Those lucky enough to have experienced the unrivalled warmth and alluring nature of deer musk will know why it was such a sought after and precious material in perfumery. The Musk Deer, genus Moschus, is responsible for producing musk, used as a base note for thousands of years. Due to the Moschus being endangered, we no longer see this widely used in perfumery.
The modern definition of musks is quite broad, spanning from clean, fruity ‘laundry’ musks all the way to deeply animalic molecules. Musks are large, heavy molecules and make excellent fixatives, improving longevity in fragrances. Their size also means that many people cannot smell particular musks, meaning that perfumers will often add an array of different musk molecules in order for the fragrance to be experienced by a wider percentage of consumers. Some types of musks are also potentially hazardous to the body and environment and thus, their use in perfumery is restricted.