Muscs Koublaï Khän 
Serge Lutens (1998)

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Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

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About Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

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Serge Lutens
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Muscs Koublaï Khän is a shared scent launched in 1998 by Serge Lutens

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Reviews of Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens

There are 157 reviews of Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens.

Muscs Koublaï Khän by Serge Lutens (1998) is another old Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido war dog that hung around in various formats, from bell jar at launch to standard rectangular bottle, back to bell jar, then the tall Gratteceil bottle before going out of stock all over, leaving the fate of the fragrance unknown. Perhaps, this is just another case like with Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens (1994) where it comes and goes from the catalog rather than being put out to pasture forever. In either case, I can understand why the brand treats this one as it does, since you're getting a no-holds-barred tonkin musk fragrance like Kiehl's Original Musk (1963), but even less compromising since this is on a much higher level. That said, a lot of the things whispered in darkened corners about this now-rarefied specimen of the Lutens catalog are sheer hysteria and hyperbole. This doesn't smell like unwashed coitus or a petting zoo in some animal rights violation, so dispel that nonsense from your head. If you've smelled anything containing civet notes from the golden years of Guerlain, or basically any feminine-marketed chypre from the mid-century, you've already smelled dirtier. However, for 1998 this must have been a real shocker, especially when Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur (1999) was right around the corner to convey circus animals via scent.

Mostly I get an opening of rose and amber, mixed with soft ambrette seed, backed up by the virile tonkin and civet. That opening is a sweet and sour mix for sure, but if you wait a few precious minutes, the skank subsides quickly to be overtaken by patchouli, vanilla, labdanum, and subtle spice. There is a sliver of synthetic white musk here too, acting as a counter-balance to the dirty side, so the whole thing dries down rather cozy, in the same manner Kiehl's does. Yeah, this is a lot more complex than Kiehl's, but it also isn't based on an antique apothecary formula, since Christopher Sheldrake built Muscs Koublaï Khän from the ground up himself. I think the kind of person who'd wear this now, is someone who absolutely loves the tongue-in-cheek tonquitone musks of the 70's a la Jovan or Coty, who would also appreciate a more sophisticated "enlightened" version with more cultural fidelity to the source material rather than an Applebee's casual dining take on the stuff. The marginal uptick in quality is really amplified by the superior blend this has to most brown juices hitting drugstores in the 50's, although the same smarmy "I lost my number so can I have yours" spirit runs throughout. If there has been a significant reformulation to tone down the animal aspects, I wouldn't know since my sample vial comes without provenance of source. Performance is good though, but this is a musk, so duh. Oh, and gender is pretty moot here too, Musk is musk is musk is musk, okay?

Bottom-line here is the hardcore Luten-o-philes will really be the ones to trump this up, while the lowest common denominator types used to their ambroxan shower gel and galaxolide bombs will find anything even remotely organic in nature absolutely repugnant, so consider your sources before you hear any bad-mouthing on Muscs Koublaï Khän. Certainly this is not my favorite of the Serge Lutens line only because it really is trying to be a vintage drugstore musk with a sophisticate demeanor. Jovan Musk for Men (1973) for snobs, or Coty Musk for Men (1974) when your six-figure stipend prevents you from liking fragrances associated with "the commoners". Of course, I'm not saying all its fans see it that way; but that is the feeling I pick up from people who call this -the- musk in the same way they do for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur (2000), which I similarly found much less of a noble beast than claimed. It's sort of hard to take the hype seriously then see a massive half-a-grand price tag for something my bottles of Furyo by Jacques Bogart (1988), Avon Elusive (1969), or Guerlain Mouchoir de Monsieur (1904) could chew up then spit out for breakfast. This is a nice fragrance, and although it doesn't much fit with the usual "Noir" theme of classic Serge Lutens, I'd say check out Muscs Koublaï Khän if it wasn't such a rare, expensive bird. As it stands, I'd say go for the Kiehl's and save the other $350+ dollars for better Lutens bottles. Neutral

I tried Muscs Kublai Khan for the first time at the end of a two-day, time-warping post-covid shot fever. I'm pretty sensitive to fragrance and my choice to whiff this seems tough to explain since I was in such a delicate space. Trying fragrances is a bit of a roulette scenario for me since I'm prone to migraines triggered by odors and light, I don't do it super often. I was compelled by something.

Maybe I was seeking the sense of having another body close to mine? I live with my partner, dog, and two cats who are all very snuggly... so I'm talking super close and up in my nostrils and lungs, in my skin. Perhaps I sought an ultimate swaddle to comfort me in my weakness? Or maybe I wanted a little treat of an experience after those mind-numbing days.

This fragrance is a lot prettier and floral/sweet than I had hoped it would be, but it does have some body to it. The musk is clean. I barely sensed civet. I think I had been hoping for something at least slightly offensive based on what I'd read, but mostly I smell like a washed and lightly perfumed deadhead. I like it, deadheads have always been kind to me. I will finish my decant, and I'd snag a mostly used bottle if one popped up since they look cool. I am a bit sad that I've discovered I want to smell and wear fragrances that smell like various asses, but I gotta follow my heart. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The first time I tried MKK, I didn't dislike it so much as respond, "That's it?" It seemed innocent and monochromatic.

The second time time around, I'm understanding it more. The musk has a funkier character that I perceived last time, which I'm enjoying. It still seems linear and narrow in its palette–it seems to go straight to the base notes and stay there–but I'm smelling more complexity within that range. MKK flirts with offense, but ultimately doesn't "go there." It's a bad boy without a criminal record. So, sexy but not sleazy.

I'd be more inclined toward a FB of something that works more territory than MKK's patch of dirt, but if I had a bottle, I wouldn't give it away.

I was really surprised with this one. It is really much prettier than I thought it would be. The wild imagery that is thrown around with this as a crazy dirty smell are not what I get from it. First and foremost here, I get musk. Lots of musk. I feel that I must just read musks as clean, because this being regarded as a dirtier one, I still think it smells pretty clean. There is something creeping unseen in the distant back that could possibly be the skankyness, I'm having a hard time pinpointing it. 4 hours in it is still readily apparent on my skin. I do get wafts occasionally. I feel like it is very powdery and clean at this stage. Like baby powder. Such a clean and innocent smell juxtaposed against the musk, that others read as naughty I would think would be a beautiful combo. I find this to be a really nice scent. Very sweet, and I don't mean like candy or sugar, but sweet lik an innocent baby. Nicely blended. I cannot comment on the vintage, but if the histrionics online are true this one has been neutered. Still a good scent, but not worth the price tag IMO.

I just love this one. Brings back memories of the 70's. It is just the perfect combo of civet, labdanum, amber, ambrette, patchouli, musk, and vanilla, on my skin. I don't smell any cumin - thank God. This overall, smells like a powdery sweet scent. Nothing skanky, do I smell.

If you look for a strong musk civet fragrance this is it.
Not for everyone not everywhere, though.
Strong personality, protagonist, If you can dress it the place it's ok and the people around the good one this is one of the best scents ever.
Otherwise it can result heavy and inappropriate.
I don't agree with other opinions about stinking fecal etc.

I like it but I guess I could dress it once a year.

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