Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan ~ fragrance review

Kublai Khan portrait

Grandson of Genghis Khan, reformer, warrior, Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, Yüan Dynasty emperor — Koublaï Khan was a powerhouse and his name evokes long-ago-and-far-away exoticism. But when I look at Koublaï Khan’s portrait (from the National Palace Museum in Taipei) I see an approachable man, someone who loves to eat, a man who seems amused and ready to giggle, someone I can imagine gossiping with over a cup of milk tea (or something stronger).

What did I expect from Serge Lutens’ Muscs Koublaï Khan? I imagined a scent that was a bit strange, a rough-and-tough perfume with a strong “personality”, a perfume of Mongolian sturdiness coupled with Chinese finesse; I expected something contradictory and complex (like Koublaï Khan himself, who was an admirer of Buddhism but who spent much of his life invading and conquering lands and peoples).

Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido does not reveal the ingredients for Muscs Koublaï Khan online, but I found a company description of the perfume from 2000 (the perfume was released in 1998) that lists: civet, castoreum, costus roots, cumin, labdanum, Moroccan rose, ambergris, ambrette seeds, beeswax, vanilla and patchouli.

Before wearing it, I read reviews of Muscs Koublaï Khan online; it was described by many as being “vile” “fecal” “disgusting” — the scent of an animal or an unwashed man, make that an unwashed man on horseback, a sweaty horseback. These descriptions did not alarm me because I have a “history” with troublesome perfumes (some people are attracted to “bad boys” and “bad girls” — I’m attracted to “difficult” perfumes). I thought another perfume deemed “unwearable” by many perfume lovers might find a place in my heart and perfume cabinet.

At first, Muscs Koublaï Khan smells like the lovechild of Eau d’Hermès and Le Labo Rose 31: there’s cumin, there’s rose, there’s musk (civet). The cumin and musk are stronger in Muscs Koublaï Khan than in its “parents” and its rose note is a bit fruity compared to Rose 31’s winey rose.

Muscs Koublaï Khan starts off bright and clear and it warms the skin, but the scent begins to soften, to cloud, almost immediately (as if turning from hot, incendiary liquid into silky powder). During the early stages of Muscs Koublaï Khan, a leather/suede note peeks out briefly from the dust storm of cumin and the pool of musk. Cumin doesn’t surrender to the onslaught of musk; cumin is noticeable from start to finish, and the musk gets muskier the longer you wear Muscs Koublaï Khan. Muscs Koublaï Khan possesses the characteristic Lutens’ sweetness (soft patchouli, vanilla, labdanum) and in the extreme dry down, Muscs Koublaï Khan’s musks, cumin and rose are joined by a “ripe peach” scent and the aroma of brewed black tea.

I would be lying to you if I said there wasn't a “dirty” accord in Muscs Koublaï Khan; apart from cumin and musk, perhaps the scent of costus roots (Saussurea costus) plays a part — their scent often recalls the smell of “fur”, goats, or the aroma of unfresh human hair and scalp. My skin seems to bring out the musky aspects of Muscs Koublaï Khan, but when I put the perfume on a friend, it smelled “tamer” — lighter, more powdery, rosy-fruity.

The lasting power of Muscs Koublaï Khan is astounding. The perfume lasted through a day and even after a hot shower. Muscs Koublaï Khan would make an excellent soap; I imagine a large, opulent, cinnabar-colored bar, embossed with Mongol-Chinese motifs.

Will Muscs Koublaï Khan be joining my other “bad boys” of perfume? I appreciate Muscs Koublaï Khan as I appreciate characters who are independent and fearless, who don’t give a damn what others think of them, their ideas, their hairstyle, their clothes or — their smell. I don’t believe I’ve evolved to that level of personal freedom … yet.

Lovers of Muscs Koublaï Khan, please speak up! (If any of you have tried Muscs Koublaï Khan by using the Lutens’ booklet of wax perfume samples, you have not fully experienced this scent; to my nose, the scent of Muscs Koublaï Khan in wax is the scent of the perfume in the extreme dry down, when it is much more approachable.)

Muscs Koublaï Khan is in Serge Lutens’ Les Somptueux (Sumptuous) line of fragrances that also includes Ambre Sultan, Cuir Mauresque, and Vetiver Oriental. It is in the exclusive range; for buying information, see the listing for Serge Lutens under Perfume Houses.

Note: image is of Portrait of Kublai Khan from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, via mongolianculture.

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60 Comments

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  1. Anonymous says:

    MKK is, hands down, my favorite from Serge, and I like quite a few! I don't get the cumin note, but I do get cinnamon. It definitely starts out a little loud and brash, and maybe that's the cumin. but it settles down into something distinctive but sexy in about half an hour. From there on out it is sexy and warm and, yeah, OK, I get a little of that dirty note that has so many people fleeing, but, c'mon people what do you think comprises a sexy smell? Not fruit and flowers. Someone said it smelled liked “unwashed privates after sex.” I read that to my SO and he replied, “ummmm…yummy.” Clearly, he's a keeper.

    I wear this one alone and it layers beautifully, adding an edgy undertone to anything.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Justine! You are the QUEEN of understatement! Your body/pH must have amazing neutralizing abilities to disrupt the cumin! I've never smelled anything more cuminy in my life. But you know, the men I put this on got more cumin, and especially musk from the scent…the women I let try this were not as appalled (HA!) and the scent smelled better on them. K

  3. Anonymous says:

    Kevin, must vouch for what you said about the wax samples. I first tried MKK that way, and was *quite* surprised when I finally smelled the liquid version — they are 2 entirely different animals, pardon the pun :-)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great review! Very interesting about the costus roots – makes sense. To me MKK is a beast that's easy to tame if you don't resist it. I absolutely adore it! The drydown is so velvety on my skin, and it's also great for layering, especially with other rose scents.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The wax samples just don't do justice to the scents.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The “peach”/”black tea” accords I noticed in the drydown were great…but fleeting. I bet this would layer with a peach/apricot scent too.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Well, so far, it seems women like this scent and are not upset/offended by it (exception noted for you R, you Cumin-Hater, you). If this one had roared any louder on me in the first 30 minutes I would have put myself in the washing machine: heavy duty cycle, second rinse….

  8. Anonymous says:

    You know, K, I just tried this for the first time in liquid form in Paris and I found it not nearly so scary as everybody purported it to be (certainly much less so than CB I Hate Perfume Musk Reinvented, for example.) Very little cumin on me – much, much less than cumin bombs like the reorchestrated Femme, or PdN Vetyver – and very sweet, the candied side being almost the dominating factor on me. It didn't have very much presence at first, actually, and then kind of bloomed back wonderfully into warm, dark, skin scent. It snuck up on me and I liked it the most of the Serges I hadn't tried before. Bear in mind I'd been to the JAR boutique later in the day and found Ferme Tes Yeux the “prettiest” of the bunch, so my skank tolerance must be higher than I thought.

  9. Anonymous says:

    LOL — have to butt in here to say your skank tolerance is WAY high based on the Ferme Tes Yeux :-)

  10. Anonymous says:

    T: I once tempered spices (including much cumin) in a hot skillet for an Indian feast. I walked the dogs after tempering the spices and I could smell the cumin BLOCKS from my house…on a breezy day. Most of my guests that day were women and when I apologized for the cumin aroma permeating my house, yard, neighborhood…they said: “Oh, I don't smell cumin!” What's up with you women???? (I MUST try the CBIHP Musk Reinvented now…I can't EVEN imagine it if it's more musky than MKK.)

  11. Anonymous says:

    To be honest the only way I could stand this one was smelling it on a person from afar…THEN I got the sweetness, the softness, the rose, the powder. After a shower it smelled good on me…thus my thoughts about it making a good soap. I will say that I kept my nose glued to my arms the days I wore this and up close, the dirty, dirty musk was very noticable. (And my robin has not arrived…he's usually here before the plum and cherry trees bloom…and they are in full bloom now. I won't give up hope quite yet….) Did you get your aloeswood incense from Baieido????

  12. Anonymous says:

    I love MKK, and it really isn't my kind of scent at all normally, though my tasts are “evolving” apparently. I just get the BO note on the open, and then 30 minutes later, it is beautiful sun-warmed skin, but better.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes. I got the Syukohkoku. Deeply, deeply satisfying and beautiful. Thanks for the rec! :-) Been using it mostly for meditation, but also had it burning to get my focus going for work this morning.

    MKK would indeed make a great soap. I wonder if Serge will ever do body products for the line.

    I shall continue to hope as well.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I share your love of 'difficult' scents – this seems to spook all the girls in the fragrance department when I go shopping…since they seem to look at me, as if I dropped from the sky from another planet when I don't fall all over the 'newest' mens scents out there.

    MKK – I have not sniffed this yet (just starting to get around to sampling the vast S. Lutens line) but after your review, I'm DYING to try it.

    Is it like Arabie (in it's spiciness)?

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hmmm. The opening is very much a cumin opening…and as for sun-warmed skin: I can agree with that too…but with a tweak: sun-warmed (furry) skins. But now I'm seeing why this is a good seller for Lutens. It has many fans.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, I never thought I had much interest in “dirty” types, as most of my favourites could probably best be described as bright, but I must have more tolerance for such things than I thought. I was also slightly repulsed but very intrigued by the cheese aspect of Jardenia.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Mike: Before reading today's comments I would have thought wearing MKK would spook the girls too, but I guess not! To my nose Arabie is much tamer than MKK…more sweet, more complex, more “refined” and wearable all around.

  18. Anonymous says:

    GLAD the incense pleases you!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Kevin, for introducing us to the face of the perfume… Looks like a tiny bit of an ogre to me! And count me among the ladies who are not at all scared by this bad boy. I never got much cumin — it never so much as occurred to me to look for it — and frankly, this tiger is a purring pussycat on my skin, though it can show the tip of its claws. It's the only musk I truly love.

  20. Anonymous says:

    …so you can call yourself, without qualifications, a: TRUE. MUSK. LOVER. Also, DO look at Kublai Khan's portrait in the big-screen-shot version and I think you'll see the twinkle in his eyes, the lips about to smile.

  21. Anonymous says:

    The CBIHP Musk is sort of incredible…worth having just for the weirdness of it. Will have to try it next to MKK one of these days, but offhand would say it isn't quite as skanky.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I only have a tiny sample of MMK. I must try it again. I adore musks and woods but for some reason I've been wearing florals for the past few years (Fleurs d'Oranger, Tubéreuse Criminelle). I thought MKK might be one of those scents that wear you rather than the other way around.

    Btw, you could have found those notes very easily on http://freespace.virgin.net/lovely.perfume/SergeLutensWeb.html (my webpage). :-)

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thanks B…I'll remember that for the future! MKK does “take over” when worn…you're ON the leash, not HOLDING the leash.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I also have to add my voice and say I get very little cumin! I guess it is there (that harsh, vibrant quality that sits alongside skin softness in the top notes, but it doesn't dominate). To me, MKK is a floral musk, and I liked it from first sniff. I still just like it – love has yet to develop.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Lee: I was beginning to doubt my grasp of cumin till I put some MKK on last night (unwillingly) and had my spice jar of cumin handy. Tis there…for me, in abundance. So either I'm hypersensitive to that spice or I need to conduct a CUMIN 101 Seminar! HA!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Well, since Koublai was the builder of the pleasure palace rather than the wild conquerer that Ghengis was, I guess the picture makes sense–but it surprised me too. I adore MKK and love your characterization of its opening–I really like Le Labo Rose, and pretty much everything Hermes, too. I certainly smell animals in it, but when I queried my husband, he simply looked puzzled and said, “No, it's sweet. I like it.” (Of course, when I asked him what another of my favorite scents–Rose Poivree–smelled like on me (thinking of MUA comments about unwashed testicles), he replied, “I don't know, but it's something VERY pretty.”:)

  27. Anonymous says:

    That's hilarious! (Now is he the type of husband: “How do you like this dress?” “LOVELY!” “My hair is flat…” “NO, IT'S SLEEK!” Etc. ) ? K

  28. Anonymous says:

    I don't wear this one much as it can be rather cloying in close proximity, but my BF wears it all the time and on him it smells like a sweet, musky skin scent. Not much cumin or floral. He is a big fan of it as well as Fumerie Turque.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Not really. He's willing to say if he doesn't like something. He just obviously likes the smell of, um, certain things:)

  30. Anonymous says:

    It's a sweet, musky scent on me as well, but the first time I tried it the cumin made me want to wash it off because it smelled like a roll in the hay and I was headed for church.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Kyriaki: I have not worn this in almost a year so will wear it tomorrow in the COLD weather. I'm always amazed when people say this is a sweet floral-musk on them…if only the cumin were my “problem” — my skin brings out every dirty, raunchy, unwashed element of MKK.

  32. Anonymous says:

    I would love to smell it on a man! (No chance of getting it on my spouse, as he despises the cumin aroma in cooking let alone bodies). Did you get any feedback while wearing it?

  33. Anonymous says:

    Kyriaki: I got no positive feedback while wearing it; as I said, I brought out all the dirtiness it has to offer. The person who can say ANYthing to me without repercussions said I smelled like a goat who had put on some strong perfume. I did like the rose and tea notes I picked up…but those were only noticeable on me at CLOSE range: when I put my nose to my skin. But I still appreciate such a rich creation!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Kyriaki: HA! I was just “corrected” by the hurler of the insult: “I said you smelled like a DONKEY.”

  35. Anonymous says:

    I received my bottle two days ago. Women keep smiling a little longer when I wear it. It might be linked to my increased self-confidence, anyhow, I feel myself as the king of the elevator (something like being the emperor Koublai Khan himself in the 21th century and working in an office-building).

    On my skin MKK is soft and floral (in a good way), so I wouldn't call it “unwashed smell”. There is cumin for sure, and I like it.

    There are four Lutens in my wardrobe: Fumerie Turque, Cuir Mauresque, Ambre Sultan and MKK from which only Ambre Sultan is difficult to wear for me. While I like it I might never put it on for work. (Maybe a half spray if I lose my mind again).

  36. Anonymous says:

    Mage: we have similar tastes in Lutens scents…but I don't need a full bottle of MKK. I wear Ambre Sultan to work often but if I wore MKK I would feel self-conscious — my skin brings out the 'dirty' animalic notes and spices and hides the floral accords till it's been on my skin for over five hours.

  37. Anonymous says:

    Mage,

    Did you purchase a full bottle? If so, where? I'm in love/lust with MKK but am too fickle to think it will last.

    Kyriaki

  38. Anonymous says:

    Hi,

    I will spend three days in paris over the weekend and the first venue on my list is the salon du palais royal! I can't express how thrilled I am at the thought of the of the equally real possibilities of the utter revulsion or extatic drooling I could experience upon trying MKK. I usually feel very attracted to animalic notes (leather, fur, sweat, musk, you name it!) in fragrances, yet I'm sure I have a threshold. This could either be my holy grail or the proud assassin of my newborn animalic fragrance quest..

    This quest all began a couple of weeks ago when I tried l'artisan's dzing! for the first time: I fell in love with its dirty animalic hue. But my excitement faded as I ran through a sample. The animalic side of the dzing circus (and the fragrance as a whole) is as if painted in pastel watercolors: sheer and stunning, but could leave you hungry for the impact of worldly colors. In short, it left me wanting my tiger's tongue BLOOD RED… ;) I still like dzing, but liking can't bring me to shell out the 135 bucks… This week-end will reveal whether I will for (in)famous MKK…

    Thanks for your exciting and insightful reviews!

    best,

    borhane

  39. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Borhane, think of l'il ole me, FAR from Paris, as you peruse the SL stacks! I got a whiff of MKK a few weeks ago on two young Tokyo girls who were visiting Seattle. On them, it smelled great (they were sitting two tables from me in a cafe and I KNEW the scent they were wearing and it was driving me craxy till I just asked them). I think MKK is pretty from a DISTANCE…and more “dirty” the closer you are to it. My skin brings out every dirty animal hair, excretion. GOOD LUCK.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Back from paris! [Or rather :( ] What a great, crazy, and stinking city. No wonder they became the perfume mecca: the city's air is so polluted and stinking (ok, there must be worse, but having spent the last weeks in switzerland, it felt royally annoying) I'm now convinced that the whole thing was planned by some obscure organization (perhaps the francs-massons??) in order to lure every visitor's nose – perhaps the only sense organ not to fall, unaided, for the charms of the city – into loving paris's smells!

    On a more serious note (if perfume can ever be serious – part of me hopes that it can't), I got to visit the lovely lutens boutique twice, each time trying MKK on skin (once alongside la Myrre, once alongside iris silver myst). Though I did not fall in love with MKK – that is, not to the point of getting over the hefty pricetag – I liked it very much. I was most struck by the surprizingly ethereal and subtle caracter of MKK: it felt warm, skin-like, velvety, gorgeously musky. It was also remarkably less loud than both la myrre and ISM. It did have a markedly sour facet, that I imagine could annoy some, and that i didn't find particularly attractive. It was nonetheless nothing like the roaring beast I had imagined. That said, the very welcoming lutens employees apply the perfumes on skin very sparingly, which makes me think that the widespread hatred of MKK might be in part due to the oddity of the thing, but also partly to overapplication. Applied lightly, it felt to me like an eminently wearable scent. At bottom, I'm not sure what to think of it: I would wear it were it given to me, but I find it hard to determine precisely how attracted I am to it. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it again…

    Still on another note, to my surprize, my happiest perfumistic encounter turned out to be a parfum de nicolai store. I ran into it unexpectedly going to lutens'. Besides the house's goergeous perfumes, the best news is that (in paris) their cost is really low – most of them being lower than or equal to mass market fragrances! They also have 30ML bottles – which every fragrance house should have. I ended up buying 30ml of New York (a stunner, really!) and a bottle of Maharanih eau légère (awesome for summer – and for the wallet (18 euros for 100ml)!!!)

    Cheers,

    borhane

  41. Anonymous says:

    Borhane: thanks for writing back. I would imagine MKK is best applied lightly…but I bet if you went “overboard” and applied, let's say, 6 strong sprays, you would have experienced some of The Beast. It always smells best on me HOURS after a strong application. I can't believe I didn't go to the Nicolai boutique the last time I was in Paris…dumb!

  42. Anonymous says:

    I can believe you will next time you go! :P

  43. Anonymous says:

    I finally managed to get a small sample decant of MKK from The Perumed Court and was pleased to get it in the mail today.

    It smelled simply Oriental with Joss Sticks (incense) and dirty/sexy. It really is more of a masculine fragrance from my point of view and definitely not as 'smelly' as some have reported.

    It definitely has the costus/musky overtones and reminds me a lot of Etat Libre d'Orange's Vierges & Toreros and Caron's Yatagan.

    It's a favourite of mine because it's not very 'perfumed' but just a natural body smell. I wouldn't wear it somewhere dressy and formal as I think there are better scents that would be more suitable, but as a bedroom and intimate fragrance, this is tops!

    Can anyone tell me why Palais Royale de Shiseido are being so exclusive about retailing this gem of a perfume, as it's near impossible for me to locate and purchase it online?

    I will have to settle for ELd'O's V&T and Yatagan for now; it's the closest I can think of to satisfy my passion for dirty, sexy, manly fragrances.

  44. Anonymous says:

    desmondorama: it's all about keeping things “exclusive” and “rare.” Lutens releases one of its exclusive scents (usually only available in Paris) in the U.S. every year, but you never know which scent it will be. For years eveyone has wanted Iris Silver Mist to be available here…so keep your eyes peeled. Or just go to Paris!

  45. Anonymous says:

    I ordered a sample before i went to Istanbul. It arrived the day before I left, so i took with me without trying it. Having read this excellent review, I had some idea of what to expect! So I waited for the right moment to try it………we awoke very late one morning, and didn't have time to shower before diving into the local Bazaar. It seemed like an ideal occasion to spritz myself in MKK.

    Woah! Fecal is the right word! It is veyr musty, musky, sweet, pooey, honeyish, potent, feral, dirty, unwashed – it was PERFECT for jostling around all unwashed and sweaty in a crowded bazaar! It settles down very quickly into a musky-honey residue, which is rather pleasing actually.

    I like it, but not as much as I love Cuir Mauresque. That is a beautifully smooth, spicy leather scent. I took a sampler of that with me too……..!!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Blimunda: I've come to almost LOVE MKK in the last year…and I do like Cuir Mauresque too. But in Turkey you could have also worn SL Rahät Loukoum as you sipped some tea and had some Turkish delight; it's powdery-sweet so it might not be your “thing” but it's worth sampling.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Kevin. I also had a sampler ot Rahat Loukoum! And I did wear it on one occasion, which was lovely. We were wandering around the sea-front section on the western side, where all the restaurants and cafe's are – and stopped for turkish coffee and cakes! It was very comforting in the cold weather.

    I ordered a larger than normal tester of MKK, so i have some left. I'm going to try it again, as I did love the dry down especially. Perhaps it will grow on me as it did you………

  48. Anonymous says:

    OK Kevin – I understand the magic now!

    I have been testing some cardamom based fragrances recently, and some Montale Aouds. They've been 'OK'. Fun to try, nothing to write home about. Then last night, all of a sudden, I found myself inexplicably lunging for my MKK sampler, spraying it on to my wrist and hoovering it up like cocaine. What was THAT all about?!?!

    I am wearing it again today, in the office, and am LOVING it. I find it warming, sensuous, sexy, comforting and exotic. With enough skank to keep me interested. No more pooey associations….. I asked a few colleagues to sniff my neck, and both of them responded with genuine enthusiasm, and one even requested I send her the link to the Shiseido Salon so she could buy a bottle! Hmmmmmm, interesting. It DOESN'T repulse people, (i have felt faintly self-conscious about what people will think when they smell me……) I may actually invest in a FULL BOTTLE. Aaargh!! MKK or Cuir Mauresque?!?!? What a choice to face! I guess Cuir Mauresque can wait until my Tabac Blond runs dry……no need to have two leather-based scents at once…….is there?!?!?!

  49. Anonymous says:

    Blimunda: I take it you're in Europe!? LUCKY YOU to be able to go and get a bell jar — or order one — (at a much better price than we in the U.S. have to pay for even a mini of the exclusive scents)

  50. Blimunda says:

    I just read on the website ‘Serge Lutens – Almost all the facts’ (or whatever it is called) that MUSCS KOUBLAI KAHN WILL BE ADDED TO THE EXPORT RANGE THIS XMAS 2009!!!!!!!!!! By the by, I am wearing a sample of Fleurs D’Oranger at the moment, for the first time, and am lurving it.

    • Jared says:

      OH MY GOD! CAN IT BE TRUE?! I would not even have to think twice about buying this- I am totally in love with this monster skank-fest! I can see it now, lined up next to Jicky and Kouros on my shelf…brings a tear to my eye :)

      • Blimunda says:

        I hear ya talkin’ Jared! It’ll be sitting next to my Jicky Parfum too, between Bandit, Tabac Blond, Le Labo Patchouli and Ormonde Woman………..MKK just calls out to all skank addicts, doesn’t it?!?!

  51. Kevin says:

    Blimunda: YES! I AM excited about that!

    • enidan says:

      Kevin, can you tell me whether MKK is internationally available by now?

      • Kevin says:

        enidan: It was announced earlier this year that MKK will be in the export range (for a limited time?) this winter. Otherwise: get thee to Paris.

  52. neeks says:

    We certainly have it in Oz now, fascinating, just tried it yesterday. It’s really is sexy, sweet and mildly disgusting all at the same time. Going back today to spray again!

  53. Megazon says:

    I’m a little behind the times, not because I’m old, per se, but I have small children. That’s my excuse, ’nuff sed. Anyway, I felt compelled to comment after many visits to this wonderful site because, MKK has been my Holy Grail of frags for the past 2 years.
    I was seeking something original yet wearable, sexy yet homey, everyday, special and all the time.
    For me? MKK is it.
    Stank, elegant, cozy, mystery…… it is all here. Por moi. Merci , Serg.
    Meg

  54. abysynth says:

    I only started this whole “perfumista” thing maybe a couple months ago, so I have no “notes” described or anything else, just a description of my experience. :)

    let me start by saying that I think this is a brilliant composition. that being said, I’m fairly certain that a guy would not want to smell this on me. you see, after thinking & thinking, I finally pegged what the smell exactly was (at least, on me, to me, because let’s face it, MKK is an even more subjective experience than most perfumes). originally I thought it was just perfume & human b.o., but that wasn’t quite it actually. after the initial skanky explosion in the first couple minutes had abated a bit, I realized it smelled like freshly washed balls. not dirty unwashed balls, or post-coital balls, but balls that have just come out of the shower and are warm & smell a bit perfumey from the soap but still decidedly smell like balls just the same. hence the odd dual nature of the scent I originally detected, with the soap smell and the balls smell, which will never blend perfectly of course, they weren’t designed to. after a while, this smell dries down to more of a freshly washed male underarm smell. again, no dirty/unwashed/putrid animal poo-pee/etc at all. just freshly washed skin in certain *ahem* areas of the body. which to be honest, I didn’t find unappealing! that sort of a scent is one I associate not with sex specifically, but with general physical intimacy, where smelling areas like that are part of the normal experience between physically intimate people. but not specifically sex. in fact, the clean underarm smell was almost comforting to me, I could imagine it as being something I might smell as I fell asleep in the arm of my guy after he’d showered. strange huh? it’s such a *human* smell. and you couldn’t possibly layer anything else over/with MKK because it totally ruins that delicate balance between “just washed” and “male skin in certain areas”, and changes it to a “trying to hide the fact that I smell bad by using perfume” smell (I know, I tried it!) And it really was a delicate balance, somehow ol’ Uncle Serge managed to pull it off and I cannot for the life of me figure out how. it lasted for a relatively short period of time on me, ending finally as the faint smell of a man’s clean skin in general, not so “area specific”, which was nice too.

    this was truly an olfactory experience, veering into brilliance as I said, and consequently most amazing. however! still not so sure I’d wear it out on a date! not so sure smelling like balls would be the most enticing smell to a guy on a date with me. it would of course beg the question “what the hell were you doing *just before* our date??” heh.

    something else I found noteworthy is that while trying the MKK on the inside of one elbow, for comparison purposes I simultaneously tried frederic malle Musc Ravageur in the other elbow. as I was ready to buy a full size of the MR just a week ago, I was astounded to find that by comparison, the MR was really overly cloying and incense-y, and even clumsy! because in spite of the scent’s “subject material”, the MKK scent was truly a delicately balanced work of art and the MR was just stumbling & clumsy by comparison. I would never have guessed.

    yum. warm clean male skin. :)

    • abysynth says:

      you know, I think this scent is actually growing on me, to the point where actually wearing it is becoming a distinct possibility. I tried it again last night and found it even more appealing than before, and today my mind kept getting these faint “memory whiffs” of it, which made me want to put some on.

      this one’s really quite an acquired taste, isn’t it? the very first time I tried it, I accidentally sprayed way too much onto one wrist, without knowing what to expect to begin with. and, off I rushed to the bathroom to wash it all off again, thinking “yech!!” But somehow, in the next few weeks, it kept coming back to my mind without my even understanding why, which led to further tries. each time it creeps up on me just a little closer, and it almost literally haunts me in the back of my mind somehow.

      before you know it, I’ll be hosing myself down with it and trotting off to work every day! well… maybe not at work! but this evening I’m visiting a male friend of mine, so this will be my very first “MKK interactions with the opposite sex” experiment! I’m very curious to see how it plays out; to see if he smells the same thing on me as I do, and then to see how different it smells on him (heh if he’ll let me!)

      *glee*

  55. lelalogic says:

    This is my favorite scent that I have experienced thus far. I’m still smelling new fragraces, but this one has a feeling associated with it that is unique. It’s state-of-mind altering.

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