How To Make Vanilla Musk?

Vanilla musk is a type of perfume that replicates the sweet, warm scent of vanilla. It has become a popular fragrance note due to its sweet, gourmand, and comforting aroma. Vanilla musk contains synthetic musk compounds that mimic the natural musk found in real vanilla beans, blended with other fragrance ingredients to create a soft, vanilla-forward scent.

Vanilla musk is commonly used in perfumes, body sprays, candles, air fresheners, and other scented products. It has a nostalgic appeal and is known for its soothing, relaxing properties. The gourmand scent of vanilla musk has made it a popular fragrance for home and self-care products.

There are several reasons why someone may want to make their own vanilla musk at home. It allows for customization and personalization of the scent. Homemade vanilla musk can avoid synthetic ingredients found in commercial fragrances. It can also be made at a fraction of the cost of designer vanilla musk perfumes. Finally, creating vanilla musk from scratch can be an enjoyable DIY craft and lets the perfumer fully control the quality of ingredients.

Ingredients Needed

Homemade vanilla musk requires just a few simple ingredients:

  • Vanilla beans – The key ingredient! High quality vanilla beans such as Bourbon, Tahitian, or Madagascar beans will provide the most flavor. Look for beans that are plump and oily, with no cracks or shriveling.
  • Carrier oil – Jojoba or fractionated coconut oil work well to help extract and dilute the vanilla. Use an odorless, colorless oil so it doesn’t interfere with the vanilla fragrance.
  • Vodka or high-proof alcohol – The alcohol helps extract the vanilla essence from the beans. Look for vodka or rum that is 80 to 100 proof.

When selecting ingredients, quality is key – the higher quality beans and alcohol you use, the better your final vanilla musk will be. Cheaper products may use artificial vanilla or weak beans.

Other optional ingredients like benzoin resin or tonka beans can enhance the musky quality, but aren’t required for a basic vanilla musk.

See this article for more details on selecting quality vanilla beans and alcohol for extract making.


The equipment needed to make vanilla musk includes:

  • Glass jars or bottles – You’ll need a glass jar or bottle to make the initial vanilla extract. Glass is ideal as it won’t react with the vanilla and alcohol mixture. Make sure to use a jar with a tight fitting lid.
  • Funnel – A funnel makes it easy to strain the vanilla extract into the final bottle without spilling.
  • Cheesecloth – Cheesecloth is used to strain the vanilla bean seeds and extract. Make sure to use unbleached cheesecloth.
  • Dark glass bottle for final product – Once strained, transfer the vanilla extract to a dark glass bottle for storage. Dark glass prevents light degradation.

You can find all the necessary equipment in most grocery stores or online. Make sure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned and sterilized before use.


Selecting Vanilla Beans

When making homemade vanilla extract and vanilla musk, it’s important to start with high quality vanilla beans. You have a few options when selecting beans:

Fresh vs. Dried: Many recipes call for dried, cured vanilla beans as they have more concentrated flavor. However, you can also use fresh vanilla beans for a more complex, floral aroma in your final product. Fresh beans tend to be more expensive and delicate.

Bean Varieties:

  • Bourbon – Originating from Madagascar, these beans have a rich, full vanilla flavor. They are the most common variety used.
  • Madagascar – Similar to Bourbon, with notes of cherry and raspberry.
  • Tahitian – Floral and fruity undertones. Imparts a natural sweetness.

Amount Needed: For one 8 oz bottle of vanilla extract, use around 10-15 whole beans, split lengthwise. For vanilla musk perfume, plan for at least 2 oz or more of beans per batch. The more beans used, the stronger the vanilla aroma.

Look for plump, oily, and flexible beans with a rich aroma. Avoid shriveled or brittle beans. Gently bend the bean to check for freshness. Store beans in an airtight container until ready to use. Refer to this guide for choosing quality beans.

Making Vanilla Extract

To make vanilla extract, first split the vanilla beans lengthwise down the center using a sharp knife. Splitting the beans allows more surface area to be exposed to extract the flavor [1]. Place the split vanilla beans into clean jars and pour vodka, bourbon, or brandy over them until they are completely submerged. Screw the lids on the jars tightly. Allow the vanilla beans to steep in the alcohol for 6-8 weeks, shaking the jars every few days [2]. The longer the beans steep, the stronger the vanilla flavor will become. Steeping for at least 6 weeks allows time for the alcohol to fully extract the flavor and aroma compounds from the interior and exterior surfaces of the vanilla beans.

Straining the Extract

After the vanilla extract has finished steeping, the next step is to strain it. This is an important process to remove the solid vanilla bean pieces and filter out any small sediment particles.

Start by lining a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth ( Cheesecloth works great for straining homemade extracts like vanilla because it is porous enough to allow the liquid to pass through while catching the solids. Carefully pour the vanilla extract through the cheesecloth-lined strainer and into a clean glass bottle or jar.

Once most of the liquid has drained, gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and press out any remaining liquid from the vanilla beans. You want to make sure to extract as much of the precious vanilla extract as possible. Press down on the bundle of cheesecloth until no more liquid comes out. Discard the used vanilla beans.

After pouring the extract through the cheesecloth, run it through a coffee filter or a very fine mesh strainer to catch any tiny sediment particles that may have gotten through the cheesecloth. This final filtering will result in clear, sediment-free homemade vanilla extract that is ready to use!

Creating the Vanilla Musk

straining homemade vanilla extract through a cheesecloth-lined funnel

Once the vanilla extract has been strained and filtered, it’s time to turn it into a wearable vanilla musk perfume. This involves combining the vanilla extract with a carrier oil, usually a neutral oil like fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil. The vanilla extract provides the scent, while the carrier oil turns it into a smooth oil that can be worn on the skin.

A good starting ratio is 2 parts carrier oil to 1 part vanilla extract. For example, combine 2 ounces of carrier oil with 1 ounce of homemade vanilla extract. Mix the two together thoroughly and allow to sit overnight so the scent can fully develop. Test on a blotter paper or your skin to determine if the scent is strong enough. If a stronger vanilla musk is desired, gradually increase the amount of vanilla extract added to the carrier oil until the desired concentration is reached.

Keep in mind that vanilla musk needs time for the aroma to mature. Freshly made vanilla musk will smell alcohol-heavy at first. Allow it to age for 1-2 weeks, shaking daily, for the vanilla scent to fully bloom. The longer it sits, the more well-rounded the fragrance will become. Patience is key when making vanilla musk in order to allow the complex vanilla undertones to develop.

For more details on making DIY vanilla musk, see this helpful guide: Euqee Vanilla Musk Roller Fragrance Oils

Storing and Aging the Vanilla Musk

Once you have created your vanilla musk, it’s important to transfer it into a dark glass bottle – the color of glass and container composition will help block light from oxidation. Find a sealable dark glass bottle for storing the musk, as it will improve with age through oxidation in the bottle, while glass reduces risk of leaching chemicals like plastic or metal, and the light blocking control reduces breakdown of constituents which could cause off flavors or aromas. Here are some pointers for storing your extract:

  • Transfer the strained vanilla extract into a dark glass bottle immediately after straining. Avoid plastic if possible.
  • Store the bottle in a cool, dark place for 6 months to a year, shaking occasionally. Over this time, the vanilla flavors will meld, mature and improve.
  • Kept stored properly, homemade vanilla extract will last for years. Expect a shelf life of 2-5 years before it may begin to lose some quality or show sediment.

With proper storage, your homemade vanilla musk can rest and mature into a wonderful, potent extract full of the warm and rich aromas and flavors of vanilla. Letting it age over several months allows the vanilla bean constituents to fully release and the flavors to mingle and bloom. Be patient and you’ll have a long-lasting, high quality vanilla musk for all your baking, perfume and cosmetic needs. Enjoy!

Using the Vanilla Musk

Once your vanilla musk is ready, there are a few tips for using it optimally:

Apply to pulse points like the wrists, behind the ears, and neck for the best projection. The warmth of these areas will help diffuse the vanilla musk. Be careful not to overapply, a little goes a long way.

Pair with other natural scents that complement vanilla like lavender, orange, rose, sandalwood or ylang ylang. Creating your own custom blend can give your vanilla musk a unique twist.

Store your vanilla musk in a dark, cool place when not in use. Over time, the aroma may intensify and improve. Be sure to give your musk a shake before each use.

Making your own vanilla musk allows you to create a personalized fragrance suited to your tastes. Experiment and have fun with combining scents. Change up your perfume for the seasons. The possibilities are endless with homemade vanilla musk!


If your homemade vanilla musk has an unexpectedly weak scent, there are a few steps you can take. First, be sure you used enough vanilla beans and allowed plenty of time for the extract to infuse. Typical ratios are around 1 ounce/30ml of vanilla beans per 8 ounces/250ml of vodka. Infusing for at least 2 months allows for thorough extraction. Consider using more beans and letting the extract sit longer if the scent seems weak.

Another common issue is the lingering smell of alcohol. To reduce this, make sure you use a high-proof vodka, as this will evaporate more fully. Letting the extract sit uncovered for a day or two can also help flash off some of the excess alcohol. Gently heating the extract to 140°F/60°C for a few minutes may also help drive off some of the ethanol.

Proper storage is key for preserving your vanilla musk safely. Keep it in small, airtight containers away from heat and light which can degrade the quality over time. Glass bottles with tight stoppers or even small spray bottles work well. Refrigeration can prolong shelf life if making large batches. With proper care, homemade vanilla musk can retain its potency for years.

Similar Posts