Fragrance Friday: Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur

Much to my delight, right across the street from Roja Dove in the Piccadilly Circus was Frederic Malle, so I popped in for a whiff. I must admit, none of their scents spoke to me much, and in fact many I found quite unpleasant. The two that I found most interesting were Musc Ravageur and Dries Van Noten. Frankly, I felt Dries would be a better match for me, however with the reputation Musc Ravageur carried, I figured I’d give it a try.


Released in 2000, Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle is largely what put this brand on the map, with a retail price of $185 for 1.7oz and $270 for 3.4oz, this is classified as a high end, niche fragrance.

Musc Ravageur is perhaps one of the most complex fragrances on the market. A dizzying array of scents seems to come together as one note. Unlike most fragrances, instead of definitive “layers” Musc Ravageur tends to muddy the waters so to speak between the layers, and while you can most certainly smell individual notes, they seem to join together in a unique fashion. Three key stand outs however, are amber, spice and vanilla – which tend to dominate.

When initially sprayed, there’s a sour and rather unpleasant animalic musk note that quickly turns to a dirty acrid note. The opening is very abrasive and harsh and lasts approximately fifteen to twenty minutes.


After thirty minutes or so, the scent settles down a bit, and while still strong, the vanilla and tonka bean start to wake up and soften the harsh edges. As the scent develops, the amber base leads the charge, flanked by cinnamon and clove. I find projection, longevity and silage to be towards the heavier end of moderate, yet nothing particularly exciting. Expect to hide for the first thirty minutes, and then you’ll have a solid six hours of admirable performance before the scent begins to soften. At around the eight hour mark, Musc Ravageur has largely become a skin scent.


Since it is a strong and abrasive scent, it is best suited for the winter or fall – but I’m not really sure what occasion would warrant its use. It seems far too animalic to be used with dressy attire, yet too strong and hard charging for casual wear. I can see how this might perform well as an upscale club fragrance, but I have a terribly hard time placing where and when to use Musc Ravageur.

Description from Frederic Malle Website:

Musc Ravageur is an uncompromising Oriental, which runs against current fads. Its explosive departure of bergamot, tangerine and cinnamon is set against a backdrop of vanilla, musk and amber. A sexy, turbulent perfume, in a word: ravageur.


The bottle is a simple, yet clean design and while it is not particularly flashy, it does both look and feel like high quality product. The atomizer on this bottle blasts a rather large and wide cloud of finely atomized fragrance. One or two sprays are more than sufficient.

Would I buy it again? No. This fragrance simply does not speak to me. While I enjoy elements of it, and it is certainly a bold and unique experience, I simply do not see a viable application for it. I find the opening to be downright putrid, and the dry down to be unnecessarily complex and uninspiring.


Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur
















Personal Opinion







  • Dizzyingly complex.
  • Very warm and unique scent.
  • Interesting development throughout the day.


  • Dizzyingly complex.
  • Settles down to a somewhat boring amber/vanilla.
  • Unimpressive projection, silage, and longevity.