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Thread: Civet smell

  1. #1
    Sanzio
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    Default Civet smell

    Hi! I was wondering what civet smells like! Some say it is very fecal if not dilluted. I was told it is fecal-acidic with a honey-like note and when dilluted at 0.1 % it gives a muguet note. In which fragrances I can smell it? I think it must be a very sensual note but I don't succed to find a scent with a predominat civet note. Can you help me?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Civet has smelled a couple of different ways to me. Initially, I get a bit of "baby vomit" but sometimes, it is slightly fecal. It always settles down and adds incredibe sensuality to a scent for me. I understand that is smells "off" to many because of indoles. Certain types of Jasmine contain similar indoles and they also smell fecal to me initially. Someone please correct me if I am wrong with the above.
    Civet is very prominent at the beginning of Jicky. This is evident more so in the PdT version than the EdT for me. I have not tried the extrait so I can't comment on that. Jicky's little brother Mouchoir de Monsieur also has a blast of civet at the beginning but the newer version is tamer that the old one. Ungaro II is another civet heavy scent that mixes nicely with citrus. Here the base is laden with the civet. It is probably that Jicky and MdM have this in the base as well but for some reason, I get the blast initially and it settles down nicely. I understand that a few of Amouage fragrances have civet and I get lots of it in both Silver Cologne and Dia. Very, very sensual to me. I have read rumor that Amouage still uses real civet which has been outlawed because of supposed cruelty issues. Again, please correct me if I am wrong. The Amouage scents do smell out of this world to me and on a different level so I would not be surprised if the civet is real as opposed to the synthetic used elsewhere.
    I can't comment on the muget issue but I thought muget was lily of the valley which to me doesn't resemble civet. I am basing my impression of lily of the valley on Geo. F. Trumper's Skye which it mid heavy with lotv and ylang ylang to me so I may be off right there...
    Give Jicky and Ungaro II a try. I am sure there are many, many other uses of civet to try. Check the Basenotes directory and run a search on the note and all of the fragrances with civet should come up.
    Lastly and most importantly, welcome to Basenotes!

    Eric

  3. #3

    Default Re: Civet smell

    I believe that Amouage used to use real civet, but they are not anymore.

    From the Amouage website: "The musk, civet and ambergris used in our fragrances are all entirely synthetic. There are no banned or restricted natural substances used in any Amouage product."

    Perhaps older bottles have real civet in them, I am not sure if they ever used it though.

    The civet in the amouage gold, both mens and womens, smells divine to me. It's blended very skillfully with the indolic notes of the jasmine. I don't get much of a fecal odor, especially since it's blended so well, but it is incredibly sensual.

    ~Silk

  4. #4

    Default Re: Civet smell

    I can't describe it, but everytime I smelled it in a fragrance (like in Romeo Gigli), I found it sickening.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanzio View Post
    Hi! I was wondering what civet smells like! Some say it is very fecal if not dilluted. I was told it is fecal-acidic with a honey-like note and when dilluted at 0.1 % it gives a muguet note. In which fragrances I can smell it? I think it must be a very sensual note but I don't succed to find a scent with a predominat civet note. Can you help me?

    I have some real civet paste here; I'm smelling it now. It has notes of honey, leather, wet clay, butter, a fine aged Parmesan or Asiago cheese. It has an oily undercurrent, not unlike linseed oil or shoe polish. If we're going to be frank here, it smells more like vomit than like feces. (Is that any better? haha). By the way, in the litany of "stinks" that exist out there, let me say that Limburger or German Händkäse are MUCH more fetid and stinky than civet is (Does that put things in perspective?).

    Civet is a fascinating smell... It's not disgusting, really, just very, very ripe, earthy and round... like the smell of Brie mixed with honey, or like month-old rotten fruit (have you ever fed a bucket of kitchen slop to pigs? It smells much like that).

    Diluted with alcohol, it loses the ripe, nearly fecal quality, and becomes a dusty/oily leathery smell. But OLD leather... like a pair of 1920's lace-up black Gibson Girl boots found at an antique store.

    The most famous civet scent, I'd say, is JICKY, where the tiniest little suspicion of cat's poop becomes suspected under the brilliant "clean" upper notes of lavender, lemon and citrus. But the more I study SHALIMAR, the more apparent it is how civet is a major player there... In SHALIMAR, civet takes all those sharp woody notes (cedar, sandalwood, opoponax) and sands them down with its sweet, milky ripeness. People think of SHALIMAR as being a vanilla scent; yet really, the whole base of SHALIMAR owes much to the round ripeness of civet. Without civet, SHALIMAR would be simply unfeasible. Some have said that SHALIMAR smells like "breast milk"...others say it's the vague whiff of a newly-filled baby diaper. In both cases, it's the civet they're detecting.

    I personally adore the way civet is used in OPIUM (femmes). Near the opening of OPIUM, before the spices fully appear, is this "beer-y" note.... like a very hoppy ale.... That beer-y note is obtained by a diluted civet, making the whole scent "louche" and provocative.... not too noble or "respectable".

    Perfumisti will tell you that the chiefest value of civet in fine traditional French perfumery, is to undergird flower notes, make them even more luscious and indolic than they already are. It especially brings out the lushness of jasmine and rose. Patou JOY is a prime example of this.

    In almost every case, civet has to be used with great finesse and subtlety within a mix. (Although in earlier centuries, noble Frenchman would wear the pure paste, rubbed onto their hands!).

    Real civet is curiously...hmm...addicting, somehow: once you get its curious ferment in your nostrils, you find yourself perversely craving it... It has to be our vestigial "animal brain" that finds that funk so compelling.
    Last edited by rasputin; 6th February 2011 at 01:02 AM.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: Civet smell

    In Ungaro II the civet is muffled, like smelling someone who soiled themselves, but not too off-putting.

    If you are within range of a Hermès store, or any store in which you can test out Eau d'Hermès, then there's an example of full-on bad breath shitty civet.
    SEEKING BOTTLES OF:

    Aramis New West (preferably old bottle)
    Patrick by Fragrances of Ireland
    Azzaro Aqua
    Gloria by Cacharel

    PM me if you have bottles that you're willing to sell or trade!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Yes, Shalimar (vintage), Jicky (PdT)... apart from that the vintage extrait of Bal a Versailles is a study in civet (in all its facets) to me.

  8. #8
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Civet smell

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeFromManhattan View Post
    I found it sickening.
    Have to agree.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Try to find an old vintage Caron - Narcisse noir if you want a real civet experience :-)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Sure it can be a little foosty , personally I find it to be a little sweet

  11. #11

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Not long ago, I wanted to learn more of civet, castoreum, ambergris, musk, indole, because I was gravitating to fragrances with an animalic or dirty edginess. Plus, I was mixing some essential oils myself and wanted inject some of that edginess.

    I poked around, determined that natural samples would cost mad money... so, I went to Perfumer's Apprentice and obtained some synthetic representations, presumably of the same quality used in the industry these days. Wow.

    Other posts have covered the smell of civet here.

    Through my self-initiated lesson, I made the following observations.
    (1) Many of the note pyramids you see here and at other sites are simply a representation of the notes or accords that trained and untrained noses sense as coming from that particular frangrance and implicitly an ingredient. Even if I see a scent pyramid presented by the house itself, I'm skeptical. Rather sure they're not giving away the proprietary recipe.
    (2) Fecal and other unpleasant notes are often pigeonholed round these parts as either civet or castoreum and not as indolic. Perhaps what your experiencing is more typical with Indole? I have a lot to learn myself w/r/t indole.

  12. #12
    rogalal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Civet smell

    Rasputin, thanks for the awesome write up of actual civet paste.

    From what I hear, everyone now uses a chemical called Civetone. I have a sample of that, and it smells like newborn baby poo. You know, when they've only consumed breast milk and not regular food and their poo smells kind of sweet and not as gross as regular poo, but it's still poo.

    It's often paired with tonka, which has a weird plasticky smell that only really comes out when it's mixed with civet. It's this specific combination that seems to create that infamous freshly-filled-diaper accord in Jicky and MDM.
    Has everyone checked out my Top 100 Blog??

  13. #13

    Default Re: Civet smell

    I don't tend to like civet. The only ones I like are Mouchoir de Monsieur, Eau d'Hermes, and La Vie Profumo Cologne d'Empereur.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Is it fairly dominant in the latest version of Kouros or a bit subdued?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Sanzio View Post
    Hi! I was wondering what civet smells like! Some say it is very fecal if not dilluted. I was told it is fecal-acidic with a honey-like note and when dilluted at 0.1 % it gives a muguet note. In which fragrances I can smell it? I think it must be a very sensual note but I don't succed to find a scent with a predominat civet note. Can you help me?
    civet is a natural product, and it's smell can vary. it's very rich stuff. the honey part is right, and civet is used for muguet (but it doesn't really smell like muguet by itself). it surely is animalic. the best qualities have no marked fecal or urine notes. usually, only a little is used, and the perception of the odor of civet changes with it's dosage. it's a great fixative, and it gives lift to a perfume, makes it more diffusive. it works particularly well in florals with a honey-like sweetness (rose, for instance) and oriental type perfumes (in combination with amber).

  16. #16

    Default Re: Civet smell

    A very informative post from rasputin, shame he doesn't post more!

    @ Stew, I do find the Civet more subdued in Kouros now, the iris and amber are as prominent.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Civet smell

    From my experience, I'd say that civet notes in frags tend to be soft and "abstract" (Ungaro II is a good example). Several "men's" frags have strong castoreum: KL Homme, One Man Show, vintage Antaeus, Versailles Pour Homme, etc. It seems that when jasmine is listed sometimes civet notes are used with floral ones ("dirty jasmine"), such as in Boss Cologne/#1. When I have gotten a whiff of fecal matter (not wanting to, let me make that clear LOL), I think I detected skatoles more than indoles, though there also seems to be an ammonia or sulfuric component (or both). You can also detect this in "bad breath," but at a lower concentration. None of this is vomit-inducing to me at this point, but I'm interested in balance, and to use these and get balance, you need to use very small amounts. However, skin chemistry, climate, etc. can be major factors.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Civet smell

    If you were to eat feces, vomit and then capture the essence of what your mouth smelled like afterwards, you'd be close! You wouldn't want to get any on you in a concentrated form. When I opened a bottle of it for the first time whilst sampling new aromachemicals, I almost dropped the bottle because I was shocked and spilled a little on my hand...it was terribly awful.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Quote Originally Posted by Sybernetic View Post
    If you were to eat feces, vomit and then capture the essence of what your mouth smelled like afterwards, you'd be close!
    lol! That sure paints quite a picture.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Civet smell

    Thank you for the post, rasputin! Are you referring to the pre-2009 Opium? I love the "new" Opium and would love to sniff the original formulation.

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