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  1. #1

    Question Different musks, or fancy rhetoric?

    Musk, grey musk, white musk, animal musk, sheer musk, transparent musk.

    These are just a few of the various descriptions of musk notes that I've seen in fragrances. Does the variance in names have to do with the amount of musk, the naturalness of the musk, or the actual type of musk?

    Is there really a difference?
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  2. #2
    moondeva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different musks, or fancy rhetoric?

    As most musks are synthetically synthesized in the lab these days I suspect that the different musks refer to the scent character of each 'musk' blend.

    Just as you can now get many synthetic blends that highlight very different aspects / characteristics / varieties of a single wood (cedar, sandal) or flower (jasmine, rose), you can do for musk also.

    When browsing professional aroma and flavour chemical supplier websites I have noticed that there are always a few variants of 'musk' that are available, which have different scent signatures and chemical structures.

    There are three main groups: nitro musks, polycyclic musks and macrocyclic musks. Musk xylene (a nitro musk) is a particular problem as a widespread contaminant of the environment. The polycyclic musks are thought to less environmentally-damaging than nitro musks but they are also persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic to reproduction. Macrocyclic musks are currently being investigated as possible substitutes for the other two musk groups.

    Most musk scent chemicals available now are the Macrocyclic musks.

    When it comes to the character of each musk scent in a perfume blend the musk type often alludes to a classic regional scent signature:

    Egyptian Musk is traditionally a very light, delicate combination of clean musk, fresh citrus, and soft floral is accented by precious wood notes.

    White Musk is a very soft, powdery musk to those who can smell it. This is usually combined with soft white florals and is prevalent in feminine perfumes. Many people tend to be anosmic to this type of musk.

    Indian Musk tends to be animalic (see below) featuring notes of sandalwood, incence and intense florals such as jasmine and rose.

    Tunisian / Tibetan Musk is aromatic and tends to feature soft florals (champac, rose) , balsams and incense.

    African Musk is similar to Egyptian Musk but tends to feature a quite fresh green opening, with a smooth, 'clean' / soapy heart and a soft skin-but-better base. It can also feature a strong rose note.

    China / Japanese Musk is delicate, clean and tends to feature smooth clean woods (cedar) accented with soft spices and moss (cardamom, oakmoss).

    Animalic Musks tend to emulate the original, potent scent of the natural musk extract and feature added notes of civit, ambergris, castoreum, patchouli, etc to create the same erotic effect.

    Why not order up a mini sampler of musk based samples to explore so that you can understand the differences a bit more?

    Ava Luxe has a good range of simple musk blends. A possible 'Musk Sampler' could include:

    Cashmere Musk - Clean, with soft sweet floral notes
    Egyptian Musk - A clean and creamy soft skin musk with universal appeal.
    Nude Musk - A clean skin musk with notes of sandalwood, bergamot, light musk, and vanilla. Light and slightly powdery.
    Tunisian Musk - A dark warm floral musk with resinous incense overtones.
    Oriental Musk - A slightly sweet and powdery exotic musk with hints of jasmine and tonka.
    Incense Musk - A deep rich and thickly textured musk with incense, resin notes and spice overtones.
    Dancing Queen - This is a classic '80s musk, rich and distinctive with a wonderful powdery feeling and hints of soft florals and woods.
    Kama / Kama Xtreme - Kama is a blend of musks with a high content of erotic-animalic notes. A touch of rose absolute adds softness.
    Rasa / Rasa Xtreme - Rasa is a blend of musks with a high content of erotic-animalic notes. A provocative blend of musks infused with spicy red rose. This is good as it contains a blend of at least four typical musks: Indian Musk, Kenya Musk, Skin Musk, Egyptian Musk.

    *********************

    Nemat International also have a great selection / variety of musks worth exploring. These tend to be richer and rawer, less 'processed' in feel.

    http://www.delian.net/essential_oils...er.php?ids=C03#

    In the US these can be found in local Whole Food stores in regular sizes. It is also worth while contacting the company direct.

    I do hope this helps somewhat.
    Favourite (Winter) Crazy Combos

    Tabu + Orange Blossom * Hermes Rouge + Bellodgia* Voleur du Roses+ Rose Ispahan * Rasa Extreme + Paris * Wood Coffee + Cafe Noir *

  3. #3

    Default Re: Different musks, or fancy rhetoric?

    Thanks Moondeva. I've been wittering on for some time about how I hate most musks and yet there are some I can tolerate (possibly because I can't smell them?)
    I can definitely smell white musk, and I absolutely loathe it.
    However, I can't smell musk in Poison (which smells like a big fat fruity floral to me) or Musc Ravageur (spicy bergamot) - any idea what musks are in these two?

  4. #4
    moondeva's Avatar
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    Default Re: Different musks, or fancy rhetoric?

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiscreet View Post
    I can definitely smell white musk, and I absolutely loathe it.
    Well I think it may be more the quality of musk and the white florals used to give its characteristic scent which is the offending factor here. I cannot currently recognise the smell of Nemat's White Musk, but find The Body Shop's EDP version positively vile, terribly sharp and overwhelming. I think it may be the aldehydes they use in that blend as it reminds me very much of Chanel No.5 EDP which I find unwearable as well. However, I can wear the oil (especially vintage formulations) and love the cosy white lily and musk combo used to scent the Boots Ice Musk range - but only in winter! I also have a wee bottle of a none brand label (Shine?) White Musk which is so pretty, creamy and cosy - definitely detectable, with lovely presence and sillage but worlds away from the coarse powder cloud that is the present TBS White Musk EDP.

    I must agree though, that for the most part, I find many White Musks quite vile.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiscreet View Post
    However, I can't smell musk in Poison (which smells like a big fat fruity floral to me)
    Do you have the EDT or the Esprit de Parfum? The musk is much more noticable / present in the latter version. I have and love both. The musk seems much more animalic in older / vintage versions of the Esprit de Parfum but even today it is still pretty in your face - especially if over applied (sprayed). I definitely believe that the blend has been tamed over the years and the other more PC powerhouse ingredients have been bought to the fore. Like yourself I find that the berry and opoponax (powdery vanilla amber) accords tend to dominate in the Eau de Toilette version. I tend to save that for day time and summer. The Esprit de Parfum on the other hand is a different beast, dark musky and redolent with incense, myrrh and spice. Dabbed on in the evening and during winter this never fails to garner compliments from men and women alike ... who are very bemused when I tell them what I am wearing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Indiscreet View Post
    Musc Ravageur (spicy bergamot) - any idea what musks are in these two?
    You will always hear me say that FM Musc Ravageur is an amber oriental not a musk dominated blend and just because they called it musk does not make it so! May be this contains bushel loads of the type of musk that I am anosmic to (like that in Nemat White Musk) but even so this is one of the least wild, animalic musks I have ever smelled. I think that this is a musk for those that can smell and appreciate bland, clean musks usually titled with names like 'Sheer', 'Nude' and 'Skin'. To them it is probably dynamite. On myself, who prefers her musks red in tooth and claw, woody, and still trying to dry hump your leg it is just a rich almost gourmand amber oriental which tends to smell like melted milk chocolate on my skin. A warm, smoky melted milk chocolate.

    It happens to be sexy as hell to men who are of the gourmand / vanilla inclination but I have many other, far more effective tools of seduction in my collection which would do the job in half the time.
    Favourite (Winter) Crazy Combos

    Tabu + Orange Blossom * Hermes Rouge + Bellodgia* Voleur du Roses+ Rose Ispahan * Rasa Extreme + Paris * Wood Coffee + Cafe Noir *

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