Sandalwood and deer musk grains

Discussion in 'Mysore Sandalwood' started by Smelly Vision, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. Smelly Vision

    Smelly Vision Moderator Staff Member

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    Has anyone got any experience in making their own maceration? What amounts did you use and how long did you wait till you felt the musk and sandalwood fully blended?
     
  2. Himanshu Sharma

    Himanshu Sharma New Member

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    musc.jpg
    I did a couple of macerations for musk grains in Mysore Sandalwood.
    From left to right:
    1. 15% Tincture. 6 months old. Smells musky.
    2. 30% Siberian Maceration in Mysore Sandlawood from early 90s. 6 Months old.
    3. 25% Mongolian grains in Mysore Sandlawood from early 90s. 6 Months old.
    4. 20% Siberian grains in Mysore Sandalwood. This is 2 year old maceration. Smells quite musky. At the beginning, onlt thing I could smell was sandal on this one.

    What I heard from people adept with macerations is that they prefer macerating Santal and Musk ranging from 1-5 years, depending on what they want to achieve.
    I am just playing with it and trying to learn as I move along.
    I would like to make a couple more macerations in lower range i.e. 10-15%.
    I am getting some Grey Ambergris and Ambergris resinoid later this week. I am planning to macerate some of it in Santal and perhaps do some experiments with Tincturing.
     
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  3. Smelly Vision

    Smelly Vision Moderator Staff Member

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    It’s definitely something I really want to get involved in. Where do you source your grains ?
     
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  4. Himanshu Sharma

    Himanshu Sharma New Member

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    I have previously bought from Rising Phoenix, Andrei (for Siberian grains).
    This is a tricky thing to do. Each time i've acquired grains, they smell different. I think, it depends on health, habitat and food that the deer is eating. I would assume, that these can vary a lot. Then another thing is, how the grains have been stored. Wet, dry, semi-dry and believe it or not, oil fried.
    I order small quantity and just want to see how different these are with respect to region etc.
    I am trying to get some more grains. I have heard it's possible to accquire some pharmaceutical grade Tibetian Musk. I really don't know what that means but gonna give it a try.
     
  5. Ensar Oud

    Ensar Oud Well-Known Member

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    Be careful sourcing grains. I’ve seen some grains sourced via purportedly reputable vendors that were synthetic. @Oud Learner will tell you. ;)
     
  6. Himanshu Sharma

    Himanshu Sharma New Member

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    True. Having no prior experience with the real deal musk grains, I was very cautious about buying it in the first place. Never smelt musk before, except in perfumes. There too it's blended with an array of other aromatics. There was no clear reference about how it smells in it's unsuppressed form.
    But after giving it much thought, I decided to go ahead with it, take my chance. In all honesty, I still am not sure, which one is real as all the ones I have smell quite different.
    Perhaps, you can guide us in right direction.:);)
     
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  7. Ashfaque

    Ashfaque New Member

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    For my first one, I went for ~17% which is now 24+ months old. The most recent one (7+ months old) is about 20% (1 part grain: 4 parts Santalum album).
    I warmed each maceration only 3- 4 times for 2-3 minutes in an espresso cup - say once every 1-2 weeks (don't remember exactly) for the first few weeks. This is just to 'kickstart'/quicken the process at the starts. The water temperature was just beyond touch, not too high. I didn't want to lose any highly volatile smell due to excessive heat. After that I left them as they are. Now I simply take them out every week and shake them for few seconds. If you're making a large batch I guess you can use an electric stirrer, but I'd avoid heating (unless you're careful enough).

    Pre-maceration: Abdullah (Mellifluence) told me to remove all the skin type innards from the musk grains before putting them in sandalwood as they can have adverse effect. He said hair in maceration is safe (which can also appear with the grains). But I didn't risk it and removed those too. Sometimes those innards will retain a lot of semi-dried grains. So use a non-soaking surface to work on and use some stainless steel forceps (or something similar) to separate them. Be wary, grains are incredibly stinky, pissy - almost headache inducing. Whilst in UK, when I prepared grains for the 1st time (separating and macerating), it made our whole house stinky. Upstairs, where I worked on smelt quite pissy for few hours. It was quite windy and cold at the time. So I couldn't opened the windows as long as I wanted to. I could smell it from downstairs. My olfaction was highly curtailed for few hours.

    You can use those innards, pod shell, and hair in tinctures. With those the tincture is lot more pissy than just grain tincture.

    As for how long you want to wait and the proportion, it depends on the length of time it is allowed to macerate, how strong you prefer it to be or their uses in compositions. Best if you make a few ones with different proportions and compare them for your purposes, bro. I made them mainly to layer with perfumes and ouds and to make my experimental and weird attars. It is fun. :)
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2020
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  8. Souhail

    Souhail New Member

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    Hello,
    My first post here :)
    It is really scary and confusing to find a real information on sourcing deer musk grains.
    The only two I've heard of are NinjaRobb and Rising Phoenix (extremely high prices for this one...).
    Is there any straight indication on a reliable seller of deer musk grains/pod, and on the sellers to avoid?
     
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  9. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    @Souhail Great to hear from you, and thanks for your post.

    For me it is often beneficial to determine what something is not which makes clear what it is.

    Unfortunately the term 'musk' has long been convoluted by the fragrance industry and now it is regularly accepted that such things as 'white musk,' 'black musk' and 'red musk' exist which are in reality musk profiles and not actual musk. So as a general rule whenever fancy adjectives are added to the musk you can assume they're either 100% synthetic or have been adulterated.

    In the industry now, 'natural musk' can mean the 'musk' from the civet cat, or even the hyrax... There's 'Egyptian Musk' 'African Musk' and many many others. But just like the mainstream designers have 'vetiver' perfumes that don't contain any vetiver, and 'oudh' perfumes that don't contain any oud, so to is the market rife with 'musks' that don't contain any real deer musk and are instead produced from the many alternatives that are said to resemble musk.

    So unfortunately nowadays the term musk is most often referring to synthetics and 'musk' scents made with civet or the like and not real musk.

    One indication for spotting fake granules or at least fake pods is their shape. They should be oblong and flat, not spherical.

    They should look like this:
    [​IMG]

    Not like this (the balls next to this bottle are supposedly musk pods)
    upload_2020-10-18_16-59-40.png
    Not like this:
    [​IMG]

    Personally if a source uses images like the later two above I automatically disqualify them as a reliable source as they are using fake pods in there images, and likely in their 'musk' products themselves.

    Ensar has talked about the quota of Siberian musk deer in his video "Deer Musk, Smell or spell" that the Russian government allows for annually, and I believe it's around 17,000 so there is a window of opportunity to source genuine granules.

    I would speculate that the best chance is earlier in the year around April after the winter hunting season before the Perfume Houses buy it all up.
     
  10. Souhail

    Souhail New Member

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    Thank you brother Adam, it is a privilege to be part of this community
    Thank you very much for these informations, actually I have seen all the videos of Ensar many times that I think I can write them :)
    I have a lot of pure synthetic musks, and yes, I can sniff them everywhere. I have real Civet and Hyraceum absolutes also.
    The sad part, is people using these fake pods as oral medication... the sellers have absolutely no scruple to sell and praise the health benefit of their fake poisonous pods.
    I have seen fake pods (usually made using goat skin) containing dried animal feces mixed with some synthetic musk, may be ethylene brassylate/Cashmeran.
    Thank you also for the time window, but how to buy these from Russia sellers/hunters for a DIY person like me?
    PS: Sorry for my messy English, (I speak mainly in Arabic and French).
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2020 at 4:20 AM
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  11. Himanshu Sharma

    Himanshu Sharma New Member

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    I know these fake pods. I grew up in India and these fakest pods were sold at all the Monsoon fairs labelled as "Kasturi" for $10 or something. These have nothing but dry tea leaves steeped in faeces and urine.
     
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  12. Ashfaque

    Ashfaque New Member

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    Yup, I saw one of those at my aunt's place too. Raw animal products can never be this pretty!

    BTW, If there is anything I should do differently to improve the maceration quality, please let me know.
     
  13. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    I think one question that is always pertinent is what ratio of granules to carrier imparts the properties of the musk into the carrier how does that ratio impact the needed amount of time?

    Also how can you tell when the carrier is fully saturated? Can it always absorb more from the musk?

    Thoughts?
     
  14. Himanshu Sharma

    Himanshu Sharma New Member

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    I think it all depends what you want you achieve.
    When I started, right off the bat, I wanted my maceration to be musk forward. That was the reason I went for 20% w/w for my first experiment. I deliberately used a sandalwood carrier with a lesser pronounced lactonic note. I did not heat the macerate at all. Some people prefer heating it on a water bath but I chose not to do it as it was my first time and did not want any business with heat, whatsoever. You see, I am a patient guy. Santal dominated the first few months of the maceration. I got frustrated after 6 months and made two more batches with 25 and 30% w/w. To me, at that time, 20% was not enough.

    After an year of the first experiment, I can say that, Musk is coming through now. I can feel that the aromas are marrying well together now. Musk is coming from behind the curtain and santal is providing a sturdy base. I plan to leave it like that for another year or so and then blend in couple drops Ruh Gulab. Just a hint of rose, nothing more than that. I am quite satisfied until now.

    The other two experiments (25 and 30) smell quite musk forward after 6 months time. These would basically turn into a musk sandal paste. For them, I do not have any plans yet. I would like to do a ghaliya type attar with these two. I'll see how these look after 6 more months of maceration. I presume they would be quite musky/animalic. I am giving then generous shake every week to speed up the process a bit.

    I plan to do low numbers on strengths on Santal and Oud macerations in near future. I feel like musk needs time to shine in lower concentration macerates but would be easier for me to handle. It would not overpower if I blend some florals in. It's more pleasant to my nose. I can see it being a part of mukhallat. On the other hand, the big boys at 25-30% are just a tragedy. I feel like, I would have a hard time having a balance while incorporating something in or using these in some other blends.

    As far as extraction efficiency is concerned I feel like this process is very slow and there is not any easy and accurate way to judge the process quantitatively, without using chromatographic analysis like GCMS. I have heard people filtering their maceration after some time and 'feeding' their solvent again with fresh grains. I have never tried it. Personally, I'll just go by the feel of it.
     
  15. Souhail

    Souhail New Member

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    Sorry to be out of the topic a little but...Oh man Ohhhhh man I can't tell how much I LOVE Ensar's Musk... Subhanallah !!!

    New batch of EO 2 just dropped out and I can't help but running to buy it... I'm afraid I've become a hard Ensar Musk junkie...

    I have Sultan Musk Attar, it is so precious to me that I have come up with this:

    IMG-7990-compressed.jpg

    I have put the lid of the attar in a little jam jar, closing it and let it sit for a day.
    After that, whenever I wanted a waft of SMA, I open it, and stuck my nose in the glass jar, it is still so potent and full of nuances, but especially... Economical !!!
    Contrary to my nature, I got stingy with this musk, I don't even know how to write a proper review giving it the respect it deserves.

    This is why I want to get my hand on the first real deer musk pod I can find...It becomes...Obsessing !!
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2020 at 10:06 PM
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  16. ~A Coburn

    ~A Coburn Well-Known Member

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    @Souhail that's fantastic, and here's another idea. Maybe not now as it's getting cooler, but in the warmer months you can place the open bottle in front of the fan for the scent to fill the room :D or point it straight at you!
     
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  17. Souhail

    Souhail New Member

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    Haha I bet this would work in a small room using a small 3.6 V fan ;)
    This little jar found its official place on my desk now, it became an anti-stress tool.
    I am hesitating on testing this on ouds, that should turn my desk quickly into a kitchen table though.. lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2020 at 10:00 PM

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