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  1. #1

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    What are your views on use of Civet in fragrances and its effect, history, whether it should still play a part in scent formulae etc...thanks

    An interesting article by Chandler Burr of NYT on Civet:

    http://www.chandlerburr.com/articles/21chanelprint.htm

    Examples would be Narcisse Noir with a musky, civety base .Le Vainqueur by Rancé, Shocking, Kingdom, Musc Ravageur, Muscs Kublai Khan etc..
    Last edited by tigrushka; 21st July 2008 at 01:36 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I own Le Vainqueur and there is no civet to speak of. Its not what I'd call a musky scent at all. Have you smelled it at all?

    In answer to your question, some scents with civet are not appauling, but I think much rides on the other notes in the fragrance that carry it. It is great in scents like Citrus Paradisi and Boucheron etc.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I don't want to hurt animals just to smell good. And I think that's the reason that natural civet, castoretum and musk are no longer used in perfumery. If I found out that my beloved Jicky had real civet in it, I'd have to give it up.
    So I'm assuming the perfumes I wear ARE cruelty-free. And I love civet. Jicky is my 'desert island perfume' - the one I'd give up all others for if I had to. It's got lovely dollops of civet under the fresh lavender and herbs, warming it up and making it very sexy. The edp is a bit rich in civet though. Spritz lightly! edt is the best concentration for day wear.
    "A woman who doesn't wear perfume has no future." Coco Chanel

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  4. #4

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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Many thanx for the Burr article Afraafra....I adore civet in anything and will now rush off to try Kouros again. (Didn't get to me the first try around - maybe it was the ginger.) Kingdom's one of my faves!!
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Vintage Bal a' Versailles has a wonderful animalic base, and Jicky too, even the newer ones. (I'm not sure about the recent Bal formulations, although if their base is synthetic, it's a pretty decent re-creation, IMO.)

    Natural musk is no longer used because they had to kill the deer to get it. I think natural civet is extracted from the animals' anal glands in much the same way as some breeds of dogs need to be "squeezed" periodically. Ambegris is essentially gobs of whale vomit that has floated around for awhile and then washed up on a beach. I'm not sure about castoreum -- anybody know?

    I do know that the old perfumes, with the natural bases, last longer on my skin.

    I have a sample of Musc Ravaguer and it is so sweet on me that it's just too much, for awhile, and then it settles down. But that first 20 minutes or so is hard to get through. Haven't tried Musc Koublai Khan yet.

    Supposedly, the French like the animalics and the Americans the clean, fresh, just-took-a-shower scents. Well, I'm American and I like the animalics just fine. Not all of us are scared of a little funk!
    Olfacta
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I once thought I hated civet because Patou's Sublime, which lists civet as a base note, smelled like cat pee on me. I couldn't tolerate it (and I threw the bottle away - I didn't know any better then). I assumed at that time that the civet was what smelled like cat pee on me. Recently, I fell in love with Jicky, and I do get a slight fecal quality, but it doesn't disturb me, and I can see how it makes Jicky earthier and more interesting than it would be without it. Now I see from Chandler Burr's that "cat pee" is what comes from black currant bud absolute, which is actually the distillation of the leaf bud. But black currant bud absolute is not listed in the fragrance notes for Sublime. I once owned 1000 de Patou in parfum - which was to die for drop dead gorgeous - and I never got cat pee in that, and it has civet listed as well. And Joy, which is my holy of holies, also has civet, as well as loads of indolic jasmine. So I obviously have no problem with civet, or indoles. And I love those old-fashioned animalic parfums, they smell so rich and luxe to me. But it's an ingredient that I am happy to leave in the hands of the maîtres! I think I need to explore black currant bud absolute a bit further. Afraafra, thanks so much for linking the article!
    Last edited by lilybelle; 21st July 2008 at 02:09 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I wonder what the presence of Civet in a perfume actually does, as most scents with civet in them are female perfumes (I can give details if someone is interested) , I assume it attracts MEN rather than women . There must be some biological explanation for this effect.
    AFR

  8. #8

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Quote Originally Posted by afraafra View Post
    I wonder what the presence of Civet in a perfume actually does, as most scents with civet in them are female perfumes (I can give details if someone is interested) , I assume it attracts MEN rather than women . There must be some biological explanation for this effect.
    Civet, musk, castoretum, vanilla, ambergris, and some others are generally referred to as "fixitives," in that they help the top notes stick around longer than they otherwise would.

    I do not think that we should assume that what attracts a female musk deer to a male musk deer will have the same biological effect between a male human and a female human.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I love civit in moderation.
    ~Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possesed this scent, his life would have no meaning.~
    Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

  10. #10

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I just posted a new thread on Castoreum, since someone just asked about it.
    I love Jicky and Roma, so I guess I must be a fan of Civet. I find it an exciting,
    animalistic scent that lends a warmth and piquancy to a fragrance.
    I assume nowadays that it is manufactured synthetically, due to animal
    rights, or at least extracted humanely (if that is possible!) by anal curetage. Civet cats use the
    secretion to mark out their territory and attract a mate. Maybe it works for us humans too!!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I'm all for good synthetics.
    Then, civet is a no go for me anyway. I can smell it a mile away and it turns my stomach.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    A perfume without one of these animalic notes (just a hint) is flat , unattractive and we can even say unfinished, bad. It is the same in nature, a jasmine flower with no indole wouldn't have a nice and attractive smell ...

    They all contain some (chemical materials now of course) but the real interrest is to react to them without conscienciously smelling them.
    L'amour fait songer, vivre et croire. Il a, pour réchauffer le coeur, un rayon de plus que la gloire; et ce rayon, c'est le bonheur. (Victor HUGO)

  13. #13

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    It's a tough line to walk, putting enough civit or castoreum into a perfume to make it smell animalic but not enough to make it stinky. I like Jean Patou 1000 (civit) and Paloma Picasso (castoreum). I did not like Ava Luxe Rasa Extreme, which had a high percentage of civit with its rose.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Doesn't work with my chemistry at all. Had to give away my Paloma Picasso b/c it just smells like pee on me. : (

  15. #15

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Quote Originally Posted by purplebird7 View Post
    It's a tough line to walk, putting enough civit or castoreum into a perfume to make it smell animalic but not enough to make it stinky. I like Jean Patou 1000 (civit) and Paloma Picasso (castoreum). I did not like Ava Luxe Rasa Extreme, which had a high percentage of civit with its rose.
    Same here. I do love a hit of castoreum, many of my favorites have it, but I'm not a fan of civet. Although I do like and wear 1000 - the edt, and I'd imagine the civet is less pronounced than in the parfum.
    Pretty much every jasmine scent I've tried has repulsed me once it hit my skin. Actually, I don't really care for the smell of jasmine in general. About indoles in jasmine- it doesn't register as fecal to me (civet does), rather I smell something like gasoline.
    Last edited by leffleur; 30th July 2008 at 10:19 PM. Reason: adding stuff

  16. #16

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I love civet. I smelled the pure/synthetic stuff at Le Labo's Nolita store and it smelled more like vomit than cat pee.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    This is a difficult matter to address for hard-core fragrance lovers. On one hand, many of us can't imagine taking pleasure in a luxury that resulted from an animal's suffering; on the other, fragrance is powerfully evocative stuff, that can induce a strong emotional and nostalgic response in a person, making it difficult to part with a beloved scent---one that may be part of a powerful memory. I've had this same struggle over "Patou" scents, which, of course, wear as otherworldly on my skin. When I contacted the house in regards to the origin of its civetone, they smartly avoided the question by saying that they never disclose such information about their formulas. I assumed this meant "yes, we do still use natural civet and musks in some capacity".

    On Patou's website, they mention under the listing for "Joy" that it contains "synthetic musks" but civet is considered a fixative and might not be classified as one of the "musks" they use as a highlighted note. "Creed" is another popular house that's equally clandestine about the origin of its civet. It's a shame, really because consumers should know such ethically specific information about the products they buy. Many people wouldn't even be concerned with this, as they might wear leather and fur and integrate many animal products into their lives. For the vegans, vegetarians, or even just particularily compassionate consumers, this of vital significance when it comes time to be loyal to a scent or house. Unfortunately, scent is such a personal and artistic thing, that it's not just something that can easily be replaced by any fragrance product. "Stella" might not be everyone's "Holy Grail" scent and it's a shame that other houses can't learn from Stella McCartney's company.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    You might think my name says it all!, but of late chinks in my civet armour have been appearing, into which the occasional perfume containing it has wormed its way, a recent example being Bal a Versailles.

    I didn't know there was civet in Musc Ravageur, which I enjoyed wearing the other day, and was musing how it resembled Shalimar a bit, but with more vanilla and musk, and happily no civet - to my nose, anyway.

    Narcisse Noir is my Room 101, civet-wise, as I have mentioned before. And for a strange plastic note that I also get in Amarige.

    Shocking is shocking precisely because it has shedloads of the stuff (with honey!), and is not to my taste, YSL Y is a bit hardcore in that way too, though I kind of admire it from afar, as I do PG Corps et Ames, . I am working up to trying that one again, as I feel it has the potential to reel me in one day as my nose becomes bolder / more classically trained!! Jicky and L'Air de Rien remain off limits for now. Even Van Cleef's First is too civetty to my nose, ditto Joy. Mona di Orio's Nuit Noire made me wretch (for the civet, and other unpleasant fruity spicy things.)

    Today I will be trying Jolie Madame, courtesy of my kind BN-er donor, and from the notes that looks like my ultimate worst nightmare on a par with Narcisse Noir, so we will see. It is just missing a generous dose of clove and cumin for my anti-HGS to be complete! Or at least that is what I think before trying it... Cabochard I was able to tolerate the fierce opening of yesterday, and I enjoyed the drydown, even the morning after. I cannot see civet listed - it has castoreum, mind. I am guessing I am better with castoreum than civet, though I would need to do a side by side test to be sure.

    For the record, I dislike strong indoles. TDC Jasmin de la Nuit is OTT, and DelRae Amoureuse is my indolic Room 101!

    Thanks, afraafra - you raised a topic that is clearly close to my heart...!
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 16th January 2009 at 09:46 AM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

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  19. #19

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Update;

    I am wearing Jolie Madame, and guess what - I actually feel pretty in this! It is much more delicately floral than I expected, given the basenotes I found listed for it. So far, so very nice. It reminds me of Roja Dove Scandal, which also has well blended tuberose. This here has gardenia too, which clearly can give the animalic base a run for its money!!

    I appear to be undergoing a profound transmogrification. In time, I may have to change my name to "Flitterscent" to characterize the fickle nature of my nose!

    A bit later...okay, the leather is kicking in now and the floral notes are fading, but I am still liking it. I may get hit by a wallop of civet just now, in which case I will report back!
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 16th January 2009 at 10:51 AM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I like to think my fragrances are animal cruelty free. I don't mind a bit of civet but I would hate to think an animal suffered because of me.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I'm confused. How come everyone reports smelling of 'cat pee' with civet, when all I can smell is 'cat poo'?

    And, VM, if you don't like skanky niffs, then for god's sake steer clear of Kingdom. I pride myself on taming the most noxious and toxic of scents, yet this one had a smell of the sewers on me. Putrid.
    This week, 'Chanel Cuir de Russie: Skin Scent' at http://thescentimentalist.blogspot.com/

  22. #22

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Woooh, thanks for the warning - will become a Republican directly!

    Currently STEEPED in animalic chypres, as my friend challenged me to prise her mother away from a 30-year allegiance to Dioressence with half a day's notice. I reek of barnyard, fecal unspeakables, urinous saddles, decaying corpses, foetid puddles, rotting vegetable matter and whale vomit - and am having quite an interesting time, actually! A late blossoming career in forensics cannot be ruled out.
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 17th January 2009 at 09:45 AM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  23. #23

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Shocking is my favorite "civet" fragrance...vintage Shocking is incredibly gorgeous, and I fell in love with it before knowing it was a civet scent. The 'reformulation' of Shocking is sad. As Night has pointed out, without the civet the perfume falls flat, seems unfinished, & is just plain bad. IMO there is no adequate civet substitute, but I would never condone the mistreatment of animals ~ especially to produce perfume, which is a luxury item.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I never consciously notice anything animalic about Y - just got to remember not to wear it if I ever meet up with VM

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I absolutely love civet, along with castoreum, musk and hyraceum. My favourite scents are animalic.
    ointments and perfume delight the heart....

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  26. #26

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Quote Originally Posted by Nukapai View Post
    I never consciously notice anything animalic about Y - just got to remember not to wear it if I ever meet up with VM
    LOL!! I have been getting more tolerant of animalic notes lately, and vetting all these classic chypres last night was an acid test. Six months ago I would have had to have washed most of them off after a few minutes, but they all ran their course, and I repeatedly sniffed them to see how they all developed, which was most interesting, I have to say. A number of them finished up in a similar place.

    Y is one of the most civetty perfumes I have ever sniffed, I think - it was like a great wooshing cloud as soon as I applied it on skin. Which all goes to show the diversity of our noses!
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  27. #27

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    If the "better" houses primarily still employ animal-based civet, then I suppose my wardrobe is not cruelty-free, nor are most bn-ers' wardrobes. I will have to think more on the subject, and do more research, since I have recently gained an environmental and animal rights conscience.
    And he whose soul is flat -- the sky
    Will cave in on him by and by.

    —from "Renascence" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

  28. #28

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I believe natural castoreum comes from beaver glands.

    I generally love the animalics and other skanky scents (e.g., indoles, cumin, etc.) I, however, have my limits. Jicky EdP smelled too rude on me--I shan't specify how, just use your imagination. Wordbird, thanks for the tip on Jicky versions. Perhaps I'll try the parfum and/or EdT. Kingdom is definitely on my "to try" list, and I'd love to score some vintage BaV sometime.

    I agree, I don't want animals to suffer for my fragrance. As for civet, I believe they don't kill the cats, but I don't know how good their life is being farmed for the civet. Looks like an ethical dilemma to me, and I do hope they're coming up with solid animalic synthetics.

    Oh, and VM, I think you should change your name to "VM I may not hate civet after all." Seriously, though, I also found my taste expanding after a while of trying different fragrances--I used to run from any powdery fragrance, and now my tolerance is much higher.
    Last edited by BlackCat; 18th January 2009 at 07:00 AM.
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  29. #29

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Almost everything that I really love has civet, or some other animalic ingredient(s). I have seen how some animals are killed for the fur industry and I was a lot more affected than I thought I would be. So, I shall have to do some research of may own to find out exactly how these animal pheromones are extracted. Then I can draw my own conclusions and live by my own convictions.
    "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."

  30. #30

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    At present, morally speaking, my stance on this is = hypocrite. I will never use anything other than synthetic animalics in my own creations (and love the indolic, proper jasmine absolute as a raw material), but, I don't go out of my way to research whether the animalic scents I have in my wardrobe have gone in the same direction. Many houses these days claim to have replaced the real thing with synthetics (including Chanel), but have they really? I don't have access to the technology that could analyse and tell.

  31. #31

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCat View Post
    Oh, and VM, I think you should change your name to "VM I may not hate civet after all."
    You bet! I am waiting to call the top of my civet rapprochement - and will devise another name accordingly. Though of course anything short of "hate" will no longe echo the "CB I hate" line, which I don't much care for either, though for different reasons!
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

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  32. #32

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Nukapai...since I participate in the note identification project, I have been able to smell synthetic civet, castoreum and a couple of musks. I can say with fair certainty that at the very least, the modern formulations of Jicky and Shalimar have synthetic animalics. I smell all three of the single components in both fragrances--they are unmistakable.

    One thing the fragrance companies never say, though, is whether they have cruelty-free testing of their products.
    Last edited by Asha; 18th January 2009 at 03:30 PM.

  33. #33
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    Long before I could recognise civet per se -- or any notes at all, for that matter, I always characterised the fragrances, which employed civet as being "full-bodied". They were and are my favorites. Civet certainly rounds out and deepens a composition, viewed in its integrated state, but it can also
    overwhelm. I get a whole bunch of it in Y, my favorite scenl, but it strikes me as a profoundly sensuous example, where Bal a Versailles is really pushing my limits sometimes (maybe because its not really me), and seems to be about civet... and Dzing is just too much to bear.
    I don't smell pee or poo, I smell ass, and the fragrant, musky excretions of ass....sorry.
    And despite it all, I LOVE civet.

    I honestly assumed that most civets I have been smelling have been synthetic, and I haven't ever looked into civet-farming. And I wonder where this will take me! I once "loved" foie gras, for pete's sake. And now I am vegan! I am going to look it up, as soon as I muster the nerve. I am very afraid.

  34. #34
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    disturbing link

    http://www.profumo.it/internet-docum.../suffering.htm

    sounds a lot like the meat industry.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Your views on perfumes containing Civet, and other animalic ingredients..

    I adore civet, castoréum, ambergris, musk and all other animalic based scents. I love good old fashioned full character fragrances. I absolutely detest those so called 'clean/fresh' scents. I am so pleased that I stocked up on most of my favorites, before they were altered and destroyed.
    Quand on boit l'eau, il faut penser à sa source

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