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Latest Articles - Luxury

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Musk

Thursday, 24 December 2009

muskMusk is one of the delightful and amazing components used in perfumery. It falls to the category of perfume classic fragrances as well as amber. The word «musk» comes from the Latin «muscus», and the Latin language in its turn borrowed this word from the dead Sanskrit which meant «scrotum» or «testicle». So, what is musk? This is the odorous substance possessed and produced by some animals. Also the musk may have a vegetable or synthetic nature. The musk is used in perfumery to create the fragrances since it is known to have fixing abilities and make the scent more elegant and delicate.

The musk of animal origin is the product excreted by the musky glands with particular mammals, and this substance is produced only by male animals. Musk is excreted by deer, musk deer, musk-ox, desman and other animals. In the natural environment the musk serves as the chemical signal used by animals to tag the territory and to attract the opposite sex species. Also the musk is used to oil the fur. Musk appears as the viscid granular mass of brown color with specific odor.

The musk was preliminary received from the musky glands of the musk deer habituating in the mountainous forests in Himalayas, Tibet, Eastern Siberia, Korea and Sakhalin. The animals should be killed to gain the musk. 30 to 50 deer are necessary to be killed to get one kilogram of musk. There is an interesting record made by the Russian traveler Afanasiy Nikitin about the musk gaining experience: «The umbilicus of domestic deer is cut, where the musk origins, while the wild deer fall their belly buttons onto the ground in forests and fields, losing the scent and the musk is not fresh then».

This crude and brutal method to get the musk was practiced till 1979. Currently the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (of Wild Fauna and Flora) protects the musk deer as the rare and endangered species of animals. Moreover, musk deer are recorded into the International Red Book and the Red Book of Russia. Presently the hunting on musk deer is limited. Though, the way out of this situation was found very quickly for the perfume industry. There is an alternative to the animal musk which is the musk of vegetable origin and made synthetically.

There is a humane way to receive musk that is from plants. The stem of Angelica, amberetta seeds,       Holy Ghost roots, hibiscus seeds, parts of galbanum and some other particular plants produce musk. The synthetic way to gain the musk is the easiest one. Many synthetic substances of different structure have the musk odor, including some macrocyclic lactons and oxalactons, nitromusks (musk-ketone, amber musk, musk xylol), some substituted tetrahydronaphthalene and hydrindens (for instance, Phantolid, Versalide, Galaxolide). Some kinds of synthetic musk are forbidden for use due to high toxicity. Moreover, they attracted the ecologists due to poor ability to biological decomposition.

Musk is processes by the special technology prior to use in perfume compositions. During the processing the musk loses all volatile substances and acquires more elegant aroma. Musk is used in perfumery to fix the fragrances. It makes the scents more sensible and warm. Perfumers noted that the scent of the perfume depends on the origin of the musk; whether the musk is of animal, vegetable or synthetic origin. When the synthetic musk is included as the component of the perfume instead of the animal musk, used before, the scent changes. Musk of animal origin was more preferred earlier. Currently the musk of animal origin is a rare and costly component, and is used to create expensive perfume for world recognizable brands only.

It would be interesting for any woman to find out which perfume contains the musk. The modern fragrances having musk as a components include White for Her by Emporio Armani and Glow by Jennifer Lopez. Classic fragrances often have musk component due to traditions, like Forever Elizabeth by Elizabeth Arden, L'air du Temps by Nina Ricci and, definitely, the legendary Chanel №5 by Chanel.

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