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Thread: Real Deer Musk

  1. #1
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    Default Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Recently, I developed an application for animalic fragrances. This was spurred on by my liking to Ormonde Jayne's Orris Noir which had notes of civet in it. I could definitely smell the civet and I was hooked. So I went on eBay looking for something animalic, heavy and dirty. Voila! Wild Deer Musk!. At £7.49 for 12ml of oil, it was cheap. I hadn't realized how cheap it was until I got a whiff of the power it could project! I just dabbed some onto my finger and rubbed it ever so slightly onto my neck and sprayed A*MEN to see how it would go. A*MEN was no match for this light dab. Its sweet deeply woody and very animalic/musky. I just can't describe it. It's nothing like I've smelt before, one not to overdo because that dab was smelt from feet away. I got people asking what I was wearing all day. It just drew people in. Its even better after its been in the washing machine. It just becomes a light musk which is perfect when layered with a clean scent. Has anyone had any similar experiences with raw animalic oils?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    I bought some pure musk and it came in the day before my cats were scheduled to be neutered..I couldn't curb my curiosity...The cats were about 6 months old and had already started displaying mating behavior ocassionaly...I made them sniff some of the musk and I regretted it right after since they're both males...I had to scrub it off and keep them away from each other for a while...

    I made them sniff some raw ambergris as well..Normally with scents they sniff for a few seconds and then open their mouths slightly and then they're not interested anymore..With the ambergris they keep sniffing until I take it away.

    I get a funny reaction whenever I make one of them smell Angelica Root...I think its too strong for them..Hits them some where and gets them high for a few seconds..This one would fall on its back, start rolling over and claw at me if I came close.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    I just wanted to say that you should watch out with directly applying essential oils to your skin since they can cause serious irritations when used in undiluted form.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    I've been using them for years now...Had no problems...It depends on the skin type I guess.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Are these really true musks? Are they really "wild deer" musk????
    At the Agarscents price, I hope they are but for any less than that? Is it still legal to extract this?
    I know there have been recent threads regarding this but I came away from those threads not really understanding if it's still possible to get the real thing. ???

  6. #6

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Wild Deer Musk!. At £7.49 for 12ml of oil, it was cheap.
    It sounds like a nice perfume oil but "Wild Deer Musk" is most certainly just a name not a description of what it is.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by evogel View Post
    Are these really true musks? Are they really "wild deer" musk????
    At the Agarscents price, I hope they are but for any less than that? Is it still legal to extract this?
    I know there have been recent threads regarding this but I came away from those threads not really understanding if it's still possible to get the real thing. ???
    Agarscent's sells a variety of musks.. The ones I am selling atm have a base which is extracted from the pure musk grains / pods..I'll be getting cheaper ones soon..Those are also based on the raw material but contain ketones or other synthetics to make it more affordable with barely noticeable changes in the smell...I'm able to sell these as my own personal effects but commercial trade in musk is regulated and most countries require a cites permit to import or export any quantity.

    It is still possible to get the real thing. Infact you can easily find ppol selling the grains..I've heard "Farmed" musk is available which is extracted from deers in captivity..The musk derived from these is said to be inferior in quality possibly due to factors such as limited roaming terrority and unnatural diets ..It is claimed that the deers are not killed from the extraction of the musk pods.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Interesting video and comments..Hard to understand what he's saying but it's partially there in info.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=jqPrNv26YDw
    Last edited by Taz; 23rd June 2008 at 10:08 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Taz, it's funny, I also test my essential oils and absolutes on my cats ! The two perfumes I like in this style are

    Musk - Kiehl's
    Musk Koublaï Khan - Serge Lutens
    Kouros is incredible as well if worn with parcimony.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    I think my cats have in their time smelt more than their share of frags but then their noses are far superior to ours and so why not have them use it so besides their usual sniffing each others behinds. lol
    Kiehl's original and MKK are by themselves quite decent but brought in to proximity with the real thing fade away in to oblivion.
    Last edited by Taz; 28th June 2008 at 05:02 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    we got it in Iran, and you really have to be careful in applying it as it will last for days even with continued washing and scrubbing, the scent is feminine to my nose and I felt uneasy for a couple of days..

  12. #12

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by Critic View Post
    Recently, I developed an application for animalic fragrances. This was spurred on by my liking to Ormonde Jayne's Orris Noir which had notes of civet in it. I could definitely smell the civet and I was hooked. So I went on eBay looking for something animalic, heavy and dirty. Voila! Wild Deer Musk!. At £7.49 for 12ml of oil, it was cheap. I hadn't realized how cheap it was until I got a whiff of the power it could project! I just dabbed some onto my finger and rubbed it ever so slightly onto my neck and sprayed A*MEN to see how it would go. A*MEN was no match for this light dab. Its sweet deeply woody and very animalic/musky. I just can't describe it. It's nothing like I've smelt before, one not to overdo because that dab was smelt from feet away. I got people asking what I was wearing all day. It just drew people in. Its even better after its been in the washing machine. It just becomes a light musk which is perfect when layered with a clean scent. Has anyone had any similar experiences with raw animalic oils?
    At that price, it can't possibly be actual musk. Of, course, synthetic musks can smell great, too. profumo.it sells 16ml of genuine muscdeer tincture for 85 Euros.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    My goodness.... has anyone thought about the issue of ethics and animal welfare in all this? There's a reason why deer musk isn't easy to come by anymore.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    The guy in the video sounds like a C-H-A-R-L-A-T-A-N. I'd buy a bridge in Brooklyn before I bought anything from him.

    Cheers,
    Al

  15. #15

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    It was indeed a very elaborate pitch for his product.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    Quote Originally Posted by snifferdog View Post
    My goodness.... has anyone thought about the issue of ethics and animal welfare in all this? There's a reason why deer musk isn't easy to come by anymore.
    That's a very pertinent issue. Is it ethical to derive musk from an animal if if it means the death of the animal. There exist complex philosophical arguments, differing views and schools of thought...Utilitarian versus Rights based. Animal rights versus animal welfare movements etc.

    The real question I think is: Based on what does one personally decide if it's right or wrong? Reason? Personal sensitivities? International consensus? Popular opinion?

    If one considers it self evidently immoral to kill an animal for anything not based on need or in order to avoid a greater harm then there's no real ethical difference in using fur, leather, ivory, or musk as fashion accessories or luxury items for peronal pleasure, regardless of whether a species is on the brink of extinction or abundantly proliferates on the planet. It's wrong.

    If one finds it acceptable to make use of animals for such purposes as are not based on need but unacceptable that a whole species should disappear towards that end then based on such personal sensitivies using musk would be personally unacceptable.

    I personally find it difficult to decide rationally where to draw the line. I feel that if it's possible to extract the musk without killing the animal and avoiding unnecassary pain then there's nothing wrong with it. It is possible to collect the musk when it is dropped by the deer but empirically speaking that has not been the case. Purely on rational terms I would support trade control measures since continuation of the musk trade as it has means an end to the species itself and hence an end to real musk.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    What proof is there that buying real animal musks isn't contributing to the trade in endangered species? To me that's ever more pertinent and less arguable than questions of animal rights.
    Last edited by Magnulus; 29th June 2008 at 12:55 PM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    The only reason to believe that is the word of the seller (which really isn't proof) unless one personally investigates the source of the raw musk.

    I personally have a problem with any animal being killed for stuff like fur coats, leather, perfumes etc. regardless of species population.
    Last edited by Taz; 29th June 2008 at 06:02 PM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Wild Deer Musk .. Anybody?

    It's probably not actual raw deer musk but theres something a bit funky in the fragrance somewhere. It's good funk, not the fecal type. I love it, I know I'll enjoy it for years to come.
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  20. #20

    Default Real Deer Musk

    Not quite sure where to post this so thought I would pop it in here and see how things go ...

    OK so not to politically correct and I know that its restricted now but is there any way in which to smell real deer musk and how would one go about sourcing it and know it was 100% genuine ?

    Thanks in advance

  21. #21

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    it's not just restricted, it's illegal. the only ways to get it are a) buy from criminals (you won't get musk anyway) or b) take a trip to the very remote places where the animal lives, ask some locals if they have found some pods, and then try to get it back home (that would count as smuggling i'm afraid.)

  22. #22

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Yea, I completely agree with Gido. The only thing I can say is this, I live in the US but I was born and raised in Poland. My R.I.P. grandma used to love perfume. When I was a small kid, me and her went to a russian market in our area where you could buy a lot of unique stuff from the russians. There was this guy who had a lot of russian fragrances and perfume oils, my grandpa bought some stuff for my grandma and me, mostly floral ones. The jasmine perfume I got, smelled like the most realistic, night-blooming jasmine I ever smelled. I will never forget that! I'm sure this guy had some real good stuff, that's exactly what got me to love perfumes as a small kid and it's still haunting me up to this day This russian guy told my grandma: "so you seem to really enjoy perfume, let me show you something VERY special. It is not on sale, it is my own treasure but let me let you smell it". It was real deer musk scent.

    It was so musky, dusky, soapy, aromatic, animalic... just everything at the same time. There is nothing else that you could compare to a real musk smell. Real musk is far from being just a simple perfume note, it is everything at the same time.

    Of course it is illegal, and I am totaly against killing any animals for making perfume. As a kid I had no idea where this musk came from anyways. For the longest time though, I was trying to find a perfume with the perfect musk note for myself (of course not real musk, but something with enough strength that could smell at least similar and have that "everything at the same time" effect).

    I am writing you this, because you might not be able to smell real musk fragrance, my only suggestion is, as a person who has had that opportunity (and believe me it was such unique a fragrance I STILL remember the way it smelled 15 years later, I will never forget that scent) that every musk perfume whether it's niche, or designer or indie house, when I smell it, I always pay attenton to how close it comes to smelling like the real thing.

    The ONLY one that was very realistic was Urban Musk by Tom Ford. Actually what smelled almost exactly like the real musk, was when I sprayed White Suede on left arm and Urban Musk on my left wrist. By accident I sprayed the two on the same, left arm. But the combo of them two, turned out to smell almost identical to the real thing. The Urban Musk was somehow animalic, and very potent. The White Suede had that unique scent that was somehow soapy but in a very musky way I don't make any sense right now, but trying to describe the real deer musk scent would never make any sense anyways. It's just too unique to even try to put it in any words!

    If I had to choose just one perfume that smells most similar to the real thing, it would be Tom Ford's Urban Musk. It would only lack that weird, soapy note - and that note smelled similar to White Suede. If you layer the two, I am telling you, this is what real musk smells like. It just smells more potent and stronger than Tom Ford's Edps.
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  23. #23

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    I really want to thank you, HighLine for sharing your insight in this subject. Today I tried out exactly what you referred to in your post. I can really see where you are going and I can imagine the Urban Musk (which I liked... the first Tom Ford, BTW!) with a 'creamy' add by the White Suede. A fantastic experience - thank you again!

  24. #24

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Hi- I just found these while conducting one of my seemingly endless and futile searches for "real" musk products- thought I'd share and also ask if anyone here knows anything about these sellers or their products:

    http://enochian.org/herbs.shtml

    enochian.org
    Musk tincture. It's pure, I used the musk glands myself to make it, no additives like most other musk you find around, from the musk deer, which smells better then the regular sort. $49.99 for 1/2 oz bottle.

    -OR-

    http://www.scentsualantiquities.com
    10 ml Natural Musk Tincture 3%

    Natural Musk Tinctured at 3% in 90 percent alcohol and aged for 3 years. Musk Tincture has a very distinct animal note and character with a slightly floral over tone. Scentsual Antiquities now offers you this sparkling olfactory gem.

    $250.00

    YIKES! He says this about his specialties:

    Specialties

    Natural Macrocyclic Musk C13-19 from both Plant and Animal Origin, Ambergris Absolute, Pure Ambergris Oil (no carrier oil or other impurities present) Ambergris Tinctures and Extracts from Select A grade and Anitque Materials, Natural Isolates, and Fine Floral and other Hydrovac Distillations and Specialties. Custom Extraction Service available.

    Spent enough time for now- may need to examine the site to see if the "musk tincture" is actually musk c12-19 or what.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    I'm sorry to contradict Gido, you may well have a statute in your country that makes real musk illegal but that isn't true generally.

    There are ten species of deer from which musk can be extracted and all of them are controlled under the international treaty called CITES, the treaty heavily restricts the killing of the animals and controls trade in their products, but it does not ban it completely (as it does with the products of many animals).

    So not only is it perfectly legal under the CITES treaty to trade in musk, they even give quotas (wrongly in my view) for export of material from wild deer in some areas, notably the Russian Federation. More reasonably the deer are farmed in several countries for their pods - it is difficult to argue that that is any more morally wrong than farming sheep for meat as long as the farming conditions are humane.

    It is also frequently claimed that musk and other animal products are restricted by IFRA but again this is not the case: there are no standards concerning any animal derived materials.

    There are good arguments for and against using these materials but the oft repeated 'you can't because it's banned' simply isn't true: I see this claim made often, but no-one has ever been able to point to an actual statute that says so. Check the links I've provided for yourself and you will see that neither of the international bodies responsible have banned this substance - the CITES site even provides details of the legal situation in signatory countries.
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  26. #26

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    hello chris,

    don't be sorry, if i was wrong then that needs to be pointed out. i am almost certain that my source was profumo, and i am puzzled that someone who specializes his trade in animalic ingredients would get it wrong. i hold profumo in high esteem. perhaps he reads this and can explain the confusion?

  27. #27

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Yes I do too, he is a perfumer of high reputation. Perhaps there is such a law in Italy where he works?
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  28. #28

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Go to Paris and take rendez vous with the osmothŤque and you'll be able to smell real musk and talk with specialists.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Great thread!
    * * * *

  30. #30

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    IMO, in this day and age, there are alternatives to using real animal ingredients for perfumes. These can be phyto-derived or synthetic.

    There is a cruelty-free animalic and it's called hyraceum, made from the petrified urine of the hyrax. Liz Zorn uses it in her scents.

    The use of some products should go the way of the dodo: extinct.
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  31. #31

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    IMO, in this day and age, there are alternatives to using real animal ingredients for perfumes. These can be phyto-derived or synthetic.
    It'll be never the same result, the animal ingredients are unremplacables and the majority of the classics from the 20th century are ruined now. Even if you don't smell distinclty the animal note in the composition, it's like the point on the i.
    Of course a new perfumery can be created without those ingredients.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Mon-Petit View Post
    It'll be never the same result, the animal ingredients are unremplacables and the majority of the classics from the 20th century are ruined now. Even if you don't smell distinclty the animal note in the composition, it's like the point on the i.
    Of course a new perfumery can be created without those ingredients.
    Although one cannot totally replicate the scent using animal ingredients, there is some concern about the ethical use of the animal ingredients.

    The ethics involve not only overcultivating the ingredient (reducing the animal population or even a threat of extinction) as well as the animal cruelty issue: the torture of extracting the ingredient or even having to kill the animal.

    For instance, if one bought a piece of jewellery with sparkling diamonds, would we feel comfortable knowing if the diamond was a "blood diamond" with a pricetag of human suffering?

    Human vanity needs to hold a mirror to itself from time to time, and we need to weigh our purchases based on this.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Primrose View Post
    Although one cannot totally replicate the scent using animal ingredients, there is some concern about the ethical use of the animal ingredients.

    The ethics involve not only overcultivating the ingredient (reducing the animal population or even a threat of extinction) as well as the animal cruelty issue: the torture of extracting the ingredient or even having to kill the animal.

    For instance, if one bought a piece of jewellery with sparkling diamonds, would we feel comfortable knowing if the diamond was a "blood diamond" with a pricetag of human suffering?

    Human vanity needs to hold a mirror to itself from time to time, and we need to weigh our purchases based on this.
    I totally agree with this. At the same time, if I can vintage fragrances that use those animal ingredients, I will snap them up and savor them.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    The ethics involve not only overcultivating the ingredient (reducing the animal population or even a threat of extinction) as well as the animal cruelty issue: the torture of extracting the ingredient or even having to kill the animal.

    For instance, if one bought a piece of jewellery with sparkling diamonds, would we feel comfortable knowing if the diamond was a "blood diamond" with a pricetag of human suffering?

    Human vanity needs to hold a mirror to itself from time to time, and we need to weigh our purchases based on this.
    You are right but many of animals ingredients are not nuisibles for animals or can be obtained by surgical prelevement, after if it"s ethic to make a surgery on an animal to make a perfume it's another debate. I'm not for doing crual things on animals but you should understand that that synthetics can't offer the same result, and if the industry use synthetic musc is not for protecting animals.
    Btw i heard that good quantity of tonkin musc are still produced in China as it's used in traditional medicine.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Chinese banned the using of real musk deer and tiger bones in traditional medicine a decade or two ago.

  36. #36

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Indeed they did, specifically musk deer were listed as Class II protected species under the Wild Animal Protection Law (1988), and hunting of musk deer in China was banned in 1989. However there is no ban on using the deer musk in TCM, partly because China has also had a captive breeding programme since the 1950s which produces musk legally. Also, as I've noted in my earlier post some musk is legally exported from the Russian Federation - much of it to Chinese medicine companies.

    The following quotes from a report by TRAFFIC in 2004 indicates how ineffective the ban has been in practice:

    . . . However, in reality enforcement remains problematic and population estimates for China indicate an alarming decline from over three million in the 1950s to between 200,000 and 300,000 in the 1990s. China continues to export hundreds of thousands of medicinal preparations purporting to contain musk every year, although the majority of these most likely contain synthetic musk. However, some TCM companies continue to illegally obtain genuine musk for use in certain medicinal preparations.
    Enforcement of China's impressive 'paper' regulations is clearly needed and could be facilitated through better coordination between musk deer breeders, wildlife management authorities and medicinal authorities. Accurate labelling of medicines is also an urgent requirement, as it would enable consumers to make informed choices when purchasing medicines, as well as facilitating regulation of threatened species in trade.
    A couple of quick Google searches reveal that it is still possible to buy what purports to be real deer musk today, even if like me, you don't speak or read any useful amount of Chinese.
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  37. #37

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    That's i heard too, you don't think a law could change in a few year a millenar tradition.
    And i was asking to myself, what is the ecologic impact of the industrial chemistry to produce synthetic musc (and others for perfume) ?? I'm not sure it's better

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Here's a video clip from a tv show about musk deer farm in China (sorry the spoken language is in Chinese)
    It basically said how they use the deer musk now just only perfume but also in Chinese medicine for various treatments for different illness. The price is about 230-250 yuan for 1 gram. (US$40). Only male deer(the one with funny tooth) produces musk during mating season and at that period of time, the male deer would stop eating for about 7 days...

  39. #39

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Research papers on GC/MS data on the components of deer musk then prepare a deer musk accord. otherwise break the law.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by iffchemist View Post
    Research papers on GC/MS data on the components of deer musk then prepare a deer musk accord. . .
    Excellent advice - there is a thread in the DIY forum on this subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by iffchemist View Post
    . . . otherwise break the law.
    Daft advice and not necessary as the material can be obtained legally if you are careful enough about the source.

    The moral question is another matter and is for each person to examine their own conscience about - there are consequences to all human actions including the use of synthetic replacements for musk, farming animals for meat and other products requiring slaughter and so on. I don't presume to judge whether anyone else's moral judgement on this is better or worse than my own.
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    Chris Bartlett
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    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  41. #41

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Well Im now lucky enough to be in possesion of real deer musc , Im not in a position to comment on ethics as I am not nor do I lead a strict vegan lifestyle , so to comment negatively would be hypocritical of me . Thank you BN member , very much .

  42. #42

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by gido View Post
    hello chris,

    don't be sorry, if i was wrong then that needs to be pointed out. i am almost certain that my source was profumo, and i am puzzled that someone who specializes his trade in animalic ingredients would get it wrong. i hold profumo in high esteem. perhaps he reads this and can explain the confusion?
    hello Gido, I would willingly answer if you tell me where is the confusion that you allude to, I do not find it in the thread.
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  43. #43

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    The moral question is another matter and is for each person to examine their own conscience about - there are consequences to all human actions including the use of synthetic replacements for musk, farming animals for meat and other products requiring slaughter and so on. I don't presume to judge whether anyone else's moral judgement on this is better or worse than my own.
    Chris, I have always been amazed at the wonderfully civil tone of BN forums. Your nonjudgemental stance on this question really demonstrates the civility of BN'ers. Thanks!

    Now, not to cause this thread to evolve into the unresolvable moral debate of omnivores vs. vegans but you mentioned farm raised animals and our comfort with meat consumption. Are musk deer raised only for musk or is harveting musk done in conjunction with raising deer for other products, such as venison and leather? I don't have an issue with animal products derived from livestock that has been utilized to its fullest. However, if deer are harvested simply to obtain musk that would indeed trouble me and I would not purchase fragrances if I knew they contained such an ingredient.

    Once again, I'm not trying stray off on a moral question that has no resolution...

  44. #44

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    No only for the musk nothing else. Never heard of the meat and leather being used. Far as know the musk deer is an endangered species, that is why it is banned.
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  45. #45

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    Chris, I have always been amazed at the wonderfully civil tone of BN forums. Your nonjudgemental stance on this question really demonstrates the civility of BN'ers. Thanks!

    Now, not to cause this thread to evolve into the unresolvable moral debate of omnivores vs. vegans but you mentioned farm raised animals and our comfort with meat consumption. Are musk deer raised only for musk or is harveting musk done in conjunction with raising deer for other products, such as venison and leather? I don't have an issue with animal products derived from livestock that has been utilized to its fullest. However, if deer are harvested simply to obtain musk that would indeed trouble me and I would not purchase fragrances if I knew they contained such an ingredient.

    Once again, I'm not trying stray off on a moral question that has no resolution...
    Thanks for the compliment - I agree these forums (fora if you prefer the Latin construction) are wonderfully civilised.

    Your question is a very complex one as it happens, so Iím going to approach it backwards - but stay with it - I promise to give as full an answer as I can:

    So starting at the end, my personal moral position is that I donít use real musk in my creations, nor do I use real civet. That is in contrast to, for example castoreum or ambergris, which Iím comfortable with using.

    Setting out the reasoning, it goes like this: the musk deer are all endangered species; most musk on sale (that isnít fake) has been illegally hunted, often though by no means exclusively, in the Russian Federation.

    In China, where musk deer farming has been undertaken for longest (since 1952 I think) they are currently experimenting with methods of harvesting the musk that do not involve killing the animals, but this is still experimental. Farming methods, even in China, are so poor that the animals have a very high mortality and the total world population of farmed musk deer amounts to only a few hundred animals, less than 20% of which are males and only they produce musk.

    Despite these reservations, if I could be confident that musk I bought was from a farmed animal I might consider it, but there is currently no conclusive test that would demonstrate this and the production of farmed material is tiny and almost none is exported from China, so you have to work on the assumption that any real musk you buy will almost certainly be hunted. Work is also underway to find a suitable means of marking farmed musk to overcome this problem.

    To the best of my knowledge Musk Deer, when they are killed for musk, are not considered particularly good to eat. That said in China there is a long tradition of eating every part of every animal and wasting nothing so I suspect that will apply to musk deer too. I should add at this point that musk deer are very different from other deer you may be more familiar with, being in a family - the Moschidae - all of their own.

    To make this moral judgement you also have to look at the consequences of not using real musk. As a perfumer it is perhaps unsurprising that the idea we might just do without does not appeal to me. So that leaves plant-derived alternatives and synthetic alternatives. The plant-derived alternatives such as ambrette seeds (scroll to the bottom of the linked page for an explanation) are somewhat effective, very expensive and come with a range of additional odours that add complexity to any blend in which they are used (that may or may not be desirable).

    Synthetic musks are relatively cheap, made in great numbers and widely varying types - most are simple odours with good fixative properties - ambrettolide is the same stuff that is in ambrette seeds, l-muscone is the same stuff as is in deer musk. But there are many others, most of which do not occur in nature and some of which have profound problems. Several were banned in most countries following concerns about their carcinogenic potential. Others are highly persistent in the environment and in people. The industry is gradually moving towards modern, biodegradable alternatives such as romandolide.

    I hope that helps to enable anyone who needs to, to make their own judgements about what is the best choice: I have done my best to present factual material without being unduly partisan, whilst at the same time declaring my own position.
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 15th March 2012 at 08:00 PM. Reason: minor corrections
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  46. #46

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    I'm sorry to contradict Gido, you may well have a statute in your country that makes real musk illegal but that isn't true generally.

    There are ten species of deer from which musk can be extracted and all of them are controlled under the international treaty called CITES, the treaty heavily restricts the killing of the animals and controls trade in their products, but it does not ban it completely (as it does with the products of many animals).

    So not only is it perfectly legal under the CITES treaty to trade in musk, they even give quotas (wrongly in my view) for export of material from wild deer in some areas, notably the Russian Federation. More reasonably the deer are farmed in several countries for their pods - it is difficult to argue that that is any more morally wrong than farming sheep for meat as long as the farming conditions are humane.

    It is also frequently claimed that musk and other animal products are restricted by IFRA but again this is not the case: there are no standards concerning any animal derived materials.

    There are good arguments for and against using these materials but the oft repeated 'you can't because it's banned' simply isn't true: I see this claim made often, but no-one has ever been able to point to an actual statute that says so. Check the links I've provided for yourself and you will see that neither of the international bodies responsible have banned this substance - the CITES site even provides details of the legal situation in signatory countries.
    Just bumping this back up because there has been another claim that real musk is banned - it isnít - it is heavily restricted under CITES and many people think it should be completely banned, but it is not.
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  47. #47

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    Thanks for the compliment - I agree these forums (fora if you prefer the Latin construction) are wonderfully civilised.
    Not to mention the 'Bringlish' spelling of "civilised"

    Thank you for such an illuminating reply. How in the world did you do that so quickly?

    Like so many things we consume, perfume is yet another commodity that carries its share of moral/political baggage requiring us to reflect on our personal choices. Sorry to trouble you with yet another queston: but to what extent does the use of natural musk continue in products purchased by consumers of most mass market/popular fragrances?

  48. #48

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    I guess it was quick because:
    a) I once trained as a touch-typist (something to fall back on as they say . . . didnít quite work out that way but still jolly useful)
    b) Iíd looked that all up before so the information was all in my head.

    As to how much real musk is in consumer products, I really donít think you need to worry too much. If you buy vintage fragrances from the 50s and earlier then they are likely to contain deer musk. Today only a very tiny number of niche perfumers use the animal product - most of what is traded is used in traditional Chinese medicine rather than perfume.

    Donít forget that one of the synthetics (albeit one of the most expensive: l-muscone) is identical with the key ingredient in deer musk, so there is just no reason for a perfume house to take the risk of upsetting the animal rights lobby by using deer musk itself now. What tends to be missing from the modern alternatives is a real animalic element - to add that you need other ingredients - that too can be managed through synthetics though.

    l-muscone btw, once described to me by a Takasago salesman as 'a good way to make an expensive product even more expensive', is the laevo-rotary isomer of muscone, the ordinary mixed-isomer form of which is widely available and used. I have some of both and you need to be quite discerning to tell them apart. The point of separating the l isomer is that it is the only one that occurs in the natural product: so it really is identical.
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  49. #49

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Great posts, all, Chris. Wonderful enlightening links.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  50. #50

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Hello Chris, your info confirms what I was thinking about the myth of Muskdeer farming. The film itself is showing just a male deer and 2 females, and a few grams of musk grains that seem authentic. It looks more like a hobby zoo than like a serious farm for muskdeer production.
    Muskdeer are not cattles, each male needs his territory and they cannot be farmed as herds. I read a project about large scale farming once but it was just a project and I never saw that anything like this was realized.
    The Chinese medicine uses it for some most powerful and expensive remedies and there is no problem for whoever gets any in China to sell it at a very high price, without having to export it anywhere. The demand in china and india for ayurvedic medicine far outdoes the offer.
    The getting musk grains without killing the animals is the traditional way, they were found where the animals deposited them at the mating season. In any case in a farming context it is enough to fix some small bags to the external glands and the grains will fall inside. I do not believe that farmed animals were ever killed, it would be exactly like killing the hen to get the egg.


    My info about the legality of muskdeer trade are different.
    The Russians have refused to comply with the world wide ban on muskdeer products at the Washington convention, and they are still selling it, by quotas of killed animals, with CITES certificates, but these are valid only inside the Russian Federation or with those countries that may have refused to comply with the ban. NOT internationally.
    These are my info, they have been confirmed 2 years ago when I learned in Arabia (in the context of my perfume business there) that the selling of muskdeer had been prohibited in compliance with international laws, as Saudia Arabia in setting up for itself thousands of production plants of every kind in order to become the first country of the region for production of consumer goods.


    I would like to know if you can send me some links or documents that confirm that the trade of all products from Muskdeer is NOT illegal.

    In parallel, the only way by which ambergris escaped the ban was to accept that ambergris (a regurgitation) was NOT a product of the whale, just similar to defecation. This is however not yet accepted by Australia and ambergris trade is still forbidden there.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  51. #51

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Hello Profumo,
    I think Iíve provided all the links to the legal situation in this thread already. CITES is the best source, though clearly it is impossible to prove a negative - individual countries have certainly outlawed the trade in deer musk, but crucially many have not.

    As far as the farming of deer in China is concerned, take a look at these reports from TRAFFIC into farms in China and elsewhere:

    www.traffic.org/species-reports/traffic_species_mammals34.pdf

    www.traffic.org/species-reports/traffic_species_mammals33.pdf

    Both links will download a pdf file. TRAFFIC is an independent organisation whose interest is the protection of endangered species.

    I hope that helps.
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Thank you for the link to CITES which I obviously had, but can you please send a direct link to the CITES documentation supporting that the trade in Moschus products (including muskdeer grains) is not illegal?

    I am examining the Traffic documents but already the first sentense is a false affirmation. The muskdeer was never hunted in passed times, this is only a recent phenomenom.

    Those interested to know how muskdeer was cropped when it was a precious export good for the Hindu Kush can read my report on the Kashmiri muskdeer with some rare pictures as well.
    http://www.profumo.it/cashmir/englis...rt_moschus.htm
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  53. #53

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Bartlett View Post
    I'm sorry to contradict Gido, you may well have a statute in your country that makes real musk illegal but that isn't true generally.

    There are ten species of deer from which musk can be extracted and all of them are controlled under the international treaty called CITES, the treaty heavily restricts the killing of the animals and controls trade in their products, but it does not ban it completely (as it does with the products of many animals).

    So not only is it perfectly legal under the CITES treaty to trade in musk, they even give quotas (wrongly in my view) for export of material from wild deer in some areas, notably the Russian Federation. More reasonably the deer are farmed in several countries for their pods - it is difficult to argue that that is any more morally wrong than farming sheep for meat as long as the farming conditions are humane.

    It is also frequently claimed that musk and other animal products are restricted by IFRA but again this is not the case: there are no standards concerning any animal derived materials.

    There are good arguments for and against using these materials but the oft repeated 'you can't because it's banned' simply isn't true: I see this claim made often, but no-one has ever been able to point to an actual statute that says so. Check the links I've provided for yourself and you will see that neither of the international bodies responsible have banned this substance - the CITES site even provides details of the legal situation in signatory countries.
    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Thank you for the link to CITES which I obviously had, but can you please send a direct link to the CITES documentation supporting that the trade in Moschus products (including muskdeer grains) is not illegal?

    I am examining the Traffic documents but already the first sentense is a false affirmation. The muskdeer was never hunted in passed times, this is only a recent phenomenom.

    Those interested to know how muskdeer was cropped when it was a precious export good for the Hindu Kush can read my report on the Kashmiri muskdeer with some rare pictures as well.
    http://www.profumo.it/cashmir/englis...rt_moschus.htm
    As Iíve said it is a logical impossibility to prove a negative: if you wish to assert something you have to prove that it is so.

    The searches I did on the CITES site do not work as links, despite my attempts above, but you can easily search for yourself by species and see the quotas and links to legislation in member countries, as I said originally.

    You need to be careful not to read into something more than is there, the report says:

    Musk deer (Moschus spp.) have been hunted for many centuries for
    musk - used predominantly in traditional forms of medicine, but
    also in the perfume industry.
    which is true, as far as it goes.

    What it does not say is:

    Musk deer (Moschus spp.) have been hunted and killed for many centuries for
    musk - used predominantly in traditional forms of medicine, but
    also in the perfume industry.
    As with civet, the terms hunting and trapping do not necessarily mean killing.

    I think Iíve spent enough time on this subject now: I have fee-earning work I must get back to.
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  54. #54

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Here is plenty of good info on the synthetic musks:-
    http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/muscone/musconeh.htm

  55. #55

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    Here is plenty of good info on the synthetic musks:-
    http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/motm/muscone/musconeh.htm
    Excellent link - and top marks to the author for clarity of explanation - the same chap, surely a future perfumer, has written quite a few others including this lovely monograph on Chanel 5 - vastly better than the Wiki article on the same subject.
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  56. #56

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Excellent link - That author is indeed very fine... most interesting about the aldehydes because that is what I am studying at the moment, so thanks.

  57. #57

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Hello Chris, I am just like you, I do not like to squable.
    As I find this matter important and because your affirmation is so much in contradiction with what I know, I shall call the CITES in Italy and get it straight, at least in regard to the situation in Europe, but probably they shall be able to inform me about the rest of the world as well. I shall ask documents of reference for the legality or illegality of the muskdeer trade and hopefully in a few days I shall be able to post the results of the research.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  58. #58

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    That would be fantastic Profumo. It would be nice to have it straightened up from the horses mouth so to speak.

  59. #59

    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Hello Chris, I am just like you, I do not like to squable.
    As I find this matter important and because your affirmation is so much in contradiction with what I know, I shall call the CITES in Italy and get it straight, at least in regard to the situation in Europe, but probably they shall be able to inform me about the rest of the world as well. I shall ask documents of reference for the legality or illegality of the muskdeer trade and hopefully in a few days I shall be able to post the results of the research.
    Thank you - if your researches prove that there is indeed a full ban I shall be quite happy to be proved wrong - not least because it is always good to learn.
    Last edited by Chris Bartlett; 17th March 2012 at 01:42 PM. Reason: minor corrections
    ďA person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person
    ― Dave Barry

    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    www.perfumedesigner.co.uk
    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume

    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog if you wish to ask questions of me.

  60. #60
    Super Member meowmo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Real Deer Musk

    Well in my neck of the woods, the menfolk scent themselves with deer urine before they go out into the woods, which I can assure is cheap and legal, although not necessarily pleasant!
    _________________________
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