During one of our Singapore get-togethers, @Oud Learner asked me to evaluate various musk grains he'd sourced. Without disclosing the sources, he handed me batch after batch, and I gave my verdicts according to what I know about natural musk. After the testing was completed, I asked him where he'd bought them from. It turned out the first two, which I'd said were synthetic, were acquired via a 'trusted vendor' (i.e. of oud), and the last, which I said was genuine, had been sourced from a hunter in Siberia. I would like to clarify, for the sake of clearing my name of the effects of talebearing being borne by some of our readers, that the 'trusted vendor' in question was not Russian Adam. Their identity will remain undisclosed unless Oud Learner feels inclined to share his experience in private with whomever he feels inclined to. As for the 'genuine muskiness straight from Russia' bit... I would like whoever is inclined to learn about natural and white (i.e. synthetic) musk, to do the following experiment: Get yourself a small bottle of Johnson's Baby Powder. This is going to be your textbook reference. Second, whenever you go past the Duty-Free or any fragrance outlet, ask for test strips of any of the following scents: Shalimar, Dior Homme, Lacoste Pour Femme, Muscs Koublai Khan, Mitsouko, Coromandel, Musc Ravageur. Let me add here that I am in no way putting down any of these fragrances. Most of these scents were crafted by perfumers I have learned a ton of things from in my own fragrance journey, and they have my sincere admiration and respect. Nor am I putting down white musk as a useful and irreplaceable accessory note for any perfumer. However, the truth is the truth. There is a scent to deer musk and an altogether different, distinctly powdery scent to white musk. What I intended when I said "all the baby powder business is synthetic" is to educate and thereby elevate. I never meant to put anyone down. The contemporary fragrance world has a long, loong way to go before the consumer even begins to understand what 'sillage' means (i.e. the reality behind it), what constitutes true 'longevity' and why certain aromatics smell and behave the way they do on the skin. Exposing many of these facts may entail statements that are deemed to be "not cool" by some and stances that may rub some of our more politically correctly-inclined community members completely the wrong way. That is a price I'm willing to pay to get you to understand the truth. Let me repeat: 99.99999% of all musk you come across is synthetic. It is MUCH easier to synthesize musk than it is to synthesize oud. I have lost count of the instances of fake musk I've come across. From whole pods to raw grains – all of it is easily doable using any one of the plethora of synthetic musks that are available. Let me point out again, that I have nothing against Mitsouko, Coromandel or Musc Ravageur. They are all formidable feats of perfumery which everyone should be familiar with. All I'm saying (and in most cases, the perfumers themselves will own) that the musk they use is synthetic. That is NOT to say that this so-called synthetic musk is inferior to natural musk. Don't misunderstand my purport. Some synthetic musks smell amazing. Some natural musk pods smell like someone took a leak on a piece of fur and left it to marinate for a few weeks. I want you to be able to tell the difference between them. That's all.