I love scents, but like with wine, I feel that I lack the vocabulary and nuance to adequately describe them to others. And it seems even more of an issue for a fragrance or a wine that I really love. And I really love Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle.
The members of the beauty blogger collaborative I belong to decided that we should all blog about our favorite fragrance, and I knew I would have to rise to the occasion and come up with words to describe it.
After you read about my favorite, check out the other gals’ perfume choices, since we all have different preferences when it comes to scents. Here’s my story.
My colorist at Vidal Sassoon in Boston has the most stunning wardrobe, accessories, makeup, you name it. And she always smells great. One day when she was re-redding my hair, I had to ask her which scent she was wearing. She had been wearing Tom Ford’s Black Orchid for quite a while, but this was different. Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, she said. Where do I find it, I asked. Barney’s. So after my hair was returned to its brilliant self, I went off to Barney’s to seek out Musc Ravageur.
At the fragrance counter, I discovered that Frederic Malle works with different perfume designers or “noses” to create his fragrances. Different from other brands, Malle acts as the producer, while the noses act as the directors. There were more than 20 different scents in his lineup. All are in gender-neutral – masculine actually – bottles.
The nose who designed Musc Ravageur is Maurice Roucel who has created many scents for lots of different brands including L’Instant de Guerlain, Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens, Nautica Blue and even Harajuku Lovers Wicked Style Love. Musc Ravageur was launched in 2000, making it one of Frederic Malle’s first fragrances.
Although I was curious about all of the Malle scents, I went right for the Musc Ravageur and applied some to my pulse points. I told the saleswoman that I would walk around Copley Place Mall for about a half hour and see how the scent wore on me. After 15 minutes, I knew this was a keeper, but I hung on for another few minutes. I stopped in at Sur La Table and killed some time looking at pots and pans.
I went back to Barney’s and purchased a small bottle (50 ml). It comes in a tiny 3 ml sample size and also in a large size (100 ml). Unfortunately, this fragrance is expensive, but it is something I splurge on. Rounding out the Musc Ravageur collection, there is a set of 3 bar soaps and a bottle of body lotion. I stayed strong and just bought the eau de parfum.
And I’ve been back since to repurchase what is my signature scent. I do wear other fragrances, but I keep coming back to this one.
So how to describe this fabulous scent. It is an amber Oriental fragrance. Here’s how it is characterized on the Frederic Malle website:
“A sensual perfume, powerful yet perfectly controlled, dramatic and mysterious. Composed by Maurice Roucel as an “act of seduction and generosity”, Musc Ravageur is an uncompromising Oriental, which trumps current fads. Its explosive departure of bergamot, tangerine and cinnamon is set against a backdrop of vanilla, musk and amber. A sexy, turbulent perfume, in one word: ravager.”
Yes, it is!
Musc Ravageur is a gender-neutral scent, and Roucel does not believe in gender-specific fragrances really. He thinks of scents like paintings — neither masculine nor feminine. Though there are men who wear Musc Ravageur, I think it is distinctly feminine.
Some might say it’s a scent for autumn, winter and night time. I say I wear it all the time because I adore it. I love that my clothes, especially scarves and coats, smell like it now.
To be honest, I had to look up the notes possessed by this brilliant and complex perfume. Here are the notes in this composition:
- Top notes: lavender and bergamot
- Middle notes: cinnamon and cloves
- Base notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla, guaiac wood and cedar.
Seeing what goes into this fragrance, I can understand why it’s considered gender-neutral. I’d be curious to smell it on a man, but alas Jeff doesn’t do fragrance.
When first sprayed, Musc Ravageur has a bright scent that can be described as “animalic”, but the dry down is rich and intense, almost gourmand. Most find it to be a long-lasting scent. When I first started wearing it, I didn’t think it lasted very long on me, but the more I wore it, the more it seemed to mix with my body chemistry. Now it definitely lingers for hours. And I love the fact that I always get compliments and questions whenever I wear this scent.
I like fragrances that are unique, that almost no one wears. If you like a big complex scent that you won’t smell when walking down the street, check out Musc Ravageur next time you’re at Barney’s. In addition to Barney’s, it’s available on the Frederic Malle website or in their stores in Paris, or you can order it below. And if you’re curious about the Frederic Malle line of fragrances, stop by the fragrance department at Barney’s in Boston or call Leo Magri, the Brand Ambassador for Frederic Malle Fragrances. He’s a fount of knowledge and a really nice guy.
What is your favorite scent?