Fragrant animal products, though used to camouflage hunters, were commonly valued as aphrodisiacs. Named in honour of the goddess of love, and because of their animal and specific anatomical origin, certain amative scents, including musk, civet, and castoreum, were traditionally thought "to radiate a potent natural vitality."
Musk has been the most popular with consumers throughout history.
Whether derived from the small antelope the accumulation of a kilogram of the seductive secretion necessitated the slaughter of 140 animals prior to 1888, when it was successfully synthesized by German scientist Albert Bauer.
The additional danger associated with handling this pungent product in an age of miasma helped construct the extraction process as suited to robust men; when hunters removed the musk pods, they would shield their mouths and noses in order to avoid haemorrhage or even death.