Musc Ravageur – Frederic Malle

Musc Ravageur opens to me almost devoid of top notes, it’s instantly a mellow blend of deep vanilla bean, cinnamon, and a touch of warm clove (a touch of lavender just about in focus). It is dense and oily, and for some reason feels quite sparse whilst not being at all “thing”. It appears a very simple composition, simple but extremely effective.

Musc Ravageur is pretty much a linear fragrance, what you get at the beginning melts into the skin and continues to throw itself around you in a dreamy cloud of warm spices and oily vanilla. It is sweet, but not too sweet, it is gourmand, but not particularly foody, it can be masculine? I guess so. Maybe this is why Musc Ravageur is so popular, it is SO easy to wear.

I have tried this in both EDP (this review),  and the oil form. I find them both too similar to write different reviews about. I actually think I prefer the oil (maybe that’s my subconscious because it’s cheaper!) but the fragrance to me almost smells like it belongs in oil form, and it feels great on the skin and just adds to the feel of density in Musc Ravageur.

Melting into the skin more and more, up close the scent is skin like, super soft, warm and comforting yet it manages to completely surround you when you wear it. A tonka and sandalwood base secures the vanilla, a labdanum seems to come in – mixing in with the already present vanilla to create an amber accord. The musk finally makes an appearance in the late drydown, and whilst be just a teeny bit raunchy – the vanilla oil manages to override this. It’s a clever fragrance, it manages to become something quite polarizing due to its “animalic” expectations. But it’s also a bit of a genre-defying fragrance, starting almost a little like a barbershop masculine and turning into a spicy gourmand. Oh and it’s sexy… there you go.

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur 50ml EDP – £90, 50ml Oil – No longer available

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12 thoughts on “Musc Ravageur – Frederic Malle

  1. I have started from your second stage of appreciation (scented cooking oil) and stayed there. I think I have the name to blame (“Devastating Musk”) which made expect something totally different from this sweet spicy gourmand. In the end this is a very nice, classic, barbershop scent but it has to rival much cheaper, equally appealing contenders. In fact I have been thinking about a post on my muskiest bottle which is not Muscs Koublai Khan :) and you have prompted me to right it.

    • I look forward to reading your write up! :D
      It’s wierd, I don’t get the barbershoppy vibe, I don’t really pick up the lavender though…
      The name is a bit misleading, but that’s all fun I suppose!

  2. I have yet to sample any of the frederic malle line, I love the fact that you say this “completely surrounds you when you wear it.” I find those fragrances to be the most satisfying.

    • It really does! You constantly get wafts of it when you’re wearing it.
      I’m not a huge fan of the Frederic Malle line. I think because of the range of perfumeurs, the line comes across as a bit of a mish mash where you don’t know where to begin.
      This is a good place to start.
      I recently sampled Dans Tes Bras which was fascinating, I’m not sure whether it is very appealing, but unique non the less – an extremely salty, violet, oceanic skin smell, neither warm nor cool, very confusing but mute. I’ll try give it a full review one day!

  3. […] am following smellythought’s blog regularly and he recently posted his impressions on Musc Ravageur. He mentions, as well as many others, that this was not the Devastating Musk he expected it to be […]

  4. I love this. I suppose the labdanum is the musk – it’s what I get the most of in this scent. I don’t consider this animalic, nor do I find MKK animalic. In the same vein would be Absolue pour le Soir Eau de Parfum by Maison Francis Kurkdjian – now THAT’S animalic!

  5. R says:

    Ok, need to try this too now. God, they’ll kick me out when I leave again without having bought any bottles!!
    I see that you visit your local niche perfumeries quite often, do they have a problem with all the sniffing you do even when you don’t buy?!

    • Musc Ravageur is a bit of a cult fragrance really, very overhyped – but a solid vanilla that’s definitely worth a sniff.
      Of course not – if you’ve ever worked in retail, you know like that 90% of your customers don’t buy anything… it’s no big deal it’s not like they frown on you :’) After all, they’re only sales staff, they didn’t make the perfumes themselves haha.

  6. Anthony says:

    Freddie, hi, it’s Anthony here. I didn’t know where else to ask this question so I decided to comment on your MR post. I’ve been wearing Le Labo’s Labdanum 18 (also by Roucel, and often said to be an MR light. Have you tried Labdanum 18, and if so I’m curious to know what you think of them side by side. I don’t have anymore MR to compare it with so I’m thinking of getting a sample of it to remind me. They’re pretty similar though for some reason with the L18, I get more of a Johnson’s baby oil/powder feel that I don’t remember experiencing in MR. Whatever the case, as you say with MR, they are both incredibly easy to wear, satisfying up close, comforting from afar. Just curious if you had any thoughts on this.


    • I have tried it a couple times but never worn it properly. I don’t remember any obvious similarities with MR… I remember getting a light, powdery labdanum, sweetened with vanilla – it has this kind of translucent stickiness like a gummy bear. The animalistic quality was really minimal on me. Nice, but I prefer MR (which I have recently got a bottle of). I’ll be sure to get my nose on it again.

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