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.   [pullquote]I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,  in secret, between the shadow and the soul.  – Pablo Neruda[/pullquote]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 says:

    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. 😉


    • Patty White says:

      What’s the prank? Maybe????

      • Ninara Poll says:

        Since I seem to be anosmic to most musks, and anything “perfumey” can drive my husband absolutely insane (and he seems to hate musk), I was planning on spritzing something heavily musky on the half of the bedsheets that are on his side of the bed, and dabbing some on his pillowcases, then doing the “No honey, I don’t smell anything, are you sure you’re not imagining it?” routine once he starts complaining. Bonus points if what I can smell is beautiful 😉


  • Olivia V. says:

    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!! 🙂

    • Patty White says:

      Welcome back! I’m so not a romantic most of the time, though I do say I’m a Romantic with a capital R. i’m not sure what the difference is, but I am positive there is one. 🙂

      Gosling in Drive. The movie is, well, okay, But he is just smoking hot in it. Blue Valentin is soooooo depressing, but, again, he is so good in it. Fracture with Anthony Hopkins is amazing, and it was early stuff he did.

  • ponyboi says:

    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 says:

    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.

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

  • Joe says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      Joe, I like it that we have the same taste in men. 🙂 I don’t think it projects big. It goes on big for the first maybe 10-15 minutes, but then it really turns more into a skin scent instead of a huge fogging musk bomb. So not scary. But remember, I’m the one that all of a sudden things L’air de Rien is warm and fuzzy. I just can’t be trusted here, I don’t think.

      But don’t spray it on your way out the door, and I’d probably start off dabbing until you get a feel for projection.

  • XXJBOO says:

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

  • Maureen says:

    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 says:

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

  • Musette says:

    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 says:

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

  • Daisy says:

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

  • Austenfan says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      Go watch his movies, you’ll be a fan of his talent. He really is that good. Drive, Fracture, Blue Valentine and this one, watch those and you’ll see. It’s not his looks, it’s his attitude or something.

  • AnnBur says:

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

  • Sujaan says:

    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 says:

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

  • mridula says:

    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 says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      MAC is becoming one of my favorite perfumers, even though I don’t wear some of what he does. I still sniff it and am completely delighted at his “take no prisoners” approach to perfume. Must be the Corsican.

      Exactly on the movie! It’s also one of the few movies that are in my rotation that I can watch over and over again and never get tired of. The story is timeless and true today and 30 years from now. I predict it will be one of those classics or should be. And it is funny.

  • Liz K says:

    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 says:

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

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, yeah, definitely watch the movie. It had such a weird title, but I loved all the actors in it, and the movie is really, really wonderful. The kid in the movie has a long, interesting career ahead of him, he was so great.

  • 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

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, hey, if you run into him around town, just throw a gunny sack on his head and drag him to my house. 🙂

      • Deal!

        C’mere, Ryan, I have something to show you down this totally safe alley……

        Yup. It would totally work.
        Because I’m a ninja and invisible. A great smelling invisible-ish ninja. 🙂

  • tammy says:

    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!

    • tammy says:

      Oh, I didn’t realize this was also a draw…please either delete my comment or ignore it, as I don’t need another sample!

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, Tammy, never worry about commenting if you shouldn’t be entered. Just put DNEM for Do Not Enter me, and I’ll spin again if lands on you.

      I like the big burly guys too, but I’ve never married them. All three of my ex-husbands had a similar physical type’ish, varied in height, brown hair, brown eyes, slim, which is the one thing I would have told anyone aren’t my hot button physical looks I go for.

      • tammy says:

        I didn’t date much, but all 4 of them had dark hair, pale skin, blue or green eyes and were fairly burly. The shortest was 6 ft 1. My husband has black hair, blue eyes, is 6’5 and probably pushing 300 now, though he was 260 in his prime. I truly wouldn’t know what to do with a slender man. (though I might be willing to try with David Beckham)

  • 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!

    • Patty White says:

      Oh, listen Alexander Skarsgard is in my personal fantasy closet in regular rotation. As long as you don’t impinge on my fantasty nights/weekends with him, I’m okay with that. 🙂

  • Irina says:

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

  • 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!

    • Patty White says:

      I know! He’s not my physical type, but I am weirdly attracted to some strange looking people who have cleverness and brains that just make them incredibly hot.

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

    • Patty White says:

      That movie is one of my all-time favorites. Steve Carell is also incredibly hot to me, which I thought might seem weird if I photoshopped myself into something with him. 🙂

  • Heather Wood says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      I so agree, and I would have never agreed to that statement over a month ago. Weird how we change our perceptions when we finally see something for what it is and not what we thought it was. Oh, dear I’m all zen/mystical today!

      • Heather Wood says:

        By the way, Patty, maybe you can answer a question about musk. I am certainly anosmic to some, and when I tried Montale Black Musk I smelled nothing whatsoever after about 15 minutes. I just thought I was anosmic to it, but my husband graciously let me dab some on him, and I could smell it on his skin for hours. Is it possible that some of us have musk-eating skin, or perfume-eating skin?

        • Patty White says:

          I don’t think I’ve smelled Black Musk, so I wish I could tell you more. Is it possible that your skin just doesn’t reflect it or sucks it in? Maybe. I know I’ve had scents that seemed to do it. If you can smell it on him for hours, it’s not anosmia to it. Body skin/chemistry is a weird thing. that’s why I always laugh when I read Luca saying skin doesn’t matter when it comes to smelling perfume. Ha!

  • Debbie R. says:

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

  • Cybele says:

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

  • Ramona says:

    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!

    • Patty White says:

      I love second chances! Benicio is hot, hot, hot. I”m also a huge fan – though it took me a while to forgive him for Eat, Love, Pray of Javier Bardem. I mean, how can you do No Country for Old Men and then mack on Julia Roberts? It was just so, so, so, wrong.

      • Ramona says:

        OMG-We are super simpatico because while I was writing about our Benicio, I was thinking of Javier, but I decided not to mention him and completly diss him because of his poor spousal choice! He obviously never met either me or you, as we both surely outshine Penelope! I have yet to forgive him. Maybe this is a lesson that will lead me to some much needed personal growth- but oh my! the PAIN! The excruciating PAIN of his terrible deed!

        • Patty White says:

          let’s not talk about Penny or even think about her with him.He spends his nights alone in bed in my head dreaming of me. 🙂 Well, or you. That’s okay too, as long he is NOT with Penny.

  • Martha says:

    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 says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      But you’d probably like the most if it were the musky scent on him that were somehow magically transferred to you after some extended closeness? 🙂

  • Sorry, but the baby-goose-man doesn’t do it for me 🙁

    However, I would sure love to sample some Musc Tonkin 🙂

  • Titianred says:

    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*

    • Patty White says:

      I know, I am much, much too old for him, and I’d feel incredibly pervy if such an awesome thing did happen, but I still like to think I’m closer to 18 than the far side of 50 in some parallel universe.

      I almost forgot about Fracture. I saw the rest, and he is sooooooo talented. Blue Valentine was so depressing, but I was blown away by his performance in it. He gets that how to be vulnerable on screen thing that is so tough to portray.

  • Andrea says:

    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?

    • Patty White says:

      Yeah, I’m not a fan of men’s locker room. I grew up with too many brothers who would bring their stinky sports clothes home and pile them in the laundry room for some “wimminfolk” to clean for them. No, no, I think no talking is necessary at all, but if he does happen to start yapping, I want him to be smart, insightful and deep. I can live without it, but that sure would be nice.

  • Basalt5750 says:

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

  • Caela says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

    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 says:

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

  • Sandstorm936 says:

    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.

  • Orla says:

    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.

    • Patty White says:

      You may, of course, sub in whoever you are currently lusting for. I like your list a lot. I’m not really that big a fan of Ryan physically that much, but I think his work is really amazing. The one he did with Michele Williams. I keep thinking — Oh, Blue Valentin. The movie is so depressing, but his talent of portraying love slipping away daily until you realize it’s so gone is heartbreaking. That’s when I became a big fan. Stupid Crazy Love was the cherry on top!

  • CC_says says:

    Serious hottness indeed! I would love to try this … and the perfume too! 😉

    Thank you for the draw, Patty.

  • Hunter says:

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

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

    • Patty White says:

      No way. Is it published? You can put the link here, I’d love to read it! I can write about the lessons in Crazy Stupid Love once a week. I adore that movie and watch it probably 2-3 times a month. Not closely, but just let it roll in the background.