Hyraceum AKA African Stone is a traditional medicine and perfume ingredient.
Explaining exactly what Hyraceum is is always fun.
To be succinct, Hyraceum is the mineralized urine and faeces of the Rock Hyrax which is the only other animal related to the elephant. (Even though it looks more like a Groundhog and doesn’t have a long nose.)
Rock Hyrax communities deposit their excrement in the same place for thousands of years. These smelly aggregates are called middens and also serve the function of territorial markers. These middens can be as old as 50.000 years.
Rock Hyrax are most often found basking on warm rocks in sunshiny places from South Africa all the way to Israel and Lebanon.
In traditional African medicine, the stone has been used as a remedy for epilepsy.
Hyraceum is better known for its use in perfumery where it can deliver notes of leather, Deer Musk, Civet, Castoreum and Cade.
While most of the material I am familiar with is very dark and has an intense sharp urine/animalic aroma, this particular type of Hyraceum is much lighter in colour and has a different scent profile.
Since I am thankfully, always learning, I can now say that this light coloured stone is found on the rock walls above the black Hyraceum. As the centuries go by and this liquid makes it’s way to the ground, it builds up layers of mineralized material often forming stalagtites. It is more of an intermediary product and has a colour and scent that is different from the final black deposits.
I have taken some photos of it in it’s natural state and will post them when I return from Kenya.
At a ratio of 1:10 in alcohol it is a light yellow without the dark tarry notes and colour. (See comparison photo above.
The tincture leads with tenacious notes of Musk and sweet, aged Civet with a soft backdrop of Castoreum, Tobacco and Oud.
I find it a calming and comforting scent.
There is nothing raw about it. It smells like an aroma that has taken hundreds, if not thousands of years to develop, refine and mature.
The rock was collected in Kenya, and with a bit of luck, I will be able to gather more on my coming trip.