Scent Story: What Does Musk Smell Like?

Scent Story: What Does Musk Smell Like?

Hello, fellow candle lover! Here at Candier, we ADORE how evocative and emotional
fragrances are. They have the power to lift your mood, bring back happy memories, and
help create beautiful new ones. But scent can be really tricky. Out of all our senses, the
sense of smell can be the hardest to pin down. Most people know what they like when
they smell it, but have a tough time knowing exactly why they like it, and an even harder
time communicating what they like in a fragrance to others. So, if you’ve ever found
yourself lost in a sea of scents, struggling to navigate to what you love and why – you’re
in the right place.

This series is here to help break down the most widely-used and
intoxicating fragrance ingredients, to equip you with the knowledge to pick out scents
that are perfect for you and your loved ones.

Today, we’re diving into Musk. No doubt you’ve heard of it, as it's at the heart of a lot of
perfumes and candles – and for good reason: it’s a sensual and warming fragrance with
a ton of depth. But if you've ever wondered, "What does musk smell like?" or pondered,
"Would musk smell good in my home?", you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we'll
unravel the aromatic mystery of musk - its roots, long history, and most importantly, its
distinctive aroma. And hey, since we're on this olfactory journey, let's discover how the
Candier team crafts this timeless aroma into our candles in completely different ways,
from our empowering boss babe fave 'Girl, Build Your Own Empire' candle, to the light
and fresh “Bloom Baby Bloom” spring candle.

What is Musk?

Like many fragrance ingredients, the origins of musk might surprise you. We’ll dive into
the history of musk in a minute, but the long-and-short of it is that musk was originally
derived from the secretions of the musk deer. Kinda gross, right? Well, to make all my
animal-loving friends feel better, musk is no longer made from animals, it’s pretty much
all synthetic now (some musk scents can actually be derived from plants now, though).
Despite its kinda icky beginnings, musk has a special place in the heart of perfumery -
owing to its unique ability to add warmth, depth, and an animalistic allure to fragrances.
Found in diverse environments, from the icy terrains of Siberia to the dense forests of
the Himalayas, the collection and synthesis of musk have evolved to meet ethical and
sustainable standards, ensuring its continued legacy without endangering its natural
Crafted in laboratories with precision, musks scent is complex from the start. Designed
to mimic the warm, deep allure of its natural counterpart. As it integrates with other
fragrance components, synthetic musk's aroma evolves, gaining new facets and
enriching the overall perfume profile (musk is especially amazing as a persisting base
note). This whole process mirrors the maturation of wine and fine spirits, where the
essence gains sophistication and depth over time. OK, I just wanna address the
elephant in the room: “Synthetic” has a bit of a stigma to it, and is often viewed
negatively. But in fragrance, there are many, MANY scents that are unethical to produce,
and don’t age well. Synthetic musk, with its stable and versatile nature is made without
hurting any animals, which is why it’s become a cherished ingredient in modern

History of Musk
Musk's history is as rich and layered as its scent. Esteemed for thousands of years, its
initial use was likely for medicinal and aphrodisiac purposes, as seen in ancient
civilizations across Asia and Europe. The allure of musk captivated the global spice
trade by the Middle Ages, becoming a symbol of opulence and sensuality in cultures
around the world.
In Eastern traditions, particularly within India and the Middle East, musk held a sacred
status, incorporated into religious rituals and aromatic practices for its purported
spiritual and therapeutic properties. By the 19th and 20th centuries, the West had fully
embraced musk's sensual charm, integrating it into the rapidly growing perfume
industry. Musk became a foundational element in fragrances, admired for its longevity, and ability to enhance other scents.

So, What Does Musk Smell Like?
Musk is inherently warm, deep, and captivating, embodying the essence of
sophistication and sensuality. Imagine a scent that is at once animalistic and refined,
earthy yet ethereal—this is the paradox of musk. Here’s our definitive musk scent

● Warm: Musk exudes a warm, enveloping scent, creating a sense of comfort and

● Deep: Its depth is resonant, lending fragrances a lasting foundation that lingers
on the skin

● Animalistic: The inherent animalistic quality of musk gives it a raw, primal edge.
● Earthy: Musk carries earthy undertones, grounding fragrances with a touch of the
natural world

● Sensual: Often described as sensual, musk's allure is undeniable, making it a
favorite for creating seductive scents

● Soft: Despite its complexity, musk can be surprisingly soft, adding a subtle,
comforting layer to perfumes.

● Clean: Synthetically derived musks can offer a clean, almost linen-like freshness
to modern fragrances.

The multifaceted nature of musk makes it a beloved and indispensable ingredient in
perfumery. Its ability to blend seamlessly with other scents while adding its own unique
signature ensures that musk remains a timeless classic, cherished for its mysterious,
enveloping warmth and depth.

Musk vs Musty
People often confuse or conflate musk with musty. Musk and Musty in practice are
night-and-day different. Musk is often associated with luxury and sensuality, and plays a
pivotal role in perfumery. Its complex, deep aroma, which ranges from slightly
animalistic to clean and powdery, is cherished for adding warmth, depth, and longevity
to fragrances. Musk evokes feelings of sophistication and allure, making it a staple in
the creation of perfumes and scented products.
On the other hand, musty describes the unpleasant, damp scent associated with mold,
mildew, or decay, typically found in poorly ventilated, moist environments. Unlike musk,
musty odors are not used in perfumery and are generally viewed negatively.
It’s likely people confuse musk and musty because phonetically both words sound quite
similar and the fact that both terms are used to describe scents. But, from a fragrance
point of view, they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

How Does Candier Use Musk?

At Candier, we’re known for our playful aesthetic and fun, sassy messaging. But we also love balancing our youthful vibe with sophisticated, grown-up olfactive notes. Incorporating musk into our fragrances adds a sense of timeless luxury to our candle
line in a diverse way. Here are a couple of examples:

Girl, Build Your Own Empire ($36) - Buy Now

A black glass candle with a pink label that reads Girl Build Your Own Empire

This is one of our core, timeless classics. ‘Cos, hey…
fierce female attitude never goes out of style, right? (NOPE).The scent is
luxurious, warm, and has a creamy quality with a touch of earthiness, making it
truly unique. Fresh notes of white grapefruit combine with black pepper, and
blend with leather. Feminine floral notes of rose, violet, black orchid, are grounded
in sandalwood, Amber, oud and, of course – musk. A truely girl boss fragrance.

Bloom Baby Bloom $36) - Buy Now

A pink candle topped with a wax flower with a fantasy background

If you’re looking for a lighter, fresh take on musk, you can’t go
wrong with this candle. Plus it’s adorned with a gorgeous, sculpted, hand poured,
pink wax flower! Citrusy lemon peel and ozone give the top notes of this
fragrance a crisp, happy vive. Hydrangea, lily of the valley and cherry blossom
provide an optimistic and spring-like element - and powder, light musk, and
amyris provide a more delicate musky base.

Bar Stool Quarterback $34 - Buy Now

A brown glass candle with a label that reads Bar Stool Quarterback

This is a great example of musk's versatility.. For this scent, we wanted something rugged, masculine and inspired by a cozy bar lounge. So, we combined leather, patchouli, sandalwood, and amber with light musk to create a fragrance that’s classically timeless.

Try It For Yourself!

Explore Candier's range of candles to find the perfect way to incorporate musk into your
home fragrancing. Whether you're looking for an anytime mood lift, a relaxing lazy day
in, or a gift for that special person in your life, we've got the perfect scent for every
chapter of your life. Stop by our online store and discover your signature scent and
symbol of self expression today!

BONUS: What does Elon Musk smell like?

Sorry, we couldn't resist. Here's something you probably never wanted to know but here it is anyway -- according to Business Insider, the Tesla driving, Space X flying  billionaire proudly smells like burnt hair. In fact, he loves that smell so much that he even created his own fragrance. Sold through his tunnel digging brand The Boring Company, it's scent is described as "the essence of repugnant desire". Not exactly our fave olfactive. But you do you, Elon!

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