Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur & Dries Van Noten review, photos | The Gift Guide

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur review

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur ($52 USD & up)

Have you ever owned a perfume that was just so gorgeously, inexplicably sexy that it made your eyes roll back a little?

For me, this scent has always been Frederic Malle’s Musc Ravageur, by Maurice Roucel. It’s an “amber oriental,” and ravageur is just the perfect way to describe it — it’s a visceral, punk kind of sexy, with clove and sandalwood on a cedar base shot through with vanilla. The original formulation, if you can find a bottle, opens on the skin with vanilla and gives way to the briefest window of just absolutely filthy musk before settling down.

Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

I picked up a new travel spray of Musc Ravageur this past summer from the Holt’s on Bloor–the two men working the counter were just a joy to talk perfume with–and, as much as my love for this scent still endures, I am sad to report that even the pre-reformulation 2015 bottles of this scent are far less “dirty” than my bottle from 2008. It’s a change that perfumistas will hate, I think, but that most fragrance wearers will very much appreciate.

Even with the reformulation, Musc Ravageur is an absolute treat. I’ve been wearing it probably 4 days out of 7 this winter (which, for me, is like a love declaration written in blood), and it’s still quite a sexy scent. It feels a little more masculine without the animalic notes, but the tenacity is no less breathtaking — I can spray a scarf with this on Monday and still smell faintly like I rule the world on Friday.

Availability: $52 to $270 USD at Neiman MarcusBarneys, and Holt Renfrew ($245 CAD and up; travel sprays available only in-store).

Dries van Noten par Frederic Malle Eau de Toilette ($56 USD & up)

Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten review

While I was picking up my new bottle of Musc Ravageur, I was introduced to Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle, an “olfactory portrait” by Bruno Jovanovic that tells the story of Dries’ life in a bottle. (Pictured here is a rather gorgeous sample vial.)

It, too, is described as an oriental by the brand, but Dries is an entirely different beast than Musc Ravageur. It has much more throw than Musc Ravageur, and yet feels more organic: sweet and comforting, like a heavy sweater in a musty old library.

This one takes me back to Toronto in the summer, but I think the opening is a little too sweet for me to buy a full bottle. It develops nicely on the skin, though; soft and sugary with an Indian sandalwood base, and it makes me think of powdered lemon biscuits with tea at midday. Somewhere hot, perhaps — a leafy green rainforest that wraps you up in humid air and puts you softly to bed.

Availability: $56 to $290 USD at Barneys New York and Holt Renfrew ($265 CAD & up).

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  • esharp1978

    I've been wondering about the reformulation and the Dries. I'd love to try the Dries and I'm still sad about MR. I've been wearing Miller Harris Fluer Oriental in effigy but it's not quite the same :( My beloved Black has been DC'd. I think I need to have a lie down and console myself with some new perfumes :(
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    • The reformulation is okay, all things told, but I definitely like the old stuff more. My new bottle is actually pre-new EU reforms, though, so I'm not sure what the 2016 will smell like!! :( :(

      The Dries is great. I'd definitely recommend spraying it on the skin when you test it, though — the opening is pretty bland, but it gets majorly lovely after about an hour!!

  • jenn

    i feel like i would love having you around to take me down perfume aisles. what a missed opportunity but i guess we had our own unique shopping excursion anyways (haha) so i'm not too upset :P
    i need to smell that musc scent. i remember reading about it when i was trying to look for something more unique and sexy. i ended up with jazz club (replica: maison margiela) instead which i still haven't worn to the office but i love love love.
    i feel like we have similar perfume tastes.
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    • Someday, Jenn! Boyfriend is obsessed with Vancouver, so maybe some day sooner than you think ;)

      I've tested jazz club more than once, and I'm sad to say that it isn't really my thing!! It's lovely for someone else, I think, but it doesn't have that unf quality that Musc Ravageur has.

      There's this little basement perfumer in Edmonton who makes Libertine Fragrance that came to mind when I read your comment — if you ever get the chance (I know they sell in little hipster stores in a couple of cities), I think you would LOVE Libertine Soft Woods. <3

  • The way you describe Musc Ravageur… ugh! :-) You really know how to describe a scent, sounds so good.
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