This was a re-release, and presumably slightly tweaked, version of the original 2000 rendition which I have not had the pleasure of smelling. But if people think this current version is inferior, then the original must have really been something else.
I try really hard to avoid assigning perfumes a gender when I am testing them, but I still find things that I simply would prefer to smell on a woman than on myself. The more perfume I try, the easier it becomes for me to just smell fragrance and feel that it is something that works for me. Helmut Lang EDP was a little bit of a breakthrough for me in this sense, because the first time I wore this I decided that it was overly floral, and therefore a bit too feminine. But the beauty here is sublime, and once it seeps into you the enchantment unfolds.
It opens with a soft explosion of orange blossom, lavender, and hint of heliotrope. Right from the beginning there is a foundation of borderline-clean musk, that adds heft to the ethereal nature of the flowers. I find it interesting that sites like Fragrantica don't list musk as an official note; it is the back bone of this fragrance.
A few minutes in, something really lovely happens in the heart. The orange blossom seems to bloom after the lavender and other aromatics recede, and it leaves this impression of fizzy orange flavoured musk that really becomes the soul of this fragrance. The powdery elements of the heliotrope never cross the line of suffocation, but you sense its presence as if the breeze had blown the odour back through an open window.
It all comes to rest on a creamy cedar base my guess is the atlas variety and slowly dissipates like fog being burnt up by sunshine, as opposed to progressing through a series of accords to ita final resting place. This billowing perfume lasts on me a good part of the day and doesn't project loudly, and yes, at first glance you might perceive it as something you are used to smelling on women. But all you manly men, sometimes you need to let yourself feel beautiful.
This is my favorite Roucel by a long shot and one of my most worn and most complimented scents. The EDP is a musk for those looking for something rich and slightly floral and with just a hint of bodily sexiness. It somehow feels thick, as if it is laced with sweetened, almost curdled cream and a teeny, tiny dollop of human musk. The top notes of lavender and rosemary keep this scent from veering too far into the "sweet and girly" category, and the musk used provides a hint of animalic richness that contrasts beautifully with its supposed cleanliness. The EDC is equally beautiful and just a bit lighter in feeling, while also being more herbal-laden.
The vintage version is the one to get. The reformulation contains a slightly metallic edge that takes away from the richness of the scent's overall profile.
This is a light, musky scent with spices and powder. Is it like Musc Ravageur? Yes, but freshly washed, dusted with powder and ready to be put to bed. While Musc Ravageur may be too suggestive to be a comfort scent (although I do not get the sexual note that others do), this is a cosy, comfortable scent that is sophisticated in its simplicity and very Helmut Lang.
Aha! I'm starting to sense a pattern here. Maurice Roucel takes Musc Ravageur out of the bedroom and into the nursery, refashioning it as Helmut Lang EDP.
It's an amazing accomplishment when you think about it it shares the same basic DNA as Musc Ravageur, and even smells somewhat similar and yet the feel of one is a hundred million miles away from the other.
If Musc Ravageur is lying spread-eagled in the boudoir, spilling out of its red lace teddy and trying to disguise its Adam's apple, Helmut Lang EDP is the tender gripe-water exhalation from a baby sleeping in its cradle. (The only teddy here being the one clutched in fat little baby fingers).
The opening of Helmut Lang EDP always reminds me pleasantly of nightly bath time rituals with my children: the Chicco calendula and lavender baby wash I use, the smell of plush cotton baby towels fresh from the drier, and the innocent smell of the skin at the nape of their necks, which I cannot resist nuzzling.
Few people talk about the sheer sensuality of children these days for risk of being misunderstood but parents of small children will understand when I say that there is no greater sensual pleasure than the smell and touch of small children. It's why parents can't resist nuzzling and sniffing their kids. We are drawn helplessly to their velvety skin and their specific, milky smell.
Helmut Lang EDP smells milky and warm and fresh and innocent to me. It opens with the baby breath of heliotrope, neroli, and pretty orange blossoms. Later, it strikes me that the musk and vanilla is on the knife's edge of being not-so-innocent after all. Maybe it's even a little dirty. But not dirty in the Musc Ravageur fun, sex way. Just not as squeaky clean as you might expect from its opening. I don't find it sexy, though (due to the nursery associations). Just touchingly human in scale, which is nice too.
Helmut Lang EDP is quite modern, airy, and stream-lined, a further departure from the butch oriental category wherein I mentally place Musc Ravageur. But I really should stop comparing them leaving aside the obvious Maurice Roucel DNA they share Helmut Lang EDP simply occupies a different place and function in my wardrobe, and I like them both on their own terms.
For me this starts out as a sweetish, clean musk with a metallic tinge & a hint of florals. l'm not especially keen on that metallic edge, but it quickly dissipates, & over the next few hours a more animalic musk nudges its way to the fore. This musk is soft, warm & friendly, not overly dirty or offensive, & lasts to the very end around ten hours later.
A very nice, intimate skin scent, this is just animalic enough to satisfy, but still just polite enough to be worn in public.