Musk is highly appreciated by perfumers not only for its remarkable aroma, but also for the fixing properties which reduce the speed of evaporation of the most volatile components of spirits. For this reason notes of musk can be found in the majority of modern perfumery products.
Initially musk called one odorous substance — secretion which is produced by glands of musk deer (species of deer). Adult males have musky gland which is located in inguinal area. It contains the secret of brown color possessing characteristic pungent smell. This secret serves males of musk deer during the marriage period for attraction of females. People knew of these properties of musk since ancient times. Modern researchers claim that the pungent smell of musk bears quite a strong resemblance to smell of hormone of testosterone which can act as human pheromone.
Natural musk of musk deer was used in perfumery centuries, at the same time it was considered as extremely valuable raw materials. Still it is one of the most expensive natural products. In the black market the real musk is on sale at the price of forty five thousand dollars for kilogram. The musk deer is included in the Red List, in many countries there is annual limit on withdrawal of musk deer and it is absolutely small, however the livestock of these animals gradually decreases.
One of the first mentions of musk as a part of spirits is carried to the sixth century. This odorous substance was actively used in the east, sometimes small amount of musk was added to plaster for finishing of external walls of mosques. Such covering, heating up under the sun, published intensive aroma.
Synthetic and vegetable analogs
At the end of the nineteenth century musk has accidentally been synthesized during the experiments with explosive trinitrotoluene. During the experiment the scientists have noticed smell in laboratory. The source of this smell has been called nitro-musk and soon forbidden for use in perfumery because of toxicity and instability. Further experiments have allowed to synthesize and reveal macrocyclic and polycyclic musks. The last are actively used in modern perfumery means. Carry the substances received from some plants, however, their process rather expensive in comparison with synthesis of polycyclic musks to macrocyclic. In modern perfumery by the term musky it is accepted to designate rather impression of aroma composition. Natural smell of musk very many-sided, the animalistic component, contrast and live by the nature is most characteristic of it. Vegetable and macrocyclic types of musk are used in many aromas. For example, Very Irresistible from Givenchy or Pure Poison from Christian Dior.