Musky Mystery DOPEPLUS.COM

Musky Mystery

When you think of musks, you probably think of the commonly used term “second skin”. It’s super sensual and clean at the same time, with elements of mystery, and perhaps depth? All this starts to become a bit blurry…


In actuality, this word contains two drastically different realities, so let’s clear things up.


First, there is the “historical” musk, which has not been used at all for a long time due to the extraction process. Originally, musk was extracted from the abdominal glands of the male “musk deer”, which are native to Tibet and Siberia. In its pure state, musk carried an extremely strong scent of fur, animal and… excrement! Animal musk was appalling when smelt alone, but worked wonders when used in micro doses in perfumery. Associated with flowers in particular, musk gave them a surplus of intensity and sensuality. Animal musks were also “fixatives”, which allowed the fragrance to last much longer.


Unfortunately, to extract musk required the deer to be killed, which led to the species being under the threat of extinction. With new protection laws in place, perfumers had to seek other alternatives to create this musky phenomenon. Luckily, we now have the musks of the 21st century. These very sophisticated synthetic molecules are 100% clean and vegan, which now shares little in common with the first one.


When musks of animal origin were banned, a wave of panic erupted within perfumers’ world. How were they to replace this so commonly used raw material, once considered essential to build a qualitative fragrance? Chemists were summoned to get to work, and gave birth to different generations of synthetic musks, gradually moving away from the heady and animal smell of natural musks.


Today, musks no longer have anything to do with the original animal smell. They play more subtly, almost transparent on the skin. Hugely paradoxical, most of them have a distinctly clean scent.


How can this be? Many modern synthetic musks are used in laundry detergent to leave your clothes with a delicate, yet lingering odor. Now when we get a whiff of that heavenly musky scent, we subconsciously feel a sense of clean and well being.


Although contemporary musks no longer have much of a connection with their olfactory ancestor, they nevertheless carry on the originally musk legacy of being the superior fixative, helping scents to last a long, long time. The scent is subtle to start, and really comes out after a few hours. Just like the original, they always blend beautifully with floral notes.


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