…by Maurice Roucel
Top notes: bergamot, mandarin, lavender
Middle notes: cinnamon, vanilla, amber
Base notes: sandalwood, musk
This is The One, at least according to my adviser at Frederic Malle responding to my questionnaire. He did recommend a couple others to address specific concerns, but this is the one he recommended in response to my personality and style answers–the core of the argument, as it were.
I was a bit bemused by this, as Musc Ravageur is not one I would have thought likely for the honor–although I didn’t think I’d dislike it, either. Musk and woods, with vanilla and sweet spices. And no flowers. It sounds like the scent equivalent of those weighted blankets they recommend to soothe anxiety–which seems so counter-intuitive that I feel a bit anxious just thinking about it. (I used to hate when my mother would tightly tuck me into bed, as if to keep me from falling out. I’d ruck the covers loose as soon as she left the room.)
But considering my specific answers to the questionnaire, I think I can see where he got the idea. I said I wanted my scent to be “introverted but intense.” Well, I don’t know how “Ravageur” I am–very cool name, though!–but this perfume does suit someone who sorts the laundry every week and ends up with a pile of dark clothes twice as big as the light-colored ones. Also, I said I usually wear “soft knits with dramatic jewelry,” and this is certainly Soft Knits with Dramatic Jewelry in a bottle.
The touch of brilliant citrus at the top leads quickly into the deep darkness of the other notes. I often find cinnamon problematic, in perfume as in food, but I like its use here; it keeps all those dark opaque notes from smelling flat. The fragrance gets increasingly vanillic as it wears, but the vanilla, though creamy, is also smudgy with musk and woods, so that this unisex scent is not too sweet for a man.
Opinions seem evenly divided on just how “Ravageur” this stuff is. I fall in the middle here. I wouldn’t recommend it if “clean and fresh” is the highest praise you could give a perfume. It is a straightforward fragrance, and a very sensual one. But it doesn’t smell like a hooker who’s been working too hard.
Personality: It could go either way, I suppose. It doesn’t smell flagrantly Not Me, but like I said, it wasn’t the first thing that came to my mind.
Comfort level: Surprise! In spite of my fears of being smothered, I feel comfortable with this from start to finish. Maybe I could use a weighted blanket after all.
Preferences: When I first tried it, while I liked it well enough, something in it reminded me of root beer–I guess the cinnamon and vanilla–and I don’t like root beer. But for some reason, the more time I spent with it, the less I smelled root beer, or the less bothered I was by that. By the last couple of wearings, I enjoyed it heartily all the way through.
Rating: For the above reason–most of the time, I’d have said 4 out of 5, but I’d have to give it a 5 for the last couple wearings. I guess this is why we sample first.
Verdict: I am reserving judgment at this time.