I guess I could dress it once a year.
27th February, 2018 (last edited: 01st March, 2018)
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I consider Muscs Koublaï Khan to be a well done basic musk, that is versatile and engaging. It is rather straightforward to me - musk and florals. The musk is fresh but sensuous, with a touch of civet and castoreum that lend an animalic touch - clean but slightly edgy. I perceive a subdued note of rose that effortlessly blends in with the musk, and even complements it. I do not detect any spices or woods or leather - MKK has a solid focus on the musk with minimal distraction. I find sillage to be close but persistent, and duration to be over six hours on skin based on a generous application.

MKK is one of those simple fragrances done right with quality materials, and a few notches above the standard fare in terms of execution. For anyone familiar with Kiehl's Musk, which is fresh and summery, MKK can be imagined to be a slightly heavier autumnal version of Kiehl's. While overpriced for what it is, MKK is a must try for anyone looking for a robust musk fragrance for everyday use that is interesting, and becomes a second skin to the wearer.

17th September, 2017
Smells like sexual harassment.
30th August, 2017
This musk is of the variety that most people think of as musk. It is NOT white musk which smells clean like soap, but skanky musk like women wore in the 70s. Animalic and a bit of wax like crayons smell. Slight floral makes an appearance. Not my style, Reminds me of the 70s I smelled this odor every Sunday when older women sprayed fragrance to go to church or out to eat. Ironically it is a feminine fragrance more so than Masculine.
12th June, 2017
Musky crotch smell and then it just turns into something like a floral musk.

Strong projection and longevity.
09th April, 2017
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Now this is a musk! The opening starts with a mix of fresh cistus and a crisp castoreum; soon a faecaloid and rebellious civet appears and provides the core of this creation. This is a convincing musky-civety note, and although it appears to have lost edginess and darkness over the years since it has been released. Still, skanky enough to impress, at least in the opening phase.

In the drydown a pleasant rose appears, but it never goes beyond a mere accompnying rôle. The musk mellows, softens, a change that is supported by a surprisingly smooth patchouli. The faecaloid top notes undergo metamorphic change into a more pleasant, civil and nigh elegant composition.

I get strong sillage, excellent projection and a very impressive longevity of twelve hours on my skin.

A classic, paradigmatic musk creation for winter days, well blended and of good quality ingredients. A musky must for the musk lover. 3.75/5.

Le Musk de Serge
28th December, 2016
This is devilishly divine! :) I ordered a sample and knew I'd want to buy a full bottle at some point. True to its reputation, Muscs Koublai Khan is animalic as all get-out - but in a knowing, sophisticated way, neither crude nor overweaning. It's not even edgy: it's elegant, but just barely. This masterfully blended symphony of musk, civet and floral notes is just lovely.
01st August, 2016 (last edited: 25th July, 2017)
This perfume's hype as a stinker is greatly exagerated.
I don't get the urine/fecal bomb that others speak about. Yes, it is a bit animalistic but, not as bad as most reviews here will have you believe and in fact, it is very nicely and tastefully done.

No overwhelming fecals, or salty sweaty after copulation smell, no camel or unwashed rider, no sweaty female delicates or, any other metaphorical description that has been used to convey how this perfume smells.

Having said all that, my skin has a tendency to tame what others perceive as seriously animalistic perfumes. On my skin this is a nice masculine dark floral, with some mild animalistic and spicy nuances which, gives this perfume a sexy/sensual vibe.

Mine is a new 2016 bell bottle from which I wore two swipes. I will decant 2ml into a spray and see if there are any differences when this perfume is atomised. I shall adjust this review accordingly.

EDIT: I have decanted it and pumped three full blasts, one to my chest and one on each wrist. Other than slightly better projection , no changes.
26th July, 2016 (last edited: 19th June, 2017)
An experiment after reading all of the positive reviews. I wore musc, or "musk" as it was called it back in 1978 for a while. I wasn't that fond of it back then, but it was the new, "thing", and so I wore it. Well, I can say that nothings changed. I still don't care for it. The opening blast of Muscs Koublai Khan was shockingly fecal! I had read that, but honestly couldn't quite believe what I was sniffing on my skin. I have to laugh as I think about this. My journey through the world of fragrance has taken me from unbelievably incredible scents, to urine and feces. I honestly don't understand why fecal is an appealing note in a fragrance for a human being, but this frag is pretty popular, so I guess I don't need to understand it. I also don't think this is one I'll need to experiment with much more. Perhaps when I'm feeling, "pooped" out, I'll give it another try.
17th May, 2016
I initially tested MKK two or three years ago. At that time I was new to Lutens fragrances and to niche fragrances in general, and I found it to be extremely animalic and rather masculine. It did not seem to be a good fit for me at all.

However, I have tested it a couple of times again recently and this time I found it to be much more unisex. I finally was able to discern a demure rose note in it which I quite like. MKK will likely never be my first choice from this house, but I have grown to like it very much now, and I am quite happy to have it in my collection. It is one of a very few fragrances in my collection that emphasise musk and/or civet and/or castoreum, the others being Revlon Intimate and Paco Rabanne La Nuit, both of which I highly recommend along with MKK to those who like these types of fragrances.

Although I still feel MKK is a prominent animalic, as the name suggests, I cannot agree with other reviewers comments that it smells like body odour, etc. It is not a "clean," white musk, but it is not "dirty" either. It is a lightly sweet, musky fragrance with a smidgen of rose, a smidgen of amber, and perhaps a touch of honey although honey is not listed in the notes pyramid, and the more I wear it, the more intoxicating it is to me.

MKK wears fairly close to my skin after the first hour even with a generous six to eight sprays, but it does have a nice, light sillage. Longevity on my skin is quite good at 8+ hours with six to eight sprays. I am not a dabber, so I cannot comment on performance if one dabs it on one's person. I do find it quietly sexy, too. MKK is definitely one of the standout fragrances from this house, and I am very glad I gave it a second chance. Highly recommended to anyone who likes loves musk, civet, and/or castoreum. It might even convert those fragrance lovers who generally steer clear of this fragrance category.

18th April, 2016 (last edited: 09th February, 2018)
Wow, the experts out there really love this. Me, just eh. Starts off very nice, but dries to a very soft floral powder, and by this time much of the musk is long gone. Quite frankly, Original Musk by Kiehl's (nearly identical) is a much better musk at a fraction of the price.
04th April, 2016 (last edited: 18th April, 2016)
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This is another fragrance I was keen to try. I purchased a decant as it seemed risky and expensive for a blind buy. I am very glad I did.

I love the difficult, animalic scents and they are never too much for me. I always have Ungaro II, Kouros and Jicky on hand and I like the sensual, sexual aspect they hold. But this one!! Oh My! It is positively fecal and dirty smelling yet it has something that is compelling to me. I perhaps also smell dust, camel hair and perhaps the guy riding the camel who has not had a bath is a few days!! I like this scent but actually don't know when I would wear it. It is definitely not for everyone.
I maybe can detect some honey and perhaps a pale, wan rose in there but the the fecal aspect is front and center in this one....
A try before you buy sample is in order....
Very interesting and original...if you don't care for an animalic scent you won't like this. But I do!!
03rd April, 2016 (last edited: 26th June, 2016)
Architecturally this resembles Fumerie Turque. Or, by the order chronological vice versa.
In this case, the florals are pushed forward to run aside the incense. The Musk, like the FT is cast behind, shaded. Also in this case, it is Halitosis and Napthalene rich and is the very, "Ambergris" concoction that I have obtained from Al Haramain. A powdery Floral seals this as a masterfully constructed Feminine. FT is masterfully constructed Masculine. These are the only two Lutens I have tasted thus far. They are exceptional.
Guerlain Songe produces the same genre with a Masculine edge.

30th March, 2016 (last edited: 05th January, 2017)
Complete blind purchase, and I am utterly in love.

Simply perfection for animalic scents without the ugly stuff you have to get past to enjoy the excellent stuff.

This will now be a mainstay in my collection. Lord help my bank account.
24th February, 2016
Don't be overly influenced by the reviews that make this one sound incredibly animalic. For the majority of the time it is on your skin, all you'll smell is a dusty rose underpinned by a gorgeous, warm, 1970's musk. In terms of actual notes, they probably include an ambrette-focused musk, civet, a bit of castoreum, dried rose, incense-y spices, and some honeyed beeswax. The dry down somehow smells of gently sun-warmed skin. Don't buy into the "males only" notion, either. This is definitely unisex and is made for any mammal interested in smelling deeply, furrily sensual.

And, yes, there is a slight fecal, sweaty aspect to MKK, especially at first spray, and yet it's the only perfume I can wear when I'm feeling anxious or sick. No other fragrance feels so much a part of my own body--perhaps because it is so skin-like in its odor profile. I cannot begin to analyze why it appeals to me, all I know is that my other perfume-loves have been infatuations compared to my marriage to MKK. Three bottles have only whetted my appetite for this warm and wonderful beast.

16th February, 2016 (last edited: 24th January, 2019)

Muscs Koublai Khan is one of the greatest musk perfumes of all time.a heaven of intriguing classical fragrance development,from spicy_ animalic.a timeless chic for those who want the ultimate natural musk's a fragrance to grap up quickly&enjoy, mesmerize anyone who may want to grasp your Sillage!Warm,Dry,Animalic,Earthy,Classic,Harsh,Confident,Stunning,Classy,Mysterious and Delightfully Sweet scent.

It's strong animalic civet notes,very well balanced with amber and patchouli,there's something mysterious and regal about it.the dry down has sweet and warmth, that gives you confidence,power,you feel special. unisex?No!it is a masculine way.this is what it would smell like.danger,love,sex,mystery,blood and addiction.fear and love.if your skin is a civet eater,then don't be afraid to try this masterpiece.


Longevity?Great on my skin.

12th January, 2016
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
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.

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