Deer musk and what to expect out of it when taking appart

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Hello DIYers,

Today i had a pleasure of working with actual siberian deer musk pod and i decided to share the proces and my observations while taking it apart.

First of all, when i received it, the skin of the pod was very much like suede at the bottom and its ring, with coarse hair on other side.
Smell wise, just from the outside of the pod, it smells of ammonia, or old stale animal piss at the top, and if you inhale deeply, youll find machine oil smell lurking behind. Smell is intense so when you get this pod, wrap it in wool and place in the jar.

This is how my pod looked like:
20201227_164252.jpg

On the web there are round ones, but i got this which is true to description of others, hair on 1 side, skin on other.

To prepare for procedure, i had sharp knife, 2 pairs of tweezers, and a spatula, 3 jars and clean sheet of A4.
I originally took gloves because i saw Ensars video, and him expressing how intense the smell is, and that itll stick to your skin for weeks - its all BS. Touched musk, and skin, washed my hands and no smell left. Choice is yours though.

Cutting the pod feels like cutting through silicone, i didnt have problems as i had sharp pointy knife.
While i cut the pod, i held it furry side down and at a slight angle of about 30°, this way the furry side of skin doesnt get any grooves that will trap musk grains.

Once i "scalped" the top off, musk grains appeared. Majority of grains clump together, and fell off as a few big chunks while others fell as smaller seeds. At this stage, you get a change of smell. In my case i got rather chocolaty aroma, with slight gamey background. All the amonia smell disappears. That speaks of the power of grains.
Here is how it looked like when taken apart.

20201227_163613.jpg

With majority of grains out, i started to scrape off the leftover grains attached to the inner walls of the skin.
It is pretty easy and doesnt cause troubles, but another thing i found out is that this skin has layers, and you can peel them off each other, thus separating raw skin from "musk saturated" one.
Marked with #1 is raw skin to which musk saturated #2 was attached to. Here is the picture.

20201227_163305.jpg

This is why i had 3 bottles:
1st - to put outer skin into, which i did here:

20201227_163450.jpg


2nd - to put as i call it " Musk Grade#2 " which is the musk saturated thin layer of skin as in the picture below. You can notice how dark brown it is. Will produce a lot of aroma.


20201227_163525.jpg

And 3rd jar for pure grains or "Grade1 Musk"

Now, this grade 1 musk will be to the point saturated with thick and very thin hairs. The more careful you are at the beginning and wont rub your furry side of pod, the less hair pieces youll have to pick out.
My grains looked like this:

20201227_171315.jpg

Consistency wise, it is like chocolate bits, so while pulling hairs out, you'll need 2 tweezers. One to hold the grains, another one to pull hairs out.
Be gentle while holding grains, as they will either stick to tweezer, or crumble to smaller pieces.
During this process of separation, everything starts to dry out, so either work fast, or separate your parts and cap them in the bottle.

Another observation while working with pod is that:

Grade#1 cleaned and separated doesnt have any repulsive odors. Chocolaty, slightly sweet and "thick" smell. Nothing airy about it.

Grade#2 is the mix of chocolaty goodness with gamey smell. At this stage, since i separated thin skin from outer one, it smells similar to a sweaty horse but much less intense than that. So smear sweaty horse in chocolate, and youll get grade#2.

Musk skin (outer one) retains this amonia/pissy gamey flesh like smell.

Now, i only have to see where i will use these and what to tincture with.

Here are few more pics:

20201227_172832.jpg


20201227_172906.jpg

And finally, out of my 24.5 g pod, i got 13.6g of pure grains, 2.68g of grade#2 and 8.22g of musk skin.

20201227_173237.jpg

Thats my story and experience with the pod. I hope this will be somewhat interesting and educational. Youll know what Adam and Ensar are selling. Will help you with making right decision with the weight of the pod and how to prepare it if you will decide to dive into this world.

Update. I started my tinctures (from left to right): 25% Grade 1 in alcohol, 10% Grade 2 in alcohol, 25% musk skin with and without the hairless part of the musk pod. 3 small ones are 15% Carnation, Rose and Sandalwood infusion of Grade 1 musk.

20210107_084720.jpg

Thanks for attention and if any questions, let me know :)
 
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Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Thank you very much for your such detailed post!

Your grains look nothing like what I have received (as grains, not pod) but I can assign no meaning to that as I have not encountered undoubtedly-authentic material, except as exposed to it from vintage (circa 1960's - 1970's) perfumes. I have been suspicious of mine as the tenacity of tincture is not much -- a fairly intense amount applied to skin is nearly gone by 8 hours. I can't say for a fact it's fake though. If it is a fake it's an impressively "natural" smell that would fit my idea of musk.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Thank you very much for your such detailed post!

Your grains look nothing like what I have received (as grains, not pod) but I can assign no meaning to that as I have not encountered undoubtedly-authentic material, except as exposed to it from vintage (circa 1960's - 1970's) perfumes. I have been suspicious of mine as the tenacity of tincture is not much -- a fairly intense amount applied to skin is nearly gone by 8 hours. I can't say for a fact it's fake though. If it is a fake it's an impressively "natural" smell that would fit my idea of musk.

Your grains might be real, but either different type (tibetan), or, while i was doing research on musk pod, i came across some articles about domestically grown musk deer, whos grains are nowhere nearly as fragrant as wild roaming.
It would be nice if some well known perfumers could sell some musk for education and reference.

I will tincture mine and report more on the smell, qualities and how it transforms :)
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Very interesting.

This makes perfect sense.

I was having real trouble, impossibility really, on seeing how a fake could be made such as what I received.

However, genuine (biological) but farmed could very reasonably explain not being as expected, a different balance of qualities -- principally top, not much base at all, sadly lacking in tenacity.

I really expect your explanation is the answer for what I have.
 
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apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Thanks for this great thread.
I've heard that the skin of the belly should not be used..Have you come across of such information?
Also would you share prices and sources?
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Thanks for this great thread.
I've heard that the skin of the belly should not be used..Have you come across of such information?
Also would you share prices and sources?

I havent heard of that, and based on Ensars and Adams videos and posts, they drop them in Alcohol and tincture. Technically, it would be like tincturing flesh, but inside is still somewhat fragrant. I know that parts of skin where deers urine tends to fall, like knees at the back of the leg should not be touched and tinctured, because of bacteria, but not the bottom part of pod.

As far as resources and price, mine was $600 including shipping, and listing is:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/864648202/the-dried-musk-pod-of-the-musk-deer?ref=hp_opfy-5

I find price here is better than ninjarob or something like that.
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Thank you very much for sharing.

Here what ninjarobb said in a comment on a youtube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umhO0E76HBM&ab_channel=TherapeuticFragrance):

small instructions for the pod :)
Turn the pod hair down and make an incision with a scalpel around the half that is hairless.
Then take it off as a lid from a jar and you will see a lot of grains inside.
Clean the remaining musk from the hairless half of the wall and throw it away.
After you free the pod from the musk grains, use the half with the hair to tincture.
It is steeped in the secret of Ketone-muskone.
If you want the grains to remain semi-dry, place them in a tightly closed jar and store them in the refrigerator.
If you want the grains to dry completely, put them in a dark place at room temperature for storage.
Or better yet just add the grains to the Mysore sandalwood oil :)

The hairless part may affect the tincture badly...I don't know yet.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Curious why hairless part should be thrown away?
It is same sking/flesh as bottom part, except without hairs, both sides touched musk grains.
 

myhaiku

Well-known member
Aug 16, 2020
Oh my goodnuts! (sorry, cleaning it up)
How will you preserve it? I heard Russian Adam speak of his preservation with a pink solution (I'm guessing pink curing salt).
Thank you for sharing this.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Oh my goodnuts! (sorry, cleaning it up)
How will you preserve it? I heard Russian Adam speak of his preservation with a pink solution (I'm guessing pink curing salt).
Thank you for sharing this.

I am planning to tincture most of it in alcohol. Some in sandalwood, and some in rose absolute.
Maybe another one in Carnation, really love that flower :)
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Curious why hairless part should be thrown away?
It is same sking/flesh as bottom part, except without hairs, both sides touched musk grains.

I failed on having more details on this... seems like everybody like to keep their secrets regarding deer musk
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
I am planning to tincture most of it in alcohol. Some in sandalwood, and some in rose absolute.
Maybe another one in Carnation, really love that flower :)

OMG curing in carnation absolute sounds absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for this detailed post. Very interested to hear about outcomes? How long is the process of tincturing in EtOH supposed to last?
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Seems so Apolo :) well, i can split the skin in 2 batches, one with and one without top skin, and see what will come out of it.

Mnitabach - i believe at least 6 month, so outcomes are to be released next year, but on the other side - if all goes well, rest of folks here have enough time to save up the mighty dollar and make their own purchase next June :thumbsup:
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
You got this from sibermusk right. I’m not going to come in and ruin anyone’s fun explicitly, but ask yourself this: deer musk has been a substance valued highly for centuries. The stuff sibermusk sells EVERYONE comments that it smells of piss. Do you think such a valuable substance would be revered for smelling of piss? There’s lots of animal products that reek of urine, so why is it supposedly deer musk also smells of piss, but this piss smell is valuable? Doesn’t follow imo.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
You got this from sibermusk right. I’m not going to come in and ruin anyone’s fun explicitly, but ask yourself this: deer musk has been a substance valued highly for centuries. The stuff sibermusk sells EVERYONE comments that it smells of piss. Do you think such a valuable substance would be revered for smelling of piss? There’s lots of animal products that reek of urine, so why is it supposedly deer musk also smells of piss, but this piss smell is valuable? Doesn’t follow imo.

No, it wasnt sibermusk, different place as far as i know.
As far as smell of piss, if you study animal, their communication and lifestyle, they will inevitable smell of piss. They dont really shower and communicate via secretions for specific things.
Piss as well flows through musk sack, so some traces of it will be there, but as i mentioned above, grains themselves dont stink, skin does. Grains smell like chocolate and additionally, it provides fixation and transformation properties to other essential oils. Thus there is value and people found it many centuries ago.
As far as overall piss smell and people attracted to it - well, people are weird :rolleyesold:
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
In addition of what Mak-7 said, Urine and Fecal note are transformative once mixed with your composition, meaning it will no more smell like urine/poo but another thing... which is the main characteristic of any natural musk.
In brief, if your deer musk pod does not smell (naturally) like a dead animal body covered with urine, then it is fake.
 
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pazzoballando

Well-known member
Nov 28, 2020
indole and skatole are literally the smell of shit but are indispensable to the beauty of certain florals, etc. Animalic scents are dirty, and make people think dirty thoughts, which is one of the classic functions of perfume...
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I do believe it's possible to smell indole without making a fecal association, as I have done so many times while having my mind prejudiced to think floral.

Skatole, I find very hard to understand anyone not finding it not only associated with but the main note of feces.

Incidentally, I find it completely implausible that urine flows through the musk grain sacs, or that the grains in any way encounter feces.

Where a relation might be made is shared compounds, though not skatole or indole as mammalian cells do not produce them, and/or different molecules with some organoleptic relation.

My musk grains which I now consider to be farmed as an explanation for their to-me-disappointing performance, had originally and on tincturing an almost ammoniacal (but not) quality, a pungent sort of hit, that I suppose one could relate in some cases to a pungent hit from the above, but is not at all the same. My wife was vastly offended by it; I was not. I could ask but I think she perceived it in the human waste category.

Maybe from muscopyridine, which can't be found for purchase, or perhaps other things.

While I have in general high skepticism to strongly, and many time at all, relating functional groups of a mere part of a molecule to smell -- in other words, thinking for example that attaching salicylate to any of many things will give a largely predictable salicylate smell to them all -- there certainly can be some such effects, and pyridine itself most certainly gives you quite the pungent blast to the nose, not entirely dissimilar though I hate pyridine and enjoy the musk.
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
as in, they are literally crucial components of the smell of human feces, as breakdown products of the bacteria within it.

So what? Indoles are components of lots of things as I'm sure you're aware of it doesn't mean anything with indoles smell like feces. Indoles smell of indoles and they smell like feces in feces and flowers in flowers and civet in civet.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
Do you have skatole?

It isn't sold retail in the US. Though I don't recall your location if you've mentioned it. And I would guess most doing perfuming outside the US don't have it.

Also, I don't know what "indoles" (plural) means.

The only indole I know is a single substance, a particular molecule, and is an "it" not a "they."

?
 

pazzoballando

Well-known member
Nov 28, 2020
So what? Indoles are components of lots of things as I'm sure you're aware of it doesn't mean anything with indoles smell like feces. Indoles smell of indoles and they smell like feces in feces and flowers in flowers and civet in civet.

You're skipping over the point here. You posited your belief that musk that smells like urine must be fake, because nobody would consider urine to be a smell they want to put on their body. My counter, and that of others responding here, is that a core part of perfume for millenia has been scents that are gross smells, smells that are associated with bodily waste, vomit, sweat, semen, what have you. I'm not even saying that I believe the musk to be real, I've never met a musk deer, smelled their butthole, so I couldnt tell you. I'm only saying that disgusting smells are an integral part of perfumery, so how can you discount it purely on that?
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
You're skipping over the point here. You posited your belief that musk that smells like urine must be fake, because nobody would consider urine to be a smell they want to put on their body. My counter, and that of others responding here, is that a core part of perfume for millenia has been scents that are gross smells, smells that are associated with bodily waste, vomit, sweat, semen, what have you. I'm not even saying that I believe the musk to be real, I've never met a musk deer, smelled their butthole, so I couldnt tell you. I'm only saying that disgusting smells are an integral part of perfumery, so how can you discount it purely on that?

Because the smells aren't disgusting. No one sells civet absolute to wear which could be considered disgusting. They add beaucoup amounts of flowers to it, and it turns beautiful. This cat piss people describe is objectively disgusting -- and I know that'll be a comment that is attempted to be turned against me, and whatever.
 

Bill Roberts

Well-known member
Mar 1, 2013
I am getting the impression you have smelled and worked with none of these, or at the minimum at least two you are arguing strongly on, you have not.

Have you skatole? Musk tincture or grains? Civet paste or tincture?

My point is not to embarass or belittle, we all acquire these slowly if it all, but to say that opinions of materials a person has not smelled should not be given much weight even by the person having such opinions, myself included where applicable.
 
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mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
Not to put too fine a point on it, but a well-appreciated perfumery odor material is literally dried up piles of urine & feces. If you smell hyraceum neat, it smells literally like this & is objectively disgusting. There are countless perfumery materials that are objectively disgusting when smelled at the wrong concentration or in the wrong context. Whether something smells objectively disgusting at some particular concentration or in some particular context can't possibly be diagnostic for whether it is an authentic perfumery material.
 

Mr.P

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2015
You got this from sibermusk right. I’m not going to come in and ruin anyone’s fun explicitly, but ask yourself this: deer musk has been a substance valued highly for centuries. The stuff sibermusk sells EVERYONE comments that it smells of piss. Do you think such a valuable substance would be revered for smelling of piss? There’s lots of animal products that reek of urine, so why is it supposedly deer musk also smells of piss, but this piss smell is valuable? Doesn’t follow imo.

You have much to learn about scent and musk it seems. You are in a decent place to start though. Get yourself some castoreum, civet, hyraceum since these are not hard to get in authentic form, spend a few days getting to know them, the get back to us about what people do and do not want to put into their perfume!
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
You have much to learn about scent and musk it seems. You are in a decent place to start though. Get yourself some castoreum, civet, hyraceum since these are not hard to get in authentic form, spend a few days getting to know them, the get back to us about what people do and do not want to put into their perfume!

Oh yeah I'm sure I do I'm just a big dummy dummy dum dum thanks for the condescension mate! Love ya honey.
 

pazzoballando

Well-known member
Nov 28, 2020
I understand your point completely, gold, and I dont think anyone here is trying to gang up on you. Of course when these scents are incorporated into perfumes they become beautiful. But I think I disagree with a fundamental philosophical issue here. It's not just that there are scents which are unacceptable at certain dilutions but become pleasant when diluted properly and mixed with other components. It is also that the very nature of these materials, the disgust that they cause, is what MAKES them compelling in context.

We as animals notice things for reasons related to survival as animals. Dont eat things that taste like feces because you'll get sick and die. Dont go near the rotting bodies of your fellow humans because whatever got them will get you too. But as modern, aesthetically oriented creatures, the things that capture our attention most powerfully, i.e. things in the past that signaled poison, rot, death, can become the very things that capture our attention in scent and flavor. The taste of cheese, charcuterie, wine, etc are the tastes of rot, carefully managed and controlled by masters. The prized scent of truffles smells of sex hormones. And so while I think plenty of people in the thread are skeptical about the provenance of these musk pods for various reasons, whether a severed animal gland stinks I personally do not think can be one of them, unless one has firsthand experience with various types of such glands and understands certain scent markers of authenticity--which is the kind of rare knowledge I cant imagine anyone who would be posting on this board would have.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Comment about urine not flowing through sack made me dig up some pics, and it seems it indeed doesnt flow. It is a separate opening next to a "D" . Curious now how musk is dosed and dispensed, but back to smell of piss, since it is at such a proximity to the "D" thats why it saturates the skin around, but musk grains dont smell of piss. I am corrected.

20201231_105202.jpg

As for GoldWine - what is your preference in perfumes and do you have essential oils and perfume making materials? Some comments here are made the way they are made because there is no point of reference in your wardrobe, and some of your arguments dont go with the usual perception i guess. So to continue conversation in the educational way it would be nice to know your background.

Additionally to the point of disgusting smells, alot of us have different tolerance and "smellcabulary". As mentioned in my first post, Ensar was saying it was super strong and if i am not mistaken he either felt sick, or smth like that. I was able to tolerate the smell perfectly fine, inhale deeply to understand the finer details and dong gag. I find castoreum, which i have at 70% absolutely wonderful, it sweet, oily smell of a furry wild animal. And if i were to make a perfume to capture some memory or association, i dont know of any other material that could do that. I wouldnt wear it raw, but in compositions its a must. So value of musk is of what it can give to composition, rather than what it smells like raw.
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
Yes, there is a concept in physiology called hormesis, which posits that low doses of harmful things are beneficial exactly because they are harmful in high doses. Not surprising this applies to olfactory physiology as well. Taste too, such as how bitter--which innately signals poison & drives disgust & rejection--is prized in appropriate doses & contexts.
 

GoldWineMemories

Well-known member
Nov 22, 2019
It's amazing how nearly every conversation on Basenotes devolves the same way. This started with a critique of these -- in my opinion -- fake deer musks, and I present why I believe they are fake. Instead of ever addressing why these are real -- a claim that needs sustainable evidence as everything (smell, rarity of material, quantity of material) points to them being fake. No, instead all that happens is people saying "well in my fictional made up reality in my head you might have not smelled everything that's considered animalic, so therefore you have to be wrong". None of you are asking me what's in my organ as a legitimate question. You're just asking that question, and every question that will follow, in an attempt to cause death by 1000 cuts -- find anything you think is wrong or he's ignorant about, and that must mean he's wrong about everything, and ignorant about everything. I literally was called out for adding an s to indole, a mistake attributed to either the fact this is just online discussion and you can easily deduce I meant indole, and thus it's unimportant to go back and spellcheck, or a mistake by an iPhone. Either way it just goes to show no one here cares about if the pods are fake or not, because you WANT them to be real, so you have to attack and attempt to discredit anyone by any means who claims otherwise.

All this is fine. It's annoying, it's agitating, and it's why this section of the forum isn't all that useful, but in the macro it's no big deal. You guys win. I'm an idiot. I'm wrong. I'm ignorant. I don't know what I'm talking about -- and most importantly you win. I'll leave with this though, I have deer musk, I know what it is, and it's not piss sacks. All I ask is if you're going to make perfume with this stuff get an analysis done of it -- which would be easy to do, and would disprove me immediately if I was wrong -- before you tincture it and stick it in perfume that goes on people's skin -- because if it's not deer musk, if it's random stuff thrown together, then it's wrong to sell it as deer musk. With that everyone have a nice day, and a great new year.
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
It's amazing how nearly every conversation on Basenotes devolves the same way. This started with a critique of these -- in my opinion -- fake deer musks, and I present why I believe they are fake. Instead of ever addressing why these are real -- a claim that needs sustainable evidence as everything (smell, rarity of material, quantity of material) points to them being fake. No, instead all that happens is people saying "well in my fictional made up reality in my head you might have not smelled everything that's considered animalic, so therefore you have to be wrong". None of you are asking me what's in my organ as a legitimate question. You're just asking that question, and every question that will follow, in an attempt to cause death by 1000 cuts -- find anything you think is wrong or he's ignorant about, and that must mean he's wrong about everything, and ignorant about everything. I literally was called out for adding an s to indole, a mistake attributed to either the fact this is just online discussion and you can easily deduce I meant indole, and thus it's unimportant to go back and spellcheck, or a mistake by an iPhone. Either way it just goes to show no one here cares about if the pods are fake or not, because you WANT them to be real, so you have to attack and attempt to discredit anyone by any means who claims otherwise.

All this is fine. It's annoying, it's agitating, and it's why this section of the forum isn't all that useful, but in the macro it's no big deal. You guys win. I'm an idiot. I'm wrong. I'm ignorant. I don't know what I'm talking about -- and most importantly you win. I'll leave with this though, I have deer musk, I know what it is, and it's not piss sacks. All I ask is if you're going to make perfume with this stuff get an analysis done of it -- which would be easy to do, and would disprove me immediately if I was wrong -- before you tincture it and stick it in perfume that goes on people's skin -- because if it's not deer musk, if it's random stuff thrown together, then it's wrong to sell it as deer musk. With that everyone have a nice day, and a great new year.

GoldWine - first things first that i want to address is communication piece. I am not most well versed, and english is my 4th language, but i think i made a good enough effort in my original post to describe initial smell of closed pod, pure musk grains and skin from inside the pod that surrounded grains. Animals have distinct odor as well, so to say that product that is part of an animal, and located next to a cock wont smell pissy is illogical. Hunters dont wash it either, no bubble baths for pods my friend :laugh:. So thats my point 1.

In your initial post, you just said its piss, people wont pay for piss, why musk is more valuable than others if its piss......not once you said that " hey, in my experience, when i either hunted deer myself...or...bought grains from seller XXXX it smelled like bla bla bla.
Thats point 2 that links to point 1, communication has to be good on both sides. And from there - conversation took off in slightly off direction as you say.

Point 3 - in my last post, i asked, what perfumes you like, what materials you have? Give us reference, i am interested.
As far as myself, i am only learning the craft, i am not selling this to anyone, and any craft and purchase you do involves risk. I took mine and sharing what i experience.

Conversations as chat, dont always carry emotions and can easily be misinterpreted, so dont loose faith. People here are not professionally trained writers who know how to type in inoffensive way. No win for anyone, just exchange of info and within this or any exchange, if you prybar any statement, be prepared that yours will be prybared as well. Sound cold of me, but life is cold :bath:
 

Mr.P

Well-known member
Apr 6, 2015
Oh yeah I'm sure I do I'm just a big dummy dummy dum dum thanks for the condescension mate! Love ya honey.

You were going on an on about piss... it made no sense. Your generalizations about these materials made it sound like you'd never smelled them. You sure came across as someone being arrogant and critical with little experience... with some bitterness over some past vendor called sibermisk. So I assumed you didn't know what you were talking about.
 

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