Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin Review & Sample Winners

So… the big feral musk bomb build-up is over, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin is in our hands.  Was it worth the wait?  

Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin perfume review

Ryan Gosling is never disappointing

Ryan Gosling is the perfect body to get us all in the mood for
Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin.  

Let’s unpack what MAC (I’m using the shorthand for Corticchiato’s name, because my bad typing keeps blowing it up) has been up to with this. First, he’s managed to hit all of my triggery, nerve-shattering perfume ticks.

  1. Limited edition, only 1,000 bottles made, with no word if it will ever be made again under any circumstances
  2. No notes listed.
  3. Promotional copy that makes my teeth grind – “It is to capture this fascinating ghost that Musc Tonkin reinvents it by blending the most opulent raw materials to conjure its myriad facets. Their names don’t matter: like the mysterious charisma of certain people who draw us into their wake, Musc Tonkin should be experienced rather than described. Vibrant, faceted, surprising, at once nocturnal and solar, this aphrodisiac potion changes on each skin, the better to enhance it. A lick of salt for the taste of skin. A heady floral whiff to remind us that perfume links our bodies to the erotic spells of nature. A liquorous, mulled-fruit burn contrasting with a light, shimmering veil of powder…”

You know, even while anticipating its arrival with much pacing and sighing, I’m expecting great things and pretty sure nothing can overcome my projected expectations and annoyance.

Nice job, Corticchiato, you manged to do it.  Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin opens like a cat in heat, leaving nothing but a gasp for just how rank this thing is.  That would have been enough because I love diving into skanky, rank, feral perfume, but it doesn’t stop there, it evolves into something as feral, but more knowing, more sophisticated, showing more of itself it you just work your way past all the things that are either distracting or off-putting.  

There is this moment when I came to understand the thing about musk that I didn’t know until I wrote the Musk Perfume Guide. It is vulnerable. Under all that sexual swagger, musk opens its quiet, secret places, rolls over on its back, closes its eyes and tells you it’s afraid of the dark and being alone.  

Did you see that movie “Crazy, Stupid Love” with Steve Carell?  There is a scene where Emma Stone has gone home with “Hot Guy From the Bar,” Ryan Gosling, and she just wants sex, she thinks.  But as they are getting into it, she starts asking him about the pillow that conforms to her head, and then he starts telling her he has one of those $3,000 vibration chairs in his garage that he hates and has used like twice and he stays up late watching shopping TV and has the entire Coin Bears collection.  So this hot sex that was about to happen is now conversation unwrapping a layer at a time of who they are.  The moment comes when Ryan asks her to do him a kindness and ask him something personal about himself.  She asks him about his mom, and he starts talking about his parents. That moment is raw vulnerability, where outwardly sexy becomes love as it invites you in to share who someone is.

Parfum d'Empire Musc Tonkin sex and perfume


Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin draws you in, slowly revealing who it is.  There is an old world perfume feel surrounding it, but with none of the “vintage” perfume trajectory.   

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,  in secret, between the shadow and the soul.  – Pablo Neruda

It is knowing without disillusion.  I’ve been wearing Musc Tonkin for over a week, probably every day, hoping to discover all of its secrets, but they elude me.    I have no idea of what notes he used to make this illusion of natural musk, and I really stopped caring after the second day of wearing it.  There is a salty skin smell, the smell of “needs a shower” body hasn’t quite tipped over into SHOWER NOW and has all those rank elements accumulating, smelling soft, salty, warm and fuzzy.  While there is a rank sexuality and sensuality about it, it’s not base or common.  It’s a sensuality deepened by familiarity.  Oh, sorry, yeah I went there with Neruda! 

Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin is seriously sex in a bottle, but it’s not cheap sex –  $140 for 50 mls – but I still think for extrait that’s a damn bargain.  It’s world-class sex with Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone (take your pick!)  and they were interesting and not just pretty movie stars.  

We have some lucky people who are going to get  samples from that giveaway on my Why do you Wear Fragrance navel-gazing post from a couple of weeks ago. 

Winners are – Elena,  Amer, Tammy and LCT.  Just click on the Drop us a Line at the very top or email patty at perfumeposse dot com with your mailing address, remind me what you’ve won, I’ll shoot you a quick e-mail confirm so you know you didn’t land in my spam filter, and then I’ll get you a little sample of this amazing perfume.  

Since Parfum d’Empire Musc Tonkin is a limited edition, let’s have another drawing for this.   Just drop a comment and talk about whatever you want to be entered, up to and including how long you’d like to get Ryan Gosling alone with no talking.  I’ll close the drawing on Friday 12/7/12.

Ninara Poll December 7, 2012

This sounds divine! *pre-emptive swoon* I must ask, would this be a good musk for the April Fool's prank I plan to play on the hubs? (The muskier the better!) RG would probably be able to answer, but alas, I think the lovely ladies who have posted previously are keeping him occupied. ;) NP

Olivia V. December 7, 2012

Oh goodness! It's been a while since I visited this blog but I'm glad I did! This fragrance sounds amAAAzing!!! I've been longing for another sexy musk, and would SO love to try it. I'm really digging your Neruda quote for it!! He's one of my favorite poets; his poetry is so sensuous, and always makes me long for perfumes that will complement the reading experience... (Totally geeking out here!) Anyway just to get a bit more on topic - I haven't really seen Ryan Gosling in much, but I did recently see part of Crazy Stupid Love and really enjoyed it! I think I'll have to see more of him ;-) (Or rather, his body... of work!) Thank you for this very enjoyable post!!! And the possible chance to try this gorgeous-sounding perfume. Hope you have a good night!! :-)

ponyboi December 6, 2012

OMG, this stuff is legit! After reading this sex crazed review (J/K) & others, I canceled my sample order & bought a bottle un-sniffed. Its really feral and skanky but in the most absurd sophisticated way. To me, it smells like skin and sheets after an amazing night of sex. Its not so "dirty" that I would wear in public without thought. Patty if you get a chance try UNTITLED #8 by Brent Leonesio made for luckyscent. It an oil format and has a lot of the same characteristics of Musc Tonkin. Thank you for an amazing review and a good chuckle!

FearsMice December 6, 2012

I'm not sure I could live up -- or down -- to the perfume, but what the heck, I'll throw my name into the hat anyway for this second drawing. As for RG: I have a firm policy about never swooning over any man that I might possibly outweigh ;) ... but I do like his acting.

The Scented Hound December 6, 2012

Yea...a 2nd draw. I am dying to test this's sounds like some serious funk! As for the RG's like looking in the mirror. looking in a carnival mirror! Thanks for the draw!

Joe December 5, 2012

I would totally do that crazy Almódovar "Tie Me Up" thing with Ryan Boo Boo. Yeah. Anyway... I don't need to be in the draw as I have a bottle on the way (I'm sharing some with friends). Really curious about how rank this is. Hope it's not too scary. Is it very strong? A one- or two-spritz type of scent? Sillage? Thanks for the review. I've definitely been eager for this one. Now I have to go... Ryan's trying to tell me something through the ball gag.

XXJBOO December 5, 2012

Dang! He just reminds me of an old boyfriend. Every time I see his face it's like a fast-backward!

Maureen December 5, 2012

I would love to try this fragrance. I have liked Ryan gosling since he was very young in a movie with Sandra Bullock...can't remember the name, but I thought at that time he was hot and would definitely have a career (and I did feel kind of pervy thinking he was so hot, as I was in my 40's).

Barbara December 5, 2012

The only movie I've seen Ryan in is Blue Valentine, which I didn't really care for (sorry Patty!).

Musette December 5, 2012

Patty. That is one of the most disturbing photos I've seen in quite awhile (and I watch The Walking Dead and Criminal Minds!) OMG!

Colleen December 5, 2012

Hm, my man candy preference leans more towards bad boy, but I won't say no to Gosling in a bar ;)

Daisy December 4, 2012

I've been hearing so much about this and would love to try it. Thanks for the draw!

Austenfan December 4, 2012

I had to go and look up Mr. Gosling, having never heard of him before. Needless to say I'm not smitten. The fragrance however sounds very good and as I like Parfum d'Empire I would love to be entered in the draw. If this one shares any boldness with Ambre Russe I am happy.

AnnBur December 4, 2012

I would so like to try both Ryan Gosling and Musc Tonkin. Any day :)

Sujaan December 4, 2012

You never cease to inform me AND make me laugh out loud! Thank you for offering up your face in bed with Ryan. Brilliant.

Civet December 4, 2012

I prefer Michael Fassbinder beefcake-wise, but Musc Tonkin sounds pretty awesome. I'd love to try it!

mridula December 4, 2012

i love the idea of sexual swagger and vulnerability.thanks for the second chance and for your report on the experience. So curious. The idea of a it being 'limited' makes it so much intriguing. Thanks for another chance. This Gosling guy is no doubt a looker but seriously I have no idea who he is.

Grace December 4, 2012

I've yet to meet a PdE that I didn't like. MAC does great work. As for Crazy, Stupid Love, it was one of those movies that starts out with me thinking "this is going to be stupid" and has me totally riveted half an hour in. In fact, I think you've inspired me to go watch it again. Hidden depths, indeed.

Liz K December 4, 2012

Sorry, I am another that R.G. does nothing for but I would love to try Musc Tonkin. So far, I haven't found a musk that smells dirty or animalic to me for more than about a millisecond. They all just end up sweet so I must be anosmic to something. I keep trying- anything that causes normal folk to run for the shower is on my to try list.

Dana December 4, 2012

Great to have another chance! I'm going to put that movie on my list. Would love to smell this. Thanks!

Shiloh Woodard December 4, 2012

Oh, Ryan, Ryan, Ryan...... Seriously, he does look photoshopped! I love that movie, and Gosling is smoldering. My friends keep seeing him around town and I keep missing him. Thankfully, I'm not an obsessed fan, simply an admirer of his work, and well him...... ;). Oh,yeah, perfume..... This musk sounds amazing, dangerous, perfect. Thank you

tammy December 4, 2012

I'm with Ari, I like my men much beefier than that skinny little thing up there, who I have never even heard of. He looks as though he'd snap in two when things started getting..... exuberant. My taste runs more along the lines of Tebow/Ken Caminiti/Josh Hamilton. Big and brawny. Plenty o' muscle. Shoulders, lots and lots of shoulders and biceps and.....oh, yea, perfume blog, you say? I bet Tebow smells good, REAL good. Musky, even. And THANK YOU!

Samantha Lowry December 4, 2012

I think Ryan Gosling is gorgeous, but I'll take David Tennant instead any day...or Alexander Skarsgard!! oh yeah...I'd like to try the perfume too!

Irina December 4, 2012

would love to sample Musc Tonkin, please, it's very kind of you to give us a second chance thanks a lot

Gramma Harlan Knowing Looks December 4, 2012

I must admit I'm a bit surprised by the number of "not hot" votes for Mr. Gosling, I personally would love to get close and personal with his musk... But, if a sample of Musk Tonkin is as close as I can get for now, I'll take it!

Arielle Weinberg December 4, 2012

I really liked Crazy Stupid Love! Ryan Gosling isn't really my type (I like 'em beefier), but he sure can act.

Heather Wood December 4, 2012

Ah, the beauty of feral things. I spent my fourteenth year in a haze of Coty Musk. Afraid that's true; I must say in my own defense that I was fairly anosmic to it and just thought it was a nice soft scent, when in reality I was probably clearing rooms. After that I gave up musks entirely until I discovered MKK earlier this year, and it's been one lovely wild primitive thing after another ever since. In addition to the wild qualities of a good musk, I find them oddly comforting. It's as if the wearer has taken off her social mask and said "here's who and what I really am. Just deal with it." Would love to sample this one.

Debbie R. December 4, 2012

Well, um, you inspired a blind buy. I love those musks.

Cybele December 4, 2012

would love to try this- Ryan Gosling was very funny but I found Emma Stone to be the sexy one in this movie.

Ramona December 4, 2012

YAY! A second chance! I am so tempted to buy this unsniffed because I have no predominatly musk perfumes in my oh so small collection. I have to agreee with some of the previous posts- RG doesnt do too much for me either. Now if we are talking Benicio Del Toro- that is one dirty, musky, sexy guy! mmm Mmmm mmm!

Martha December 4, 2012

O.K., so I didn't win the first time. Sigh. I'll give it another shot. Thanks for including the nice scenery with your post, Patty. I tend to like longer hair on my sex objects, but Ryan Gosling appears to have plenty of fine attributes to make up for his short haircut.

Francesca Belanger December 4, 2012

I like Ryan Gosling just fine, but I'm with Orla on the English guys, especially Tom Hiddleston. I'd love to smell a musky sexy scent on him. Or on me, for that matter.

Christine West December 4, 2012

Sorry, but the baby-goose-man doesn't do it for me :-( However, I would sure love to sample some Musc Tonkin :-)

Titianred December 4, 2012

Oh the glorious Mr Gosling, he makes an old woman very happy ; ) musk is a perfume that could take me back to my art student youth, when I dripped with musk, patchouli and a complete lack of subtlety. These days I'd try for something more nuanced using RG as my mentor. *lines up Drive, Fracture and Blue Valentine for inspiration, watches Lars and the Real Girl before anointing myself with seduction in a bottle*

Andrea December 4, 2012

I just got back from the gym and I just want to share that men's locker room does not have a good smell. It is a mix of sweat and ''sport'' editions of perfumes mixed with cheap deodorants... ok, just wanted to share this! Is it even necessary to talk to Ryan if we were in a room together?

Basalt5750 December 4, 2012

Loves me some musk, white, dark, clean or dirty. Hit me...

Caela December 4, 2012

In high school, one of my classmates did me the (totally not) favor of pointing out that Ryan Gosling looked remarkably like my father, and after the horrifying realization that she was completely correct, I've been off Gosling since. Luckily, I'm pretty sure there is nothing that could put me off musk perfumes.

Heather F December 4, 2012

I would love to try this (just sprayed some Musc Ravageur on my SO, spurred by this post...) And Ryan Gosling doesn't really do it for me either...definitely second Orla on Alan Rickman and Daniel Craig...headed to sleep in a very good mood now, thanks everyone! :-)

Tara Pollard December 4, 2012

Oh. My. Gah. As if I wasn't seriously lemming this beast already, you had to go throw Baby Goose in on me? Helpless puddle of wants over here. I loves me some musk!

MADCUTE December 4, 2012

"..and thanks to your love, darkly in my body lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth."

Sandstorm936 December 4, 2012

My comment must have been eaten. Ryan Gosling is really not my thing, I'll admit. I'll give any musk perfume a shot though. Eldarwen22

Orla December 4, 2012

Ryan Gosling's not my thing. I would, however, crawl over ground glass for a bunch English guys--esp. Alan Rickman, Daniel Craig, Chris Eccleston and David Tennant.

CC_says December 4, 2012

Serious hottness indeed! I would love to try this ... and the perfume too! ;-) Thank you for the draw, Patty.

Hunter December 4, 2012

I would love to try this. This extreme exclusivity combined with MAC's previous track record has me almost lemming this one.

breathesgelatin December 4, 2012

Funny. I just wrote a blog post about perfume and the movie Crazy Stupid Love.