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!
Thread: 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.
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!
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......
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.
Blimey. Is it that powerful? Don't throw it away.... I will dilute it for you if OH wants to make you.
Its not synthetic. But what could or would I dilute it with?
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.
Thank you....I will try that this weekend and let you know how it goes!
Here is the masters kit. It indicates that 10g of civet makes 1 litre of tincture. That is indeed useful to know.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
i think foodgrade just means that there are no poisonous additives in the mix.
Thank you for that info gido. There is always so much to learn. I love this site.
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!
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?
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 įC 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....
I noticed fullers earth said it bleached oils..... may be very useful for an overly dark perfume....... that is another story
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.
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?
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.
Well I have a bit more, 50 grams, but still it is expensive stuff that was hard to come by and it would be a shame to waste it. I would be happy to put up the flag but don't know how to do it... I live in the tropics, Burma actually, so no issue with working outside (although right this moment we are having oddly out of season rains and a "cold" spell -- 16 degrees at night, which is, I know summer in the UK, but here that is really cold, especially considering it was 30 at night just a week ago). On the chalk issue, the book said "exhausted orris root or whiting". For "whiting" my search came up with chalk or calcium carbonate. Don't know if that is accurate but it seems to be...
With 50g, you could try it five ways. My orris powder still is not tired enough.
I don't pretend to be an expert in anything fragrance related--I'm confined to a very narrow niche of inorganic late transition metal chemistry (there perhaps I may make a small claim). Thanks for the flattery though!
These materials are just to aid it in dispersing and increasing the available surface area for it to dissolve. There may be some adsorption of odour components onto the material's surface (much like how activated carbon is utilized for removing odours and decolorizing organic products). Fuller's earth and bentonite are essentially the same thing. Kitty litter is bentonite, so the very cheapest kitty litter would be useful.
Frankly, I'd just get a blender and get it all into solution that way and then toss that blender.
Civet is evil-smelling and quite odoriferous to boot. That said, one must wear gloves and exercise extreme care in handling this paste material. I would weigh it into a tared bottle, at most 0.750 g/100 mL solvent (less is more with this animalic in my opinion as it is downright feral if overused). Then add the alcohol and any abrasive material and shake.
This is one of those times that a Soxhlet apparatus is nifty--input incredibly vile civet concentrate in cup, and then extract.
You are a Chemical angel when we needed you. Thank you.
I admit I had to look up what on earth a Soxhlet was. That looks a very whiffy process. Would a cold wine filter suffice?
I dared get my civet out of the box today. I must say although extremely powerful, it wasn't altogether unpleasant. It seemed so and nearly took your breath away, but if you held it at arms length and smelled the after waft (outside). it definitely had the same sort of catty smells as a Jasmine Sambac or similar. I can see that in extreme dilutions, this could be fun to use with flowers.
Our puppy thought I had given him a whiff of heaven. Those eyes......
Thanks to both if you. Hmm. A Soxhlet extractor. I actually have one and have used it with ethanol as the solvent. I did not know that is what it is called... Besides the smell of 78 degree cat juice concentrate, I wonder if the heat would not denature the scent? You mentioned a sonicator in another post I was involved in and would that not also be a (low temperature) option here?
Sonication rates as a very thorough cell-disrupter, sometimes too strong for the cells and proteins in question. If scientists need to use a more delicate procedure, they generally choose a traditional process such as enzyme digestion (disruption by chemical reaction) or grinding with a material such as sand.
It would be interesting to see if it actually altered a smell.....
They are not expensive. I have been looking at them to aid with difficult tinctures like ginseng roots. The cheap ones are aimed at the jewellery cleaning market. They range from a few quid for one doing 6500 waves a minute on battery power through to ones for about £100 at 42 kHz frequency. These clean your CD's, your specs and your dentures too. Handy!
Has anyone out there used one for tinctures?
Ok, this weekend I took the plunge and did a tincture with 10 grams to make 1 liter in ethanol 96%. I used calcium carbonate which did a very nice job of triturating. I did go outside and used gloves and an apron etc as suggested. I used a (very) small glass bowl and a stainless chemistry spatula (don't know the name) to mix in the whiting. It took about three measures by volume to get it to become granulated rather than a white past (like mixing flour into softened butter, for those who cook). Then into a 1 liter brown reagent bottle, then ethanol to the top. Stir with glass rod. The paste is completely broken up and the calcium carbonate seems to do very well falling to the bottom and not clouding the liquid (after settling a few hours of course).
The scent is already very strong after just a couple days. I don't think a 5% tincture would ever be needed. The scent I am getting so far is still a parma cheese-like strongly animalic smell. I am not getting any sweetness. Like many aromatics I have come to work with it has a strong memory association for me, but I cannot exactly place it, a kind of "I know that smell", tip-of-the-tongue type feeling. On its own not unpleasant to me but also not exalting either (e.g. unlike muskdeer or ambergris, which I find quite pleasant and seductive on their own). I did a couple experiments with this very raw tincture though (as I am impatient) with a few drops mixed with natural florals (jasmin sambac, rose otto, etc) and it seems to be an amplifier, making the scents LOUD and thick, no longer thin and (only) flowery. Also very interesting with sandalwood, making it both have more body and, well, more "floral". I can't wait to play more with it when it has matured.
I'm just testing some very fine budgie sand that has oyster shell remnants in it with alcohol in a ginseng root tincture to see that it doesn't cloud. So far so good. It is heavy, so it sinks immeadiatly and is totally inert. I actually normally use it for cleaning out dirty demijohns. If you ever need to clean a filthy or smelly bottle, it's very effective.
Your tincture sounds good. What fun!
what's with all the other stuff?
here's the recipe for civet tincture, the standard in modern perfumery (of course, the real thing isn't used in post-modern perfumery) from our friend steffen arctander.
Civet Tincture may be produced directly from
the crude civet by maceration with 95% ethyl
alcohol. It is customary to use either 5 or 10 parts
by weight of alcohol to one part by weight of
civet. The tinctures may be prepared with or
without the application of heat. In any case, the
tincture must be well chilled prior to filtration
which can take place after a maceration time of
several months. The tinctures are labelled Civet
Tincture 20% (respectively 10%).
for evaluation and experimental purposes only, i would dilute some of the tincture 10% (or even less) in alcohol.
btw. is the initiator of this thread, genieg, still around? i wonder how it turned out, the tincture should be ready by now.
What's with all the other stuff.... it was a discussion resulting from a reference from a really old recipe saying macerate with loaf sugar. I cannot find my original reference material right now. It was looking for the right something to break the civet lump up completely without touching it or leaving any smell of it's own, or pinching the smell from the civet. Thank you for that recipe gido. Thanks to your advice, I own the most wonderful scales as from a few days ago. Now I can make mine.
he also mentioned that 'gentle heat is applied since the fatty raw material is almost insoluble in cold alcohol and tends to “protect” the active ingredients from being extracted.'
now, you be careful with this! heating alcohol can be very dangerous. just make it warm, not hot!! let's keep it at 50 degrees celsius, that's pretty safe. do not tight close the container, make sure no pressure can form (ie, air should be able to escape) while you are heating it up. you could use some foil when you've reached the right temperature, as it will expand under pressure, and give away when the pressure gets too high. try to keep the temperature more or less stable. and please, no open fire anywhere in the room, no smoking, etc. keep the room well ventilated.
you only need the warmth to dissolve the civet, and you can stir or shake vigorously to agitate it further.
when it's dissolved, let it cool to room temperature and close the container firmly tight. then let it macerate for several months. maybe half a year at the max, surely nothing much will be happening after that. then, filter as described above, and you're done.
Last edited by gido; 23rd March 2011 at 10:57 AM.
mumsy, if you're really scared to do it, i can do it for you. my charge? 10% of the tincture with a minimum of 5ml and a maximum of 25ml. plus half the shipping costs (you pay yours, i will pay mine).
arctander is really the best source. there's simply no bullshit, like in many (most) books i've seen. they are a man's life work, and it prices accordingly (the complete paper version goes for over 1000 dollars, you can get the crappy scanned cdrom, like i did, for around 300$).
another good one is piesse. but, while arctander is a little dated, piesse's work is of another age. basically, piesse's book was just a few decades before modern perfumery took off, while all these big things had already happened when arctander wrote his books. there's a century in between, and in that century, just about everything changed.
also, piesse restains himself from giving you all the information. he had to protect his business! if he had given the real formula's, his book would be a good seller, but his perfumes sales would drop like a brick. he gave us sketches, perhaps somewhat closer to note pyramids than real formula's. there are some interesting pieces on his book on octavians blog, right now.
Scared... me.... Naaah. Just Virgoan style micro detail shredding. I also didn't want to guess the proportions so had to wait until I could afford the scales. I like to be exacting with such things. I have a good source of constant heat. I shall put it on the warming side of the aga or on a storage heater. I shall check the temp with water first. I shall give you some anyway if you like, you don't have to earn it. My reference came from a 17th c manuscript I think and I cannot remember where I found it. Probably somewhere on the internet. When I come across it again, I shall tell you.
Last edited by bonvivant03; 14th September 2011 at 04:18 AM.
Well I think this thread got resurrected by mistake, but since it did: do you have a functioning dilution of your civet paste now? I should be fascinated to hear how it worked and how it differs in use from the synthetics that I use . . .
I'll do some swaps if you like, but it will only be micro amounts as i didn't make much. Pm me if you'd like some to smell. It's rather lovely in a stinky jamine way.
Mine seems to be ready. At 1% it is strong and I find I use only minute amounts in the experiments I have been doing with it. I still detect no fecal quality to it; maybe that is just my nose. It does (still) have a deep, strong, rounded, nutty parmigiano cheese quality to my nose with maybe a dash of modeling clay. I like the smell in a guilty-pleasure kind of way (the way a very faint skunk smell, when passing roadkill, can be secretly pleasant, even if we don't want to admit it). I get very little "sweetness" and to me it seems to have almost nothing to do with any artificial musks I have smelled (granted, I have not smelled that many). In very low concentrations is does have floral notes and I can see why it is related to jasmine, but definitely the dark, hidden, troubled soul of jasmine, not its public side.
can i ask you where do you shop for supplies please? :P
I got mine in Thailand directly from the farm, I can PM you the info if you like.
yes please, it'd love to know!! Thanks a lot@@
Civet civet where are thou