Perfume Directory

Civet (2016)
by Zoologist Perfumes


Civet information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 22 votes)

People and companies

HouseZoologist Perfumes
PerfumerShelley Waddington

About Civet

As the sun sinks over the dense tropical forest, civets emerge warily from the thickets. Under a carpet of narcotic flower blossoms, a smattering of coffee berries peppers the ground. The moist air is heavy with mossy aromas that penetrate every crevice, but the musky scent of the civets dominates; their marked territory daring one to enter at one’s own risk.

Zoologist Civet pays homage to the age-old ingredient, civet, as well as chypre perfumes of bygone days – perfumes that refused to be intimidated by raw, alluring, animalistic musks. Civet is a moody and complex brew entwined in mystery. It opens with a spicy floral accord, threaded through with dark coffee tones. Slowly it prowls forward, unraveling base notes of leather, moss and vanilla that combines with distinctive civet musk to create a bewildering, sophisticated scent with the promise of a sultry nighttime rendezvous.

Reviews of Civet

If you have enjoyed the pleasure of smelling raw or real tinctured civet, then your reaction to this composition will be: "This smells absolutely nothing like civet." Neither bluntly nor ethereally does any stage of it come across as being inspired by the animalic gold.

Beyond the misnomer, I found this to be quite pedestrian and forgettable, reminiscent of something I smelled too frequently when I worked the fragrance counter in my youth. It's keenly associational to several different styles of fragrance past — that perhaps is its strong point. It's a musked pastiche of many different perfume conventions, packaged in a gorgeous cut bottle and branded with an interesting concept and design identity.

In fact, I would argue that it's the overarching concept of the line that encourages excitement about this particular bottle. No matter, this outlier isn't buying into that ideology or buying the bottle.
05th July, 2017
I'm no scent genius, and have a hard time describing fragrances and often can only use other fragrances as a benchmark for comparison. Zoologist Perfumes "Civet" reminds me quite a bit of "Givenchy Gentleman" before it was reformulated about 20 years ago. It's a warm, honeyed vanilla and civet marvel that I wish I could afford to wear every day. Zoologist Perfumes may be doing this one a bit of a disservice by simply calling this "Civet" - the name implies a very linear experience, and nothing could be further from the truth. The opening is for me like the original Comme des Garcons Parfume - the one in the oval bottle that has that spicy, Tiger Balm smell to it. Then the leather, coffee and incense kick in to give me that warm honey-like smell which works SO good with civet. If you like Mouchoir de Monsieur, Shalimar or Jicky by Guerlain, or the before-mentioned Givenchy Gentleman, give this one a try.
09th June, 2017
This fragrance is difficult for me to describe. Opens with a chypre-like note mixed with floral and a touch of sweetness. I don't detect civet at the opening. The florals mix with coffee and vanilla to give the sweet undertone. I don't smell the hyacinth, but I do detect tuberose and carnation. Upon dry-down, the leather and musk mix with a tiny bit of civet. The vanilla is still present, taking the edge off of some of the sharper notes. Overall a very complex fragrance, and a great one to be my 400th "Tried" fragrance!
22nd May, 2017
Surprisingly good, perhaps even great, and not at all what you'd expect from the name. This is not some animalic powerhouse that reeks of piss or fecal matter, but rather a multitude of seemingly disparate smells that emerge and recede as the fragrance progresses, some that you might not think would work well together (coffee, spices/fruit, flowers and woods, etc) but they just do. What civet there is in this is well into the background, only emerging later, and then only accentuating the other elements. Quite a lot of craft and care went into making this one, reminding us again that perfumery isn't just commerce, but can aspire to be true art.
05th April, 2017 (last edited: 11th April, 2017)
I can solemnly assert that Zoologist Civet is a contemporary gem, really, a cult fragrance (by now a modern classic), a pretty gorgeous creation which, while paying tribute to a classic baroque french honeyed-mossy-spicy chypre tradition (civet= Coco Chanel, Guerlain Djedi, Rochas Mystere, Must de Cartier, Estee Lauder Knowing etc), manages at same time to strum the (wilder fruity-spicy) strings of the Indie's
dodgy creative underworld, succeeding in the aim to conjugate (exactly a la House of Matriarch Bohemian Black, a far Civet's cousin) classic and contemporary, baroquely structural and the wild cozy countryside-farm's universe (just to be better intended: ideally the classic Roccobarocco woman or Ungaro Diva interpenetrate their classic substance with the visceral Slumberhouse Sova or Rundholz 03.Apr.1968). A proudly synth note of civet is in here connected to roasted coffee, resinous plummy-figgy spices, tropical flowers and "forest" in order to disclose a bold bloody (salty-plummy) effluvium which is all at once sapiently (with balance) alluring and wildly rural. Opening is quite visceral, a blast of sultry-spicy indescribable emotions (dark, sparkling, multicolored, equatorial, dry-fruity and dirty/sweated). I detect by soon a dark resinous-peppery-woodsy/mossy-liquorous classically chypre background enveloping the brisk sultry elements of the piquant night and overall is supported by a toasted accord of earthy patchouli, burnt dried fruits and roasted coffee. I can pick up dried figs, tropical flowers (kind of orchid, tuberose, ylang-ylang), salty leather, toasted tobacco, liqueur, sugary nuts, impenetrable spices, woods, misty resins and tasty balsams (the culinary-boozy-bloody carnality of this opening "recalls" to me an ideal combination of Les Liquides Imaginaires Belo Rabello and several of the spiciest/more syrupy/honeyed Slumberhouse's creations a la Jeke and Sova). Apart toasted coffee I detect a general (typically Indie in style) burnt-sugar's effect as mastering (resins galore). The core of this juice is represented by this central mysterious connection of toasted coffee and a sort of animalic black (salty-acid) musk (the synth civet's effect). I don't get the civet's typical fecal vibe, while I surely detect (as background and after many hours) an erotic sort of "stale - vaguely acid - pungent sweat of the body recesses-effect" combined with wax and honey (which is typical of vintage animalic chypres). Along the way various balsams seem to go soothing the elements and a muskier-lighter more "polished" chypre (mossy-woody-honeyed) vibe pops up as a stroke of fate. I detect in this phase a vaguely less dark presence of honey, oakmoss, heliotrope and mossy leather. The main effect, despite stable (sapiently orchestrated, alluring, elegant) and proudly classic "in school", is anyway destabilizing, avant-garde and incredibly erotic. Super bold sillage and great longevity on my feral skin. Excellent creation nearby the house of Zoologist.
26th March, 2017
When one thinks of the differences between classical and modern perfumery I believe we can use the evolution of music formats to understand it better. Modern perfumery is very close to contemporary popular music, often built simply, using samples of familiar songs with few layers of sound. Classic perfumery would be the equivalent of recordings on vinyl records and albums where live studio instrumentation adds a wealth of detail that makes the experience very enjoyable for music fanatics.

Like the vinyl, the classic perfumery did not die, but it became a more selective and independent product. Many independent niche houses have creates perfumes with the quality and richness of the classics and one of them is Victor Wong's Zoologist, whose concept of the personification of animals in scents has yielded a collection very bold and diverse in styles.

To honor one of the most well-known animals of the perfumery Victor chose a perfumer who works with classic structures as if they were part of her existence. Shelley Waddington may not be one of the best known in the indie scenario, but her perfumes for her EnVoyage Perfumes are a journey of luxury and olfactory richness and in Civet the perfumer seems to be in one of her best moments.

Civet is one of the most difficult notes to be worked for a contemporary public, especially since the increase of its concentration within a composition will make the perfume progressively fecal, creating a challenging experience. However, the musk extracted from the Civet glands is an excellent fixative and when used wisely becomes a kind of aura that exalts the composition and adds a carnal aspect, giving a new life to the perfume.

The creation here makes me think of great perfumery classics, recreating perfumes from the glory days of the Civet. The impression I have is as if Shelley had studied the creation style of the great master Roudnitska and understood his creation dynamics. Civet works in a dynamic similar to that of one of the great classics of Roudnitska, Femme de Rochas, also remembering his wonderful Diorama (and also referring to a Guerlain classic that works on a similar dynamic of notes, Parure). All these creations are like a melody that combines spices, flowers, fruity notes and a base with nuances of moss and woods.

Civet opens with the sweet and spicy scent of cinnamon and with an impression of a dry spicy aroma that resembles cloves. In the background, you get a scent of plums and peaches giving a velvety, rich and sensual aura to the opening. Coffee is an interesting element, used for its connection with the civet by the type of coffee Kopi Luwak (made from the undigested grains and excreted by the animal). It is interesting that the roasted aroma of the coffee ends up combining with the elements of the opening and also enriching the chypre texture, compensating the current limitations to some classic materials. And it is as Civet evolves that I remember Roudnitska, able to work the carnal and indolic and contrast with the luminosity, freshness and beauty of the flowers. In civet we also have this juxtaposition in a floral body that refers to a mixture of jasmine, ylang, rose and lily of the valley. Sometimes the composition also appears to have a floral and oily appearance and it refers to the exotic touch of the osmanthus.

At last, Civet arrives at its finest moment and you can perceive the bass tone of the idea, a blend of green earthiness of moss with the dry, animalic aroma of the amber and the more creamy, woody scent of sandalwood. And in the background you can finally feel the warm touch and a tiny bit of civet mingling with the resinous and slightly sweet aroma of opoponax and a light powdery touch of iris. It is one of the most complex parts of the composition and one of the moments that often in contemporary perfumery sounds linear and simple. Civet is a masterpiece that preserves the richest and most beautiful in the past and gives a new generation a chance to experience symphonies that otherwise they would not have access to.
17th March, 2017

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