What to do with musk grains?

Discussion in 'Oud Perfumes & Mukhallats' started by Muhammed Patel, Aug 14, 2017.

  1. Muhammed Patel

    Muhammed Patel New Member

    Dear oud/mukhallat experts. I acquired some musk grains and wish to make an attar or mukhallat out of it. Do you have any suggestions as to how one can go about doing this?

    I was thinking of macerating the grains in some high quality sandalwood oil, however I am unsure as to whether any heat should be applied to speed up the extraction process? Also, should one crush the grains prior to maceration?I've also heard of people macerating musk grains into other oils, such as Taif rose for example.
  2. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

    Is your grains dried or freshly harvested? I did a sieving to removing all the unwanted tissues and hair. In addition some prefer their grains to be dry before using them in maceration as it is more accurate in weight compare to moist grains.

    Residual tissues and hair

    Filtered grains
  3. George

    George New Member

    pure musk, wow.
  4. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    I simply poured 1 gram of musk grains into 1 oz of Australian santalum album. That makes about a 3% concentration. This was in March. Quite a bit of it has dissolved but there are some big grains still undissolved. The oil just smells of sandalwood, no musk is detectable by me. I may add another gram or two of musk to bring it closer to 10%. If I do, I think I'll either chop the grains very fine, or mash them in a mortar. I'll do it by hand to avoid too much heat in the grinding. By the same token, I've been afraid to heat the oil/musk for fear of oxidizing the oil. I do think some heating will be necessary to get the oil to accept 10% musk. I guess I'll heat it by submerging the vial in a hot water bath. Easy does it.

    A long wait. I think Ensar said the musk maceration he uses in Borneo Zen, he let marry for more than five years.
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017 at 5:29 AM
  5. Alkhadra

    Alkhadra Active Member

    It depends on how potent you'd like it to be, for maximum potency one should utilize approximately a 25-33% concentration. 4 grams of musk per every tola (12gr) of oil, some people do 3 grams, your choice. Also for the sandalwood, you should make sure not to use a thick oil, the lighter the oil the easier it will macerate. You can apply low heat to it, I'd say around 45 degrees Celsius and gently shake the bottle every now and then so the grains don't clump on the bottom.
    Royal Bengal Oud likes this.
  6. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    So I'm way off! I put 1 gr in 1 oz which is about 30 gr. No wonder all I can smell is sandalwood!

    You're saying I really need about 8-10 gr of musk to make a proper musk attar in one ounce of sandalwood.

    Oud Learner, are you going to use all those grains in the picture? If you have any left over, would you be willing to sell some?
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017 at 2:50 PM
    Alkhadra likes this.
  7. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

    It may looks a lot in the picture but the grains are actually less than 3gr!
    Larry K. and Alkhadra like this.
  8. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    Ouch! It looks moist in the picture. Do you feel it's the right dryness for you to use? Do you think it'll be enough for a tola of oil if you work according to Alkhadra's suggestion?

    Would you mind saying who you purchased the grains from? If you can't I understand. Evidently I need eight more grams and I'm afraid the ones I bought already had not been well dried or stored. So I'd like to buy legal grains from a different seller.
  9. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

    I am no expert on all matters of musk! So please take my words with a pinch of salt!

    Anyway I had a very educational discussion with Zak (Agarwood Assam) and @JK (Rising Phoenix) on musk maceration. As you may have already known, they suggested 25-30% of the musk in sandalwood. The concept of musk as a complex aromatics implies the sandalwood as nothing more than just a carrier, to allow the musk to become wearable in liquid form. Hence you could macerate as high as 30% musk to create a potent musk smell.

    However, when I first started my interest in musk and maceration, I was very much inspired by Neeshee’s (@Oudiferous) articles (http://www.oudreviews.com/blog/2014...-effect-part-ii-deer-musk-fixative-or-perfume). Rather than trying to create a musk dominant maceration, I am of the impression that the sandalwood would create a harmony balance with the musk; whereby the sum is greater than its parts. I am seeking for a scent that is neither musk or sandalwood, but yet musk and sandalwood at the same time.

    As Zak had explained it eloquently, it is about achieving ying-yang balance. JK views it as a complex attar or ‘fragrance’ rather than a straightforward traditional attar. As there are so many variables here, I am not sure if it is a holy grail though to try to create one.

    So to your original question on the amount needed, I guess it really depends on what is your end goal. I got mine from Faheem (Imperial Oud) and you can drop him a message to see if he still offer any.
  10. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    Hey Oud Learner, thank you for your comment, the link, and the contact. It's almost as if Neeshee wrote that article for me. He surely spoke to precisely the concern I related here about "not being able to smell the musk" in my little amateur maceration. As I go back and smell it again I think maybe that's right, maybe the oil does smell more intensely sandalwoody. Unfortunately I think the oil was not quite good enough for this purpose and I should have used a more interesting santal. Oh well, it's a newly distilled oil and maybe it'll improve as it ages. I might invest another gram or two of musk into it. But I think the better idea is to start over with a better santal, and use my current maceration directly as is, or perhaps marry in a gram of tai'ifi rose or saffron, and be done with it.

    For my new, exciting musk maceration, I may use a wonderful spicy turpentiney Mysore (a sample of which was) sent to me by Zak of Agarwood Assam. The trouble is, with that good an oil, it's kind of a shame to doctor it in any way. What delicious problems to ponder. Much better than real life.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2017 at 6:39 PM
    RobertOne likes this.
  11. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

    If you are going for full potent musk (ie 30%) maceration, I guess it is kind of a waste to use the higher quality sandalwood? Since the musk aroma might just overwhelm the sandalwood. I had never tried 30% before so can’t speak from experience.
  12. Alkhadra

    Alkhadra Active Member

    @Larry K.
    I think a great way to learn about musk maceration is to acquire 3ml of many different sandalwood oil, ranging from plain carrier sandalwood to more interesting oils like Zak's from Agarwood Assam. I think that would help anyone make a decision before dishing out a ton of money and make 1 single batch that might not turn out as expected. Heck at the end of it you'll have all those different oils to try out, you can even try blending them to make something more amazing.. :rolleyes:

    What you could also do is start out at 10% concentration and allow it to macerate for some time, then further add more musk grains into your maceration and give that one some time to properly macerate as well, that way you can stop once you've achieved the desired scent you'd like.

    It's a learning process and so don't rush into putting 10grams of musk (which ain't cheap) in 30ml of sandalwood and then not liking the final product after all that waiting o_O
  13. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    Hi Alkhadra; I've been thinking about this all afternoon and I'm quite sickened by the expense. A thousand dollars of musk, another thousand of sandalwood. Keep going and pretty soon you're talking real money. It's one thing if you know what you're doing and you can reasonably expect the macerations to turn out well.

    I, on the other hand, am unhappy with the maceration I started seven months ago. So why should I think I'll do better starting over with better sandalwood and a lot more musk?

    The opposing argument concerns time. After a year of soaking, let's say it's smelling pretty good, so I decide to up the quantity to an ounce. But oops, the terrific sandalwood is no longer available. Too bad-gotta make do with a quarter tola. And even if it is available, making a larger quantity is only reasonably well along two years from today.

    So the idea I like best is to place a bet on a 10-20% concentration of 2 tolas of the non-stratospheric sandalwood I like best; up the concentration of musk from 3% to 10% in the Australian ounce I've already got brewing; and then run a third brew of 3 ml of something splendid like one of Ensar's Mysores. Voila, three nice experiments all in the time of one.

    So yes, I think your suggestion is the way to go.
    RobertOne, Alkhadra and Ensar like this.
  14. Oud Learner

    Oud Learner Active Member

    Brilliant suggestion! Short of saying great mind think alike, except I am not a ‘great’ expert on musk!

    I am in the midst of procuring some nice sandalwood oil and musk, and I intend to do as what you suggested. Just not sure if I have the patience to try it out at small scale...
  15. Alkhadra

    Alkhadra Active Member

    Great minds think alike! :D I'm no musk expert either :p patience is rewarding my friend..
  16. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    Significant amounts of time and
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017 at 2:33 PM
  17. Larry K.

    Larry K. New Member

    Say Ensar, since you're looking at this thread, what do you think about marrying 1/2 gram of musk with 3 grams of Santal Sultan? Gilding the lily?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017 at 8:19 PM
    Ensar likes this.
  18. Ensar

    Ensar Well-Known Member

    Couldn't have said it any better! :)

    I'd do Mysore 1984 if you want to smell the musk uninfluenced by auxiliary notes lent by the sandalwood (the cream and wood notes will obviously still be there). Or Santal Royale if you want to buttress the musk in a musky sandalwood profile.

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