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

    Find out more about Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in the Basenotes Fragrance Directory


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    Splash's avatar

    United States United States

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    Yum! Human musk with sexual associations, burned cotton/linen, fertile earth, dry leaves, beeswax and smokey vanilla. Primal, alive, must have always!!!

    02nd March, 2010 (Last Edited: 03rd March, 2010)

    Boster's avatar

    United States United States

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    I purchased a small sample of this thinking that if the fecal and overtly smelly notes listed by many reviewers really did come across, next stop would be the shower. Now, I think this fragrance should be used to experiment on how different people perceive odor, because for the life of me, I can't detect anything remotely "dirty" about it. I can agree with many that the main accord evokes clean (not soap clean) skin, natural soft animal muskiness, and intimate warmth.
    Completely unisex and wears close to the skin. I have the feeling that MKK can morph easily to any person's individual character and would probably be good for layering with just about anything.
    Really, really, something special.

    19th February, 2010

    rasputin's avatar

    United States United States

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    I love this one.... a friend retrieved me a bottle from the SHISEIDO salon under the operahouse in Paris... And it is worth the $200.

    To me this is a masculine smell... sweaty young male torso... like the smell of a white cotton t-shirt worn all day on a summer day by the hunkiest, handsomest 22-year-old, tattooed, goateed, dirty auto mechanic you know.

    It is undeniably animal, yet has a close-to-the-skin sillage, and can be blended beautifully with other musk-based scents, like SHALIMAR, f'rinstance.

    If you prefer the musk family of fragrances, as I do, you may well have found your Holy Grail.

    Lovers of MKK will be happy to know that it is now available Stateside at LUCKYSCENT in Los Angeles.

    19th February, 2010

    brrrry's avatar

    United States United States

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    Easily in my top five. Not dirty at all, except for maybe a few minutes during the opening. It's actually quite beautiful. One of the few Lutens that I immensely enjoy along with Ambre Sultan. Another one of those scents that most people around you won't get or enjoy. But, personally I wear this for my own enjoyment and wouldn't have it any other way.

    18th February, 2010

    Thebigstinque's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    I’m a newbie both to BN and to writing fragrance reviews so I’m appreciative of the effort put forth by Basenoters. Since I’m barely smart enough to realize that personal taste factors into all reviews, I was intrigued by some of the criticisms of Lutens’ Muscs Koublai Khan.

    I have to confess to not having the experience required to compare anything to “the fecal note...”, “unwiped backside…” or “unwashed genitalia doused in rose oil…” cited by critics of this scent – I guess I’m just hanging with the wrong people. In my addled mind these appraisals made MKK a “must try” product. I figured , what the hell, worst case, I take one whiff, my toupee starts to flap, steam comes out of my ears, my eyes pinwheel, my nose twitches, the dog lifts a leg on me…at least I can remonstrate with my (imaginary) friend Ollie about another fine osmic mess he’s gotten us into.

    So I break into the package, dip the dipper thingamajiggy, go stand next to the shower, slap the juice on my chest and assume the civil defense position expecting my hide to blister, to be raped by a horny Chihuahua or both. I wait and I wait…nothing! Bupkis! No urge to take a wire brush to my person, no flooding of the nostrils, no loss of consciousness. Instead, up floats a warm, vaguely floral/oriental note over a benign musk, subtle and complex enough to remain interesting. Now, 5 hours later, I have to stick my beak down my shirt (now THAT takes a nose!) to get a whiff of a funkier musk, but still nothing that would attract maggots.

    So what’s with the arm waving, or is it nose-pinching? My skin chemistry, as a native of this planet, can’t be all that different. “Feces”? “Genitalia”? C’mon folks, take a deep breath (yes, it’s safe to breathe now, really). If ya don’t like the stuff, that’s cool, but why shoot your own review in the foot with hyperbole? Besides, didn’t Napoleon tell Josephine not to bathe when he was coming home?

    Since this is supposed to be about the juice, MKK is worth a try, interesting, but not my favourite – a conditional thumbs up.

    09th February, 2010 (Last Edited: 18th February, 2011)

    Handsome Toad's avatar

    United States United States

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    I am very sad that I bought a decant sample of this. All of my other 40-50 fragrances I own have now been diminished (to me) - hollow vestiges of their former selves. I had to have this and ordered it before the smell had even begun to fade from my initial spray. Only place I found it was Barney's and they only had the 50ml bottle. Stupid purple dinosaur! I hope my decant lasts until it gets here.

    Not offensive, rank, funky, or foul, but maybe skanky in a "Come here and let's Fcuk all night and I lick the sweat off your neck before I bite you because you smell so good" kind of way. SeXXXy stuff indeed!!! This is my Holy Grail scent.

    18th January, 2010

    shamu1's avatar

    United States United States

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    This is probably the most animalic fragrance I have ever smelled. It smells like it’s made almost exclusively of bodily fluids and animal secretions, with just a touch of floral notes and spice to sweeten it and prevent it from smelling like someone’s crotch.

    Although Muscs Koublai Khan is animalic, it doesn’t smell dirty or disgusting at all. It blends beautifully with skin probably because it smells like skin – warm, tanned skin with fresh sweat. More like “body smell” than B.O..

    I’m not a big fan of Serge Lutens’ fragrances because most of the ones I’ve sampled seem more like overblown, self-indulgent showpieces rather than scents that can be actually worn comfortably. Muscs Koublai Khan, however, is an outstanding, fascinating and totally unique scent that is both extremely masculine and extremely feminine. It’s the kind of scent that seems to mold itself to its wearer – you really don’t need to have a certain personality or look to successfully pull off wearing this.

    This really is a one of a kind fragrance, and something truly special.

    14th January, 2010

    dwnwrdishvnwrd's avatar

    United States United States

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    After spending a couple of days with this I can certainly say that this is an awesome fragrance. I was a little leery about the first spritz. After reading through all of the reviews I was almost certain that I would end up smelling like I had grown a pair of testicles on my chest and that those testicles need a good washing.

    I spray it on and the first thing I smell is honey. Extremely rich, tasty honey. I didn't get any of the horrible funk and I certainly (thank goodness) didn't get balls. Small spray to the inside of the elbows and dab my wrists in each and I certainly start to get a little funk but nothing that is off-putting. It's a very sensual, slightly skanky note but it's not very heavy at all. It's blending in very well with the honey notes and it mellows out the sweetness of this frag.

    This would actually be too sweet to me if not for that note. It reminds me of the smell of the inside of a woman's thighs. But, then again, everything reminds me of that so it's not at all surprising to me. I've embraced my overly sexual nature and, most oftentimes, cherish it. If it wasn't for my constant tail-chasing I probably wouldn't care how I smell. Loving women brought me to this wonderful hobby of mine and that hobby led me to this richest of perfumes.

    This is a very (to myself at least) sweet scent. A delicate application is definitely in order. It blossoms very well with my skin. It also smells very expensive. That's a very nebulous term to use when describing a scent but some smells are cheap and other smells are expensive. This has an expensive smell to it. I think to say it smells of luxury, refinement, sophistication, and it does smell a bit naughty in a tenderly flirtatious way.

    I was expecting the bastard lovechild of Kouros, Eau de Hermes, and a Mongol raider but instead (happily) received a honeypot. Take that any way you choose. :)

    19th December, 2009

    bokaba's avatar

    United States United States

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    I was finally after much anticipation able to sample the fabled Muscs Koublai Khan. I must say that this fragrance has neither good longevity or sillage, but that might be quite overbearing for one like this. I imagine MKK as mixture of Eau de Hermes's prodigious sweaty cumin note up front and an animalic musk similar to Kiehls Musk, but higher quality than either of the former. MKK combines a sweaty cumin and civet opening with a floral heart and a dry down of musk, moss, vanilla, and tonka. I would get it if you can afford it otherwise get Eau de Hermes or Kiehls. I imagine MKK might become quite vociferous in warm weather though.

    01st December, 2009

    HighEstate's avatar



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    This is kind of silly - I have just joined BN so I can post this review, but it's a bit of a waste of time: I can't really see myself ever posting another review because I can't quite imagine myself wearing any other perfume ever again.
    I am now getting to the end of my first bell jar, having worn it through the summer and now wearing it through the winter; I have just received my second jar so that I don't have to be waiting for it to arrive when the first runs out soon. I may get the new spray as well (at the moment, I have decanted into several bottles for gym, travel, work).
    This is a truly stunning, complex, amazing scent - on me, it wears very close to the skin and creates a fantastically warm, seductive scent (the notes have been well documented here); the animalic notes are just enough to keep this interesting and human - there is definitely a suggestion of clean human sweat but then it is this that makes it such a great perfume.
    I completely disagree with the poster that said "we tend to wear perfume to smell good, and usually to mask our own body odor"; the seductive smell of a clean human body, warm and inviting entirely deserves to be brought out and accentuated; perfumes that try to mask it are losing before they even begin. If you don't want to deny your humanity and want to celebrate it in the most joyous and seductive way, this is the fragrance for you.

    18th November, 2009

    Asha's avatar

    United States United States

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    Serge Lutens Musc Kublai Khan

    Notes: civet, castoreum, costus roots, cumin, labdanum, Moroccan rose, ambergris, ambrette seeds, beeswax, vanilla and patchouli (from nstperfume.com)

    Musc Kublai Khan starts as an animalic one-two-three punch, rife with large doses of civet, castoreum and indolic floral notes. The opening is incredibly intoxicating: the civet lends a fecal edge verging on sweet; the leathery castoreum smells of rootbeer and bitter plant tonics; and the indolic notes balance the first two with a vanillic "wet cardboard" quality which adds some dimension and uniformity to the opening accord. I suspect there is also some honey or blackcurrant bud, as there is a slight urinous edge as well. Sadly, this amazing animalic orchestra begins to fade very quickly, allowing the honey/blackcurrant bud note take on a piercing quality. I presume this is the "dirty underwear" accord many people seem to find in MKK. The much maligned cumin comes out a bit later in the middle development as MKK rounds out and starts to smell slightly more leathery and skin-like. I must say, so far MKK ALMOST holds up to the skankiest vintage fragrances I have tried such as Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles extrait or Dana Tabu. Actually, I find MKK to be considerably cleaner smelling than those great classics. This is reinforced by the fact that, to my nose, the base is a soapy white musk blended with a vanilla-prominent amber. Generally speaking, the older formulae I have tried seem to have warmth and character which MKK lacks. Still, MKK is an extremely well-composed, smooth oriental which carries forth an established tradition using modern ingredients--one could do a whole lot worse. Highly recommended.

    31st October, 2009

    pete7505's avatar



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    The only time I can notice the funk is when the small sample I have is open, prior to application to my skin. My wife notices the same thing. When on my skin, it is simply a wonderfully exotic, soft edged, sublime musk; the details of which I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe. I am compelled to smell the applied spot over and over throughout the day. The silage is close to my skin, so I'm not too concerned about offending others who may not share my attraction. I love it nearly as much as Fumerie Turque, and will consider purchasing more than a sample if it does become available as an export, expensive though it is.

    05th October, 2009

    Sugandaraja's avatar

    Canada Canada

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    In MKK I smell a sweet, almost creamy, and quite powdery accord with a slightly fecal background of musk, castoreum, and civet. The effect is a little like an elephant hidden behind lace curtains, and much more innocent than naughty. I find it about average in strength, totally linear, and very pleasant to wear, if not quite inspiring enough to make it worth a trek to Paris.

    Of course, given that musk anosmia is quite common, I might just not be smelling what others are.

    18th September, 2009

    Frip's avatar

    United States United States

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    The way your crotch would smell after dumping talcum powder down your shorts and running the Phoenix marathon.

    17th September, 2009

    Neprac's avatar

    United States United States

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    C-A-S-T-O-R-E-U-M: the back-end of a beaver never smelled so good, no one will ever know though. Wear it with confidence.

    11th August, 2009

    Johnson73's avatar

    United States United States

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    Well...I'm glad that so many seem to love this, but Muscs Koublai Khan is the first fragrance that I've had to scrub off. The fecal note in this is just too strong for me to tolerate. I am not a musk fan, though, so this is definitely worth trying out!

    11th August, 2009

    Gblue's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I find this really a rather friendly, soft, slightly fecal musk. Not scarily skanky, not powerful. Perfectly "meh", which is not what I was hoping for.

    14th July, 2009

    David Ruskin's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    I LOVE this fragrance; I have become addicted to it and wear it when ever I can. It reminds me of "proper" musk, not the synthetic molecules we have to use now. It is not as dirty and as sexy as Musk Tincture, but pretty close. Lots of stuff going on as well apart from the musk. It is unique and special.

    28th May, 2009

    Bruspotter's avatar

    Belgium Belgium

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    After months of deliberation, I finally obtained a sample direct from the Salons in Paris. It was a sample in wax, on a card with a plastic covering which one peels off. I immediately applied some to my wrist, sniffed, and then recoiled in horror as the fecal, sweaty, genital odour flooded my nostrils. I was immediately reminded of a smell from my childhood. We used to buy a product in joke shops in England in the eighties called 'Fart spray' which was an aerosol which when sprayed, filled a room with a pungent, musky and downright revolting smell which hung around for ages. It was a kind of tinned stinkbomb. I used to delight in spraying my younger sisters' room with the product and I remember her once getting revenge by spraying my pillow with it. Well to me, Muscs koublaï Khän smells similar to that. It also brings to mind images of musky old wealthy Belgian women with bad breath, indeed the kind one is likely to encounter in the classier quarters of Brussels. There is definately a hint of vanilla cowering underneith the fecal chord, like someone who hasn't washed for a while and then applied vanilla talc to 'freshen things up'.

    Glad I finally got to smelling it, but I'm afraid I can't say it smells divine. I have been trying to eliminate the scent from my wrist with a stiff brush and washing up liquid. I've managed to draw blood, but the smell is still there!

    13th May, 2009

    nunezm58's avatar



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    This fragrance is an absolute "musc" in any well-heeled fragrance fan. Will be soon available in the US (Fall 2009) under the regular Serge Lutens label, available in selected stores.

    18th April, 2009

    moss1310's avatar

    United States United States

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    What can I say that hasn't been said in the other positive reviews. This is the Holy Grail of musks. It is dirty, sexy, and unforgettable. This is a must have for every scent lover's collection.

    15th April, 2009

    Douglas Stewart Decker's avatar

    United States United States

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    I first heard about Muscs Koublaï Khän in the Basenotes article by Liz Upton, 20 June 2008 in which she says she believes there a very few men who could wear this fragrance and get away with it. Call that a red rag to a bull for me!! I love animal notes, especially Musk and Ambergris, and I have very little problem with wearing any of them so when I read Ms Upton's review I had to run out and buy all the scents she listed, feminine or masculine, just to see if I agreed with her.
    I manufacture Ambergris extracts for a leading world supplier and have sampled many musks in the course of my work as a perfumer also. I can see how those individuals who have grown up in the last 3 decades with the ever increasing synthetic fresh monotone (ozone) fragrances would not get the point and genus of this scent. Perfumes which used White Musk and other gutted soft forms of the musk note which smell more of powder than anything else and have predominated the perfume industry since the 1980's, this would be a challenge perhaps.
    But to those who understand the secret world of natural pheromone and the sexual and social role it plays in every moment of human interaction, this scent will please them to no end. A role which is as intrinsic to issues of trust and comfort as they are to attraction and mating.
    I rarely wear commercial fragrances and so much to my surprise Muscs Koublaï Khän left me wanting more of this wonderful elixir. It is a truly exalted form of the Musk note that to me is floral, soft and erotic / exotic. One of the most sophisticated musks I have come across in the many years I have fascinated over such fragrances. So for those who find it offensive I beg forgiveness should we ever meet in public. But I am sure this will be one fragrance that will remain in my wardrobe for many years to come. It strikes to the heart of that which those classic perfumers books like Odoratus Sexualis and The Scent of Eros attempted to define. Not the most animal scent in my wardrobe but one of the richest.
    My only complaint is that it doesn't stay on the skin as long as I would like. I suspect layering it with real Ambergris will fix that problem with out changing the scent even a little and if you can afford to retrieve a bottle of Muscs Koublaï Khän all the way from the salon in Paris you can afford the Ambergris to go with it I suspect.

    06th April, 2009

    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    If Jovan was the introduction, to most Americans, of musk as a perfume, Muscs Koublai Khan is musk elevated to its highest aspiration. For todays SnS it contains the animalic triple play of musk, civet and castoreum. Just typing those notes in might give one the thought that this is like what the cage cleaner at the zoo must smell like. On me this is about as far from that as one can get. This is a mix of so many things but I find this scent to be exotic and sophisticated. The top of this is a combination of cumin and rose and that combination leads straightaway to the heart of castoreum. In the base the hallmarks of many Serge Lutens scents vanilla and patchouli make their presence known and it feels like there is labdanum there but there is so much else on display that I might be fooling myself on that score. All throughout from beginning to end is the most incredibly rounded and beautiful musk I’ve worn. As the scent progresses the interplay between the musk and the notes in each phase create a luxurious one-of-a-kind experience on my skin. I recently had one of my colleagues pick me up a bell jar of this from the Paris Salon because I know this one will stay with me for the next thirty years.

    28th February, 2009

    Buzzlepuff's avatar

    United States United States

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    There are different kinds of dirty sweaty funky smells. There is (1) sour, odorous stench that is bacterial rot from the retraction of life; and then there is (2) sweat soaked body odors hard mixed with miles of work - clean dirt. Muscs Koublai Khan is the second kind. It's good clean sweat dried with skin worn bodily musk. It smells bad, but its a good bad. Its a dirty smell but you know its hard won and is very magnetic. Civet, castoreum, patchouli, ambergris are all probably in there. The best scent comes through a little hardship, I guess. Muscs Koublai Khan is one of my favorites. It smells like a horse riding mongol days away from home. But, people of both sexes are magnetically drawn to it. I like it too.

    06th February, 2009

    Horatio's avatar

    United Kingdom United Kingdom

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    Druggy and erotic, like a moist red velvet chair in a box at the opera, with a whiff of a Venetian canal probing around the ankles.

    24th January, 2009

    sketchwars's avatar

    Sweden Sweden

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    This scent took me on a trip. I purchased a sample six months ago thinking it would be THE musk for me. I love musk and have tried soo many without finding exactly what I'm looking for. This was a dissapointment. First note I got was CUMMIN, lots of it. somehow it mellowed to a plain musk BUT with a dank smell of big dirty stripy hair. YUCK! I locked this in a jewelry box for a couple of months until five days ago when I found it again. Three months ago I quit smoking, i used to smoke half a pack a day so my nose may not have been the greatest of the bunch and my chemestry was obviously messed up! I put some of this on and went to make a cattle of tea. 15 minutes later the most amazing musk appeared. I Love this on me. it is animalic, sexy, romantic, comforting. If I smelled this on the right man he would probably not get rid of me, this is that amazing. Cant stop smelling myself :)

    22nd January, 2009

    gupts's avatar

    India India

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    If I were a lunatic, I would have surely loved this.

    This is gross. It smells like your unwiped back side just after you've unloaded. Yeah this also has this animal accord in it. Like a poster above has said, there is a 'zoo' smell in it....Like a herd of filthy animals defecating in a small area and then Serge Lutens employees went there, filled up the bell jars and then with their patented (secret) process condensed this foul smell into liquid.

    You must try it once and see it for yourself, how spot on I was with this.

    16th January, 2009

    abc1234's avatar

    United States United States

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    After one spray on my wrist, I smell ZOO. Yes, the place with all kinds of animals, you know. Most zoos have flowers planted along side of walkways as well. It is dirty and gross. The animal smell is so realistic so vivid. Can't stand it.

    But I guess this is the thing with niche fragrance, the worse they are, more popular they become. I bet average Joe can not appreciate such "high class" smell ;-)

    11th January, 2009

    TaraYvonne's avatar

    United States United States

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    Ok, to the guy who thinks we're all imagining the dirty sexy smell of this frag and that we all read too many romance novels...you are outnumbered buddy so face it! I don't read romances, but this one makes me feel like I am in the middle of one. My husband puts this on, and it's on! It's like the man you shouldn't want because you know better. He's hot, sensual, a little dirty and has had way too many women-but Lord help you, you just can't stay away from him! That's what MKK is for me. I get a whiff of lion pee like at the zoo, something then incredibly sensual and wrong. It repels me, then turns me on. When my husband puts this on I have to walk away from the primal smell for awhile. But then I find myself drawn in against my will, to whiff him over and over again. Then I just can't stay away from him-I have to be against his chest. That is the mystery of this compelling fragrance. You may hate it, you may love it. Any way you slice it, it will raise eyebrows or melt bodies together and that's just cool.

    09th January, 2009

    fountaingirl's avatar



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    Oh I love this! I slathered it on the husband and couldn't stop huffing him. The first five minutes have a bit of a B.O. whiff if you get up really close, but stay with it. Once that dies back, the scent becomes pure rich musk, and it is a little smoky and just whisperingly sweet.

    To me it DOES smell good. I had it on my fingers after putting it on the Mr., and I was very pleased. I would wear this myself even. Love!

    04th January, 2009

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