Apothecary's Garden

Musk Root-Ferula Moschata/Ferula Sumbul-Afghanistan-For incense, perfume-traditional medicine-Fixative and Musk replacement

Product Description

This listing is for slices of whole dried Musk Root. Ferula moschata. Used in traditional incense, medicine and perfumery.

I have searched far and wide for many years trying to source this classic ingredient. I am so pleased to finally offer it in the shop to my customers.

Also called Sumbul, Sumbal and Ferula Sumbul, Musk root was used in the 1800’s by the Russians as a botanical replacement for Deer Musk.

Not only does it have a deer Musk heart note, but it acts like a traditional animalic. Musk Root is an excellent fixative in perfumes lending tenacity and longevity to fleeting top notes. Not only this, but Musk Root pulls together an aromatic composition, enlivens it and adds a whole other dimension to perfumes, in much the same way as the traditional Animalics in the shop.

Even sitting in a closed bag in the studio, the aroma of the Musk Root escapes and marries with the other aromatics nearby, creating beautiful and unintentional transitory compositions for the errant nose passing by.

This aromatic has great potential in both perfumery and Incense-making. It has been used in traditional/religious incense blends in Persia and India and is thought to possess psychoactive properties.

Musk Root contains about 9% aromatic resin and 3% essential oil. The resin portion may be a contributing factor to its unique fixative properties.

Though Musk Root does not possess an obvious animalic note like Costus, the sweet heart-note of Deer Musk is obvious.

I chose the whole root rather than pre-powdered material because if given the chance, I always prefer to powder my own ingredients. This is for two reasons-

1-Keeping the material whole usually helps preserve the aroma of herbs.
2-Sometimes, the powdered material is adulterated with less expensive or sub-standard material such as old or very small pieces and dust from the bottom of bags. Even though you may be buying from an honest and reliable retailer, materials often pass through the hands of numerous middlemen and brokers before they reach your supplier and they may have no idea of the material’s history.

Though a bit of a challenge, (It really isn’t!), these whole pieces of Musk root can be easily powdered in a clean coffee grinder, (or mortar & Pestle), after breaking up into smaller pieces.
My trick is to put them in a ziplock bag and smash them with a hammer first.

Musk Root can be used to prepare a perfume tincture once it is ground and macerated in 95% alcohol. I suggest leaving it in a warmish place for at least 4 weeks before straining through a paper coffee filter and storing it in an airtight container in a cool dark place. I should have a 25% extract available in the shop before the end of 2021.

Have fun exploring the many facets and applications of this classic ingredient.


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