I Can’t Smell A Thing!! (or why I hate Narciso…)
By Nosy Nerd Girl (aka Marla)
I am one of the 40% of the human population who are anosmic to macrocyclic and polycyclic musks. I fully admit it, here on PST….
Are you out there, my musk-challenged brothers and sisters? If so, will you come out of the closet and join me?
What are these musks? Why can’t we smell them? Why are we ashamed we cannot smell them?
Well, originally, musks were animal in origin. Many mammals have musk glands. I’ve smelled tiger musk (a bit much for me), and deer musk on living deer (very fragrant). I don’t think animals should be killed for their unique smells, but on the other hand, weren’t headspace technologies supposed to make these available without the suffering and death of cute mammals?
Nope. Didn’t work out.
So we are stuck with synthetic musks. Nitro musks can only be smelled on the weird retro items you buy on ebay. They’re great, but volatile. Apparently, if I store too many of them in my laundry room, my laundry room may go BOOM! I haven’t bought enough yet to find out….They’re also toxic, especially musk xylene, so they’re not used much now.
Bring on the polycyclics (many carbon rings). They are found mostly in household products of cleanliness (I’m looking at YOU, Galaxolide). I’m allergic to those. They don’t degrade. They mimic our hormones. They are bad. Next!
The macrocyclics, huge carbon rings of smelly delight, are still around in great abundance. Small problem: as with the large-molecule polycyclics, about 40% of us can’t smell them! They’re just too big for our noses and brains to wrap around. When Givaudan brought out Cosmone, the Lucky 60% raved about it. I bought a tiny vial. Couldn’t smell a thing. Disappointed!! It was another big, fat carbon molecule. Bye, bye, Habanolide and all your humongous family. Bring on the Alicyclics.
Alicyclics are very cool. Just a small carbon ring with a long, thin chain. Everyone can smell these! Auranone is a musk base by Firmenich. It's my favorite white musk basenote. Here are the notes about it from the Perfumer's Apprentice website:
“Strong yet delicate musk blend with fine floral notes.”
For all you anosmics out there, it’s true! Auranone smells great. Other firms have their own alicyclics and blends, equally sniffable and smooth. I’m told that there are some entirely new families of white musks being formulated out there, or held captive by the big flavor/aroma companies. I say, bring ‘em on! And put a big “Anosmic Friendly” label on the bottle, OK??