Comes on the scene with a zingy lemony citrus cloud...this fragrance manages to be bright , fresh and cheerfull, yet semi-dark and dry at the same time...a mix of resiny wood and aromatic herbs and spices...smelling this conjured up associations to Anthracite for Men and Cabaret pour Homme...a lot of similarties per my nose to both...friendly pleasant fragrance...as it finishes off it gets a nice patchy tobacco vibe...very enjoyable...
Soapy,woody and slightly green, this old school style fragrance smells like many I've smelled before. I get a balsam note in here somewhere which reminds me of a lot of masculine fragrances back in the day. I get a lot of Lapidus Pour Homme in GK, but GK smells better IMO. 7.5/10
If you're familiar with 1980s masculines, you've likely already smelled some things that will remind you of Genghis Khan, and if someone had presented me with an unlabeled sample and told me it was an obscure Aramis scent that had been lost to time, I would have believed them.
Genghis Khan feels like a blend of mossy-spicy masculines with a slight "cool" undercurrent (it's vaguely reminiscent of--but is much better than--Aramis New West in certain stages). It's very easy to wear and very pleasant, but it's hard to recommend it above other scents in its lane when it currently commands such high prices.
Not a lot is known about Marc de la Morandiere, other than that they were an early niche purveyor of perfume at a time when that level of the market was still extremely novel and designers hadn't yet succumbed to fully-synthetic designs or mass homologation of style. In essence, the kind of perfume Marc de la Morandiere offered at the time wasn't different enough in qualitative texture to be a superior alternative from mainstream perfume nor really break through, and like Annick Goutal, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, L'Artisan Parfumeur, and Diptyque, sort of just thrummed along carving out its own little slice of the market pie. Of course, this was only until conditions worsened enough through the 90's and into the 2000's to drive connoisseurs away from the beauty counters into high-end perfume boutiques or online and thus into the arms of houses like Marc de Morandiere, but the days of Genghis Khan (1990) had by then passed, with surviving bottles of the original eau de toilette fetching significant coin for being rather rare. Genghis Khan became something of a hyped trophy for vintage collectors with deep enough pockets to flaunt the "unicorns" of yesterday, and perennial favorites for the guys who were around long enough to have stocked up on it when new, until it was finally reissued as an eau de parfum in 2014, alleviating some of the aftermarket pressure. The original packaging is rather novel, and comes in a black urn with rather dramatic red letters, looking exotic and dangerous, even if modern bottles now have the uniformity and simplicity of design that is so often the hallmark of the now over-saturated niche market; oh how things come full circle. The smell of Genghis Khan is nowhere near as fierce compared to the packaging, but what you get may startle you nonetheless. This is a cusp fragrance, or a scent that was released at the crossroads of two distinctive stylistic periods in shift, so it's no wonder it got lost in the mix as fresh fruity and aquatic fare came into prominence when this first arrived.
Huge animalic powerhouses and deep aromatic oakmoss bombs were the catch of the day throughout much of the 1980's, with men's and women's perfumes being so bombastic and aggressive that they were for all intentions unisex and interchangeable. Compare Boss/Boss Number 1 by Hugo Boss (1985) to Knowing by Estée Lauder (1988), and see what I mean. Genghis Khan merges several tropes into one, being on one hand an aromatic chypre with a musky civet and patchouli base similar in tone to the above mentioned, but also a tobacco fragrance on the other hand, with mossy overtones and a bit of an astringent boozy tone not altogether different from Montana Parfum d'Homme (1989) or the later Aramis Havana (1994). There is some sandalwood here and a few hat tips to the fougère, but it all just simmers down to the chypre accord at the end. The opening is the expected rather-rakish bergamot, with a mix of cloves, lavender, mint, rosemary, thyme, and some pepper. The fougère element is strongest here, but once the boozy tobacco and nutmeg heart settle in, we stray closer to the Havana/Montana vibe. Something about this heart also reminds me of Roger & Gallet Open (1985) minus the fat vetiver accord, with the ashy feel of Open supplanted by an incense note that could be olibanum but I'm not so sure. The base is all chypre at the end, with musky civet, patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss, and amber, almost oriental with its richness but dry enough to dodge that summation. Again, this is not different enough from what designers at the time were doing to really be as niche as it lets on, but in modern times certainly fits the bill, as most of its competition is either discontinued or reformulated without the "vavoom" of restricted aromatics. Wear time is appreciable at 8 hours and sillage is definitely period correct, so go easy on the trigger and avoid hot weather. Sources have it the modern version leans more on patchouli than civet, so if animalics scare you, then you may want to track down a new bottle instead of the original presentation.
I like Genghis Khan, and I can see how somebody could fall in love with it, but I don't fully get the hype, although I seldom do with most vintage scents placed upon pedestals oh-so high for being "forgotten lost masterpieces of a time when life was better than it is now" blah blah blah. Not bashing anyone with rose-tinted glasses towards this genre of fragrances because I know full well nostalgia is a hell of a drug, but for those reading these remarks without a bottle to smell in person, do not be swayed by them. Genghis Khan is another "bit of this, bit of that" B-lister fragrance which appeals to fans of quirky stylistic mash-ups or the "left of center" vibe which takes a theme common from the era in which it hails then twists it in a semi-novel way, but is no holy grail sauce. Genghis Khan certainly delivers as a boozy tobacco dry animalic chypre, and while it fails to conjure images of the namesake conquer, does feel at home in a seedy bar somewhere in the wilds of tropical Southeast Asia. You'll certainly achieve alpha male status wearing this one, but if you buy any of the comparables mentioned you'll still get rather close to the same effect and have an entire wardrobe of options instead of just one fragrance that mixes them. People who love musky things may see this as superior to other boozy tobacco numbers, but the application here is dry and powdery, not of the sweaty jock strap variety that drives the hardcore Kouros (1981) fans wild. All in all, this Maltese Falcon among collectors is worth a pick up at a good price, but considering it doesn't truly do anything you can't get elsewhere, really just ends up being the trophy the packaging makes it out to be at first glance. Still, this is no fault of Marc de la Morandiere, as a modern version sans the urn bottle is available for less money if the odd but enjoyable scent is all that matters. Thumbs Up