There are countless scents that are used as perfume ingredients. From roses to lavender, from cinnamon to vanilla, we can go on for hours. Most people recognize fragrance notes like these: you know in which fragrance family the ingredient belongs (flowers, spices, etc.) and what it smells like. In addition to these well-known notes, there are also many perfume ingredients that are less obvious. You've heard of it, but what it smells like is a mystery. The name doesn't say much and you also do not know exactly where the note comes from. Think of ozonic, bergamot, benzoin... In the series 'Vague Perfume Ingredients' we explain vague perfume ingredients one by one. This time: Musk!
What is Musk?
Musk is a strong smelling secretion that comes from the scent gland of the male musk deer. The gland develops as the deer ages to lure potential partners with his fragrance. This special and typical scent has been loved for centuries. Not only by deer, but also by humans! From the 6th century to the late 19th century, this natural variety of musk was often used as a perfume ingredient. Today only the synthetic variant is used.
How is Musk converted into a perfume ingredient?
Back in the days, the musk deer had to be killed in order to obtain the fragrance 'musk'. That is why nowadays musk fragrances are always made synthetically and you will never find the natural variant in your favorite perfume. Therefore, never be put off by the word 'synthetic'. In many cases, and also with musk, the synthetic variant is chosen on purpose.
Musk as a perfume ingredient smells sensual and animalistic. The scent is very natural and reminds of a warm, well nourished, intimate skin. The scent can also be described as smooth, creamy and silky. Musk is often used as a base note for perfumes as the fragrance is long lasting and develops best on the skin itself.