Today I fooled around with coupling various ingredients with my own musk concoction. I started out by adding ambergris and ambroxan, as the two seem to amplify each other. However, there is one problem with ambergris that I’ve never heard anyone mention. It has a top note that smells like isopropyl alcohol. Now, if you smell a bottle of isopropyl alcohol next to the ambergris, you’ll see there’s a huge difference. The ambergris isopropanol is beautiful and complicated despite people describing it smelling of rubbing alcohol. The isopropyl rubbing alcohol out of the bottle smells coarse and rather revolting.
Still, this problem must be dealt with. I don’t want people to think my mixture is off in some way. So I made an important discovery. I searched for a substance that would evaporate at the same rate as the ambergris such that once the ambergris dried down a little bit, this top note would be gone at the same time. The top note had to have an aroma that was consistent with rest of the accord. So, following the advice of a number of authors, I added a tiny bit of rosewood. I suppose I could have used linalool, but the rosewood lends a certain je ne sais quoi. And voila, it worked. I first encountered a lightness and freshness that gently masked the ambergris note. When the rosewood evaporated, the animalic notes left over from the ambergris, shone through.
For the fun of it, I decided to add some sandalwood. Four drops in a formula containing approximately 30 drops added a subtle wood note and a lovely suaveness.
Yesterday I experimented with my musk. I added a little bit of bees’ wax absolute which lent it an animalic note and more complexity. I added ambroxan, ambergris, and too much rosewood (I couldn’t smell anything else for a few minutes). I then added a fair amount of sandalwood to smooth the whole thing out. Last, I added a combination of natural florals which I made several months ago. The floral aspect lasted a fair while—a couple of hours—and then dried down to my synthetic musk. The excess rosewood, though, made the whole thing difficult to smell at the beginning.
Of course this whole thing would have been enhanced by a drop of civet (see entry below) to pull a little funk out of the ambergris, but such things are sadly taboo. Civet would also have brought the florals into focus.
Wish me luck for tomorrow.