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  1. #1

    Arrow Need help diluting civet paste

    WONDERFUL! Help creating fragrances! I LOVE it and I think I have found where I will be participating the most!

    I have a ton of oils and stuff I want to use to create my own holy grail or just something really divine & yummy! Things like oud, tobacco absolute, civet, and benzoin to name just a few.

    Some years ago I bought some civet in paste form from a very reputable dealer. It is still in the original container, but I think it has dried out considerably and I am not sure how to *revive* it nor do I know if it *can* be revived.

    I hope so. I can describe this better when I get home and am able to check it again.

    Does civet paste spoil or go bad?

    Does it have to be kept in a specific or special container?

    TIA for any help you can provide. I am looking forward to creating once again.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    OK, its hard....but I think there might be hope. I am just afraid of opening it up for fear of the smell. It is strong!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I wouldn't imagine it went bad exactly. I would have thought it would mature like Ambergris and get more gentle. You may have something really wonderful there. How many years old is it? I dare you......
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  4. #4

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Well, I am not sure exactly how old it is but I will guess it is about 8-9 years old? It is in a hard plastic container, wrapped in plastic covering, then put into a plastic baggie.

    I just could not bear to open it up last night for fear I might get some on me and not be able to take the smell off. I think I will open it this weekend, OUTSIDE, so I don't permeate the entire house. I think my other would make me throw it out if he smelled it & I really don't want to throw it out.

    When I got it, I let our dog smell it from the baggie it was in and he started salivating.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Blimey. Is it that powerful? Don't throw it away.... I will dilute it for you if OH wants to make you.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  6. #6

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Its not synthetic. But what could or would I dilute it with?

  7. #7

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I don't know, but if it were mine, I would consider a small amount for tinctures in two jars, one oil and one perfumers alcohol to see which worked best. If it is that stinky, then it shouldn't take long. I'm sure Profumo does this and it will say on his site what with.

    I read somewhere it is dissolvable in fat.. I suppose you could leave it open in a closed jar lined with shortening fat to do a sort of enfleurage to get a milder version???? That is a wild guess.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  8. #8

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Thank you....I will try that this weekend and let you know how it goes!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Here is the masters kit. It indicates that 10g of civet makes 1 litre of tincture. That is indeed useful to know.

    http://www.profumo.it/title/Civet-mu...g-kit/pid/2978

    Interesting that he uses food grade alcohol... I was led to believe it had too much water in it for tinctures, but maybe that is only with flowers.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  10. #10

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Food Grade? As in something like Vodka?

    I have some alcohol with very little to no water in it. I think I may try that first. I think they sell perfumers alcohol somewhere online, I can't remember the site right now.

    A liter of civet tincture is not bad for 10 gms of paste! I better get a large dark bottle. I did use a tiny bit of civet and alcohol when I first got this and then I mixed some with another oil.

    Thank you for the site.

  11. #11
    gido's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Quote Originally Posted by genieg View Post
    A liter of civet tincture is not bad for 10 gms of paste! I better get a large dark bottle..
    that is probably still going to be awfully strong.
    i think it's best to just use a high percentage alcohol, with no additives that you can smell. no rubbing alcohol or anything like that, pure ethanol.

    it's good to write down everything you do, the amounts used and the date. you need to find out how long the tincturing process takes. then you will need a clean (preferably new, unused glassware) funnel, and some lab filter paper. cut out a circle of this, fold it in half and then again in half so you have a \/ shape, that will fit into the funnel.

    would you consider selling me a few ml after you have made the tincture? seems to me you have enough to last a few lifetimes.

    best,
    guido.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I looked at Profumos Hyracium tincture and he actually states that one comes with 50ml of 96% organic alcohol so one must presume that is what he means by foodgrade rather than a low % alcohol. I don't think you will have a problem getting perfumers alcohol there. If you find you have too much to deal with, I too would like to smell some raw civet and would be more than delighted to swap a small 1ml glass vial for anything I have that you require (for example, rose otto, jasmine, pink and blue lotus, ambergris, tonka bean, musk, sandal or any suchlike). I have quite a few fun things you would be welcome to.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  13. #13

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I would be happy to share or sell some to both of you! I will try to get going on this Saturday. Thank you both for your input.

    Mumsy, real ambergris & santal mysore have a special place in my heart.

  14. #14
    gido's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    mumsy,

    i think foodgrade just means that there are no poisonous additives in the mix.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Thank you for that info gido. There is always so much to learn. I love this site.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  16. #16
    gido's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Quote Originally Posted by genieg View Post
    I would be happy to share or sell some to both of you! I will try to get going on this Saturday. Thank you both for your input.
    that is great news! thanks!

    if i may ask, where did you source this paste?

    btw, please do yourself a favor: wear gloves! and something longsleeve that you can wash at a high temperature. do you have an apron? also, protect your hair if it's long... and remember to not touch your face, not even for the most terrible itch!

    best,
    gido.

  17. #17
    gido's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    ps. this might look silly, but if you're that afraid of the bad smell, why don't you get something to close of your nostrils? i can imagine a pair of yellow foam earplugs from the drugstore might do the trick (in a less painful way than a peg or a bad case of flu for that matter) and perhaps you can think of something that does the job even better?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Thank you for the tips. I will use them.

    I don't remember where I got it. I got it from a place I used to by EO's at and they happened to have it. I have some yellow foam plugs I can use if need be. But some cats live in my back yard so hopefully it won't smell much worse than their poop!

  19. #19
    gido's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    another thing, and you might not like this, is that you should grind the civet before tincturing.

    i looked up septimus piesse, the author of an antique book on perfumery full of recipes, and he wrote the following on this subject,
    'Extract of Civet is prepared by rubbing in a mortar one ounce of civet with an ounce of orris-root powder, or any other similar material that will assist to break up or divide the civet; and then placing the whole into a gallon of rectified spirits; after macerating for a month, it is fit to strain off. It is principally used as a "fixing" ingredient, in mixing essences of delicate odor. The French perfumers use the extract of civet more than English manufacturers, who seem to prefer extract of musk. From a quarter of a pint to half a pint is the utmost that ought to be mixed with a gallon of any other perfume.'
    i am not sure about the orris-root powder.. it has a smell of it's own (and a nice one at that, i had some, made a tincture of it, love it) but i can see the point of breaking the civet up.
    maybe you should write Profumo (a basenotes member) a private message asking about a proper tincture recipe? he is the owner/perfumer of profumo.it, probably the highest rated supplier of several natural animalic things.

    please keep us posted!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    Thank you so much! I will write to him....you have both been a big HUGE help.

    I found my alcohol. It is Dehydrated Alcohol that I bought from Spectrum. The bottle says Ethanol, Undenatured; Ethyl Alcohol, Anhydrous

    I will keep you informed.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    An update, as promised.

    As it turns out, this was very well protected! I did not remember that it was in a hard container and the civet paste was *not* hard at all but very soft.

    I think there is about 1 oz in the container. The container & paste weighed over an oz.

    I opened it up & surprisingly, it was not as bad as I expected it to be! I put some into a container with about 75 mls of alcohol....anhydrous alcohol.

    Now I need to look into how long it will take to blend & be ready for mixing with oils and stuff so I can start creating.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I know it's too late for yours unless you didn't use it all, but I just re-found this thread as I haven't made mine up yet. I wonder if fillers earth or winemakers bentonite would be a good non whiffy substance to grind in with civet. It would all sink to the bottom afterwards and could be filtered out again.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  23. #23
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I have been following this conversation (now revived by Mumsy) and I wonder if you have an update? How is the tincture turning out? Did you find a way to grind up the past? What did you use?

    I just received some civet from a producer in Thailand and I am wondering about strengths. There seems to be two schools of thought on basenotes, one is 5% (50gm/liter) and one is 1% (10 grams per liter) for tincturing. Profumo seems to use the latter. And the antique book at 1 oz per (US?) gallon (128 ozs) would be less than 1%, no? A bit confusing and daunting since I get only one shot at getting his right...

    What I have is triple shrink-wrapped in plastic with an inner bag and just taking one layer off, without opening it, I can smell it and it is incredibly powerful stuff. I can't imagine the need for 50 grams per liter, but maybe this is standard? Also, this one is pure whereas I have been told by my fiend who lives in Ethiopia, and who has investigated there for me, the stuff there even the dealers say is adulterated by the farmers at an unknown percentage.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  24. #24

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I am going to make mine up at 1% using fullers earth to grind it with. Orris already has an incredibly strong and rather lovely smell. If the smell of civet is to be masked, then I can see the point of using it but I do not wish to mask the civet in case orris is not wanted in a perfume. If I want 5% in a mix, I will use 5 times as much 1% liquid. There is less margin for error in the final mix with a weaker solution.

    You could always divide the civet and do both strengths. If the 5% is too strong, then you can dilute further but not the other way round. In six months time we could all swap a sample to see what they all smell like. It might be most interesting.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  25. #25
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    It would be lovely to exchange -- I guess we will need 6 months or so before that would be possible! In the old formulary I have been reading " A practical Treatise on the Manufacture of Perfumery" (available on Google books, free), it has civet paste about 9.5 grams in (5.5. drams) in 3 pints of spirit (about 1.3 liters) thus again a ~1% concentration. For trituration he suggests using either exhausted orris root powder (which would explain probably what is meant by orris root -- one already used to make a tincture and with little scent left -- this makes sense) or "whiting". The later interests me as I do not have access to fullers earth or Orris root powder, exhausted or otherwise. According to my google searching, whiting means calcium carbonate (chalk). This I can get easily. Do you think I can safely use this? I don't want to invest 6 months into this and find out I have made quicklime or something....

    Report on the scent of the paste I have: I still have not opened the inner package but right now I am getting a blast of distinctly rich, umami cheesy odor, VERY similar to high quality Parma cheese. Under that are other notes, slightly tangy, and at this point only a hint of sweet floral, although when I can manage to separate it out, it is quite pleasant. I get nothing fecal at this point. I should admit though, I am afraid my nose is sadly not good, and I have to use my brain to get at scents and it takes me a lot more time and work to understand them than people who have finer equipment (like my wife, who has a fantastic nose), so I hesitate to give any report on scent in this forum, filled with so many people who have fine equipment and a rich vocabulary.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I don't know if I can use fullers earth either, I'm trying to decide whether to use that or bentonite. I do know that bentonite is used to clear a wine (because I use it) and wine is alcoholic and it doesn't impart taste or smell. I would presume therefore it to be a fairly tried and tested medium. I also have bought cosmetic grade fullers earth. It does have a slight smell, but it's a bit difficult to smell as it is an extremely fine powder.

    I've looked them up....
    Bentonite is a type of clay composed primarily of montmorillonite or other smectite minerals. Derived from volcanic ash, bentonite's two major commercial varieties are sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Sodium bentonite is readily absorbent and swells in the presence of water. Calcium bentonite's structure, on the other hand, does not permit it to expand when liquid is added.

    Bentonite is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate, in general, impure clay consisting mostly of montmorillonite. There are different types of bentonites, and their names depend on the dominant elements, such as potassium (K), sodium (Na), calcium (Ca), and aluminum (Al). As noted in several places in the geologic literature, there are some nomenclatorial problems with the classification of bentonite clays. Bentonite usually forms from weathering of volcanic ash, most often in the presence of water. However, the term bentonite, as well as a similar clay called tonstein, has been used for clay beds of uncertain origin. For industrial purposes, two main classes of bentonite exist: sodium and calcium bentonite. In stratigraphy and tephrochronology, completely devitrified (weathered volcanic glass) ash-fall beds are commonly referred to as K-bentonites when the dominant clay species is illite. Other common clay species, and sometimes dominant, are montmorillonite and kaolinite. Kaolinite-dominated clays are commonly referred to as tonsteins and are typically associated with coal.


    Fullers earthAn adsorbent clay, calcium montmorillonite, or bentonite; adsorbs both by physical means and by ion exchange. Used to bleach oils, clarify liquids, and absorb grease.

    Fuller's earth usually has a high magnesium oxide content. In the United States, two varieties of fuller's earth are mined, mainly in the southeastern states. These comprise the minerals montmorillonite or palygorskite (attapulgite) or a mixture of the two; some of the other minerals that may be present in fuller's earth deposits are calcite, dolomite, and quartz.


    I think they are more or less the same thing?????? I will add a bit of each to just alcohol and check before putting any civet in.

    ChalkCalcium carbonate shares the typical properties of other carbonates. Notably:
    it reacts with strong acids, releasing carbon dioxide:
    CaCO3(s) + 2 HCl(aq) → CaCl2(aq) + CO2(g) + H2O(l)
    it releases carbon dioxide on heating (to above 840 C in the case of CaCO3), to form calcium oxide, commonly called quicklime, with reaction enthalpy 178 kJ / mole:
    CaCO3 → CaO + CO2
    Calcium carbonate will react with water that is saturated with carbon dioxide to form the soluble calcium bicarbonate.
    CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O → Ca(HCO3)2
    This reaction is important in the erosion of carbonate rocks, forming caverns, and leads to hard water in many regions.


    We need chemistwithanose here.... I shall summon the expert....

    We could of course not bother with anything else. I suppose if one could bear the stench, one could stir just a little alcohol in and keep stirring until the paste got looser and add the liquid a bit at a time like loosening a lumpy gravy.... Might be a peg job and definitely outside....

    I'm waiting for a nice day.... and my lovely new scales have just arrived....
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  27. #27

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I noticed fullers earth said it bleached oils..... may be very useful for an overly dark perfume....... that is another story
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  28. #28
    gecko214's Avatar
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    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I guess my concern with fullers earth or bentonite or anything else designed to clarify, bleach or absorb odors or fats is that it might actually absorb and keep the very odors we want to have tinctured into the alcohol. Or would it? I was actually thinking of sandalwood powder, which I do have access to, and maybe I can even get "exhausted" sandalwood powder, I know it is used to make incense. But if calcium carbonate is what was used in the old days and it is completely inert in alcohol, then I guess it would be the best bet.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    I hadn't thought of that. A very good point.... I'm not sure it would because I think the alcohol would 'win', but like you I only have a mere micro dot (3g) to experiment with. Also mine is Ethiopian so maybe even adulterated too. I quite like the idea of exhausted sandalwood powder but it will have the same sort of niff influence as orris. My oldest reference was using loaf sugar.

    I think I may try the smelly lumpy gravy technique with nothing else in.... but not till it's sunny and warm outside. I may be some time waiting living in Britain. It doesn't say where you are on your sig. Are you going to reveal your flag?
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

  30. #30

    Default Re: Need help diluting civet paste

    French Chalk
    A natural compact talc made from a soft magnesium silicate mineral (MgH 2 (SiO 3)4) also known as Steatite or Soapstone.

    Chalk \Chalk\, n. [AS. cealc lime, from L. calx limestone. See Calz, and Cawk.]
    1. (Min.) A soft, earthy substance, of a white, grayish, or yellowish white color, consisting of calcium carbonate, and having the same composition as common limestone.

    Limestone is an organic, sedimentary rock. This means it was formed from the remains of tiny shells and micro-skeletons deposited on the sea bed. They were compressed to form solid rock. Limestone is made up of calcium carbonate and reacts with diluted hydrochloric acid.

    I can get limestone powder very, very easily, or granite or marble dust. I think granite is Crystalline silica. They must be inert.
    Currently wearing: Civet by Houbigant

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