Sunday, February 28, 2016


So I have this musk blend that I often use as a base on which to layer things. It's a sort of ever-evolving blend that I add to when I have new musk odorants. It's mainly ethylene brassylate at this point, but it also contains Zenolide, l-muscone, Exaltolide, some musk ketone, Habanolide, Velvione, Exaltenone and at least one musk base.  No Cashmeran.

At first I wanted to keep it only musk odorants, but after a while it's grown a little in complexity. Benzyl salicylate is in there, both because I love the smell of it (I perceive it, but it's very faint to me) and because it's easy to dissolve the ketone in it. There's some vanillin in there too, because I love vanillin in all its forms.  Just traces in my musk blend, though

What has not really been in there are any more traditional animalics, like civet or castoreum (although I do love castoreum, but I think I prefer a reconstruction to the natural material). I've always thought I would like the more animalic musks, and filthy smells in general; sort of in the same way that I thought I would like things like red wine, dark chocolate and whiskey--things that are always described as rich and bold. I've never smelled musk tincture (who has?), but I've smelled some of the more 'dirty' musk bases, and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan. I think Shangralide smells awful--like a ugly mixture of clean musk with something, I dunno, musty or dusty or something. I wish I could smell some now, because I can't remember what exactly it brought to mind for me; for some reason I keep thinking it made me think of dolls (sort of like how a plasticky apple scent might make you think of a Strawberry Shortcake doll), but that can't be right. Maybe it smelled like something girly but old, like a soft scent stored for a long time in a dank cupboard.  Anyway, yeah.

I've also smelled Tonquitone, which is more appealing than Shangralide by miles, but doesn't make me swoon. It smells like underwear that I've worn for a week straight. Not altogether bad, but not as interesting as it seemingly smells to others.

As for dirty musk fragrances like Musc Koublai Kahn, well, I've never really found one that I thought was particularly dirty. MKK starts out with a dirtyish note but clams down pretty quickly. I've not smelled Secretions Magnifique, so maybe that's more offensive.

I guess I should mention that I've also smelled civet bases (but not the natural material), which smell unpleasant but not hellaciously so. They smell like bad teeth to me. And I've smelled Africa Stone, which is actually quite pleasant.

But I've never put anything like that into my musk blend. After smelling a bunch of musk materials, I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that I prefer the cleaner musks. I think my favorite is Habanolide (or maybe Globanone, which I haven't experienced much but seems to be even more of what I like about Habanolide--a sort of metallic note), which is clean, not too fruity or powdery, and gets even better as it dries down. Ethylene brassylate is really growing on me too. I do quite love juniper lactone, but it's very pricey. Still haven't smelled civettone (talk about pricey!!).

But this weekend I got it in my head to see what Costausol did to my musk blend. Costausol is an animalic-type that I sort of like. To me it smells sort of nutty, and with other materials it gives an impression of hair. Actually, alone it reminds me of the first "vetiver type"oil I ever smelled. It was from some super cheap brand sold at a place called Scents n Suds, and I remember it smelled sort of like old wood but with a tone of chewed peanuts and a floor wax connotation. Since then I've smelled several vetiver essential oils and a couple isolates, and nothing has ever smelled like that particular oil. I wonder what they were going for when they created it. And I also wonder whether it had costausol in it, as costausol gives part of the oily, peanutty note that was in it.  So anyway, I tried a little costausol in my musk blend, putting a tiny bit in a smaller bottle and seeing what happened. Because that's how I roll.

Now, the tiny bit in the smaller bottle still amounts to much, much more of a Costausol influence than I would end up with. When I'm trying something new like that, I'll often put it in a li'l sample at a much higher concentration than I would use it, just to see what it does. And you know what? I like the effect that the Costausol has. Granted, it's too nutty and forward in the small sample, but it's much more diluted in the blend proper. I like how it gives a background to the musk, making them a bit more oily. It also works very well for layering. I think it will work well once it integrates fully into the blend. And if not, I can always add more of the musk materials I prefer to the blend to bring it back into balance. There's so little Costausol there that it shouldn't have a massive effect.

And that's floop!

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