Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lifesaver Musk

Months and months ago a reader suggested I get familiar with a strange favorite it Australia - musk sticks. Basically they’re pressed candy stick flavored like musk. You know, the perfume. I figured if I’ve eaten violet candies, rosewater ice cream and 10 year old Lifesavers, there’s no reason I shouldn’t try these.


I found them at Mel & Rose’s, which seems to carry a lot of Australian candies. The package doesn’t make them look that appealing, the word musk has those little “smell wafts” coming off of it. The candies themselves are the pressed chalk variety like Pep-O-Mint, not a hard candy like the Butter Rum Lifesavers.

They smell like incense or a soap shop. It’s more like a lightly floral patchouli. So when I took the photo and then put the roll in my desk drawer, it was kind of like a sachet in there.

The little candy is sweet and of course easy to crunch. The flavor has no other notes besides this soapy detergent scent and made me wonder if this is what it’d be like to eat incense cones. There isn’t any listing of ingredients on the package or dietary info, so for all I know, they are meant to be burned.

I have no idea if the Lifesavers version of musk is consistent with the other musk sticks so popular in Australia and New Zealand, but I think my curiosity is satisfied. I suppose if I were trying to cover up strong mouth odors (like smoking or antibiotic side effects) this might be a good candy, but for some reason I think my neck should be perfumed, not my breath.

Note: though these candies are branded Lifesavers, they’re made by licensing agreement by Nestle.

Name: Lifesavers Musk
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: Lifesavers (Nestle)
Place Purchased: Mel & Rose's
Price: $1.00
Size: 22 grams
Calories per ounce: unknown
Categories: Mint, New Zealand, Nestle

POSTED BY Cybele AT 6:22 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. I don’t really care for perfume flavored candy of any kind - rose, lavender, and most likely, musk.  Ew.

    Comment by April on 9/20/06 at 6:34 am #
  2. for some reason, i absolutely adore the choward’s violet mints.  the smell alone drives me crazy, although i admit after two or three it starts to taste like you’re eating soap

    Comment by ruffy on 9/20/06 at 6:54 am #
  3. This is a totally foreign thing to me.  I have never heard of Musk flavored anything.

    So weird.

    Comment by cas on 9/20/06 at 7:42 am #
  4. Ugh!  I’ve never been so wholly turned off by a candy from its name alone.  It makes me think it will taste like hippies, or drug store Jovan perfume circa 8th grade.  What’s next, Love’s Baby Soft lollipops?

    Comment by Tara on 9/20/06 at 8:48 am #
  5. I think it may be one of those things you have to be raised liking, like vegemite. I find most Americans have a negative reaction to them. I have a roll of them in my bag right now, they’re probably the only lifesaver flavour I ever buy. The flavour is pretty much the same with musk sticks, only they’re softer.

    Comment by leigh on 9/20/06 at 10:07 am #
  6. I’m going to consider that one appalling and inedible all in one.  Aussie food seems as if it is based on a dare.

    Comment by Dave on 9/20/06 at 1:11 pm #
  7. I admit that these are probably my favourite Lifesaver flavour.  I’ve eaten countless musk sticks as a child, and as an adult these re the perfect wy to enjoy theat sweet taste on the go.

    Like Leigh said, it’s probably something that you get used to growing up in Australia so it’s probbaly not to everyone’s taste.  Promite anyone? Yeah, I love that too…

    Comment by The Chocolate King on 9/20/06 at 1:23 pm #
  8. I don’t think these are big in New Zealand, I think they are strictly an aussie favourite.
    They are not common in shops here- at least in the South Island

    Comment by Karen on 9/20/06 at 4:03 pm #
  9. Wow, it’s been ages since I’ve had lifesavers and musk sticks.

    Musk sticks are a different beast from musk flavoured lifesavers… though the taste and smell is largely the same. 

    One thing though—are these made in Australia? When things are sent into different markets, and made elsewhere they tend to stuff with the recipie. 

    (I’ve gotta go out and pick up a bunch of different types now.)

    Comment by Will on 9/20/06 at 4:15 pm #
  10. Let us not forget that Austrailians also eat Vegemite.

    Comment by The Velvet Blog on 9/21/06 at 5:10 am #
  11. I tried and tried and failed to like this flavor when I lived in Australia. You should try musk sticks, they have a very unique texture that I really like. Alas, the artificial perfume flavor makes me sick to my stomach. Thats the difference between these and violet flavor: that artificial, chemical taste.

    Comment by Heather on 9/21/06 at 6:41 am #
  12. “Let us not forget that Austrailians [sic] also eat Vegemite.”

    ...and whats wrong with Vegemite?

    Comment by Will on 9/21/06 at 12:41 pm #
  13. When you said “musk” I didn’t think “perfume”, I thought of stinky weasels, badgers, mink, etc. - the Mustelid family. But of course that would be wrong, musk comes from musk deer in the Moschidae family. (Sorry, that’s what comes of being a tech-type hanging around with biologists. :^) Either way, it doesn’t make me think of candy. I guess I need to broaden my horizons!

    Comment by Tricia on 9/21/06 at 4:57 pm #
  14. These are also my favourite flavour of life savers - used to crunch through a packet in under two minutes - so yummy!!!!  I feel compelled to defend Australian food - Vegemite is very tasty as well - try it sometime!!!

    Comment by Amy on 10/01/06 at 2:37 am #
  15. Living in Australia, I grew up on musk lifesavers and musk sticks- but I never made any connection between their flavour and scent musk… I kinda suspect they’re not even related. The flavour of musk lollies (Aussie word for candy)is just a really, really sweet, slightly “rose” flavour…

    Comment by Nell on 3/13/07 at 11:51 am #
  16. I *LOVE* musk sticks with a passion1 I am currently working on a recipe to incorporate the pink musk sticks, (not the life savers) into other foods… yep, I love them THAT much! lol. I am also a sucker for vegemite, I start my day with the stuff everyday on wholegrain toast. Has anyone ever rubbed it over a whole raw chook with butter and then stuck the chook to roast in the oven? FANTASTIC!

    it is true though, that if You get some Aussie foods from other countries, they totally mess with the recipes, take MILO for instance, when I was in Canada, I was stoked to find MILO on the supermarket shelf, could not wait to get it open and eat with a spoon, but to my disappointment, it was ground down like nesquik chocolate powder, had no more crunch to it, and had a strange taste to the damn stuff. I ended throwing it out.

    are they gonna screw up Tim Tams too? if they do, it would be a crime!

    Comment by Tahnya on 5/08/07 at 1:04 am #
  17. This is a foreign thing to me.  I have never heard of Musk flavored anything. But I ‘m try and I like it.

    Comment by Low Calorie on 5/21/07 at 5:12 am #
  18. Musk Lifesavers are the BEST!  I have about a roll a day.  I also like the strawberry ones but the musk are totally great!  I’d eat more if lollies weren’t so bad for your teeth.

    Bring on the pinky goodness.

    Comment by Sare on 8/15/07 at 7:48 pm #
  19. man americans are picky with what they like hey?
    musk lifesavers are awesome, if you dont like them thats your choice mate, but dont pass judgement on how aussies like our food etc, you guys fry cola for gods sake hahaha. 

    every site i sign into someone’s bagging something out, lets get positive people, grow up a bit…............

    Comment by Suzi Q on 9/02/07 at 7:44 pm #
  20. Cybele's avatar

    Suzi Q - A 5 out of 10 is not bagging something out. It’s average, edible and worthy. The glory of this site is that the comment section is open so that others may either bag on it or sing its praises ... so maybe you’re just not seeing the positive here (and not all the comments are from Americans).

    Can you answer whether or not the Lifesavers are the best Musk Lollies Australia has to offer?

    I hope you’ll feel free to offer up your feelings on other reviews (whether you agree or not) in the future.

    Comment by Cybele on 9/02/07 at 9:16 pm #
  21. i wasn’t actually talking about your review, you have a site based on reviews and its your opinion - go for it! 

    i was merely pointing out the fact that people in general nowadays are different, they see the negative in things and then apply that to something - eg. aussies have bizarre tastes in foods.  its small minded and it annoys me, and you’ve made this an open forum, so i can respond to their comments just as you responded to mine.

    i personally think musk lifesavers are perfect the way they are, so yeah they’re the best musks we have to offer! 

    rock on cybele

    Comment by Suzi Q on 9/03/07 at 12:23 pm #
  22. Viva la Musk Sticks - I love them and Musk Lifesavers too. As an Australian I was introduced to these as a child and was surprised that the whole world doesnt eat them too - yes, I have a packet of musk sticks in the cupboard….ok, I’m eating one right now!!

    Now I know this is probably one of those small minded generalisations, but dont all Americans eat cinnamon flavoured everything!? wink

    Now I love cinnamon & sugar sprinkled on warm buttered toast - but in sweets and gum - I just want to gag!!

    Viva la difference smile)

    Comment by Grant on 12/10/07 at 10:35 pm #
  23. I tried the musk Lifesavers once when a friend of my parents’ from Australia came up to visit and brought a few rolls up with him.  I fell in love with the taste and have been craving them ever since, and I can never get any more!  There are several reviews I’ve read online that compare the taste with raw meat.  I’d like to ask these people when they’ve ever eaten raw meat, and if they have, when it ever tasted like flowers.

    Grant—I’m American, and I like actual cinnamon (as in the stuff you sprinkle on toast), but I hate cinnamon-flavored candy.  I’ve never liked hot spicy things.

    Comment by MysticalChicken on 12/16/07 at 2:27 pm #
  24. hmm.. I found this blog while trying to research “musk candy” I myself am australian and wondered just now while chomping through a 1.20 dollar pack of generic brand musk candy (think crown mints but musk) if the fragrence and musk candy is related.. I admit I grew up with it and never thought of it as an australian thing.. I must see what my asian fiancee has to say about it when she comes home from work.. I never considered she’d not tried the flavour musk in a candy.. as for the reviewer complaining about milo in canada.. its different the world over.. in africa is chunks, in canada is powder.. in australia its kind of half half.. in the philippines its different still

    Comment by Fry on 2/01/08 at 4:30 pm #
  25. Cybele's avatar

    Fry - it’s funny that you’ve commented on this older review. I just picked up some Black Gold Musk Flavoured Sticks yesterday. It was the first time I saw an Australian brand being sold in the States.

    I haven’t tried them yet though. Shockingly pink, though.

    Comment by Cybele on 2/01/08 at 4:53 pm #
  26. My brother just came back from Australia and brought me some musk sticks (at my request).  They truly are the most horrid things I’ve ever tasted. 

    I passed them around at work and doubled-over in laughter watching the different reactions.  Someone asked if they were real or if they were meant to be a “gag gift” (like dirt flavored gum or a whoopie cushion).  I tried to convince them that folks REALLY eat these, but no one believed me. 

    My two-year old nephew loves them and my mom (who will usually eat anything under the sun) declares that they are “naaaaaasty”

    I used to think that licorice and/or those marshmallow Halloween peanuts were the nastiest candy on the planet, but I was severely mistaken.

    Comment by Tracey G on 3/04/08 at 1:16 pm #
  27. Everyone needs to try some as soon as they can.

    Musk lollies are the best! I eat musk lifesavers and home brand musk sticks all the time. Got some sticks in the kitchen now.

    Musk isn’t minty but it does remind me of mint…spearmint…a strong sweet and pungent flavour that somehow leaves your mouth feeling cool and and fresh. Aromatic compounds designed to tantalise the olfactory senses.

    20 years ago you could get these tiny pink musk lollies, like hard bits of chalk, crunchy and yummy. You can probably still get them down south.

    Oh yeh and vegemite is awesome on toast with loads of butter!

    Comment by ILoveLollies on 3/28/08 at 1:04 am #
  28. (From Washington State, USA)
    In our psych 100 course’s intro to sensory perception our professor wanted to make a point about perception being influenced by culture and handed out these pink lifesavers from an undisclosed foreign country (before I saw them I was fearing the dreaded tamarind). Of the 15 who volunteered to try them, 4 (myself included) liked them, 4 didn’t like them and 7 were neutral. I’ll admit that I had a bit of a cold at the time, so my first impression was skewed, but I look forward to the chance were I can get a second taste.

    Comment by Nick on 4/18/08 at 11:35 pm #
  29. I never realised that Australia was the only country with musk lollies… Don’t know if I’ve ever seen a musk flavoured perfume either in Australia either.

    If you think Musk flavoured lollies are weird though, you should try Musk Flavoured Liqueur. (google it)

    I find it absolutely delicious, but I love Musk Lifesavers.

    Comment by Alex on 5/21/08 at 8:50 pm #
  30. I tried this candy 33 years ago for the 1st time, my pinpal from Australia brought it over for me to try.  I was very unsure about the taste but, it started to grow on me.  I visited Australia 13 years ago and bought some more lollies and now I crave them!!!  I have friends that travel and bring me some home every now and then.  I truely love them!!

    Comment by Brenda on 6/16/08 at 6:22 pm #
  31. I can’t believe you can’t get musk lollies anywhere but Australia!!!!!!!!!  They are awesome….............?? I couldnt live without musk flavoured lollies and I never remember going to a birthday party as a child that didn’t have yummy yummy musk sticks…........The rest of the world is so far behind Australia lmao.

    Comment by janie on 7/20/08 at 3:07 pm #
  32. When my wife and I visited friends in South Africa a few months ago, they had musk flavored gum.  I’d never heard of musk flavored anything, and just thought of the Jovan musk days of the 80’s.  I was so wrong, I absolutly loved the gum and bought a dozen packs to bring home with us.  My kids loved it as well, and I’ve not been able to find it anywhere in the states.

    Comment by Todd on 9/02/08 at 1:13 pm #
  33. haha Cybele get into those black & gold musks! The cheaper/nastier the musk sticks the better wink They are all I could afford as a kid from the local corner store. great stuff

    Comment by Rob on 12/02/08 at 12:12 pm #
  34. I had one of these for the first time in AP Psychology today. The teacher gave them to us with our eyes closed and we had to guess the flavor (it was a demonstration of how we try to fit new things into schemas).

    While it was in my mouth, I didn’t mind it too much. Not my taste, but it was interesting. However, I think my dislike grew exponentially after the candy was gone. The taste stayed with me for hours, even after a stick of gum. My tongue felt disgusting.

    Weird how different cultures develop different tastes. I never would have even considered the possibility of eating anything musk-flavored, but it looks like a lot of people like it.

    Comment by Ben on 1/15/09 at 1:20 pm #
  35. My Australian friend just sent a package to me, and in it was a package of Musk Sticks. I forced myself to eat a whole stick. I found it rather like eating dried out men’s underarm deoderant sticks. It was not at all what I would be accustomed to eating as a flavour…kind of like eating perfume. The upside of eating these would be the breath freshening properties. An hour after eating my musk stick, I brushed my teeth and went to bed. The next morning I could still taste the musk flavour, and my breath smelled like incense. I can only assume these are an acquired taste.

    Comment by Dawn on 3/25/09 at 4:47 pm #
  36. i love love musk sticks smile
    i think its all about wat u grow up on ... i was in a lolly shop n they had american candy (im an aussie) so i bought twizzlers n razzels ... i loved the razzels smile but i thought the twizzlers were tastles n awful chewy ...

    Comment by erin on 5/30/09 at 2:58 am #
  37. I really enjoy eating these musk flavoured Lifesavers. They really are good, and I can’t stop at just one. However, I would like to have a list of ingredients so I know something of what I am putting into my body, and so I can make an informed choice if I choose to continue consuming them. For instance, I would like to know if the sweetener is the artificial and controversial chemical, Aspartame.

    Comment by Neville on 2/25/10 at 9:08 pm #
  38. why do you hate it I love them at first I was sceptical but it grows on you eat three then reply

    Comment by Russell Nelson on 3/23/10 at 7:24 pm #
  39. Cybele's avatar

    Russell - I didn’t say I hated them. I believe I gave them a rating of “pleasant.”

    Comment by Cybele on 3/23/10 at 7:52 pm #
  40. Musk lollies, either sticks, drops or the LifeSavers variety are extremely sweet and probably an acquired taste. I suspect they are popular because they are cheap for children and very sweet.

    Personally I prefer the stick version which is softer. However taste varies widely and some are plain awful! When you get the right one however they are fantastic! Just writing this makes me want to go out and buy some. smile

    Comment by IceKat on 5/14/10 at 7:46 pm #
  41. My Psychology teacher order these and had us try them to help us understand schemas since we’ve grown up without this flavor.
    My entire class save for myself hated it and most even spit it out as soon as they put it in their mouths. I really enjoyed it though. As silly as it sounds, it reminded me of store-brand chewable Pepto-Bismol, which I love. I could eat those liek candy if given the chance.
    I really wish I could buy some of this in Pennsylvania.

    Comment by Carlie on 6/12/10 at 3:33 pm #
  42. as a aussie i can say musk sticks are nto a super common must have at every party type of lolly but with out a doubt they are something every aussie child would have had at least once. the life saver type you had is probally the worst varity to start a test on as it is more a musk flavoured hard candy. true musk sticks are generally long sticks that resemble chalk sticks or if the americans ever had thoose ancient lollies called FADS (sometimes known as FAGS). the flavour is relativly weak. just enough to give the stick flavour but not enough to taste of perfume or be all sugar tasting. honestly if you can i recomend importing a pack at least once as a trial. it is a nice soft lolly that slides downt he throat easy without much effort so is good for lolly eaters of all ages.

    note i use lolly not candy just because in my part of world candy is more common to describe hard boild sugar lollies as opposed to generic lollies.

    Comment by william on 9/24/10 at 7:02 am #
  43. continuing on the most common brand is actually what is known as homebrand. it is a generic no name brand that a popular supermarket sells. i believe america’s equalivalant would be walmart or possibly a 711 store. as for ingrediants for the curius it is mostly sugar with some wheat sweetner and 1/2 a dozen sweetners, enhancers and flavours added. recipes changes brand to brand. pack i am currently munching on says recomended dietry intact of the pack is about 5% energy and 25% RDI perday for sugar. so not the healthiest treat ever but as it implies it is a treat and not a food sources.

    Comment by william on 9/24/10 at 7:07 am #
  44. I love musk candy.  But judging by the comments here, maybe this is our revenge for that horrid cherry flavour used in American sodas.

    Comment by Raymone on 2/25/11 at 6:36 pm #
  45. ahahah musk lollies are great in my opinion!
    i agree with raymone. C:

    also, can i just say to everyone: don’t judge the lolly before you have tried it.

    Comment by maya on 3/04/11 at 10:36 pm #
  46. I’m in Australia, and I’m only just realising that the consumption of Musk LifeSafers (and all other musk confectionery) is practically unique to this country. I love them, and just thinking about them makes me want to eat some. Musk perfumes were also very popular in Australia during the 70s and 80s: every second teenager wore either Jovan or Coty Wild Musk (that one was my fave).

    What I would REALLY love to track down is another flavour of LifeSavers that was sold back then - “Floral”. I absolutely adored those, and would be so happy if I could taste them again. They were the same kind of hard chalky candy as the musk variety, and the colours of the individual pieces within the roll varied randomly from white to speckled pastel pinks, mauves and blues. I don’t recall if each of the different shades had a different taste/smell, but they were all powdery, flowery and probably slightly musky - delicious!

    Comment by Christine on 3/14/11 at 3:16 pm #
  47. I live in South Africa and we have sweets called “XXX MUSK” they are a flat disk pinky hard chalk sweet and they are delicious!! after reading what you have said i am going to ask my family member who lives in australia to get me some of those life savers. I found this while actually looking up how musk affects human health, i have been pleasantly surprised:-)

    Comment by Nicola on 7/13/11 at 6:31 am #
  48. they are very yummy

    Comment by Chloe on 7/22/11 at 12:01 am #
  49. Man, candy is meant to be FUN - That’s the whole entire point. It’s brightly colored, sweetly flavored; It’s meant to be fun and exciting and enticing. Candy is like a toy and the way you play with it is by eating it.

    If your initial gut reaction to this - or any candy - is one of disgust and if you’re afraid of it and you think it “sounds gross” and you’re not curious enough to want to try it to see what it’s like, I really do wonder why you’d consider yourself to be into candy at all, let alone why you’d visit a site like this.

    Tentatively trying a single piece, already half believing that you wont like it isn’t much better.

    I think that if you want to be picky and choosy about candy without even trying it first then you’re just too damn old for it and you should probably just eat real food and leave the candy to grown, adult children like me.

    Comment by Slippery Pete on 1/18/12 at 3:22 am #
  50. I have seen a game that is using gems looking like those candies:

    Every time I play it I think of Lifesavers grin

    Comment by Miss_Smart on 1/25/12 at 7:11 am #
  51. Musk lifesavers are an acquired taste..I grew up enjoying them. (always in my Mum’s bag). Just like Vegemite..Can’t live without them..When I first moved to the USA.(1975)I never had mayo on any sandwich..I would never today eat a ham and cheese sandwich without it..Took me nearly 2 yrs. to love it…Yep..Yep..still not into mustard..

    Comment by JPitt on 2/16/13 at 5:13 pm #
  52. Musk flavoured lifesavers are really nice though nothing’s better than a good old musk stick, they’re softer yet have small bits of crystallised sugar in them which add a nice texture. Yes they’re a perfume smelling lollie but that’s what makes them so nice, they’re so different to other flavours, and it tends to have just a general sweet flavour, kind of like the American Blue Hawaiian flavour. I am Australian and grew up eating musk sticks and yes I do also like vegemite on toast but I don’t think people should be that apprehensive to try them. America is the land of chemical “candy” and food in general so I don’t think you have that much right to judge our lollies till you try them.

    Comment by Jcc on 3/13/14 at 1:28 am #
  53. I love lifesaver musk flavor, mind you im pretty fond of all lifesaver candy. They have a subtle musk flavor, a nice sweetness. I knew musk as a flavor before a perfume smell anyhow.

    Comment by Naomi on 10/22/14 at 2:11 am #
  54. I am an Australian and personally love musk sticks,savers etc. and as I am experimenting with homemade liqueurs, the idea of making a musk one sounds lovely. Tamborine Mountain, Qld.  make one at a quick google. Yes, vegemite is the best yeast extract spread and I have at least a 1/2 tspn. per. slice. Otherwise how can you take advantage of all those yummy B vitamins. The taste is wonderfully savoury, a delicious substance to have n the cupboard along with miso.  Having said all that,I lived in Canada 5 years and love red hots and cherry but it was impossible to get a real meat pie!

    Comment by jul on 12/01/14 at 7:03 pm #
  55. ps.
    Have not eaten meat for many years now but as a child, loved meat pies and sausage rolls on trips or at scholl buying lunch from the pie-man on Fridays.

    Comment by jul on 12/01/14 at 7:07 pm #
  56. I’ve loved the Musk Lifesavers ever since I was a kid.

    Comment by andrew on 3/02/15 at 6:54 pm #
  57. I think we just have to accept that different tastes for different cultures is the norm, and while we sometimes laugh about what other people eat and consider ‘normal’ - for us, the idea is weird - to say the least. 
    Raw whale blubber; dog meat; tarantula spiders; snakes; bull testicles - to name just a few, are all considered ‘normal’ by the people of the nations who were brought up on them as food staples (even delicacies), but for the rest of us, the idea of eating some of those I mentioned are quite repellent.

    By the way…I think the reason most Americans don’t like Vegemite is because - when they decide to man-up and give it a try - they spread it onto their bread/toast like they would with almost any other condiment.
    Vegemite is VERY salty in taste, so less is better. The BEST way to eat Vegemite is: spread LOTS of butter/margarine onto toast the second it is removed from the toaster, and get an amount of Vegemite approx the size of a pea and ‘dab’ that onto the hot buttered toast.  As I said, it is very salty in taste and therefore a small amount is all that’s required.
    It is one of the very first foods offered to babies when they are discovering new tastes…and if a baby can handle it, I am reasonably certain an American adult can!!?

    Cheers guys.

    Comment by John Kent on 7/24/15 at 6:43 pm #
  58. they stink

    Comment by Bob on 3/10/16 at 3:39 am #
  59. Hi I just love the Musk Lifesavers can you tell me if they have Aspartame sweetening in them.

    Comment by Anne Aletrari on 4/02/17 at 4:38 pm #
  60. Anne, they use Cane Sugar for sweetening.

    Comment by andrew on 4/02/17 at 6:34 pm #
  61. April, (first commenter, 9/20/06), we’ll have to disagree, I love scented candy (Choward’s, which Cybele has already written on and which is the only type I’m familiar with, and Violet,please)

    Comment by SJCarras on 4/03/17 at 10:00 pm #
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