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August 03, 2005

Fragrance review: Musc Ravageur Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle

1925_dali Picasso_1922

Walking through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I reflect upon the fact that in much the same way as great artworks inspire the new generation of artists, the influence of Jacques Guerlain’s Shalimar (1925) is felt in Maurice Roucel’s Musc Ravageur (2000). Neither like Dalì simply imitated Picasso, nor is Musc Ravageur a copy of Shalimar. It is a fragrance with its own creative merit that incorporates elements from Jacques Guerlain’s composition in order to convey another vision. While Shalimar makes one wait in order to see what makes it a perfection—which one has to admit it is, whether one likes it or not, Musc Ravageur starts to unfold at once. Its animalic elements are seamlessly blended into dark vanillic warmth, interspersed with cool notes of bergamot and lavender. The heightened interplay of powerful sensations, from hot glow of amber to icy sting of citrus, is what makes Musc Ravageur a memorable composition from the first inhale.

While I do not tend to favour scented body products, Frédéric Malle has impressed me with the quality of its ancillary lines. Musc Ravageur Oil is a great alternative to the Eau de Parfum, especially for those who find the initial balsamic burst too dark. It absorbs rapidly into the skin and, with some sacrifice of development, melds into a softer version of the EDP. The soft balsamic warmth of this sensual fragrance would also work wonderfully on a man.

Paintings (from left to right, click to enlarge): Salvador Dalì, Venus and a Sailor (1), 1925. Ikeda Museum of Twentieth Century Art, Shizuoka, Japan. Pablo Picasso, Mother and Child, 1921-22. The Alex L. Hillman Family Foundation, New York, NY, USA. (from dali-gallery.com and abcgallery.com, respectively.)

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