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What is Musk Scent?

Musk is a timeless fragrance that has been used for centuries to scent both men and women. A common base note in many perfume recipes, musk has a rich, earthy smell that is both sensual and sophisticated.

Today, we’ll explore this popular yet timeless fragrance so you can better understand should you want to incorporate it into your scent wardrobe.

What Does Musk Smell Like?

Most men describe musk as having a strong, earthy smell. Others say it smells like a combination of leather and wood. Because it is such a potent scent, musk is often used as a base note in colognes along with other fragrances.

How Do You Apply Musk Cologne?

Like any fragrance, a few sprays of musk should be applied to pulse points, including the wrists, neck, and behind the ears. You don’t want to overdo it with musk cologne, as a little goes a long way.

Related: How to Apply Cologne Like a Pro

Do Guys Like the Smell of Musk?

Generally, yes, most men find the masculine scent of musk colognes appealing to the nose. Additionally, musk is often used in men’s colognes because it is strong and long-lasting. Consider wearing musk if you want to catch a guy’s attention that you may be attracted to.

Do Girls Like the Smell of Musk?

Just like with men, musk colognes can be enjoyed by women too. In addition, the strong, earthy scent of musk is often seen as sexy and alluring. So if you are trying to attract the attention of a special someone, spritzing on some musk cologne may do the trick.

Related: Best Smelling Colognes for Men

When to Wear Musk Colognes?

This is a fragrance that can definitely be worn all year round. However, because it is such a potent scent, you may want to go easy on the musk cologne in the heat of summer. Additionally, because musk has such a rich, earthy smell, it is often thought of as a more nighttime fragrance.

So if you’re looking to wear musk cologne out on a date or to a club, nighttime would be the best time to do so.

Is Musk Used In Colognes Animal-Friendly?

When musk was first used in fragrance, it was sourced from musk deer. These deer are found in the mountains of central Asia and have a sac located beneath their skin that secretes a substance called musk (source). The musk was then harvested and used in perfumes and colognes.

Nowadays, nearly all musk used in fragrance is synthetic. It is created in a laboratory and does not come from an animal source. However, a black market for musk still exists, and deer are killed for their musk sacs. This is an inhumane practice, and we do not condone it.

Types of Synthetic Musk

Synthetic musk is used in many fragrances today. It has a similar smell to natural musk, but it is more affordable and sustainable. This musk is commonly known as “white musk.”

While musk can be grouped into three primary categories:

  • Aromatic nitro musks
  • Polycyclic musk compounds
  • Macrocyclic musk compounds

Macrocyclic musk compounds remain the most prevalent type of synthetic musk today (source).

What is the Cost of Musk?

Like all colognes, the cost of musk varies depending on the brand, size, and type. Generally, musk colognes are more expensive than other types of colognes. Musk is a strong and long-lasting scent, so it takes more of the product to produce a noticeable smell.


Musk is a natural yet timeless fragrance that both men and women can enjoy. It has a robust and earthy smell often used as a base note in colognes and other fragrances.

Today, musk is mainly sourced synthetically, which is more affordable and sustainable. If you are looking for a musky cologne, consider reading our round-up of the best musk colognes for men.

Adam Williams

As the lead editor of Tools of Men, Adam loves men's grooming products. Particularly of interest is managing facial hair and perfecting the art of the modern man's skincare routine. His work has been featured or quoted in several publications, including New York Magazine, Vice, Sharpologist, MIC, Elite Daily, and more.

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