One of the strongest first impressions i've had to any fragrance. Absolutely unique, yet completely wearable, while being artistic. At the end, i get an old man smell, but other than that i love this thing, and im pretty sure i will soon get used to that old man smelling base. A legend for ages!
Food courts, teenagers, designer fashion like Hugo Boss and Armani Exchange, cotton candy, strippers, schnapps, shirts unbuttoned three buttons down, all-inclusive paid trips to resorts in which you don't experience any of the local culture, women I would want to have sex with rather than date or love, punchy formulaic club music, gold chains, gelled hair, hangovers, cigarettes, Marshall's, boy bands, over spraying, men with no necks, men who talk about getting laid more than they get laid, women who date men who are bad for them and have no necks, women who don't know how or like to dress down, juvenilia, talking on the phone, naive first kisses, holding hands, terrible and uninspired American diets, maxing out credit cards that don't belong to you, cheating, the oughts, pop.
This is the imagery that Malle's Musc Ravageur conjures for me. The house of Frederic Malle has consistently disappointed. From POAL's terribly thin ambery base that feels suspended from my body to Promise's never-ending cypriol to Superstitious's gaudy unattractive lipstick, the house can't seem to understand that perfumes that end their stays on my body with chemicals are anything but sexy, attractive, and intriguing. Musc Ravageur, while not as loud, overstays its visit just the same and reminds me too sheepishly of my perfume tastes from my early and mid-20's.
Musc Ravageur smells soulless and uninventive. I feel like I dress better and am smarter than what this fragrance wants to project onto me. Oddly, I'm reminded of my first love affair with perfume: Gucci Pour Homme II, a fragrance who's bergamot, cinnamon, pimento, musk and tobacco leaf do something similar in creating a clean, tidy, almost fresh impression of sexiness that nowadays leans too much toward buzzed haircuts and characterless, off the rack fashion. Add Dior Homme Intense to my memory of what I used to smell like, allowing the powdery vanilla of Musc Ravageur to work in similar ways to the ambrette (musk mallow) of DHI, along with the lavender of DHI, also present in MR, and you pretty much get the nightmare that is Malle's creation. There's nothing sexy about it unless you love nostalgia, remembering what it was like to fall in love with someone too young and dumb to have developed a taste for anything. In older age, with a little more life experience, maybe this person now likes Serge Luten's skanky MKK, or perhaps they've grown their tastes ostentatiously to appreciate the inordinately priced offerings of Roja Dove, or it could be that they hopped on the Western Aoud train and at least smell less like a sneaker-wearing teenager and more like a run-of-the-mill office worker. This person could have tastes that stray so far from my own but that nonetheless equally depart from what Malle's Musc Ravageur has to offer, and still, this person, who I do not know and would probably not ever know or befriend, would still be doing something right.
This review is an admitted unorthodox take on MR by sampling only after the Desert Gems collection and L'Erbolario Méharées. Whereas I believe MR was a stand out profile in spice and desert theme prior, at the time of this review Night and Dawn are widely available as splits and decants, and Méharées is in solid production. I would imagine it's not possible the order in which I have tried these fragrances has not skewed my appraisal downward. Musc Ravageur's hyped muskiness is quite tame in comparison to the Night's opening onslaught. While they are two completely different fragrance profiles, the notorious musk I heard so much about was anticlimactic, Oh, is that all? And what is Musc Ravageur after its opening? Méharées gingerbread snickerdoodle at many times the price. Good, but possibly a victim of its own success by having a worthy affordable understudy and outcompeted by new modern siblings given center stage.
Musc Ravageur is interesting, but it's not a fave for right now. I like the musky gourmand vanilla and tonka, but I was surprised by how much clove there is. It dirties things up a bit at the beginning and IMO it doesn't mesh as well with the rest of the scent as I'd like it to. I have enjoyed other fragrances with clove before, Serge Lutens Arabie comes to mind. However the difference I would say is that Arabie is already a sticky, spicy explosion even without the clove, whereas the background of MR is much more delicate, and easier tipped off balance by it. Does calm down into something much more wearable within an hour, but it also only lasted a few hours this time. Will definitely want to give it a second wearing.