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

jfrater

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2005
I have 1kg of very old tonkin musk tincture at a whopping 10%. It is the most profoundly beautiful single perfume material I own. I keep a small spray bottle in the fridge and I wear it pure like a fragrance. I can't even begin to describe how sublime the scent is. I will never part with my 1kg.
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
I have 1kg of very old tonkin musk tincture at a whopping 10%. It is the most profoundly beautiful single perfume material I own. I keep a small spray bottle in the fridge and I wear it pure like a fragrance. I can't even begin to describe how sublime the scent is. I will never part with my 1kg.

You are lucky, Tonkin is supposed to be the top of all deer musk, but unfortunately very hard to find as the specie is almost extinct.
I have never smelled it alone, I can only make a theory on this note based on few tonkin attars I have; to me it is more dense, fecal, creamy, civetty, and less leathery than the siberian one.
It also seems to me that the transformative impact of tonkin musk takes a different direction than the Siberian one.
How would you put it?
 

jfrater

Well-known member
Jun 2, 2005
You are lucky, Tonkin is supposed to be the top of all deer musk, but unfortunately very hard to find as the specie is almost extinct.
I have never smelled it alone, I can only make a theory on this note based on few tonkin attars I have; to me it is more dense, fecal, creamy, civetty, and less leathery than the siberian one.
It also seems to me that the transformative impact of tonkin musk takes a different direction than the Siberian one.
How would you put it?

It is so perfect in balance that you don't notice the animalic qualities. But it really growls when you add a touch of ambergris tincture. I use it in combination with ambergris and civet in an oud fragrance I make for my own use: https://fraterperfumes.com/free-formula-oud-chypre/

That formula is for patrons of my site only but the dilution of the animalics is:

380 Oud Formula (the main formula on that page - similar to a Roja Dove oud but more beautiful!)
38 Civet Tincture 10% (yes this is a huge amount - it needs months to settle but it's worth it)
12 Tonkin Deer Tincture 10% (you can use 3% and increase the amount)
45 Ambergris tincture 2% (my ambergris tinctures are at different % depending on source)
525 Food grade ethanol

It makes you feel like a king when you wear it.
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
Very interesting, thank you.
Would civet absolute do the trick at a lower % in this formula? also why using food grade ethanol? It is realy hard to get for amateur like me specialy in europe:)
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
How is your tincture coming along ? Cant wait to hear more from you. Thanks.

Hey, i will have updates closet to summer time, so wait is going to be quite long :(
So far the main change is color of the tinctures, they get darker and darker.
Really enjoy the Grade 2 bottle, as some skin parts are really white while others are dark, so when i swirl it, looks like particles of gold mixed with the musk :shocked:
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Thanks everyone for patiently waiting while my Siberian musk macerated.

Here is a picture of what i started with, and what i currently have :

20220116_183104.jpg

20220116_180338.jpg

The very first bottle is 25% G1 (1st grade a.k.a. pure musk grains) which i have moderated for 6 month gently swirling grains inside, and then it was settling separated from grains for another 6.

Aroma: wild animal smell ( deer, moose, horse like but as if it was roaming in the wild forest, etc), some green tones, slightly wet forest floor. Breaking down by percentages, animal smell is about 60%, soil like 30% and greenery 10%. NO PISS. Interestingly enough, i dont observe that chocolate aroma from 100% pure grains. It did obtain, though, somewhat of an effect that one would feel when moving fingers through the furr. I might be deceived, but overall its not too strong at 25%, i would give it 5 or 6 out of 10 density strength wise. After 10 minutes - other notes fly away and i am left mainly with the smell of an animal that is clearly smelled from about 2.5 inches away, but harder to smell from larger distance.

Bottle #2 is G1 50% strength, 2nd steep. It has been macerating for 6 month so far, and i plan to keep it for another 6 still. No settling yet in separate vessel.
Aroma: About the same thing as bottle #1 but more robust, denser. I would give it 8 density strength wise. Smell of animal would occupy 70% of aroma and gives you a photorealistic image of an animal next to you. Soil is 15%, green is 10%. Additionally, 50% strength obtains a sweet facet to it, but more like a sweaty sweetnessrather than chocolate at 5% strength. NO PISS.

3rd bottle is a 10% maceration of the thin inner layers on skin that were in direct contact with the grains. That receives a G2 designation. Macerated for 1 year.
Aroma: this one is mostly about gentle smell of an animal. Original whiff carried gentle mushroomy aroma in it which was a bit surprising, and a weird note thats hard to describe. Assosiation of image to that smell is like an aged snot. It was short lived thankfully. Density strength of aroma is at about 2. Animalic smell occupies like 95% or aroma with the mushrooms and snot smell about 10 combined. G2 obtains a little bit of amonia i would assume as i know something is present, but cant quite pinpoint it. I think its there at 0.5 to 1% of smell. Barely noticeable.

Bottle #4 is 25% strength of ONLY furry part of pod, where is Bottle #5 is furry part of pod and inner side of just skin which i call Belly. Both are similar to bottle #3 minus mushroomy smell, even lighter in aroma (strength of 1 ) but with....Drums....pissy note! Thats where urine is obvious and even more so obvious in #5. That one blew my nose real fast and i had to go for a walk around the house. Urine note dissipates within 30-45 minute mark after which your left with a gentle smell of bottle #3.

20220116_184430.jpg

To understand difference in smell between various animalic notes, i as well pulled blotter and dipped it in castoreum at 25% as well as 70% tincture strength.
Musk smells like a grey and green furry animal, and even at 50% with sweetness to it - feels very dry, even more so towards "drydown" or after about an hour. Castoreum at 25% and 70% smells like a well oiled, cognac colored animal with a woody backbone. Even though castoreum comes from wild animal, it has some sort of refinement to it, some royalty, where as musk is like a rough, weather beaten traveler that has no plan to settle.

Bonus: as a bonus i have separated some grains to steep them in absolutes. What musk does to absolutes i can best express with "adding aged patina".
1) Carnation - best one in my personal opinion. Musk is not so obvious, but i cut down metalic note significantly. It gave carnation worn in feel and either gave or amped up a smell best described as golden glow. Gentle yellow sweetness.
2) Rose Bulgaria - once again, gave rose a darker shade, worn in feel, cut acidic note a bit. It did bring out the balminess in rose.
3) Sandalwwood (Mysore) but not very aged one i suppose as it has a bit of green tone at the start. With sandalwood musk gave it more depth, turned it 1 shade darker bringing it closer to what i imagine aged mysore should smell like. Toned down spiciness but gave sandalwood smell more clarity. Not sure how to describe it, but i can smell facets better.

Another interesting observation of mine is when i took blotter with rose and sandalwood. Together they gave me an extremely similar smell as in Ward by Al Shareef.

Finally, i used some of 50% strength of musk in a blend i toy with, and for some 3-4 minutes it reminded me of musk from EO Tonkin Musk. Not sure if it was the musk or combo of some other oils with musk, but that's the scent correlation i got.

Thats it so far. Thank for reading and feel free to ask questions. I will try to answer them as beat as i can.
 

naylor

Well-known member
Oct 24, 2011
Thanks everyone for patiently waiting while my Siberian musk macerated.

Here is a picture of what i started with, and what i currently have :

View attachment 181544

View attachment 181543

The very first bottle is 25% G1 (1st grade a.k.a. pure musk grains) which i have moderated for 6 month gently swirling grains inside, and then it was settling separated from grains for another 6.

Aroma: wild animal smell ( deer, moose, horse like but as if it was roaming in the wild forest, etc), some green tones, slightly wet forest floor. Breaking down by percentages, animal smell is about 60%, soil like 30% and greenery 10%. NO PISS. Interestingly enough, i dont observe that chocolate aroma from 100% pure grains. It did obtain, though, somewhat of an effect that one would feel when moving fingers through the furr. I might be deceived, but overall its not too strong at 25%, i would give it 5 or 6 out of 10 density strength wise. After 10 minutes - other notes fly away and i am left mainly with the smell of an animal that is clearly smelled from about 2.5 inches away, but harder to smell from larger distance.

Bottle #2 is G1 50% strength, 2nd steep. It has been macerating for 6 month so far, and i plan to keep it for another 6 still. No settling yet in separate vessel.
Aroma: About the same thing as bottle #1 but more robust, denser. I would give it 8 density strength wise. Smell of animal would occupy 70% of aroma and gives you a photorealistic image of an animal next to you. Soil is 15%, green is 10%. Additionally, 50% strength obtains a sweet facet to it, but more like a sweaty sweetnessrather than chocolate at 5% strength. NO PISS.

3rd bottle is a 10% maceration of the thin inner layers on skin that were in direct contact with the grains. That receives a G2 designation. Macerated for 1 year.
Aroma: this one is mostly about gentle smell of an animal. Original whiff carried gentle mushroomy aroma in it which was a bit surprising, and a weird note thats hard to describe. Assosiation of image to that smell is like an aged snot. It was short lived thankfully. Density strength of aroma is at about 2. Animalic smell occupies like 95% or aroma with the mushrooms and snot smell about 10 combined. G2 obtains a little bit of amonia i would assume as i know something is present, but cant quite pinpoint it. I think its there at 0.5 to 1% of smell. Barely noticeable.

Bottle #4 is 25% strength of ONLY furry part of pod, where is Bottle #5 is furry part of pod and inner side of just skin which i call Belly. Both are similar to bottle #3 minus mushroomy smell, even lighter in aroma (strength of 1 ) but with....Drums....pissy note! Thats where urine is obvious and even more so obvious in #5. That one blew my nose real fast and i had to go for a walk around the house. Urine note dissipates within 30-45 minute mark after which your left with a gentle smell of bottle #3.

View attachment 181551

To understand difference in smell between various animalic notes, i as well pulled blotter and dipped it in castoreum at 25% as well as 70% tincture strength.
Musk smells like a grey and green furry animal, and even at 50% with sweetness to it - feels very dry, even more so towards "drydown" or after about an hour. Castoreum at 25% and 70% smells like a well oiled, cognac colored animal with a woody backbone. Even though castoreum comes from wild animal, it has some sort of refinement to it, some royalty, where as musk is like a rough, weather beaten traveler that has no plan to settle.

Bonus: as a bonus i have separated some grains to steep them in absolutes. What musk does to absolutes i can best express with "adding aged patina".
1) Carnation - best one in my personal opinion. Musk is not so obvious, but i cut down metalic note significantly. It gave carnation worn in feel and either gave or amped up a smell best described as golden glow. Gentle yellow sweetness.
2) Rose Bulgaria - once again, gave rose a darker shade, worn in feel, cut acidic note a bit. It did bring out the balminess in rose.
3) Sandalwwood (Mysore) but not very aged one i suppose as it has a bit of green tone at the start. With sandalwood musk gave it more depth, turned it 1 shade darker bringing it closer to what i imagine aged mysore should smell like. Toned down spiciness but gave sandalwood smell more clarity. Not sure how to describe it, but i can smell facets better.

Another interesting observation of mine is when i took blotter with rose and sandalwood. Together they gave me an extremely similar smell as in Ward by Al Shareef.

Finally, i used some of 50% strength of musk in a blend i toy with, and for some 3-4 minutes it reminded me of musk from EO Tonkin Musk. Not sure if it was the musk or combo of some other oils with musk, but that's the scent correlation i got.

Thats it so far. Thank for reading and feel free to ask questions. I will try to answer them as beat as i can.
Wow thanks for sharing this detailed update. Definitely an awesome experiment!
 

Xcaliber6685

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 18, 2020
Thanks everyone for patiently waiting while my Siberian musk macerated.

Here is a picture of what i started with, and what i currently have :

View attachment 181544

View attachment 181543

The very first bottle is 25% G1 (1st grade a.k.a. pure musk grains) which i have moderated for 6 month gently swirling grains inside, and then it was settling separated from grains for another 6.

Aroma: wild animal smell ( deer, moose, horse like but as if it was roaming in the wild forest, etc), some green tones, slightly wet forest floor. Breaking down by percentages, animal smell is about 60%, soil like 30% and greenery 10%. NO PISS. Interestingly enough, i dont observe that chocolate aroma from 100% pure grains. It did obtain, though, somewhat of an effect that one would feel when moving fingers through the furr. I might be deceived, but overall its not too strong at 25%, i would give it 5 or 6 out of 10 density strength wise. After 10 minutes - other notes fly away and i am left mainly with the smell of an animal that is clearly smelled from about 2.5 inches away, but harder to smell from larger distance.

Bottle #2 is G1 50% strength, 2nd steep. It has been macerating for 6 month so far, and i plan to keep it for another 6 still. No settling yet in separate vessel.
Aroma: About the same thing as bottle #1 but more robust, denser. I would give it 8 density strength wise. Smell of animal would occupy 70% of aroma and gives you a photorealistic image of an animal next to you. Soil is 15%, green is 10%. Additionally, 50% strength obtains a sweet facet to it, but more like a sweaty sweetnessrather than chocolate at 5% strength. NO PISS.

3rd bottle is a 10% maceration of the thin inner layers on skin that were in direct contact with the grains. That receives a G2 designation. Macerated for 1 year.
Aroma: this one is mostly about gentle smell of an animal. Original whiff carried gentle mushroomy aroma in it which was a bit surprising, and a weird note thats hard to describe. Assosiation of image to that smell is like an aged snot. It was short lived thankfully. Density strength of aroma is at about 2. Animalic smell occupies like 95% or aroma with the mushrooms and snot smell about 10 combined. G2 obtains a little bit of amonia i would assume as i know something is present, but cant quite pinpoint it. I think its there at 0.5 to 1% of smell. Barely noticeable.

Bottle #4 is 25% strength of ONLY furry part of pod, where is Bottle #5 is furry part of pod and inner side of just skin which i call Belly. Both are similar to bottle #3 minus mushroomy smell, even lighter in aroma (strength of 1 ) but with....Drums....pissy note! Thats where urine is obvious and even more so obvious in #5. That one blew my nose real fast and i had to go for a walk around the house. Urine note dissipates within 30-45 minute mark after which your left with a gentle smell of bottle #3.

View attachment 181551

To understand difference in smell between various animalic notes, i as well pulled blotter and dipped it in castoreum at 25% as well as 70% tincture strength.
Musk smells like a grey and green furry animal, and even at 50% with sweetness to it - feels very dry, even more so towards "drydown" or after about an hour. Castoreum at 25% and 70% smells like a well oiled, cognac colored animal with a woody backbone. Even though castoreum comes from wild animal, it has some sort of refinement to it, some royalty, where as musk is like a rough, weather beaten traveler that has no plan to settle.

Bonus: as a bonus i have separated some grains to steep them in absolutes. What musk does to absolutes i can best express with "adding aged patina".
1) Carnation - best one in my personal opinion. Musk is not so obvious, but i cut down metalic note significantly. It gave carnation worn in feel and either gave or amped up a smell best described as golden glow. Gentle yellow sweetness.
2) Rose Bulgaria - once again, gave rose a darker shade, worn in feel, cut acidic note a bit. It did bring out the balminess in rose.
3) Sandalwwood (Mysore) but not very aged one i suppose as it has a bit of green tone at the start. With sandalwood musk gave it more depth, turned it 1 shade darker bringing it closer to what i imagine aged mysore should smell like. Toned down spiciness but gave sandalwood smell more clarity. Not sure how to describe it, but i can smell facets better.

Another interesting observation of mine is when i took blotter with rose and sandalwood. Together they gave me an extremely similar smell as in Ward by Al Shareef.

Finally, i used some of 50% strength of musk in a blend i toy with, and for some 3-4 minutes it reminded me of musk from EO Tonkin Musk. Not sure if it was the musk or combo of some other oils with musk, but that's the scent correlation i got.

Thats it so far. Thank for reading and feel free to ask questions. I will try to answer them as beat as i can.

Wow nice write up man, thanks for all the detail info. Have some follow up questions for ya...

1)Why not keep the grains in the original #1 bottle for the whole year? what is the purpose to separating the grain and add them to bottle #2 half way through in just 6 months of maceration?
2)How many steepings can you get out of the grains and pods? twice to three times for 6 months each time? when do you know they have reached a point of depletion, and no longer useable for infusion or maceration?
3)do you find any spiciness and animalic bite similar to that from Ensar's musk like in EO2 or Tibetan Musk type muskiness from your G1 and G2?
4)Any powdery note being perceived so far?
5) Performance-wise, it sounds like the projection is quite weak even at 25% concentration after 10min? that's a bit of a surprise to me. and it quickly settled down to almost skin scent with less than 3" projection.....how long does this stage last as a skin scent? Based on my experience with all the musks from EO, i am getting the feeling that natural deer musks in general... is just as volatile as ouds, they don't really last throughout the wearing to the far dry down, usually project beastly for an hour or so with very strong animalic and musky scent then they died down, and other heart and base notes(or the carriers) would take over in the rest of the drydown, sort of like a 400meter relay....
 

Mak-7

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2019
Wow nice write up man, thanks for all the detail info. Have some follow up questions for ya...

1)Why not keep the grains in the original #1 bottle for the whole year? what is the purpose to separating the grain and add them to bottle #2 half way through in just 6 months of maceration?
2)How many steepings can you get out of the grains and pods? twice to three times for 6 months each time? when do you know they have reached a point of depletion, and no longer useable for infusion or maceration?
3)do you find any spiciness and animalic bite similar to that from Ensar's musk like in EO2 or Tibetan Musk type muskiness from your G1 and G2?
4)Any powdery note being perceived so far?
5) Performance-wise, it sounds like the projection is quite weak even at 25% concentration after 10min? that's a bit of a surprise to me. and it quickly settled down to almost skin scent with less than 3" projection.....how long does this stage last as a skin scent? Based on my experience with all the musks from EO, i am getting the feeling that natural deer musks in general... is just as volatile as ouds, they don't really last throughout the wearing to the far dry down, usually project beastly for an hour or so with very strong animalic and musky scent then they died down, and other heart and based notes, or the carriers would take over in the rest of the drydown, sort of like a 400meter relay....
1) i know in one of adams videos - he mentioned that minimum timeframe for musk maceration is 3 month, and around that point i believe i did test the juice, and it was just slightly different from 6 month one. so general plan was to try 6 month for 25% and then increase concentration 2 fold and keep it macerating twice as long. i doubt that there will be much change, but if there will be - ill let everyone know.
2)i dont know that, so i will be steeping them till they are done and bottle the results with proper markings, but i expect at least 3. (maybe count how many releases ensar had with magic tonkin musc, and that might be close to true number, because he didnt have many from what i gather, so he absolutely had to double/triple steep them)
3)what were the spices that were obvious to you? in my opinion EO2 was spicy because of added spices and not because its the musk. mine has some pepper spice and maybe some green herbal bite to it, but as i have mentioned it is subtle. Never tried Tibetan musk.
4)as far as powdery note - depends. if powder to you is a feeling that you graze through animal fur, then yes, there is a bit of that, but it is not on the level of areej le dore musks.
5) During the test, i had to walk out a few times to get fresh air because musk did block my nose a few times, i did inhale deeply trying to get all the facets. When i would come back, some musk will linger in the room, thoguht in a gentler cloud. so it either projects better than i thought, or it just saturates the air over time. But to get a full whiff of everything musk offers -and i mean all the fine details - one has to do it very close though.
After i wrote review, i put those musk blotters in a holder like a fan- i tested on blotters, not the skin, so result might be different with heat of the body - but now, 2hours later, i can still smell them well 3 feet away when i move my head or move around. so things might not be that bad.
Maybe my technique wasnt correct.
 

Xcaliber6685

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 18, 2020
1) i know in one of adams videos - he mentioned that minimum timeframe for musk maceration is 3 month, and around that point i believe i did test the juice, and it was just slightly different from 6 month one. so general plan was to try 6 month for 25% and then increase concentration 2 fold and keep it macerating twice as long. i doubt that there will be much change, but if there will be - ill let everyone know.
2)i dont know that, so i will be steeping them till they are done and bottle the results with proper markings, but i expect at least 3. (maybe count how many releases ensar had with magic tonkin musc, and that might be close to true number, because he didnt have many from what i gather, so he absolutely had to double/triple steep them)
3)what were the spices that were obvious to you? in my opinion EO2 was spicy because of added spices and not because its the musk. mine has some pepper spice and maybe some green herbal bite to it, but as i have mentioned it is subtle. Never tried Tibetan musk.
4)as far as powdery note - depends. if powder to you is a feeling that you graze through animal fur, then yes, there is a bit of that, but it is not on the level of areej le dore musks.
5) During the test, i had to walk out a few times to get fresh air because musk did block my nose a few times, i did inhale deeply trying to get all the facets. When i would come back, some musk will linger in the room, thoguht in a gentler cloud. so it either projects better than i thought, or it just saturates the air over time. But to get a full whiff of everything musk offers -and i mean all the fine details - one has to do it very close though.
After i wrote review, i put those musk blotters in a holder like a fan- i tested on blotters, not the skin, so result might be different with heat of the body - but now, 2hours later, i can still smell them well 3 feet away when i move my head or move around. so things might not be that bad.
Maybe my technique wasnt correct.

Not so much spices, more like peppery spiciness, so yes it looks like you got some of that as well. The powdery note, glad to hear it's not like johnson and johnson type baby powder you're getting from it like ALD musks. lol

as far as I can tell I don't think there's anything wrong with your technique, i suspect you probably went noseblind to it, especially when you were testing 25% and even 50% concentration! That's quite potent. I remember few years ago Ensar explained why he was using 5% concentration instead of 10% in his compositions, don't remember the scientific detail but I believe it has something to do with anosmic issues, where most people would go completely noseblind to it at 10% or higher on these deer musks. if you dilute yours down to 5% and apply on skin, like the back of your wrist or forearm, i wonder if you'll be able to smell the projection a lot further and longer. Looking at that pile of bottles with bunch of musk macerations you got, i can only imagine anybody being in that room would go noseblind within few minutes or so. lol
 

mnitabach

Well-known member
Nov 13, 2020
This is awesome & thank you so much for your careful empirical analysis & detailed reporting. One thing I am wondering about is that as I understand it, a major key perfumery effect of deer musk is distinct from the strong, relatively transient, animalic odor profile you document so carefully in your extracts. In particular, my understanding is that the most desirable "gold" in deer musk is various macrocyclic musks that do not necessarily have mega-strong affirmative scents (certainly much weaker than the animalic facets you describe), but confer extremely tenacious powerful modifier effects on other scents.

I suspect that this may be what you are detecting in your description of "furry" effects. Anyway, long preamble, but have you checked your smelling strips weeks/months after applying your tinctures to see what is left? I did this with a muskrat musk tincture I bought from someone, and there was a strong macrocyclic musk scent that lasted for months on the smelling strip. If I'm remembering correctly, there is some analytical chemistry evidence that the major macrocyclic in muskrat musk is exaltone? And I think deer musk should mostly contain muscone & muscenone?

Anyway, curious about very long weeks/months drydown on your smelling strips.
 

apolo085

Well-known member
Feb 18, 2019
#5. That one blew my nose real fast and i had to go for a walk around the house. Urine note dissipates within 30-45 minute mark after which your left with a gentle smell of bottle #3.
Finally, this is what you get with the belly skin, good thing you did isolate it for experimentation as we did not understand the reason behind the russian trick at that time.
Thank you.
 

Xcaliber6685

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Sep 18, 2020
Out of curiosity, since musk pods and grains are organic substances, wouldn't they decay/decompose or have mold and fungus growing on them after the pod has been opened? even when kept in a jar since it was exposed to air and bacteria/germ?

Reading the original post again, i was thinking, since the hairy side of the pod got exposed to deer urine, would it minimize the urinous odor if you were to rinse and presoak the hairy side of the pod for 20 to 30min to rid the urine stains from the pod skin first?

I just ordered a 25.4g Siberian pod from NinjaRobb today, i guess i'll have to do my own experimentation soon.

I'll tincture the grains and pod skin separately as well, maybe i'll go a step further and use a small food processor to grind up the pod skin into fine pieces to help speed up the process of the tincture, can't wait to see the look on her face when she uses the food processor afterward.
 
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