Which is ironic, really, since I don't find it animalic. If I was looking forward to smelling like three hours with two guys in a yurt, I found only traces of any glandular/mustelid element, and am by no means anosmic in that direction. MKK opens in a brief kick of sharp, vaporous aromatics that soon loft its buxom substance into a surprisingly modest projection. The minky civet, castoneum, cistus and ambergis unfurl together, worked into something fat, silky and deeply luxurious, slapped hard and flushed pink by the rose notes and lazy, recessive patchouli.
Some find only skunk after this point; I think they might be sniffing too hard at the wrist, mistaking the skin scent for the sillage in its sophisticated and quite divergent actuality, but here we come to something everyone should know about perfume- your skin is no passive receptor. If you're a hottie, a sweater, one of those dewy, slightly moistened creatures, expect MKK to turn dirty and head for the stables. My own personal upholstery converts the darkest, rankest raunch to powder puff faster than you can say doh I was hoping for sex, strongly favouring the pink, silvery fur aspect of musk and the grubbier flowers; thus I am treated to rosy/lolly/fox collar rather than any triple X throwdown. Quel dommage.
Another quarter of an hour passes before something almost arcane occurs, the compound sweetness morphing to almost exactly resemble the scent of batik application, sere notes of scorched cotton and hot wax supported by the increasingly ghostly musk. This accord rolls slowly onto its side to reveal what is to me the hidden heart of MKK- a whispered, mythic analogue of a lover's scent, memorialized, hung with flowers, framed in the doting, mote-flecked gold of a late summer afternoon, incarnate at long last, but private and intimate. All the best fumes have this quality of intimacy, of personal relevance; the ability to move and remind, and MKK is the queen of them all in that respect.
I'm finding it difficult to imagine a more unisex scent and perhaps this will provide a clearer picture of its comprehensive organic affinities. I get four to five decent hours before it settles down and closes its eyes, but it lingers for weeks on your clothing. Don't let anyone talk you out of Muscs Koublai Khan. Its beauty is a rarity in commercial perfumery- a substance verging on the personal. If you can appreciate McQueen's Kingdom, Kiel's Musk and some of Serge's dirty girls like El Attarine or even Arabie, you'll be wondering what all the hot fuss was about.
Images my own- please do not reproduce.
Muscs Koublai Khan- 50 ml edp.
HOUSE Serge Lutens/ Christopher Sheldrake
STYLE/FLAVOUR Musk/Oriental. Unisex.
DATE OF ISSUE 1998
LISTED NOTES Civet, cistus labdanum, ambergris, Moroccan rose, cumin, ambrette seed, costus root, patchouli.
ENVIRONMENTAL STATEMENT none.