Kiehl’s musk oil is my favourite scent. I’ve worn it daily for pretty much 2 years now. It sits close to the skin in an alluring way – with notes of soap and flowers dancing sexily with something a little bit beastly. Like a husky mammal that’s just been bathed, its fur luxurious – you want to stroke it, bury your face in it.
The only thing I dislike about it is that, yes, it sits very close to the skin so only the very intimate even get a whiff. Also, it sometimes feels a bit linear: musk, floral, creamy tonka bean.
So – based on many, many reviews – I figured the famous niche perfumer Serge Lutens was the company to turn to, specifically its Muscs Koublai Khan at a whopping £98 a bottle, sold only out of the sole Serge Lutens boutique in Paris. Loads of people swooned on the internet, likening this fragrance to Kiehl’s musk – but better. Oh, so much better. I figured it would be a winner. It would be my beloved Kiehl’s musk exaggerated – the musk to end all musks – sophisticated on my skin. And for £98 a bottle, it damn well should be.
Granted, there are also people out there on the internet who have said it’s foul.
I bought a partial bottle off eBay and waited patiently. Finally, it arrived in the post. I opened the bottled tentatively. Took a sniff. Ooooooohh, I thought. I don’t smell any civet* in this. It smells lovely. All those Muscs Koublai Khan haters out there are definitely cray-cray.
Oh, how wrong I was.
It literally smelled like shit. Once applied, from beginning to end – top, middle and base notes – it was barnyard dung. I tried to convince myself otherwise. I think I detect some delightful rose, delicate and welcoming. But there was always the poop. The civet was so overwhelming that it shat all over the other notes that are supposedly in this perfume – once on my skin.
Muscs Koublai Khan – underneath the essence of cat bottom – might remind you of an unwashed, sweaty man’s armpit. No one wants to smell like that either, in case you were wondering.
*Civet: an animal that produces an odorous secretion for the purpose of marking its territory. A fragrance commonly used in perfume.
**Which is wasn’t. It was loud and clear and totally in my face.