Search Forum

How do you recognise the smell of musk?

How do you recognise the smell of musk? 2 months ago

Say, there are smells widely accessible to most people, such as common flowers (e.g. roses, lavender), common spices (e.g. cinnamon, vanilla), herbs (e.g. basil), fruits, etc. The same cannot be said about musk. I do have perfumes that are categorised as musky, but I can’t really pinpoint what it is that they have in common, and how to isolate that smell in them. Musk still baffles me. When people write about ‘loads of musk’ in a perfume they review, I wonder how they know. I’ve purchased fragrance oil called Musk. It smells gourmand to me, like zephyr. The bottle has a picture of something that looks like zephyr. Is that why the oil smells like that to me? I can’t imagine any animal or anything (originally) coming from an animal smelling like this. How can you tell a perfume is musky? How have you learned the smell?

2 months ago 1

To me I get a slightly sweaty, almost pissy funk, but it's not necessarily unpleasant. I find it very light and almost powdery to my nose. It's definitely a hard note to isolate for me as well.  I find it almost skin like, just not super fresh clean skin.

2 months ago 1

I love white musk with fruity sweet notes to it, it gives this misty, energetic freshness to a fragrance. I don't know what fragrances you are owning, but if you have Erba PuraErba Pura this is a great example of a white musk fragrance or another is PaxPax . Another one i can think of is Light Blue pour Homme Eau IntenseLight Blue pour Homme Eau Intense . Dark musk is different though, it is more pungent, more masculine, while white is more unisex. Sorry i realise i am a man and maybe some of these examples are not of any help but maybe you have smelled them so i will try to use them to my best ability. So another one that is light musky like Light Blue is Hawas for HimHawas for Him and a dark musk is Notorious (2023)Notorious (2023) which actually smells a lot like Erba Pura but because of the dark musk and leather has a much more masculine feel to it. It is a very sexy kind of smell, almost like the smell of what a persons natural smell is, but not in an oh you smell bad kind of body odour kind of way. It is probably the closest notes you will find that is replicating what a persons natural smell is but cleaned up to smell nice, white is more feminine and dark is more masculine. Aaron Terence Hughes describes it as clean skin accord. He loves to use musk.

2 months ago 1

The fragrant note of musk is clean and sharp, slightly sour. Sometimes it smells very clean, and sometimes in combination with fruit it is sweaty. 
Mostly the musk is very clean and sharp.

1 month ago 2

Depends on which musk. There are "white musks" - they are widely used in laundry detergents, and they give that fresh, soapy, laundry kind of smell. "Green Tea" by Elizabeth Arden has that kind of musk. "Clean Reserve" also have lots of this in their perfumes. "English Rose" by Yardley has that type of musks.


There are also musks that imitate the animal musk (I think at this point natural animal musk is not used in mass production perfumery anymore), and that one smells kinda like cat litter box, or men's public washroom. This is the type of musk you can smell in Narciso Rodriguez musky perfumes ("For Her" etc). I have to say though, that on some people and/or in certain weather these types of musks smell some kind of nice, but I wouldn't know what is that like exactly because it's all sharp urine on my skin in any weather. Sometimes it can also smell like foul body odor, like a homeless person. Glossier "You" is very rich in musk - it's pretty much musk only, and that one smells like a homeless person on my skin.

27 days ago 1

Natural musk comes from male animals (from their glands) so there you'll have that animalic vibe to some musk scents, you may percieve that as the scent of warm and intimate skin. Synthetic or vegetable musk will smell more like well groomed skin. So one musk may be percieved as sweaty or 'stinky', the other may smell 'clean'....

22 days ago 2

If you want to test a vibrant and almost animal musk, you can take a look at Musc Tonkin (Eau de Parfum)Musc Tonkin Eau de Parfum

Last edited by EvitaVilla on 15.04.2024, 17:34; edited 1 time in total
5 days ago

To me, musk is simply put, clean, soft, smooth and slightly animalic depending on what type of musk you're getting

4 days ago

Yes, I have learned to distinguish the musk note. 

They are most obvious in the dry-down phase, usually they last the longest of a composition.  Practice, practice. 

Try Musk Therapy for an obvious and widely available option. 

However, different musks smell different.  Deer musk, maybe hundreds of synthetic versions, etc. 

You need more practice to be able to distinguish those form one an other. 

Good luck and enjoy. 

Notify about new comments
Display posts from previous:
Forum Overview Perfumes by Note, Accord, Genre How do you recognise the smell of musk?
Jump to