As I write this we’re entering the week of love, hearts and flowers in the lead up to Valentine’s Day. But instead of offering you a gift guide, I’m sharing my experience with Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur Body and Hair Oil . I’ve been under the spell of this oil for about two months now, learning its behaviour, learning its composition and familiarising myself with its impact on my skin and senses.
With the creation of Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle in 2000, he branded himself as a ‘fragrance publisher’. This unique concept fragrance house sees Frédéric Malle inviting select perfumers to work with him, bringing them to the forefront rather than leaving them to toil and languish in the shadows of the lab as other fragrance houses tend to do. So for each fragrance in Malle’s portfolio, the perfumer’s name graces the bottle or jar. Fragrances such as Portrait of a Lady and Carnal Flower have helped cement Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle as a formidable presence in the fragrance industry.
The ‘author’ or perfumer behind Musc Ravageur is Maurice Roucel, with Roucel boasting an impressive CV having started his career at Chanel as a chromatography chemist. He then began an apprenticeship under Chanel’s then in-house perfumer, Henri Robert. Following that, Roucel’s work took him to several other prestigious fragrance houses and even more impressive is the number of well-known fragrances he has created over the years for brands such as Le Labo, Gucci and Bond No.9.
Here are the official notes of Musc Ravageur via fredericmalle.com
Top Notes: Bergamot, Lavender, Mandarin
Middle Notes: Amber, Vanilla, Musk
Base Notes: Sandalwood and Musk
Musc Ravageur Body and Hair Oil doesn’t draw upon any floral notes for its composition. Light textured and fast absorbing, it offers the ultimate sensorial experience when applied to the skin, especially damp skin that’s fresh from a bath.
Slowly and flirtatiously its notes are revealed in phases, toying with the wearer. I detected mandarin among the initial notes as it peeked around the curves of the lavender, vanilla and musk. I can’t say there’s ever a point when one note grabs the spotlight and maintains it, except maybe for the vanilla notes which seem a little brighter the morning after. Instead, the entire experience remains a well-executed dance, with each note always in motion. I have also applied it to my hair and it adds some lustre and certainly softens my texture a bit.
Hype scares me to a certain extent because it initially points to herd mentality or the act of conforming. So when I decided I was ready to enter Frédéric Malle’s scent world, I didn’t want to do so with one of the fragrances such as Portrait of a Lady for example as this was a blind buy. I’m glad that I opted to go with one of the oils and I’d suggest getting to know fragrance brands using this method in case you’re not sold on a fragrance.
Musc Ravageur Body and Hair Oil doesn’t burst into the room, instead, it enters quietly yet brings an aura, a commanding presence that chooses a spot and unfurls its magic right there, as opposed to flitting about from place to place seeking attention. It’s sillage or staying power is superb, plus it remains evident well into the next day. The scent of this oil is for the wearer more so than for anyone else. It’s quietly seductive, inviting extended snuggles plus I adore how hydrated it keeps my skin.
Another thing to note is that Musc Ravageur holds is scent profile together, in that none of the notes break apart to fracture the overall impact of the scent. Of course, from the moment of application, the musk notes are unmistakable in their beckoning, bookending the vanilla and amber notes to make the entire composition heady and pleasingly intoxicating.
I must quickly talk about the packaging which is a sleek, hard plastic 200ml/6.8 fl.oz black bottle without a label. The only identifying marker is creamy embossed lettering on the cap of the bottle, making it painfully understated yet striking. As much as I want to keep Musc Ravageur on my dresser, I keep it in the box away from light. Doing that adds to its allure, making each time I use it a bit of an event.
Maurice Roucel initially created Musc Ravageur for another fragrance house but it was not added because the decision makers felt it was too provocative. Yet, its introduction to Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle still caused quite the sensation. If one needed a comparison, Emeraude from Coty may suffice in term of composition.
If you’re a #fumehead or fragrance geek or simply love immersing yourself into topics, I strongly suggest having a listen here to the Fat Mascara beauty podcast episode with Frédéric Malle as the guest. In the episode, he talks about how Musc Ravageur was selected for the house along with his experiences in the fragrance industry and what led up to his creation of Editions de Parfumes Frederic Malle.
Musc Ravageur is an alluring Oriental, so if the oil closely mirrors the actual fragrance, I’m already sold. Using it has been one of the most compelling scent experiences I’ve had in a while. So it’s no surprise that I have another of the house’s fragrances on my radar, specifically Le Parfum de Therese by Edmond Roudnitska.
If you’re inclined, do take a closer look at the brand as there’s quite an array of products to ponder apart from the fragrances such as body creams, candles and home scents. And if you’ve dabbled in anything from the brand I would be thrilled to hear your thoughts and as always, I hope this helps.