The Mystery of Musk - A Natural Perfumers Guild Project

A Natural Perfumers Guild Internet Project
June – July 2010

Who: The Perfumers of the Natural Perfumers Guild and Internet Bloggers and Forum members. Only 10 perfumers will be selected in a random draw, conducted by a third party. This is to avoid an excessive number of participants, which can overwhelm the evaluators. This is a cooperative blogging event, and the bloggers should link to the other blogger’s websites. You will be provided with an image to post on your blog that will be the unifying visual for the co-op.

Why: To celebrate the Fourth Anniversary of the Guild. We think it would be a great idea to get out there on the Internet blogs and forums with a creative, artistic expression of our beloved perfume base note, the musk.

Where: Internet blogs, Basenotes and the Yahoo Natural Perfumery group.

What: Musk, musk and more musk. Perfumistas are fascinated with musk, there is no doubt about that, so The Mystery of Musk is the theme. Perfume can be in an alcohol or oil base.

When: Announcement on the Internet forums and blogs Tuesday, June 1, 2010. Perfume to be completed and mailed and in the hands of the recipients by Wednesday, June 30, 2010. The bloggers and evaluators reviews of the perfumes will be posted between July 1 through the 7th, 2010.

The Vision of this Project: It's as if 12 artists are invited to exhibit their paintings on a theme. They work alone. On a given day, they are all to bring their paintings to an exhibit gallery for all to see.The viewers are shown the beauty and diversity of the different interpretations on a theme. It is a great experience for the artists and the viewers.

Our Art and Musk: If there is one thing I’ve observed during my long tenure on the Internet, musk is the Number One subject of interest among those who love all kinds of perfume, both natural and synthetic. Musk fascinates! Many perfumistas realize that natural perfumers don’t use synthetic musks and civets and such, but that we search for alternatives that give the same effect.

Some of the natural perfumers use cruelty-free animal musk products. Some only use botanical musk products.

First, let’s define musk: it isn’t limited to the musk deer, of course.Neither is the legend and myth behind musk scents. Musk can mean base note, fixative, sexy, sensual, pheromone-inciting scent. Natural perfumers can take that and define it according to our aesthetic, and build our musk perfume with it.

Here’s what the structure of the project is:

1. Each of the bloggers and evaluators will receive one sample of each musk perfume.

2. The owner of Basenotes will select 5 members of the forums on his site to participate. Each of the members will receive 1 sample of the musk perfume from each of the 12 perfumers.

3. There will be 5 members of the Yahoo Natural Perfumery site chosen to be evaluators. If they do not blog, they will be expected to write about the perfumes on the NP site. Each of the members will receive 1 sample of the musk perfume from each of the 12 perfumers.

4. There will be one full bottle sent to the bloggers from one of the perfumers for a giveaway. Each blogger will receive only one bottle. Basenotes will receive one bottle for a giveaway, chosen randomly from the perfumer’s selections. The Natural Perfumery Yahoo Group will also have one bottle given away, bottle size at the discretion of the perfumer, and may vary from 4mls upwards.

What are musky natural aromatics?

Animal Sources: Ambergris, Beeswax, Hyrax, Goat Musk

Botanical Sources:

Ambrette seed
Angelica Root
(Ambrette seed and angelica root are the only botanicals that contain macrocyclic musk, like the musk deer.)
Musk Rose
Black Currant
Jasmine sambac
Black pepper
Carrot Seed


Adam Gottschalk – Lord’s Jester
Alexandra Balahoutis – Strange Invisible Perfumes
Alfredo Dupetit – BioScent by dupetit
Ambrosia Jones – Perfume by Nature
Anya McCoy – Anya’s Garden Perfumes
Charna Ethier – Providence Perfumes
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz – DSH Perfumes
Elise Pearlstine – Belly Flower Perfumes
Jane Cate - A Wing and a Prayer Perfumes
JoAnne Bassett – JoAnne Bassett Perfumes
Lisa Fong – Artemisia Perfume
Nicholas Jennings – Sharini Parfums Naturels


I Smell Therefore I Am - Abigail Levin
Perfume Shrine - Elena Vosnaki
The Non Blonde - Gaia Fishler
Indie Perfumes - Lucy Raubertas
Bitter Grace Notes - Maria Browning
CaFleureBon - Michelyn Camen
Olfactarama - Pat Borow
First Nerve - Avery Gilbert
Olfactory Rescue Service - Ross Urrere
Grain de Musc - Denyse Beaulieu

All of the samples should reach the bloggers and evaluators by June 30th. During the week of July 1 - 7, 2010, reviews will be posted on the blogs and forums. This is very exciting and I can't wait to read everyone's take on the cooperative perfuming project!


Anya McCoy
President, Natural Perfumers Guild


  1. Always love creative challenges, whether I'm a participant or observer...

    As a new-ish natural perfumer, am appreciative to read your list of botanical 'musks.' Have several of my own perfumes that use those ingredients...and will experiment with some of the others you've mentioned.


  2. I was just saying to Elena what a cool project this is...various investigations into the theme, with both artist and user process laid open and curated here on the interwebs...

    Looking forward to seeing/hearing about all.

  3. I'm really excited to see what each perfumer comes up with! I think it will show the extreme diversity of natural perfumes, opposed to synthetic attempts to re-create perfection. Chemistry's got nothing on Mama Nature! I posted this on the group too, though I wanted to post here, as well.


  4. Hi Cynthe

    I hope you follow this project, it'll really be exciting when the reviewers get all the samples and start commenting.

  5. Hi ScentScelf

    Thanks for dropping by. Elena is wonderful, helping coordinate the project and being the lead blogger.

    As I find other perfumers in the Musk project blog about it, I'll post links here. Not many of the Guild perfumers do blog, so I'm encouraging them to start. You can find who does by the links on the blogroll here.

  6. Hi MamaG

    Yes, I think it's wonderful we're all giving our interpretations of what a musk perfume is, and we have no reason to pay any attention to synths at all ;-)


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