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Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan
Suzanne’s Perfume Journal
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A Conversation on Arabie

A Package from Ines

A Package from Lavanya

A More Affordable Olfactionary

A Week of Wearing What I Like

Amouage Dia (pour femme)

Amouage Dia (pour homme)

Amouage Epic Woman

Amouage Gold

Amouage Interlude Man

Amouage Jubilation 25 

Amouage Lyric Woman

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Amouage Opus I

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Annick Goutal Heure Exquise

Annick Goutal Petite Cherie

Annick Goutal Sables

April Aromatics Calling All Angels

April Aromatics Bohemian Spice

April Aromatics Jasmina 

April Aromatics Nectar of Love

April Aromatics Rose L'Orange

Aroma M Geisha Green

Aroma M Geisha Rouge

Arquiste Boutonniere no. 7

At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)

At the Moment (Contemplating Change & Habit Rouge)

At the Moment (Marron Chic & Paris)

At the Moment (More Midsummer Delights/Epic/Geisha Noire)

At the Moment (Saki & Lubin Idole edt)

At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante)

At the Moment (Spring Pretties/Un Air de Samsara)

At the Moment (Summery Things...Love Coconut)

At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)

Ava Luxe Café Noir

Beatnik Emptiness Incense

Best of 2009

Bond No. 9 Andy Warhol Silver Factory

Bond No. 9 Brooklyn

Bond No. 9 Little Italy

Bond No. 9 New Haarlem

Bottega Veneta eau de parfum

Breath of God

Byredo Green

By Kilian Amber Oud

Calyx by Prescriptives

Canturi by Stefano Canturi

Capote, Truman & Evening in Paris

Carner Barcelona D600

Caron Aimez-Moi

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Caron Tabac Blond

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Caron Yatagan

Cartier II L'Heure Convoitee

Cartier IV L'Heure Fougueuse

Chanel 31 Rue Cambon

Chanel Bel Respiro

Chanel Chance

Chanel Coco

Chanel Coromandel

Chanel Cuir de Russie

Chanel Egoiste

Chanel No. 5 (vintage)

Chanel No. 22

Chantecaille Petales

Chantilly Dusting Powder

Clive Christian C for Women

Comme des Garcons Daphne

Comme des Garcons LUXE Champaca

Comme des Garcons Series 7 Sweet Nomad Tea

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Coty Ambre Antique

Coty Chypre

Coty Paris

Creature by Kerosene

Creed Acqua Fiorentina

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie

Creed Virgin Island Water

DSH Perfumes Bancha Extreme

DSH Perfumes Quinacridone Violet 

DSH Perfumes Vert pour Madame

Deneuve

Devilscent Project

Dior Diorissimo (vintage)

Donna Karan Black Cashmere

EnVoyage Vents Ardents

EnVoyage Zelda

Estee Lauder Private Collection

Estee Lauder Private Collection Jasmine White Moss

Etat Libre d'Orange Rien, Rossy de Palma & Noel au Balcon

Faberge Woodhue Cologne

Favorite Fall Fragrances

Fendi Uomo

Fragrances for Sweden

Frapin 1697 Absolu Parfum

Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Frederic Malle Bigarade Concentrée

Frederic Malle Carnal Flower

Frederic Malle Geranium Pour Monsieur

Frederic Malle Iris Poudre

Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese

Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose

Frederic Malle Noir Epices

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady

Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie

Frederic Malle Une Rose

Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel

Ghosts of Perfumes Past, Present & Future

Gone Fishin'

Gucci Eau de Parfum

Gucci L'Arte di Gucci

Gucci Pour Homme

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia

Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Exaltant

Guerlain Attrape Coeur

Guerlain Chamade

Guerlain Jicky

Guerlain Mayotte

Guerlain Parure

Guerlain Samsara Parfum

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara

Guerlain Vega

Guerlain Vetiver (vintage)

Guy Laroche J'ai Ose (vintage)

Happy Solstice

Hermes 24, Faubourg

Hermes Caleche (vintage)

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes Hiris

Hermes Iris Ukiyoe

Hermes L'Ambre des Merveilles

Histoires de Parfums 1740

Histoires de Parfums 1828

Histoires de Parfums Blanc Violette

Histoires de Parfums Vert Pivoine

Hometown Portrait, State College, PA

Honore des Pres Vamp a NY

House of Matriarch Carmine

How I Store Decants

Il Profumo Cannabis

In Memory (w/mention of Lanvin Arpege)

Jacomo #02

Jacomo #09 (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles

Jean Patou Joy

Jean Patou 1000

Jo Malone Saffron Cologne Intense

Jo Malone Sweet Milk Cologne 

Juliet by Juliet Stewart

Kai Eau de Parfum

Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant

Kenzo Summer

Lancome Magie Noire (vintage) 

Lanvin Via Lanvin (vintage) 

L'Artisan Parfumeur Nuit de Tubereuse

L'Artisan Parfumeur Orchidee Blanche 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Passage d’Enfer

L'Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l'Aube

L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two

La Via del Profumo Balsamo Della Mecca

La Via del Profumo Hindu Kush

La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe

La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project

La Via del Profumo Sharif

La Via del Profumo Tawaf

Le Labo Gaiac 10

Le Labo Iris 39

Le Labo Patchouli 24

Le Labo Poivre 23

Little Lists

Lorenzo Villoresi Yerbamate

M. Micallef Vanille Orient

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

Maison Martin Margiela (untitled) eau de parfum

Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau des Iles

Message In A Bottle 

Michael Storer Winter Star

Miller Harris L'Air de Rien

Miscellany

Missoni (original) by Missoni

Molinard Habanita

Mona Di Orio Nuit Noire

Mona Di Orio Oud

Mona Di Orio Vanille

Montale Black Aoud

Montale Boise Vanille

Montale Intense Tiare

Montale Patchouli Leaves

Montale Red Aoud

More Roses (rose cookie recipe)

My Heart Has Skipped a Beat (summer smells)

My Perfumes Have Theme Songs

Nasomatto China White

Neila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling

Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps

Nez a Nez Ambre a Sade

Northern Exposure "A Dash of Chanel No. 5"

Odin 04 Petrana (Link to my review in Sniffapalooza Magazine)

Olivier Durbano Black Tourmaline

Omar Sharif Pour Femme

Oriscent Pure Oud Oils

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman

Oscar de la Renta Oscar for Men

O Tannenbaum Joint Blog Project

Parfum d'Empire Azemour

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Parfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs

Parfumerie Generale Bois de Copaiba

Parfumerie Generale Indochine

Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique

Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu

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Parfums Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars

Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin

Parfums Retro Grand Cuir

Paris, je t'aime

Pascal Morabito Or Black 

Perfume Quotes - The English Patient

Prada Infusion d'Iris Absolue

Pretty Perfume Bottles 

Prince Matchabelli Aviance Cologne (vintage) 

Profumum Roma Acqua Viva

Profumum Roma D'Ambrosia

Puredistance I

Puredistance Antonia

Puredistance BLACK

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Puredistance Opardu

Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk

Recipe for Socca

Regina Harris Amber Vanilla Perfume Oil

Regina Harris Frankincense-Myrrh-Rose Maroc Perfume Oil

Robert Piguet Fracas

Robert Piguet Visa

Rochas Mystere 

Rome Vacation Photos

San Francisco Holiday

Sarah Horowitz Parfums' Joy Comes From Within & Beauty Comes From Within

Scented Reading

Scents of the Mediterranean

Scentuous Reading: One Hundred Years of Solitude

Serge Lutens Arabie

Serge Lutens Borneo 1834

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Serge Lutens Chergui

Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles

Serge Lutens Five O’Clock Au Gingembre

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Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan

Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle

Serge Lutens Un Lys

Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental

Slumberhouse Rume

Snow Days

Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure

Sonoma Scent Studio Jour Ensoleille

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Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)

SoOud Ouris Parfum Nectar

S-Perfume 100% Love {More}

Stone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)

Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric Rain

Sweden Is For Lovers

T is for Taxes

Tauer Perfumes: Incense Extrême, Incense Rosé, Lonestar Memories, & Reverie au Jardin

Tauer Perfumes Vetiver Dance

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Diary of a Nose, Book Review

The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit

The Intimacy of Scent

Thoughts of a Perfume Collector

Tightly

Tokyo Milk Ex Libris

Unlocking an Unknown: Webber Parfum 6T

Velvet & Sweet Pea's Purrfumery Bed of Roses

Venimus Vidimus Vicimus, or How 3 Perfume Bloggers and a Husband Took Rome

Vero Profumo Kiki, Onda, and Rubj

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What I’m Lovin’ Now

Xerjoff Mamluk

YOSH Perfumes Ginger Ciao

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

 

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khän: My Midsummer's Dream Scent . . .

Exotic, Languid, and Consoling


I don’t think a month has ever flown by faster than June did for me, and now that it’s gone, I am feeling blue, wishing I could do the whole thing over again, reliving its beauties and pleasures and correcting my foolish mistakes and lost opportunities. Without going into details, June was a rare month filled with people, travel and events, from start to finish—a month of comings and goings in which I managed to be a hostess, a vacationer, a tourist, and at the same time, some kind of homing station for flighty emotions that only go so far before they beat their way back, for it did indeed seem that even in this most outgoing of months, the entire gamut of human emotions came home to roost. And when they did, like carrier pigeons they brought messages: This is what you did right, enjoy your reward; this is where you got by on luck, thank your planets; and this is where you screwed up, here’s everything you need to work on.

Sorting through these messages in the beginning of July makes me feel a bit weepy (if one can feel weepy without actually weeping), because not only are there no more beach or travel vacations for me to look forward to, no family to entertain for awhile, and, unfortunately, no re-do’s in the department of Life and Living, to top it off, I’m feeling rather tired. But this last thing—the feeling tired-part—will pass, and I’ve got a new bottle of perfume to rest my head on in the meantime, one that’s cushiony and soft without being cheerful or sweet; something satisfyingly frayed and threadbare at the edges, as if it knows that I am in need of rapport and thus consents to emulate my current condition.

It’s an easy fragrance, but one with intelligence: I think it might even be laughing at me a little, like a lover gently poking fun at my foibles, reminding me that I once said I hated musk scents.

True, but as you can see from last week’s post, that’s no longer so—and Muscs Koublaï Khän? Don’t let the outrageous name fool you: this fragrance from the perfume house of Serge Lutens is anything but. Truth be told, it’s the kind of musk scent that requires little-to-no learning curve for someone like me to love it, because, if you’re a regular reader here, you know I enjoy perfumes that include indolic and animalic notes. (My former dislike of musks centered on the white musks I once thought of as being too clean, diffuse and boring.)

Muscs Koublaï Khän was composed by perfumer Christopher Sheldrake with notes of civet, castoreum, cistus labdanum, ambergris, Moroccan rose, cumin, ambrette seed, costus root and patchouli. (Per the website Fragrantica.com; if you look at the list of notes posted at LuckyScent.com, there is no mention of civet and castoreum, but I distinctly catch whiffs of both, so I’m going with Fragrantica’s list.)

On my skin, which tends to amplify sweet notes, this fragrance is slightly dirty-sexy in the top notes stage only, where the castoreum is most detectable and verges on smelling like leather, but just verges: it is lightly represented and doesn’t linger for long. Civet is detectable too, and like the castoreum, so deftly articulated that its indolic character is a mere whisper within the scent, adding depth—a human smell, hard to put a name to because it’s not unclean but, of course, not exactly clean, either—rather than its typical eau de derriere brand of sexual posturing. (I should note here that when I spray Muscs Koublaï Khän on my husband, the animalic portion of the scent is noticeably stronger and less fleeting. I suspect this has less to do with skin chemistry than it does with body hair, as hair tends to hold on to scents for a longer period of time than skin.)

Rather quickly, Muscs Koublaï Khän segues from its lightly animalic opening to a stage that is deliciously cocoon-like. It’s the olfactory equivalent of what I imagine it must be like being an eco-tourist on an expensive trekking holiday in Mongolia—reclining on silk pillows and plush carpets in a Mongolian yurt—eating candied walnuts that have been crystallized in an amber-and-rosewater-scented concoction—catching fleeting whiffs of the little Mongolian horses tethered outside and drifts of the hay they’ve just been fed. Imagine these elements filtered through the fine scrim of a dream-state, such that they smell distant and fuzzy while, at the same time, as compelling as anything that sits at the lapping shore of consciousness, and you’ll understand why I find Muscs Koublaï Khän a perfect summer scent. It floats beautifully on the humid air, is neither too strong nor too soft, yet manages to be distinctly inimitable—commanding one’s attention—rather than some listless bit of fluff.

As such, it‘s the right choice for me on this holiday weekend, as I collect my thoughts and remind myself that, in my part of the world, summer in and of itself is a vacation; something new and exciting will surface again on the horizon; and that the mistakes I’ve made are right to nag at me, to remind that I’ve still got more living and learning to do. It is midsummer, after all; time to rest and dream for awhile, but also to remember that it’s time to wake up, too.

 

Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khän can be purchased at a number of online boutiques, including LuckyScent.com, where a 50-ml bottle is currently $140.

Photo of Mongolian yurt was found at HappyTellus.com and snapped by: Marek / www.picasa.com
License: Creative Commons License (By SA 3.0)

Posted by Suzanne Keller, 7/4/2011.


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