Not long ago, I got the idea to make a perfume on the theme of Tibetan musk. I don’t mean I wanted to use musk from Tibet in a perfume, but rather build an entire perfume around that musk.
To make it happen, I consulted with courtiers and friends with royal connections in the Khaleej about sourcing the highest quality musk, which was also cruelty-free and obtained ethically. I was looking for either farmed or otherwise very old musk that had been in their possession since before the hunting restrictions were put in place.
They sent me a few pods as a sample and told me this is musk from the royal family and as old as musk is likely to get. Not sure why I assumed they were referring to a sheikh from somewhere in the Emirates or Saudi Arabia.
So, I set out to craft Tibetan Musk.
When the perfume was done, I called my friend again to get a few details about the musk he’d given me, including its exact provenance.
When I asked the name of the sheikh the musk belonged to, my friend went silent, as if he hesitated to tell me.
“It’s from Qaboos, brother. It came from Sultan Qaboos’ palace.”
My heart stopped.
You may not know this, but my artisan oud journey started with Sultan Qaboos and, unbeknownst to him, the Sultan helped me along every step of the way. Now, after all these years, my old friend had once more found his way into my atelier, even after his passing, may God rest his soul.
From the days of the caliph Harun al-Rashid and the dawn of the Abbasid dynasty, sultans collected musk, not only as an aromatic but also as a store of value. Musk was handed down from sultan to sultan, dynasty to dynasty, the way diamonds and rubies were.
There was one particular sultan who forbade the sale of musk during his reign. When his son took over, he started distributing musk pods as gifts to his guests and loyal subjects.
The guardian of the palace treasury, who’d also served under the new sultan’s father, wept as the musk was handed out. The sultan saw this and asked him, “Why are you crying?”
He said, “My lord, your late father never took a single pod, even for himself. He would visit the storehouse, just pick it up, rub his beard with it, and put it back. Yet, here you are handing it out to everyone who comes.”
This sentiment has existed from the time of the Umayyads and the Abbasids who followed…… right up to our day.
So, no surprise that when I received the Tibetan musk from my colleagues, the hair looked disintegrated. You could breathe on it and they’d fall out. I had never seen musk so old. When removing the skin, I uncovered spores of fungus that itself looked fossilized.
To our best estimation, the musk was acquired by Sultan Qaboos in the 70s, some during the 80s, so he’d had them for half a century already. But they are likely much, much older than that. Because the Sultan inherited them from previous Sultans, and since musk pods were stored instead of used, some of this stuff could realistically be centuries old and possess genuine historicity.
Unfortunately, by the time I got on the phone with my contact I had already opened and macerated what was to become Tibetan Musk. Had I known I’d be cutting open centennial musk pods potentially going back dynasties, you would be reading about a very different product right now.
This perfume was a mistake. It was not supposed to happen. I wasn’t supposed to cut up Sultan Qaboos’ musk and macerate it.
It so happened that I found out what I’d been handling after the perfume was done and ready. Here, I’m not giving you musk from Sultan Qaboos' palace—you’re getting musk from the palaces of Harun al-Rashid and his successors. God knows how many centuries this has aged. Tibetan Musk is a link that goes back sultans and dynasties, from the Tibetan mountains right into the heart of the Islamic civilization.
I know what musk looks like and how difficult it is to cut through fresh pods. The hair, the texture, the skin—it’s like cutting up leather. But, what I had just worked with was so soft and pliable and looked more like chocolate truffles. Creamy and intense, it smelled like the pods had been aged for a thousand years. The scalpel cut through the sack like butter.
I was yearning for the urinal, fresh, gamey aroma of what I remember of my Siberian musk escapades. Instead, I got these pods stuffed with this earthy, vanillic aroma oozing out a subdued yet profound muskiness you’d imagine finding in the archives of a centuries-old Osmotheque.
Now, if you were me, what would you do? If you had your hands on historic musk pods, happened to have already cut them open to remove the grains, and had the perfume ready to go?
I changed the plan. I thought of how musk was used back in the day when they carried the actual sack like a fragrant amulet, yet how today we’re told to use [fake] musk in only the minutest quantities.
Until now, we used musk as a fixative and carrier, the prism through which the spiciness of No 2 or the lotus in Crime & Punishment became enhanced. But this time was different.
Just like oud, not all musks smell alike. Siberian musk is urinal and animalic, while Tibetan is chocolatey, truffle-like with hints of toffee. We gave someone a swipe of the tincture neat, and his first comment was, “This isn’t chocolate, is it?”
Tibetan Musk is all about showcasing the primal oomph of this animalic chocolate truffle.
So much so that this edition is more than double the strength I originally had in mind—which would already have been way more than any sane perfumer would ever think of using. And not to mention…… we’re talking the Sultan’s musk.
The composition that accompanies the musk is… sweet. Not candy sweet or fruity. Fossilized amber sweet. Blackcurrant laced with medicinal Hojari frankincense and lavender sweet. A composition to complement the musk, not the other way around.
Over the past century, musk became a filter, a flavor enhancer, a touch of salt to the main dish. And that’s fine. Perfumers have used musk as an enhancing fixative with great merit.
But Tibetan Musk flips the table: the perfume was composed for the musk—built around its potent, chocolatey core. This time, the compound is the fixative enhancing the musk—not vice versa.
So, join me as we take a page from our ancestors who doused themselves in rose, scented their clothes with oud smoke and boldly carried around those rare sacks of musk. And thank Sultan Qaboos for the chance to smell this—and the Sultans before him, and those before them.
The reason I’m charging $599 and not $5,000 for Sultan Qaboos’ musk is because my friends who shared it with me were very generous, and it was given to me as a token of our friendship more than anything else. So, rather than charge a premium, I’m passing it on to you and my beloved customers in turn, as a token of my appreciation for you.
No need to worry about sillage or projection. Instead of five sprays, one should do you fine. And there's no trace of Johnson’s & Johnson’s baby powder smell to remind you that gone are the days of MUSK.
Instead, take a stroll through ancient Tibet and gaze in awe at the mountains that bring this raw breeze filled with flavor which no city could ever capture; no muscone substitute can ever hope to convey.
WOW! This perfume is a power house, I have never smelled anything like that.
So strong, yet so elegant and mysterious.
My goodness I cannot get over how great it is.
I am not even exaggerating, this is on a whole other level, beyond what we get from niche perfumes. – Hamza, Denmark
I didn't think I'd find something quite as intoxicating as No. 2 (which I own both formulations of I love it so much). This has that same intoxication but in a very different way.
Easily one of my favorites and I'm so happy to have taken the chance on a blind purchase. – Jacob, USA
Tibetan Musk is WOW.
This is powerful stuff. One spray and I’m surrounded. Is anyone else picking up a distinct incense in this? It’s unlike any other incense I’ve smelled, but still incense none the less.
The musk is VERY creamy, but also very personal... almost a second skin like effect.
S*x in a bottle if you ask me. I’m picking up a scent memory of summer nights, sitting outside, greenery growing in the distance, the smell of citronella candles burning, as my close friends share a few drinks, and some chocolatey desserts.
This is truly unlike any other smell or perfume I’ve ever encountered so it’s impossible to draw comparisons. I’m just soaking up the smell at the moment. – Jono, USA
2 sprays was enough to satisfy me the whole day. The Cola was there but there was this heavy musky floral note that lingered, which kept me smiling.
A scent that gives off a heavy ‘royal’ vibe which I truly enjoy.
This will be my ‘Big Boss’ parfum reserved for special occasions. – Nidhar, Singapore
You guys know the moment when you can’t stop sniffing the spot where you applied the fragrance... your excitement is at its peak... you already think about getting a backup bottle. 😉 That’s how it is.... – Boris, Germany
I think I’m going to sell some oils and buy more Tibetan Musk. If I run out I may struggle with life. Ensar, you have made me and broken me. – Colin, UK
Did my first spray of Tibetan Musk and it definitely feels different than the Siberian variety. If I didn't read the notes on Ensar's website I would have said Blackcurrant (or a zesty sweet-sour fruit) on top, lavender (aromatic mentholated-spicy nuances), myrrh (effervescent nutty-caramel like facets), patchouli (earthy-chocolaty variety), and musk.
After reading Ensar's description though I would say, Blackcurrant, lavender, and Tibetan Musk. The Musk is gorgeous. It has a smooth furriness to it, almost no urinous facets, it's effervescent and nutty (myrrh-like) and earthy, slightly chocolaty. I wouldn't say this is a gourmand. Very slight sweetness to it. From my experience with musks, they have a natural underlying sweetness. I think the additional fruity-citrusy-aromatic notes complement the musk perfectly.
I find it very wearable, and sexy. It's very refreshing, invigorating. I could wear this all year round, every day, no problem. It is light and rich at the same time. It draws you in. Very addictive. But I really love musk. It makes me think of gold. I get a golden color in front of my eyes when I smell this. Pure gold. The myrrh like quality is my favorite, but the patchouli facet dominates the dry-down. It also makes me think of Spring. River flowing, crystal clear water, nature blooming, clear sky.
Performance is excellent, one spray on my wrist filled the entire room, it is all I can smell. Overall, upon initial spray, I love it. – Andrei, Romania
Dazzling. Much more effervescent than expected and like no other musk-centered perfume that I've encountered.
Dispensing with the animalics or waxy expectations, Tibetan Musk opens with a deep green feel that is springing to life... like tomato leaf spritzed with yuzu. A fizzy, bright herbal character quickly emerges. I get cloves piercing bitter orange, a bright lavender, some pink peppercorn, maybe nutmeg? The spice notes recall a deeper, more layered version of Noir Epices (but without the nose-irritating dryness). It's as if the most volatile wafts are levitating atop a creamy vanilla and earthy lavender (anyone tried Dusita's Erawan?
The weight and centering effect is the same—like a chocolate-leaning patchouli varietal spiked with smoke and incense). One spray on the forearm is proving to be plenty.
This is tenacious, gorgeous stuff. – Lawrence, Singapore
I’m falling in love with Tibetan Musk.
I don’t think I’ve ever smelled anything remotely similar. I get a hardcore funk when I first spray, but not it a bad way; it’s almost raunchy they way Diagelev is.
It echos true vintage French perfumery. Then the drydown is just to die for. Incense-y, creamy, buttery, and alluring...I honestly don’t know how to describe the notes though, as they’re so unique. – Jono, USA
I am at a loss for words with this one. It is sweet musky goodness from another dimension! I'm glad that I ordered a second bottle to stash. – TJ, USA
I picture a monastery nestled in the middle of Kangra Valley, mini Lhasa. Hills lined with Deodar trees. Surrounded by clouds. Wildflowers adorn the valley like stars on a new moon night. It has just stopped raining. Fog is coming down. Raindrops cuddle with fuzzy eucalyptus flowers and the air is full of the sweet comforting aroma of Eucalyptus. As I walk through, I see Monks offering incenses doused with Spikenard, Clove, Cinnamon, Frankincense, Sandalwood, and what not. Wafts of labdanum and benzoin-laden dhoop from the nearby temple pervade through. The more I think about it, the more my heart fills with moonstruck euphoria. I yearn for this place.
It is a gorgeous composition. The texture of this perfume is like a dark gooey ball of majoun laced with honey, vanilla, and dried fruits. So sweet and intoxicating that you want to bite into it. As the perfume settles, it gives you a warm hug. My Musc Ravageur stares at us with envious side-eyes. I do not love her as much as I did till yesterday.
There is something mythical about Tibetan Musk. In the heart, it’s an ambery, sweet, warm-coumarin gourmand. A couple hours in, I also get this fresh spicy vintage cologne vibe. Reminds me of musky ambers. I found the late drydown to be reminiscent of my vintage Bois du Portugal for some reason. There is no pissy element in here. There is just divinely dark and chocolaty Sultan Qaboos musk.
Something in my heart said this would be something I would love when it was first announced and at that very moment, I decided to get it. Although, this is a 360 from what I expected but a surprise that I would like to experience again and again. – Himanshu, USA
I definitely join the ranks… This BOOMS on your skin… and this is just a super tiny minimum push to get a first impression… the freshness of this scent is quite superlative… I wonder what it will be tomorrow after my shower and I push down the button 2-3 times… 🤪 – Walter, USA
I think this just might be my favourite Ensar fragrance yet. And the fact that it will get better and better is even more amazing, if I can hold on to it that long. The opening is absolutely gorgeous, sweet but not too sweet. I think I perceive the blackcurrant.
What is truly amazing is that I thought this was going to be fantastic, and it is even better than I thought it would be. It's beginning to evolve already, and I'm starting to get the chocolaty muskiness.
All I can really tell you is that it is one of the best parfums I've ever smelled in my entire life, that much is certain. – Gary, USA
I just knew something special was cooking in Ensar Oud’s lab. It feels like old world perfumery is back. So beautiful. I love it. If you still haven’t made up your mind about this one, I would say BUY IT. – Himanshu, USA
By a long way my favourite. There is something about the sweet saltiness of it that is incredibly addictive. – Andy, Australia
To best describe my initial reaction I invite you all to remember a scene in The Matrix. Neo and Morpheus on that rooftop, and Morpheus looks at Neo and says "Free your mind," and leaps 50 feet from one rooftop to another. At this moment, remember the look on Neo's face. His whole world, his entire perception of what's possible changes in an instant. The only word he's able to speak is ‘Whoa’. I sprayed on Tibetan Musk last night, and I had to sit down. My entire perception of what musk is, and what it can be, changed.
There's a slight sharpness to it, almost like a fizzy/carbonated feel to it, not unlike cream soda. It's sweet, vanillic, I didn't quite get the chocolate that's referenced in the write up, but there is a truffle like creaminess on top of a lavender-like freshness. This is a musk that is like no others. This is bright and uplifting, a stark contrast to Siberian musk's animalic sexiness. There is nothing urinal about this, in fact it may possibly be the "cleanest" smelling animal note I've encountered.
Different noses may have different experiences with this, and for me this fragrance so far has been less about how it smells, and more about how it makes me feel. I'll be able to go more in depth on the fragrance itself after I get some wear out of it, but so far my mind has been blown and I count myself fortunate to have experienced it, and blessed to have a bottle of it. – Ryan, USA
I awoke this morning, made my customary coffee and toast. Opened the musk box and decided to apply a spritz post-coffee. Without exaggerating, the scent was pumping as I closed the box and went to sit on my desk. I can still smell it.
The warming, erotic creaminess has quite obviously got inside my head. Insane. When I wear it fully I’ll let you know my thoughts better. But, if you haven’t ordered this. Get your mental state checked.
I will say this, the nuance notes mean very little to me if I’m honest. There is a scent that smells like royalty and when it gets around your head, words mean jack all. If you like musk, you’ll be exhausted in 5 minutes. If you don’t like musk, I feel sorry for you lad (and ladettes) – Colin, UK
Only thing I'll say for now is that if Ensar is going to use this musk in upcoming perfumes then we're going to have a problem... RIP wallet.
Fizzy cola with a slice of lemon, ginger & cardamom all rounded off with a constant chocolaty aura.
A lavender that reminds of one kind I smelt from Zaza Haus that had a vanillic, extremely smooth scent can also be found very prominently after the first 5 to 10 minutes, which makes it so amazingly elegant.
What I love about it is that even though it's not the same type of musk we're used to, it is undeniably MUSK in its primal form but with a different focus in the front. This is a total winner! – Freddy, Sweden
It's amazing! This feels like it was inspired by a vintage French perfume... a dry, spicy complex musk-bomb of a chypre. [...]
Tibetan Musk is an alpha-fragrance, if such a thing exists... it's strong, bold, and unapologetic. Massive amounts of musk, castoreum and ambergris project the opening of yuzu, lemon and grapefruit...
I'd guess one partial spray is enough to fill a room! The musk and castoreum combined with cumin, cloves and warm spices is omnipresent and the backbone of the fragrance, but after time the opening fades and I can discern some floral heartnotes... rose, lavender, osmanthus, immortelle... and not far behind additional basenotes such as benzoin, tobacco, oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli.
Despite the complexity, it is a musk fragrance in the same way Sultan Musk Attar and #2 are, this is almost like an "extreme" version of EO No 2 with more cumin, more musk, plus castoreum and a floral heart. It also reminds me of the 80's aromatic fougere ultra-bombs like Drakkar Noir, lol... I could definitely see Hasslehoff and Tom Seleck wearing Tibetan Musk. :) – Dave, USA