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 Even people who are not interested in perfume have almost certainly heard of “musk”. Many different ingredients can be used to create perfumes, but musk is an ingredient with a top-class level of recognition and popularity. We shall now look at both the history and the present market situation of musk, topics that are fundamental to any discussion of perfume. 


The history of musk

 Musk was originally taken from male musk deer. It is has been mentioned in the oldest traditional Chinese medical literature, and has been highly valued for its sweet, long-lasting fragrance and diffusiveness. It has been used in a large number of perfumes as an ingredient.

 Due to the endangered status of musk deer, however, commerce of products derived from the animal was banned by the Washington Convention. It therefore became impossible to get animal-derived musk and attention was focused on synthetic musk as a replacement.

 主に中央アジアの山岳地帯に生息する雄の麝香鹿(ジャコウジカ)から採られることから「麝香」とも呼ばれるムスクは、古くは中国最古の薬物書にも登場し、その甘い香りや持続性、拡散性が重宝され、これまでにたくさんの香水に利用されてきました. しかし、麝香鹿が絶滅の危機に瀕したため、ワシントン条約で商取引が禁じられ、動物由来のムスクの入手が不可能となりました。

A synthetic musk which has attracted attention as an alternative to animal derivatives

 Since the discovery of nitro-musk in the 1890s, many different synthetic musks have appeared on the market. Many different products, from perfume through to detergents, make use of these fragrances, and people therefore have a familiarity with the fragrance of this ingredient due to their contact with it in daily life.


Attention is focused on environmentally friendly synthetic musk

 The history of musk-based perfumes is a story of improvement, as features that the musk did not originally possess are added to it.
The main component of natural musk has a macrocyclic structure. The first one to attract attention was nitro-musk. This is a compound with the structure of a benzene ring with nitrogen dioxide attached to it.
However, for reasons such as safety and environmental impact, the use of most nitro-musk has been banned. As a replacement, attention was then focused on polycyclic musk, which has a superior level of safety and stability. With the increasing level of concern for the environment, the need for a new musk that is environmentally friendly is also increasing.

 動物由来に代わって登場したムスク系香料。その歴史は、過去のムスクにはないメリットを新しく付加する「改良」の歴史そのものです。 天然ムスクの主成分は (R)-(-)-ムスコンでマクロサイクリックムスク構造を有していますが、まず、最初に注目されたのがニトロムスク。ベンゼン環にニトロ基がついた構造の化合物でした。 しかし、安全性や環境への影響などの理由から、ほとんどのニトロムスクは使用禁止となっています。 代わって注目されたのが安定性や保留性にも優れたポリサイクリックムスクです。環境への意識が高まる中、環境に優しい新たなムスクのニーズが高まります。

A new trend in musks

 As a response to the needs of the market, the focus shifted to macrocyclic musk, which is highly biodegradable and is similar to the natural form of musk (see the attached slide 1). Alicyclic musk, which has the image of possessing an additional fruity fragrance, is sometimes suggested as being a new trend in synthetic musk, but, at present, the synthetic musk market is focused upon macrocyclic musk, which is kind to the environment and has many different variations.  


We want a powdery, diffusible synthetic musk!

 The market then began to demand that the environmentally friendly and highly popular macrocyclic musk should be improved by becoming more powdery and diffusible.
 There are many aspects to synthetic musk, such as “sharp freshness”, “softness”, an “animalistic powdery” element, and a “diffusible powdery” element, but up to now there have been few macrocyclic musks with a focus on the diffusible powdery element; there were not enough variations.
The term “powdery” refers to the fragrance that is possessed by Japanese style face powder, or perhaps the fragrance that comes off laundry that has been hung out to dry in the sun. It is a fragrance with a refreshing, clean feel to it, comfortable for the nose, and popular with Japanese people.


History of musk

The evolution of powdery musks with enhanced diffusion properties

 Soda Aromatic has for a long time, starting with PENTALIDE®, offered a wide variety of macrocyclic musks to the market. The company has completed development of a new macrocyclic musk called POLVOLIDE®, in response to the urgent calls of perfumers who requested a variation of macrocyclic musk that had the same level of diffusible powderiness as nitro-musks and a lifting effect from the top note to the middle note.