Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Muscs Koublai Khan is one of those fragrances perfume lovers dare each other to smell because the scent is so animalic and strong that everyone ought to try it at least once.

Muscs Koublai Khan

In Bottle: So I didn’t get much animalic at first but there is something in my initial whiff of this that told me I was in for a ride. There’s something dense in the bottled scent, a bit weird but otherwise the top is green and brown–hard to describe in terms of words but Muscs Koublai Khan smells like this mishmash of complex, dirty ideas.

Applied: Upon application that complex mishmash of ideas comes to a full realization and I’m hit right in the nose with a big civet, business-end first. Now, I’m one of those people who have to get used to the idea of a perfume before I can fully appreciate it and I don’t fully appreciate Jicky for how she smells yet. But she had a temperance with lavender–Muscs Koublai Khan is straight up dirty civet with a fecal smell that I’m having a troubling time getting over. There’s a slight powderiness to this that’s trying to clean it up a little but it’s a bit meek by comparison. It’s funny too, as there’s a layer of flowers behind the poo that my nose is trying to smell instead. Now, Muscs Koublai Khan is not the kind of fragrance you pick up and enjoy the first time for a lot of people. I didn’t expect myself to like this, but I do find it absolutely hilarious as it confuses my nose and keeps me coming back. Each time hoping it’ll transform into something else if I let it age a bit more. I can’t quite comment on anything else but Muscs Koublai Khan smelling dirty, very animalic, with a funny venting of florals like it’s trying to apologize. This is warm, it’s complex, sensual even. But it isn’t for me and I’m not sure I’m going to go out of my way to understand it much more. I already appreciate it for its concept, I think me and Muscs Koublai Khan can leave it at that.

Extra: Muscs Koublai Khan is like perfume that spent a day rolling about at the zoo then bathed itself a bit in flowered water. It’s a strange but alluring mix, very masculine a little off-putting and takes a while to get used to and love but when you do, this stuff really takes off. It just didn’t take off for me.

Design: Bottled like other Serge Lutens fragrances, Muscs Koublai Khan is presented in an unpressuming thin rectangular glass bottle with a tall cap. Minimalist approach appeases me.

Fragrance Family: Dirty

Notes: Vegetal musk, costus root, labdanum, rockrose, grey amber, vanilla, patchouli, ambrette seed, moroccan rose.

Obviously a fragrance for acquired tastes and I haven’t yet acquired such taste. Maybe in a few years, Muscs Koublai Khan, when I’m a little older.

Reviewed in This Post: Muscs Koublai Khan, 2010, Eau de Parfum.

Upon application that complex mishmash of ideas comes to a full realization and I’m hit right in the nose with a big civet, business-end first. Now, I’m one of those people who have to get used to the idea of a perfume before I can fully appreciate it and I don’t fully appreciate Jicky for how she smells yet. But she had a temperance with lavender–Muscs Koublai Khan is straight up dirty civet with a fecal smell that I’m having a troubling time getting over. There’s a slight powderiness to this that’s trying to clean it up a little but it’s a bit meek by comparison. It’s funny too, as there’s a layer of flowers behind the poo that my nose is trying to smell instead. Now, Muscs Koublai Khan is not the kind of fragrance you pick up and enjoy the first time for a lot of people. I didn’t expect myself to like this, but I do find it absolutely hilarious as it confuses my nose and keeps me coming back. Each time hoping it’ll transform into something else if I let it age a bit more. I can’t quite comment on anything else but Muscs Koublai Khan smelling dirty, very animalic, with a funny venting of florals like it’s trying to apologize. This is warm, it’s complex, sensual even. But it isn’t for me and I’m not sure I’m going to go out of my way to understand it much more. I already appreciate it for its concept, I think me and Muscs Koublai Khan can leave it at that.

Dolce & Gabbana Rose The One

Last The One flanker I’m going to do in a while. Rose The One is a member of Dolce & Gabbana’s The One line. This time there’s an obvious relationship to the rose note.

Rose The One

In Bottle: Rather bit of citrus to open it up. The pink grapefruit is rather detectable, almost all I smell with a sweet lingering modern rose in the background. Rose The One is sweet and clean, with a nice use of pink grapefruit up front.

Applied: Clean pink grapefruit opening the fragrance with a slight tartness borrowed from the black currant. The rose note in this fragrance comes up rather quickly in the opening but isn’t very strong and doesn’t do much to overpower the grapefruit. Don’t get me wrong, I love the grapefruit but for a fragrance that tries to capitalize on rose, I would have expected the rose to be stronger. Still, the rose note hangs out rather admirably and I catch whiffs of it along the way. The fragrance settles into the mid-stage with a nice modern rose and lily interpretation with lingering bites of pink grapefruit. I smell sweet peony intermingled with the floral-dominant mid-stage too as warmness washes over the mid-stage and helps to ease that grapefruit out of the way. The dry down is what you would expect of a fragrance ending with the sandalwood and vanilla duo.

Extra: Rose  The One had a fantastic little ad campaign featuring Scarlett Johansson in a rose-dominant commercial. The entire campaign was very soft and obviously trying to capitalize on the modern rose note that’s the namesake for this fragrance.

Design: Once again, Rose The One is designed similarly to other The One bottles with a squat classic shape. Rose The One hammers home that it’s a romantic rose note based thing by being a lovely shade of pink. There’s rose gold as the cap. A rosy pink liquid. Even the lettering is in a deep rosy color. It’s all very lovely and very feminine.

Fragrance Family: Floral

Notes: Black currant, pink grapefruit, mandarin, lily of the valley, rose, litchi, peony, Madonna lily, ambrette seed, sandalwood, musk, vanilla.

I’m going to keep going with L’eau as my favorite iteration of The One for now. Rose The One is pleasant enough but at times it’s a strange battle between the grapefruit opener and the floral mid-stage.

Reviewed in This Post: Rose The One, 2010, Eau de Parfum.


Chanel Coco

Chanel Coco is resting near the top of my favorite Chanel perfumes list. This fragrance couldn’t be any further from its younger incarnation, the pink and bubbly Coco Mademoiselle.

Chanel Coco

In Bottle: Add in spice for warm, a wispy thread of flowers, and a delicately peeled citrus note. Coco smells warm right off the bat with a bit of citrus to clean it up.

Applied: Coco wastes no time just digging into this. It comes off spicy right away, throwing cinnamon and clove at you to warm itself up as the citrus and wispy flowers quickly give way to the midstage where we’re greeted with a delightfully clean, spicy, warm jasmine and rose complex. A lot of perfumes rely on jasmine and rose together but that never seems to make the combination any less beautiful–particularly when it’s used in such a fine tuned balanced such as in Coco. There is the smallest drop of civet in this during the later half of the midstage. The civet in Coco is so well done and well balanced. I don’t normally like it in perfumes but this civet blends really well with the overarching spicy cleanness that the note adds a depth and sensual feel to the fragrance without making it smell too harsh and alienating. The dry down is an equally spicy amber with a hint of sandalwood and a smooth layer of tonka.

Extra: Chanel Coco was released in 1984 and was composed by Chanel’s in house perfumer, Jacques Polge. It is a little sad to see that when you do a search for “Chanel Coco”, most of the results come back for Coco Mademoiselle.

Design: Like most of Chanel’s other widely popular fragrances, Coco comes in various packaging. If you go for the full service parfum concentration deal you get a glass rectangular bottle so often associated with No. 5. Coco’s bottle has a black seal band running around the neck and a black label.

Fragrance Family: Spicy Oriental

Notes: Angelica, mimosa, frangipani, mandarin, cascarilla, orange flower, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, ambrette seed, opopanax, benzoin, tonka, vanilla.

Like with most Chanel fragrances, Coco lasts a very long, very impressive time. She’s a sophisticated lady and entirely wearable considering the era it came out in.

Reviewed in This Post: Coco, 2009, Eau de  Parfum.