Rereviews: Musc Ravageur, Héritage, Cuir d’Ange, Dia Man, and Italian Cypress

“Perfume [reviews] should not remain static!”

I expressed similar words in my first rereview for the perfume 31 Rue Cambon. A function of a good blogger, an excellent reviewer, and a seasoned thinker is to constantly revisit entities that they have discussed and have scored critically. Sense perception is a continued journey, and with each moment it becomes more and more coherent and clear in the mind.

I’ve been blogging for a bit over two and a half years now, and whilst that may seem like forever for some, the surface has barely been scratched because the surface continues to expand and deepen. For that very reason it would be foolish not to engage in rereviews or to acknowledge and adhere to the fluidity of constantly changing perceptions.

It is particularly pertinent to my newfound mantra of less-is-more, and the less I have the more deeply I can delve into the ones I deem worthwhile, whilst also in the process of reduction I can discover what no longer speaks to me, and justifying that point here on the blog.

caspar_david_friedrich_-_wanderer_above_the_sea_of_fog

Caspar David, Wanderer above the Sea of Fog 1818


Musc Ravageur for Frederic Malle
Original Score: 3/5
First Posted May 29, 2015

Musc Ravageur is an excellent intellectual exercise in fragrance, more so than I initially thought, in which it challenges the convention of fragrant classification. Able to distinguish itself adequately against other Roucel musks, this Malle work is a hybrid construction. Initially considered a shameless and provocative fragrance, Musc Ravageur is delightfully well maintained and superbly structured with an oddness about it.

Instead of just falling entirely into the precise indicators for a traditional musk-oriental, in which Musc does, Musc also manages to give off a lavender-tinged breeze with its signature wave of cool and hot, unmistakably fougere in nature. It is the gentle rupture to what is expectedly oriental that manages to chastise the composition yet merge and layer itself wonderfully. It was as if the self-assured repetition found in Caron’s Pour un Homme was tweaked to give a new element of consideration, in which a wash of musk and spice add a tinge of licentiousness. The result is the shameless yet measured prose of Musc Ravageur, polarising not due to the application of musk (in my opinion), but the possible misinterpretation of category and resultant uncertainty which follows. The problem with hybridising two categories will always be a challenge of achieving seamlessness, novelty from the attempt, and whether or not it is convincing from both perspectives of each genre.

In my view, Musc Ravageur achieves all of this brilliantly, and hence in my mind this is Roucel’s finest musk, and in that way, an extraordinarily well thought out fougere covered in oriental.

Subjective rating: 5/5

Objective rating: 5/5

Héritage by Guerlain
Original Score: 4/5
First Posted January 4, 2015

It is unusual – Héritage (1992) now particularly smells dated on my nose. It would be tempting to discuss if the quality of a good perfume depended on its timelessness, but I will merely state that Héritage reads as more dated than Habit Rouge (1965) or Vetiver (1958). Perhaps it is because the powerhouse period sticks out more prominently than others, but even Antaeus and Kouros read as less dated. I suspect it may be the sandalwood synthetics that are that little bit screechy and awkward in both the distance and at the front. Why? Samsara (1989) suffers from a similar malady, yet to a worse degree.

Héritage is awkward as it tries to soften the blow of the then period with a sort of gracefulness, but I ultimately find it tired and unconvincing as great perfume. Of course, I admire Héritage for its well-blended qualities, but it lacks the tenacity to be convincing and has just enough to lack subtlety. The better option is to just opt for Bois des Iles. I certainly do.

Subjective rating: 3/5

Objective rating: 3/5

Cuir d’Ange by Hermès
Original Score: 4/5
First Posted November 13, 2014

For the simple reason that Cuir d’Ange is my reference leather in the ‘done-with-gracefulness’ style, its appreciable sillage and length, and the way I gush over it in discussion, Cuir d’Ange deserves a 5 … But not just any 5, a no-brainer 5. When counterpoint is done well, it is one of the most rewarding features of exploring perfumery.

Subjective rating: 5/5

Objective rating: 5/5

Dia Man by Amouage
Original Score: 3/5
First Posted September 3, 2014

Certain perfumes, like Dia Man, play at such a low volume that they’re extraordinarily difficult to uncover. The quiet intensity of Dia Man is a delight in every sense, falling in the same camp as Equipage and Eau Sauvage – totally sure of itself, remarkably brave, yet mysteriously quiet. Dia Man is rich without feeling full or greedy about it, striking the perfect combination that it largely an abstract blend of herbs, spices, florals, and woods that feel healing with each and every inhalation.

Yet Dia Man is still the odd duck, and most certainly is not a fragrance that can so easily exist next to Journey Man or Epic Man, for the simple reason that it would get lost in the mix. Dia Man is possibly one of Amouage’s richest, most luxurious scents along with Jubilation XXV and Gold Man, but Dia differs in that you need to listen intently, sit yourself down and sink into an Eames chair and think. Dia is classically exceptional perfumery, able to hit the entire spectrum of smells with a tender waistcoated elegance. In short, its one of those perfumes that talk back. Textural, whole, complete, yet understated.

Subjective rating: 5/5

Objective rating: 5/5

Italian Cypress by Tom Ford
Original Score: 5/5
First Posted August 18, 2014

I seriously don’t understand how I ever liked those big masculine ‘balls out’ style of fragrances that pivot around a large chunk of furry amber. By all means, Italian Cypress is a solidly constructed fragrance but tastes change, and I have moved on.

Aromatics Elixir, anyone?

Subjective rating: 3.5/5

Objective rating: 3.5/5

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3 thoughts on “Rereviews: Musc Ravageur, Héritage, Cuir d’Ange, Dia Man, and Italian Cypress

  1. You are indeed a good blogger, an excellent reviewer, and a seasoned thinker. The fragrance world is a better place for your presence in it. Happy Holidays.

  2. Maurice Roucel: “There sometimes is a misconception that Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur is my “musk” fragrance. This is not true; there is no musk in it at all, it is an animalic oriental.  Helmut Lang  Eau de Cologne is one of the muskiest perfumes on the market and is my musk masterpiece.”

    From an interview given by Monsieur Roucel to Cafleurebon.com

    Btw. Congrats on your blog. I read it from timer to time. 🙂

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