Holy Moly! The Most Heavenly Musk!!

Starblind

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 2, 2013
I truly never thought I'd see the day that I would find a musk to eclipse my forever love, Muscs Koublai Khan. This Lutens scent has been my animalic touchstone for over a decade, but that was before I read ClaireV's glowing review of Areej Le Dore Siberian Musk, and before I received my sample from StC.

To say I am blown away by this scent is putting it mildly.

Five minutes after I tried it on my wrist, I bought a FB for $300. (Eeeek!)

Normally, I try a sample and if I really love it, I get a decant. Then if I am still in love, I search out Ebay and other discount sites. Not this time.

I don't know if it is the real deer musk that makes this fragrance so compelling, or if it is the skillful combination of other notes that makes me swoon, but either way, I am definitely smitten. And I have a hard time imagining any musk lover not falling hard for this one. To me, Areej Le Dore Siberian Musk smells like the end result of a menage a trois featuring MKK, Rose de Nuit, and Diaghilev.

ClaireV, of course, does a much better job expressing this scent's fine points:

"After a bright citrus and pine start, the scent settles quickly into a full-fat, clotted-cream musk redolent of rosy beeswax, apricots, orange blossom, and the salty intimacy of a post-coital embrace. The musk component manages to be seriously filthy but in a refined way, with a buttery floral purr that typifies a French sort of polish."

Whew! Now I just have to survive until my bottle gets here. And take on a second job, so I can continue to afford it.
 

Starblind

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 2, 2013
This one sounds pretty intense. Which retailer sells the bottles of this?

Surrender to Chance has samples/decants, but so far, you can only get full bottles directly from the perfumer's website: http://www.areejledore.com

He has two other scents that you might like even more, hednic: Ottoman Empire and Oud Zen. The latter of which is (according to ClaireV) decidedly masculine in nature.
 

ClaireV

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2014
I have to admit that I thought of you, Starblind, when I wrote that review - especially since you'd been talking about MKK, Rose de Nuit, and L'Animal Sauvage, but I didn't want to spam Basenotes with a link to an external blog. But yes, Siberian Musk is....phenomenal. I felt a surge of pure emotion when I first put it on, a sort of euphoria, and it is very rare for me to experience that any more. I think that musk lovers will want to sample it, but I also recommend it to anyone who is into a vintage, retro-style of perfume making, the kind that is stuffed with fatty beeswax, blurry florals, and low-grade skank. The musk is certainly animalic, Diamondflame, but not raw or sharp - it is woven so expertly into the fabric of the scent that it simply feels like a well-worn fur.

I am writing an article on musk for Basenotes at the moment, so if I ever finish that, I might treat myself to a bottle of Siberian Musk as a reward. I am currently getting samples of deer musks from a variety of different sources, to establish some sort of baseline for myself. For those who are wondering, the musk used in Siberian Musk is from a legal source - musk deer hunting is legal in Russia and controlled through hunting licences and a lottery each year by the state authorities in Siberia. Yes, the deer is killed, but if it assuages any ethical worries, may I mention that every bit of the animal is used - the skin, the hooves for glue, the meat is eaten by local families, etc. The deer hunting trade there is a part of the local economy. I mention that knowing full well that if you're against hunting of any kind that this won't help at all, but still, thought I would drop that in here.
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
I am writing an article on musk for Basenotes at the moment, so if I ever finish that, I might treat myself to a bottle of Siberian Musk as a reward. I am currently getting samples of deer musks from a variety of different sources, to establish some sort of baseline for myself. For those who are wondering, the musk used in Siberian Musk is from a legal source - musk deer hunting is legal in Russia and controlled through hunting licences and a lottery each year by the state authorities in Siberia. Yes, the deer is killed, but if it assuages any ethical worries, may I mention that every bit of the animal is used - the skin, the hooves for glue, the meat is eaten by local families, etc. The deer hunting trade there is a part of the local economy. I mention that knowing full well that if you're against hunting of any kind that this won't help at all, but still, thought I would drop that in here.

Whitetail deer (non-musky) were near extinction in my part of the country as a kid - now they're a pest species. What brought them back? A self-reinforcing combination of controlled hunting, elimination of poaching, tolerance as an agricultural pest, and allowing a kind of industry to develop around them. I see no reason why this won't work for musk deer. American game management could probably offer a lot of advice that way.

I was just reading a Tibetan conservation article about musk deer - definitely a "glass half full" situation from my point of view. Not only are there many more than I thought (rumors of near extinction are greatly exaggerated), but the situation is far, far better than it was for whitetails. The poaching spectrum is different, and the market in China is impossible to elimiinate, in my opinion, but I think poaching could be eliminated by managed abundance through sound management which would shift the pressure off females and onto musk-bearing males, just like it worked with antlered males in America. Seasonal control would help there, too, to generate more musk to sustain the process. Within two decades, Chinese and Russian drivers would be routinely hitting and cursing "skunks on hooves"! :wink:

They've tried farming in China - wrong answer. Managed hunting would have them everywhere. I think the Russians are right here.
 

Starblind

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 2, 2013
Thank you so much for chiming in, ClaireV! Your experience mirrors my own. I've never felt such a visceral response to a scent (or at least, not since I first smelled MKK a million years ago).

And, yes, the fragrance is not just about its 3D musk, but also the smooooth thickness of its combination of notes. This is the aspect that reminds me somewhat of Diagheliv, or a dreamy vintage scent stuffed chock full of pre-IFRA ingredients.

I kind of hope my rabid enthusiasm for this scent wanes some, since it is in such limited supply, and costly, to boot. (I'm already trying to do the math in my head: how many mls. will I need to see me through this lifetime?)
 

Scarce

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
I kind of hope my rabid enthusiasm for this scent wanes some, since it is in such limited supply, and costly, to boot. (I'm already trying to do the math in my head: how many mls. will I need to see me through this lifetime?)

When in doubt, do what I do. Remind yourself that you could step out into the street and get hit by a truck at any time. This greatly simplifies major perfume purchases. :thumbsup:
 

David Ruskin

Well-known member
May 28, 2009
I'm sad that you are recommending a fragrance which contains genuine Deer musk. The musk deer is endangered. To claim that the musk extract used is from "legally obtained" musk is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a blatant lie; bollocks, in fact. But of course, what is far more important is your pleasure.
 

Scarce

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
I'm sad that you are recommending a fragrance which contains genuine Deer musk. The musk deer is endangered. To claim that the musk extract used is from "legally obtained" musk is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a blatant lie; bollocks, in fact. But of course, what is far more important is your pleasure.

One of those instances where hunting might actually help stave off otherwise certain extinction.

From Claire's blog:

I am writing an article about the issue of musk, which will be published later on this year, but for the moment I will say that Adam’s use of Siberian deer musk here is both ethically and legally fine, because it comes from legal hunting in Siberia, sanctioned and controlled by the Russian Government through seasonal licenses and hunting lotteries. Every part of the deer is used – the meat, the hooves, the skin, everything – and the hunting helps support the incomes of local hunting families.

In other words, don’t be afraid that by buying this perfume you might be contributing to illegal hunting or unethical trading practices. Yes, the musk deer still dies to give up his musk – but he is not dying specifically because of the perfume sector. (You might want to start asking the Chinese medical sector some hard questions, though.)
 

Starblind

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 2, 2013
I'm sad that you are recommending a fragrance which contains genuine Deer musk. The musk deer is endangered. To claim that the musk extract used is from "legally obtained" musk is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a blatant lie; bollocks, in fact. But of course, what is far more important is your pleasure.

David, I hear and utterly understand what you're saying, and have no argument against it (my "pleasure" not withstanding). I'm hoping you read ClaireV's comment above, if not, here it is: "I am writing an article on musk for Basenotes at the moment, so if I ever finish that, I might treat myself to a bottle of Siberian Musk as a reward. I am currently getting samples of deer musks from a variety of different sources, to establish some sort of baseline for myself. For those who are wondering, the musk used in Siberian Musk is from a legal source - musk deer hunting is legal in Russia and controlled through hunting licences and a lottery each year by the state authorities in Siberia. Yes, the deer is killed, but if it assuages any ethical worries, may I mention that every bit of the animal is used - the skin, the hooves for glue, the meat is eaten by local families, etc. The deer hunting trade there is a part of the local economy. I mention that knowing full well that if you're against hunting of any kind that this won't help at all, but still, thought I would drop that in here."
 

NebelGeîst

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2016
If another MKK lover fells for this fragrance, it sound like something I have to try.

I have no problems with animals getting killed. If it happens in an ethical way. Although I am aware that many people think killing can never be ethical.
To read that all party of the animal are used is good. But when it comes to hunting there is another thing that is important to me, and not all countries take this in account by law. There must be the least level of suffering and pain for the creature. Killing should be fast and controlled, done only by huntsmen who know what they do.
Does one of the Russian members know anything about the laws for hunting and animal rights? I fear they might not be valued much but I hope to get corrected.

I googled it and as far as I found out this specific species is not classified 'endangered' but 'vulnerable' by IUCN. I thought all relevant muskdeer species were endangered, but obviously I am wrong. The last figures are 18 years old but back then the number of individual of Siberian musk deer have been estimated far more than 200.000 with the very most of them in Russia. But this numer of cause is decreasing since then. Still, not endangered.
This as well might help me to decide if I try to find a sample (any source within the EU?).

Btw, I'm now in the mood for MKK because of this thread but will have to wait till Sahara Noir fades a bit more. Meanwhile will read Claire's review on this special Musk :)
 

Redneck Perfumisto

League of Cycloöctadiene Isomer Aestheticists
Basenotes Plus
Feb 27, 2008
I'm sad that you are recommending a fragrance which contains genuine Deer musk. The musk deer is endangered. To claim that the musk extract used is from "legally obtained" musk is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a blatant lie; bollocks, in fact. But of course, what is far more important is your pleasure.

This is what I thought initially, and I first dug into the house literature, which seemed sketchy, too. I assumed they were simply lying, and that musk deer were highly endangered, almost extinct, and that they were using black market musk.

Deeper investigation shows that the situation is concerning (needs action, IMO) but not dire. One great snapshot in 2014 is this link

http://www.tibetnature.net/en/musk-deer/

This covers the 4 species in Tibet and greater China with some overlap into countries to the south like India. These are going to need help, despite the lower level endangerment status cited, due to heavy poaching for the Chinese market.

The species in Siberia has the greatest range, and that is the one the Russians appear to be trying to recover by managed hunting. With that size of range, similarity to successfully managed species worldwide, and Russia's pre-existing hunting culture, that approach is likely to work, IMO.

China has tried deer farming, with quite a bit of failure. They are unlikely to even attempt managed hunting, IMO, although perhaps an archery-based deer culture is possible, given the massive success that has had in the US.

The poaching is using snares and damaging the breeding female numbers. Managed archery letting peasants keep and sell their musk and teeth from male deer fixes that quickly. Deer numbers go up, everybody gets more money.

I know it seems counterintuitive, but ethical musk may really be the way to not just help this species, but allied wildlife, too. This happens by replacing the poacher culture with a legalized hunting culture that appeals more strongly and directly to the same individuals, who then have a personal stake in "non-threatened" status.
 

ClaireV

Well-known member
Mar 25, 2014
I'm sad that you are recommending a fragrance which contains genuine Deer musk. The musk deer is endangered. To claim that the musk extract used is from "legally obtained" musk is disingenuous at best. At worst it is a blatant lie; bollocks, in fact. But of course, what is far more important is your pleasure.

David, I understand your reaction, but it's not accurate to say that legally-obtained deer musk is a lie or bollocks. Ethics aside, the fruit of the poisoned tree argument applies here. If musk comes from a country where it is still legal, then the musk is legally obtained. CITES is not an international law that binds all signatories to obey it - it is an international agreement that countries can decide to follow up on (or not) by imposing their own national bans on deer musk. Most signatory countries where musk deer reside did actually follow up by issuing laws that ban deer hunting. But China and Russia chose differently. China decided to set up (legal) musk farms to produce enough musk grains for TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) but they banned the hunting of the deer - in other words, the state is the only body allowed to milk the musk deer. Russia allows for musk deer hunting in Siberia.

Musk produced on musk farms in China is a legal product, because it is produced in on legal farms, but you will probably never see musk grains from China outside of China, because the demand for musk for Traditional Chinese Medicine is so massive that it absorbs everything that is produced*. Most other countries where the deer musk live have made musk deer hunting illegal, in deference to the CITES recommendation. Therefore, musk from India, Nepal, etc. is illegal.

Editing to add something I think is important to mention: from my research, the output from the farms is pretty small compared to demand, and so it's fair to say that China is also where most of the world's illegally obtained, poached deer musk ends up.

The ethics of it are troublesome, yes, and there is no getting around it. The musk farms in China do not kill the deer, but sedate them twice a year and scoop out the musk paste from their musk glans with a teaspoon. It doesn't sound too comfortable, but at least they are not killed. God only knows what the animal welfare standards are like, because few outsiders have the opportunity to visit these farms and see with their own eyes.

In Siberia, where musk deer hunting is legal, it is my understanding that the hunting takes place in a controlled fashion, with licenses and quotas, and that the animals are shot by professional hunters. The meat, hooves, and skin of the animal are also consumed and used. I think the bigger ethical problem lies in the countries of the world where musk deer hunting has been banned but still takes place via illegal poaching. Then the animals are trapped rather than shot, and left to die a long, cruel death, with the hunters only using the musk pod and nothing else from the deer. The upshot is that musk is so valuable that people will always skirt the law to go and get it, but it is surely better that it takes place in a controlled and legal manner. It is a very murky world, though. In India, it is illegal to hunt the musk deer because of conservation, etc. but if the local government catches a hunter, then it confiscates the kill (and the pod) and then sells it on the open market, in a way legalizing what is an illegal product in India.

But anyway, have no fear - I don't see deer musk coming back anytime soon to perfumery, at least not on a mass scale. Small companies like this one? They are small-batch. They will sell a couple hundred bottles, and it will be barely a ripple in the grand scheme of things when it comes to the consumption of deer musk on the world market. The traditional medicine sectors of China and India (Ayurveda) consume between 90-95% of the world's deer musk, and the rest dribbles down to attar-makers and small-batch perfumers. Even within attar makers, which is really the only corner of perfumery that still (possible, maybe, perhaps) use deer musk, only a small number use the material because it is VERY difficult to get a hold of a source for the genuine stuff. We had a thread on Basenotes last week where a guy sent back a deer musk attar because he doubted it was genuine. But how on earth could he know if it was or not if he had never smelled deer musk before? It might be fake, it might not be, but even the attar makers can be fooled themselves.
 
Last edited:

Diamondflame

Frag Bomber 1st Squadron
Basenotes Plus
Jun 28, 2009
Thank you, ClaireV and Redneck for the enlightening discourse on the musk procurement/ trade. There is also this widely accepted idea that farming is less cruel to animals. Now THAT's the real bollocks IMO. Sometimes I wonder if most animal rights activists are vegans but I seriously doubt it.

Back to topic, the bad news is the Areejledore sampler sets are all sold out. But the rarity of real musk, the ingredients(?) list, the fragrance pedigree and recommendations from a trusted nose are enough for me to risk a blindbuy. God knows how long I've been wanting a fragrance containing genuine musk. With endangered species conservation and regulatory restrictions this is probably the last good chance of acquiring one.
 

IsoESuperman

People of Zee Wurl, Relax
Basenotes Plus
Dec 30, 2015
The Musk is still available at Surrender to Chance, but Ottoman Empire and Old Zen aren't listed there yet.

Thanks Starblind, I did not think to check there...and apparently didn't fully read your first post very well, I went to the link in Claire's blog. I just placed an STC order two days ago, gah! I had ignored them for a long time for no reason other than I just went elsewhere first, but they have some really obscure stuff and over the past year or so, I've had 4-5 hauls and have been very pleased. Nice folks, too.
 

ctboom

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2016
Areej Ledore is a one man operation and the owner is also handling duties over at his distillation company Feel Oud. From what I understand, there will be samples made available again soon, though given the source materials, I personally wouldn't count on a long term duration of supply, and that's true beyond just the musk (I don't know if the Oud for Oud Zen is wild or organic; if wild, then there's an inherent scarcity and, to get geeky, we'd have to consider alternate ouds of the same kind as batch variations...personally, I just want good sprayable oud). Still, give it time and I'm sure the samples will re appear.

Honestly, given how busy some of these new perfumists are, incl. Sultan Pasha, sometimes the best point of contact is that of interest in a purchase. I've found the owner patient though several lines of questioning, incl. shipping concerns etc., and felt given attention in all aspects, but again, he's a busy one. That's not an easy life, chasing Oud in the jungle and crafting distillation techniques etc. starting a company and now a sister company, all in a country that's not his mother country, he's got a lot of balls.
 
Last edited:

ctboom

Well-known member
Jan 14, 2016
^^^ Of course, I got that impression from Claire. Perhaps I should have said "Havent received a response yet", I'm not stomping my feet or irked or anything, in case it came off that way. I'm guessing WiFi is pretty spotty in the jungle too :)

I hope I didn't strike you as having that impression, I'm excited for you, and you're right, Claire is doing us all a favor discovering and writing on these new talents as well as profiles of the relatively obscure perfume sources. My four year old daughter is recently reacting adversely to a lot of aromachemicals and Claire's reviews over the past two years have helped me source perfumists with a strong bent toward naturals, incl. Hiram Green, Sultan Pasha, Areej, etc. and aside from her standards, she has an easy humor that compels me toward her sense of taste.
 
Last edited:

David Ruskin

Well-known member
May 28, 2009
So much twisted logic by so many to attempt to justify their actions. As I understand it from the above arguments, anything carried out in a country that is legal in that country is acceptable throughout the world; Bear baiting, stoning to death, crucifixion are all fine are they? The particular deer used for the preparation of this fragrance are not endangered, merely "at risk". So it's alright to carry on hunting them until they get closer to extinction, is that it? I'm out of this thread, I am beginning to feel dirty.
 

Scarce

Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
So much twisted logic by so many to attempt to justify their actions. As I understand it from the above arguments, anything carried out in a country that is legal in that country is acceptable throughout the world; Bear baiting, stoning to death, crucifixion are all fine are they? The particular deer used for the preparation of this fragrance are not endangered, merely "at risk". So it's alright to carry on hunting them until they get closer to extinction, is that it? I'm out of this thread, I am beginning to feel dirty.

Ever the drama queen...:rolleyesold:

This is what I thought initially, and I first dug into the house literature, which seemed sketchy, too. I assumed they were simply lying, and that musk deer were highly endangered, almost extinct, and that they were using black market musk.

Deeper investigation shows that the situation is concerning (needs action, IMO) but not dire. One great snapshot in 2014 is this link

http://www.tibetnature.net/en/musk-deer/

This covers the 4 species in Tibet and greater China with some overlap into countries to the south like India. These are going to need help, despite the lower level endangerment status cited, due to heavy poaching for the Chinese market.

The species in Siberia has the greatest range, and that is the one the Russians appear to be trying to recover by managed hunting. With that size of range, similarity to successfully managed species worldwide, and Russia's pre-existing hunting culture, that approach is likely to work, IMO.

China has tried deer farming, with quite a bit of failure. They are unlikely to even attempt managed hunting, IMO, although perhaps an archery-based deer culture is possible, given the massive success that has had in the US.

The poaching is using snares and damaging the breeding female numbers. Managed archery letting peasants keep and sell their musk and teeth from male deer fixes that quickly. Deer numbers go up, everybody gets more money.

I know it seems counterintuitive, but ethical musk may really be the way to not just help this species, but allied wildlife, too. This happens by replacing the poacher culture with a legalized hunting culture that appeals more strongly and directly to the same individuals, who then have a personal stake in "non-threatened" status.

Whether legalized hunting is the answer, or part of the answer, is open to debate. But at least some people are asking the questions of how to stop what would otherwise be certain extinction. But you're not really interested in asking those kind of questions, are you.
 

Latest News

Top