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  1. #1

    Default Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I know this can be a sensitive subject, but I'm kind of curious to know if my tastes will change as I stop making estrogen. Have any of you ladies noticed that you either like or dislike civet fragrances as you headed into menopause?

    Example: Jicky EdP has civet, although I understand it's synthetic civet. I haven't smelled Jicky EdP, only the EdT, and it was okay, except for some kind of glue note, maybe that was the civet?

    Example: Profumo from La Via del Profumo sent me some plain natural civet, and I can say now that I did not like it.

    A quick Google search on the subject only yields this:

    It is interesting that, in women, the ability to detect certain kinds of smells is hormone dependent and is much keener near midcycle when the levels of estrogen and progesterone are high. This heightened sense of smell also coincides with the time of ovulation when the probability of conception is greatest.

    From Sue Furman's Turning Point: The Myths and Realities of Menopause (Oxford University Press US, 1997)
    I have noticed that there are certain times of the month when I like a fragrance, and then I don't. I'm thinking that's just the way I am. Fickle. But could there be some truth to this? And would explain why pregnancy (high estrogen state) can be a time when people are really sensitive to fragrances.

    Edit: Oh, gosh, nevermind. I answered my own question!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov has tons of papers on post-menopausal sensory changes.
    Last edited by Aiona; 10th March 2009 at 04:41 AM.
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  2. #2

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    I know this can be a sensitive subject, but I'm kind of curious to know if my tastes will change as I stop making estrogen. Have any of you ladies noticed that you either like or dislike civet fragrances as you headed into menopause?

    Example: Jicky EdP has civet, although I understand it's synthetic civet. I haven't smelled Jicky EdP, only the EdT, and it was okay, except for some kind of glue note, maybe that was the civet?

    Example: Profumo from La Via del Profumo sent me some plain natural civet, and I can say now that I did not like it.

    A quick Google search on the subject only yields this:



    I have noticed that there are certain times of the month when I like a fragrance, and then I don't. I'm thinking that's just the way I am. Fickle. But could there be some truth to this? And would explain why pregnancy (high estrogen state) can be a time when people are really sensitive to fragrances.

    Edit: Oh, gosh, nevermind. I answered my own question!

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov has tons of papers on post-menopausal sensory changes.
    Dear Aiona,
    what do you make of the fact that while 4 women on 5 will not like plain civet, 4 on 5 will like a perfume containing civet and even heavy on it (Mona Lisa).
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  3. #3

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I do not have regular cycles because I have been on hormone therapy for the last 1.5 years. Civet by itself is interesting, and not terribly off putting. It certainly is not complete in itself. The natural civet tincture I smelled is very pleasing in the drydown, though, and now I can recognize it in vintage orientals.

    So, based on my own experience, I suppose the only thing I can say is that with consistent hormonal functioning (not highs or lows of any given hormone), my only reaction to civet is that it is an important perfumery ingredient and I like it very much.
    Last edited by Asha; 10th March 2009 at 01:39 PM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Aiona,
    I developed a keen sense of smell during my 3 pregnancies (especially during first trimester) and I was absolutely miserable. I could smell everything. I was like a hound dog. I was okay with perfume applied moderately but, could not tolerate the smell of meat or anything savory. Those smells made me so sick that I lost 13-20 during the first trimester with each pregnancy. Aiona, you have prompted me to engage in a self study with regard to your question. Thanks.

    Profumo,
    I wonder where I will be in that statistic. Though I have not smelled plain civet, I love civet in perfume. Most every fragrance at the top of my list contains civet. Civet is at the top of my list of samples for my next sample spree at TPC.
    Now, I know I need to read more about this subject but, I would guess that we modern homo sapiens are programmed to detest certain natural essences that our ancients may not have found so objectionable. When these odors are blended with odors that are very pleasant, we find them more pleasing to 'the nose' (the programmed or intellectualized olfactory sense). However, I believe (subconsciously) we may find some of these odors appealing--even in their pure and natural states. Profumo, please educate us...

    Asha,
    Quoted by Asha...So, based on my own experience, I suppose the only thing I can say is that consistent hormonal functioning (not highs or lows of any given hormone), my only reaction to civet is that it is an important perfumery ingredient and I like it very much.
    Ditto!
    Last edited by analavande; 10th March 2009 at 12:59 PM. Reason: add comment
    "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."

  5. #5

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Hm, interesting question. I'm also very curious as to my attitude toward civet and other animalics. I have never smelled them "neat" and tend to gravitate to modern perfumes, which to my knowledge lean less heavily on animalics than classics do. The animalics-heavy scents I've knowingly tried (Jicky, BaV, Nuit Noire, Dzing!, AL Madame X) haven't repulsed me, but I can't count them among my favourites either - but then, I don't know if that's due to their inclusion of animalics or simply because I don't like them. Which happens.
    I wouldn't even know where to start in determining if there's a relation with my hormonal cycle. Would take forever, anyway, with a cycle of nearly 7 weeks.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I have no issues with civet, but I do notice my sense of smell and what I do or don't like the smell of changes throughout the month. Some days something smells great, others it may make me nauseous. Cumin is the one note that I have to be very careful when I wear it because sometimes it smells extremely foody in a savory way and sometimes just slightly spicy in a sweet way.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I'm one of those 80% of women who dislike plain civit but like it when it is covered in flowers.
    I like Jean Patou 1000. I like Jicky. But it gets to be a too much for me when it approaches the level of Rasa Extreme. My sample of civit (although it was synthetic) was nothing that I wanted to smell like.
    One of the notoriously popular perfumes among older women is Paloma Picasso, with its load of castoreum. But then, it is also one of the nicest green scents around. And I've always noticed that older women gravitate toward green scents. Although these usually have nothing to do with animalics, their appeal may be due to the survival instinct which encourages us to eat healthful green vegetables!
    I think I used to be able to smell musk better when I was a teenager.
    And I, too, was repulsed by the smell of cooking meat when I was pregnant.
    On a monthly basis, I don't notice much change in my preference for certain perfumes. My favorites are still my favorites. Real, human body odors, I do become more sensitive to.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by analavande View Post
    Now, I know I need to read more about this subject but, I would guess that we modern homo sapiens are programmed to detest certain natural essences that our ancients may not have found so objectionable. When these odors are blended with odors that are very pleasant, we find them more pleasing to 'the nose' (the programmed or intellectualized olfactory sense). However, I believe (subconsciously) we may find some of these odors appealing--even in their pure and natural states. Profumo, please educate us...
    Perfume is all psychology and when it comes to feminine psychology it becomes very cpmplicated. If you add the hormonal factor, which is also particular of women, any analysis becomes much more complex than if we talked about male perception of scents.
    first of all there is a definite change in women's perception of scent which depends on their particular hormonal system. The parameters can be the period in the cycle, menopause, having or not a partner, pregnancy, being a mother or not...
    Women are very prone to odor traumas during pregnancy, that will change for ever their liking specific scents.
    But this is generally valid for all types of smells, while animals scents which are pheromones, are quite a different matter because they have to do with the reproduction process, production of the ovule, choice of the partner, sexual desire, ecc...
    this is complicated by the fact that some botanical aromas have a strong similitude to animal pheromones (Cumin, Buchu, Vanilla, Sandalwood ecc..)
    Now the psychological aspect takes place to makes things more complicated. Our body reacts like an animal but our brain reasons like a human (a childish one most of the time).
    Every case has to be understood individually in olfactory psychology, even more because the psychological effect of a perfume depends in great part from the context in which it is smelled.

    To cut short, I observed that mostly, lone women in need of a partner tend to like Civet pure.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  9. #9

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Profumo,

    First of all, thank you for responding and, now, forgive my further questions. Please indulge me.

    When you say that 'perfume' is all psychology, I understand you to mean fragrances or scents derived from the compounding of aromatic substances not including pheromones or their botanical equivalents?

    Am I correct in understanding that pheromones and their botanical equivalents elicit physiological (chemical involuntary not physical voluntary) responses over which we really have no control?

    So then in the art and science of Perfumery, when we combine our olfactory psychology (learned and memory associated preferences for scent) with our innate olfactory physiology (primal preferences for scent that help us to be 'fruitful and multiply'), our olfactory psychology predominates our 'olfactory physiology' to the extent that fragrance becomes for us---all psychology? Straighten me out if I am in error. Thanks again respectfully
    "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."

  10. #10

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by analavande View Post
    When you say that 'perfume' is all psychology, I understand you to mean fragrances or scents derived from the compounding of aromatic substances not including pheromones or their botanical equivalents?

    Am I correct in understanding that pheromones and their botanical equivalents elicit physiological (chemical involuntary not physical voluntary) responses over which we really have no control?

    So then in the art and science of Perfumery, when we combine our olfactory psychology (learned and memory associated preferences for scent) with our innate olfactory physiology (primal preferences for scent that help us to be 'fruitful and multiply'), our olfactory psychology predominates our 'olfactory physiology' to the extent that fragrance becomes for us---all psychology?
    I almost understand that question, analavande! I see that if perfumery is "all psychology" then does that override "physiology"? But, how much of psychology is physiology. New drugs are being made that help with depression and even bipolar disorder. Granted, I'm not so sure anyone really knows how they work, but when psychology and physiology can be linked, perhaps you mean to phrase the question as "Does olfactory environmental conditioning override primal physiologic responses?" Am I right?
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  11. #11

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    I almost understand that question, analavande! I see that if perfumery is "all psychology" then does that override "physiology"? But, how much of psychology is physiology. New drugs are being made that help with depression and even bipolar disorder. Granted, I'm not so sure anyone really knows how they work, but when psychology and physiology can be linked, perhaps you mean to phrase the question as "Does olfactory environmental conditioning override primal physiologic responses?" Am I right?
    Yes you are! 100%! I had such a time trying to compose and pose the right question? I pray that my phrasing has not been offensive to anyone. Thanks Aiona.
    Last edited by analavande; 10th March 2009 at 10:50 PM.
    "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel."

  12. #12

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by analavande View Post
    Yes you are! 100%! I had such a time trying to compose and pose the right question? I pray that my phrasing has not been offensive to anyone. Thanks Aiona.
    You're welcome. Now we have the question. But who has the answer?
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  13. #13

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Dear Aiona,
    what do you make of the fact that while 4 women on 5 will not like plain civet, 4 on 5 will like a perfume containing civet and even heavy on it (Mona Lisa).
    I don't know what to make of that, Salaam. But! I propose this. I'm going to meet up with a buttload of cousins this weekend, and some of them are hooked up and some are not. (None of them are in menopause yet.) I'm packing your civet and the Mona Lisa, and I'm going to do a mini experiment. My n-value is miserably small to make any real statistical conclusions, but anecdotally, it would be fun. Akin to counting the lines on one's hands to determine how many kids one will have.
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  14. #14
    Hillaire
    Guest

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Perfume is all psychology and when it comes to feminine psychology it becomes very cpmplicated. If you add the hormonal factor, which is also particular of women, any analysis becomes much more complex than if we talked about male perception of scents.
    first of all there is a definite change in women's perception of scent which depends on their particular hormonal system. The parameters can be the period in the cycle, menopause, having or not a partner, pregnancy, being a mother or not...
    Women are very prone to odor traumas during pregnancy, that will change for ever their liking specific scents.
    But this is generally valid for all types of smells, while animals scents which are pheromones, are quite a different matter because they have to do with the reproduction process, production of the ovule, choice of the partner, sexual desire, ecc...
    this is complicated by the fact that some botanical aromas have a strong similitude to animal pheromones (Cumin, Buchu, Vanilla, Sandalwood ecc..)
    Now the psychological aspect takes place to makes things more complicated. Our body reacts like an animal but our brain reasons like a human (a childish one most of the time).
    Every case has to be understood individually in olfactory psychology, even more because the psychological effect of a perfume depends in great part from the context in which it is smelled.

    To cut short, I observed that mostly, lone women in need of a partner tend to like Civet pure.
    Firstly, the hormonal factor is not particular of women. And this notion troubles me for that reason.
    The whole PMS argument/excuse strikes me a sexist.
    Aren't men notoriously violent when they have high and /or heightened testosterone levels??
    We also now know that not only do men experience a mid-life hormonal shift akin to menopause, they have highly heightened estrogen levels living with a pregnant partner, and also experience a monthly cycle-- though not evidenced by menstruation-- much like women.

    That said, I do think hormonal activity is highly related to smell, arguably for both sexes. Our senses of smell are a huge part of our mating instincts, reproductive selection, etc. And I can personally attest to very distinct preferences and aversions to some odors related to pregnancy and motherhood. I can also tell you that since menopause, many{ more fragrances have become tolerable, that were too intense for me before.

    Finally, to say, as a man, that "lonely women (in need of a partner [my goodness] like civet...)
    is pretty cheeky.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Hillaire wrote:
    Finally, to say, as a man, that "lonely women (in need of a partner [my goodness] like civet...) is pretty cheeky.

    Gosh, when I read it, my first thought was "single women who are open to dating" and assumed this was a distinction from women who were in a loving, established life-relationship.
    Last edited by Asha; 11th March 2009 at 03:39 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    I don't know what to make of that, Salaam. But! I propose this. I'm going to meet up with a buttload of cousins this weekend, and some of them are hooked up and some are not. (None of them are in menopause yet.) I'm packing your civet and the Mona Lisa, and I'm going to do a mini experiment. My n-value is miserably small to make any real statistical conclusions, but anecdotally, it would be fun. Akin to counting the lines on one's hands to determine how many kids one will have.
    Because Perfume is all psychology, you should let them smell Civet among other samples of mine (particularly Castoreum) without making it anything special to them. The psychological effect of a scent depends in great part from the context in which it is smelled (the way it is presented for example).

    I am always sorry when I see some women who refuse what makes them specific from men, and who think that their difference makes them inferior. So they deny it and accuse those who point to them of being sexist.
    Men are very much stable in regard to hormonal balance, while women have a monthly cycle which makes them in a perpetual change. Some events reserved to them, like pregnancy and childbirth are proper hormonal earthquake to their biology.
    Solitude is a tragedy for men as well as women, we remedy to it with patches and surrogates, but the pain remains buried underneath. Woman, as much as man, needs a partner and needs a family. This is part of their biology and of their spirituality.

    I was discussing with Luca Turin about the intensity of sense of smell once, why would the dog smell a thousand times better than us with an epithelium only a third larger than ours?
    I reached the conclusion that it is a question of threshold perception imposed by our brain in order to avoid conflicts between our intellectual social nature (our social life is based on intellectual exchanges) and or physiological (animal) nature. If men were to react like stallions to the smell of ovulating women there could be no social life as we know it.
    So the brain sets threshold to our consciousness of smelling certain odors, particularly to pheromones and particularly after the age of puberty.
    We smell with our brain as much as we do with our nose, if not more.
    It is also psychology that we can love the smell of oignon in the kitchen but we would never wear it as a perfume.
    It is also psychology that we love to smell good for others.
    It is also psychology that for us perfume has to do with spirituality.
    It is also psychology that we have inherited memories of archetypal smells like fire, hay, sea, rain and a lot of others that have had a significance in the development and survival of our specie.

    I repeat that in olfactory psychology, exactly like in olfactory marketing (where it is applied), every case has to be considered particularly, and the principal parameters have to be kept in mind.
    It is much more difficult to make scientific experiments with the sense of smell (as you plan to do), than with anything else, because “perfume is all psychology”.
    Still, making them is wonderfully exciting.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  17. #17

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    let them smell Civet among other samples of mine (particularly Castoreum) without making it anything special to them.
    That's a good point. I'll just pack 'em all.

    I do agree that I am one of those women that wanted so much to do the things that guys do. As I grew up, I was the girl who hated pantyhose, refused to wear dresses or skirts. Often didn't shave. Refused to wear make-up. Somewhere along the lines, it was actually a guy-friend who made me realize that I was really lucky to be the way I am, without requiring major surgery or hormone replacement. No one has kept me from doing the things I wanted to do. I have never encountered a glass ceiling that others talk of. I think the biggest thing my friend taught me was that I am the only barrier to achieving what I want to achieve.

    And time ticks for all of us, but I feel it most these days when I realize that I can't win an intellectual argument with biology.

    It's like trying to fight the discontinuation of a beloved scent.
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  18. #18

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I'm with Profumo in thinking that scents are more closely tied to psychology and evolution than hormone cycles. I'm always repulsed by the smell of cooking meat because I'm a vegetarian and I never cook it, so it's a weird smell that isn't tied to food for me. No hormones involved there I think. In general I don't notice any big changes in my personality depending on what day of the month it is, I think I'm pretty stable when it comes to that.
    But once you get locked into a serious perfume collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.

  19. #19
    Hillaire
    Guest

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Profumo View Post
    Because Perfume is all psychology, you should let them smell Civet among other samples of mine (particularly Castoreum) without making it anything special to them. The psychological effect of a scent depends in great part from the context in which it is smelled (the way it is presented for example).

    I am always sorry when I see some women who refuse what makes them specific from men, and who think that their difference makes them inferior. So they deny it and accuse those who point to them of being sexist.
    Men are very much stable in regard to hormonal balance, while women have a monthly cycle which makes them in a perpetual change. Some events reserved to them, like pregnancy and childbirth are proper hormonal earthquake to their biology.
    Solitude is a tragedy for men as well as women, we remedy to it with patches and surrogates, but the pain remains buried underneath. Woman, as much as man, needs a partner and needs a family. This is part of their biology and of their spirituality.

    I was discussing with Luca Turin about the intensity of sense of smell once, why would the dog smell a thousand times better than us with an epithelium only a third larger than ours?
    I reached the conclusion that it is a question of threshold perception imposed by our brain in order to avoid conflicts between our intellectual social nature (our social life is based on intellectual exchanges) and or physiological (animal) nature. If men were to react like stallions to the smell of ovulating women there could be no social life as we know it.
    So the brain sets threshold to our consciousness of smelling certain odors, particularly to pheromones and particularly after the age of puberty.
    We smell with our brain as much as we do with our nose, if not more.
    It is also psychology that we can love the smell of oignon in the kitchen but we would never wear it as a perfume.
    It is also psychology that we love to smell good for others.
    It is also psychology that for us perfume has to do with spirituality.
    It is also psychology that we have inherited memories of archetypal smells like fire, hay, sea, rain and a lot of others that have had a significance in the development and survival of our specie.

    I repeat that in olfactory psychology, exactly like in olfactory marketing (where it is applied), every case has to be considered particularly, and the principal parameters have to be kept in mind.
    It is much more difficult to make scientific experiments with the sense of smell (as you plan to do), than with anything else, because “perfume is all psychology”.
    Still, making them is wonderfully exciting.
    I would never consider myself less than a man due to my wonderful differences.
    In fact, I relish and cherish all of our delightful differences, and celebrate my womanhood
    often.

    In fact, in pointing out that men, too have tremendous hormonal shifts, I was exalting men to the greatness of women (truly) -- and hoping sincerely that I would hear a chorus of open-minded, self- assured, women-loving men, describe their olfactory experiences in reference to hormonal changes that they had experienced, too!
    My husband gained fifty pounds when I was pregnant, and at this time we discovered that many men have an increase in estrogen production as high as by forty percent!!! We both thought this nothing less than wonderful (he felt like a very physical part of the pregnancy experience), and we assumed biologically that it was probably to ensure a man’s fidelity… but was that not a significant hormone change?!

    Certainly, historically, the claim that men (and not women) are hormonally 'stable', has long been a function of (dare I say it?)a less-than-favorable view of womens’ truly dramatic hormonal experience, and an intellectual way for modern men to separate themselves from the "animal experience" (yes, this historically included women, too) -- and to claim their civility through this distinction.
    And though, no, men don’t attack women in the street like springtime drakes, neither do we women publicly masturbate like baboons. However won’t men, in the tragic state of solitude are be on hormonal alert, too, and perhaps even have increased sensitivity to smell? No?? Don’t human men in altercations exhibit heightened testosterone? Are their senses of smell intensified?? I simply wonder!
    We humans, all of us, are clearly tempered by our intellects and our hormonal states aren’t equally behavior-dictating to animals. However, Wome, and not men, have babies and pregnancies and periods. And we are certainly VERY fortunate. And our senses of smell are affected. Certainly.
    But when I suggested that men experience hormonal shifts as well, and speculated as to the affect of these changes on men’s olfactive experience, I, in no way, either disparaged the wonderful and ecstatic state of my womanhood, nor the earth-shattering experience, hormonally and emotionally that motherhood and childbirth have had on me!
    I simply proposed that, since men have long. vocally. denied. their animal natures, as a function of antiquated notions of a “civilized” patriarchal intelligencia (once upon a time women couldn't vote one because of their animal, “hormonal” bad judgment, n'est ce pas?.) as well as unadulterated “sexism”, that perhaps we could free up some of those binds!!

    Still, despite, all the perils of the past, though, men are wonderfully exciting as well.
    Vive le Difference!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Well, I let all my cousins try a little bit of civet, castoreum, Mona Lisa (which contains civet), and a number of other fragrances by Profumo.

    I was hoping to kind of do a measure of the sensitivity and specificity of civet-enjoyment as a test of relationship status. But it turns out that 100% of my cousins *are* in a relationship. Even the ones I thought were single! One of them, it turns out is engaged, and I didn't even know she was dating anyone!

    And 100% of them didn't like the civet.

    So, without a negative control group, I couldn't do even a fake-experiment. The only thing I found out is that my cousins are all attractive and charming.
    "Embrace those things which give you pleasure, after all, there is so much mediocrity to endure elsewhere." -- Inselaffe

  21. #21

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Generally speaking, my perception of what any fragrance on my skin smells like to me changes as I change through my hormonal cycle. I haven't noticed a more marked difference with fragrance containing civet, but that may be due to me not paying close enough attention.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Around ovulation I crave musk and civet. Around menstruation I cannot stand fragrance, I wear none. Right after, I favor light, clean scents with very little or no animalic notes.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Aiona View Post
    Well, I let all my cousins try a little bit of civet, castoreum, Mona Lisa (which contains civet), and a number of other fragrances by Profumo.

    I was hoping to kind of do a measure of the sensitivity and specificity of civet-enjoyment as a test of relationship status. But it turns out that 100% of my cousins *are* in a relationship. Even the ones I thought were single! One of them, it turns out is engaged, and I didn't even know she was dating anyone!

    And 100% of them didn't like the civet.

    So, without a negative control group, I couldn't do even a fake-experiment. The only thing I found out is that my cousins are all attractive and charming.
    At today's news, and they are very happy ones, it seems that Aiona's scientific experiments have had an inexpected outcome.
    AbdesSalaam Attar
    Composer Perfumer
    http://www.profumo.it/Blog/index.php

  24. #24

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Well, I have just logged back on to BN after a few weeks out of the loop, and was fascinated by what a wide-ranging physiological, sociological and psychological debate had been spawned by the humble secretion of a cat.

    Speaking as one of the 20% of women who dislike civet (though I am favourably teetering towards Bal a Versailles), I report no cyclical changes in my perfume tastes, but I can tell you that I used to own and wear Ysatis and Magie Noire in the 80's, and I do not care for them now - Magie Noire I find especially repugnant, though that may be down to an unsuccessful reformulation. I also occasionally wore Paloma Picasso (on the castoreum side of things), but today it too has me running screaming. I believe the menopause is just round the corner, for what it is worth.

    I wouldn't turn to civet (pure or otherwise) for emotional sustenance, but have had very good results with PG Brulure de Rose.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  25. #25

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Wow, what a cool lil discussion. I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's responses!

    First off, I agree in part with what Hillaire is saying about men and their heightened hormones, but testosterone causes quite different changes in us than progesterone and/or estrogen. I think the question is, Does heightened male hormone affect the male sense of smell the way heightened female hormone affects female sense of smell?

    I also hear what Lian is saying; I dislike the smell of meat cooking because I, too, am vegetarian, but there are definitely times when I just can't stand it and am sickened, and there are those times when it is merely unpleasant.

    Profumo's observation about single women and civet struck a chord, as well. My experience has been that I have felt very self-conscious about the effect certain smells have on the opposite sex. If one's mind is truly open, social morays have no play in how one responds to stimuli. I think a lot of people lie to themselves about their dislike of certain tastes and smells (or their unwillingness to try for one reason or another is simply fear.) 'Acquired taste' doesn't come into play here, right, because we're all talking about base reactions.

    Anyway, my point was that I notice myself intrigued by, but not drawn to, and certainly not drawn to wear, civet/animalic scents, because I'm in a loving, monogamous relationship. It seems that one can see an attractive person and choose at that point how to respond, or condition their mind to respond a certain way. But smell seems to be arbitrary, and if a certain scent puts me out there as being potentially 'available' despite the ring on my left hand, then I'd rather not go there. An animalic accord will elicit a much different reaction than an incense or oakmoss accord.

    I realize this could just mean that I like a more conservative fragrance in general.
    Last edited by Sunnyfunny; 25th March 2009 at 11:11 PM. Reason: seriously. what's up with these asterisks?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I AM a menopausal woman, married for 26 years.
    I've always adored animalic scents, and still do- that hasn't changed.
    From age 3 to 55, so far.
    It wasn't affected by oral contraceptives, either.

    When I was pregnant, I found myself wearing horrifically sweet scents that I would never have worn, otherwise.

    My sons, both of them- 18 and 21- are NOT fond of animalic scents.
    My younger son adores ambergris, but hates musk, civet, and castoreum - yet he likes cumin.
    My husband favors a few animalics, but they are not his preference.

    I firmly believe that there is a component, but whether it is psychological or hormonal, or both, is up for grabs.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I have not noticed any chantes in preference with my cycle. However, I know that some days during my cycle my sense of smell seems to intensify. It is like having a "bionic" nose
    Evenstar

  28. #28
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I cannot decide if I like or don't like the civet in Jicky. I have a new extrait and it is smooth & high quality, like a ride in a Cadillac, but as it blooms on the skin I feel like a tramp! I mean it is like this naughty sex smell that fills the room. (I think we are all adults here, right?) So where am I going to wear this? I'm not an orgy girl. It isn't unpleasant, but it is raunchy.
    Last edited by kumquat; 26th March 2009 at 10:41 PM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by arwen_elf View Post
    I have not noticed any chantes in preference with my cycle. However, I know that some days during my cycle my sense of smell seems to intensify. It is like having a "bionic" nose

    Yes, that explains it exactly!

  30. #30

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    My goodness, such analysis! Imagine the fun we could have regarding stinky cheeses or rubber! In my world it is enough to say that x loves civet, and y doesn't - nevermind the pseudosciences!

    Civet loving Reine

  31. #31

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    I can only speak for myself and my experience....
    I have been tested many times and I have unusally high levels of testosterone. I also LOVE Dzing! and other scents with animalic notes. I'm not saying one has anything to do with the other, those are just my facts.
    Also when I got pregnant I had a crazy bionic nose...like a bloodhound, could smell everything - and I hated all of my usual scents. I only wanted to smell light and clean. I bought a bottle of the new Chloe (which I know hate) and it's the only thing I could wear during my pregnancy. It took me about 3 months after my son was born to not hate my old scents, and about 6 months to love them again. Hormone driven, maybe? but maybe it was mental as well. I believe that the super duper power of smell in a pregnant woman is a defense mechanism to protect the baby from harmful things, so maybe being drawn to "clean" smells is just what my mind perceives as safer?...being pregnant, holding a newborn, maybe on some level I thought that certain scents weren't appropriate?

  32. #32

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Well it certainly has been fun rereading all the responses on here (including my own, because I seem to have done a 180, in some regards.) This thread came about very close to the beginning of my journey, and I have since fallen hard for Tabac Blond, Tabu, and Bal a Versailles, in their current formulations. So I've never smelled the real down and dirty animalics, which surely elicit a different response than the synthetics. Even so, I now wear and love the 'dirty' fragrances, the relationship status and satisfaction level have not changed, and in fact, my husband loves two of those three fumes on me. The time of the month doesn't seem to affect my tastes at all, but, (thank you, ladies) it certainly does explain why the same fume smells particularly strong one day and seems to disappear the next. Cool!

  33. #33

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    This is such an interesting read, thanks for moving it up, Reine. I'm perimenopausal (I say that, my doctor still refuses to commit & just wants me to keep coming back for tests). For myself, I do prefer different types of fragrances depending on the point in my monthly cycle, either very sweet, animalic, spicy and/or vanillic scents --OR-- astringent, green and/or crisp scents at the opposite point. It's seems to be pretty consistently timed, so I believe there could well be a hormonal component. Diet has an effect, too. Lately, I've given up wheat, corn and dairy, and I find my sense of smell is growing more sensitive as my sinuses clear up, and there are fragrances I can't tolerate anymore. I believe diet will also affect hormones. My psychological olfactory triggers are almost always natural environmental smells...sea, soil, locale or terroir, as the French say, or the scent of a certain city, or the smell of horse stalls, for example. These are the kinds of smells that move me and affect me profoundly, and rarely a commercial perfume, although I love playing with them. I've enjoyed civet in fragrances over the years (I thought Mona Lisa was lovely, btw). I don't seem to mind civety skank, certain times of the month I quite enjoy it. I don't think I've ever smelled civet in its natural state, though. Maybe it would repel me, I don't know. I'm happily married, no children, if that's relevant. We'll see, as I go forward toward menopause, whether or not I still enjoy civet. (If I rambled, forgive me!)

  34. #34

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Interesting discussion. It was after my hysterectomy 2 years ago that I started craving rose perfumes in any and all forms while recovering. It was then I remembered that during each of my pregnancies (2 resulting in children) I also chose to wear rose perfumes. I ended up stopping wearing the rose scents after my girls were born and as I recovered from surgery, thinking oh well its just one of my perfume note phases. Doing some cursory research showed that rose in aromatherapy is often associated with women, healing and reproductive "issues". I am rather "meh" regarding rose scents now but my older daughter who is having some issues with her cycle and hormones has been wearing rose centred perfumes for almost a year now- she just finds they are what appeals to her. Naturally I've given her all mine that I don't wear anymore

    Civet- I have always abhorred civet scents, being unable to smell Jicky & Bal a Versailles (for example) without feeling ill. However, as my hormones have done a weird "rebalancing" over the past 2 years I have grown to LOVE civet perfumes. I can't speak to just civet as I have never smelled the raw material. I've gone from gagging and disgust to feeling like it smells like velvet, or almost anosmic. And the white musks I used to love make me ill- go figure! Il Profumo Musc Bleu, generally thought of as one of the cleanest musks, is unbearable for me. No Musc Bleu but bring on the Jicky lol

    I am sure there is a hormonal aspect to scent- random things like green peppers made me throw up when I was pregnant. Both of my daughters and I have discussed having heightened senses of smell during our cycles- like being able to smell dirty hair from across the room. The best was my daughter saying she could smell the inside of her nostrils! And now there are times when I notice I can too :s

    I wouldn't be surprised to hear that men have hormonal "scent swings" as well, but I think for women we have specific timing and occasions like our cycles, pregnancies, menopause etc that allow us to better gauge these things.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    This is a very interesting thread, I find the personal side of these stories fascinating.

    For those interested in a scientific take on the subject, here's a recent review, free in Pubmed:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693767/

  36. #36

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Interesting topic and discussion!
    I think there is a great difference between the pure stuff and it's inclusion as part of a composition. And I understand it consolidates a fragrance and makes it last much longer?

    And what if a lesbian is in serious need of a woman to share her life with? would that mean she'd be more into civet or less?


    I have read a report that men on the whole share the same hormonal disturbances as women. Only in women they are related to their cycle and very predictable, while in men they are totally unpredictable.
    So that actually makes it easier for women. They can check where they are in their cycle and put things more into perspective.
    While men are clueless.

    As men are at the mercy of completely unpredictable hormone imbalances, and women know where they are and what they can expect from their hormones, I wonder if we should let men have the vote....

  37. #37

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Daly View Post
    Interesting discussion. It was after my hysterectomy 2 years ago that I started craving rose perfumes in any and all forms while recovering. It was then I remembered that during each of my pregnancies (2 resulting in children) I also chose to wear rose perfumes. I ended up stopping wearing the rose scents after my girls were born and as I recovered from surgery, thinking oh well its just one of my perfume note phases. Doing some cursory research showed that rose in aromatherapy is often associated with women, healing and reproductive "issues". I am rather "meh" regarding rose scents now but my older daughter who is having some issues with her cycle and hormones has been wearing rose centred perfumes for almost a year now- she just finds they are what appeals to her. Naturally I've given her all mine that I don't wear anymore

    Civet- I have always abhorred civet scents, being unable to smell Jicky & Bal a Versailles (for example) without feeling ill. However, as my hormones have done a weird "rebalancing" over the past 2 years I have grown to LOVE civet perfumes. I can't speak to just civet as I have never smelled the raw material. I've gone from gagging and disgust to feeling like it smells like velvet, or almost anosmic. And the white musks I used to love make me ill- go figure! Il Profumo Musc Bleu, generally thought of as one of the cleanest musks, is unbearable for me. No Musc Bleu but bring on the Jicky lol

    I am sure there is a hormonal aspect to scent- random things like green peppers made me throw up when I was pregnant. Both of my daughters and I have discussed having heightened senses of smell during our cycles- like being able to smell dirty hair from across the room. The best was my daughter saying she could smell the inside of her nostrils! And now there are times when I notice I can too :s

    I wouldn't be surprised to hear that men have hormonal "scent swings" as well, but I think for women we have specific timing and occasions like our cycles, pregnancies, menopause etc that allow us to better gauge these things.
    Jane, it's nice to see you again. I enjoy your posts. I understand the thing about the scent of the inside of one's nose, or entire nasal cavity in my case. I swear sometimes I smell something slightly vanillic, and I don't know if I'm smelling it from within or coming off my skin, but it's not perfume, it's just some weird thing that happens sometimes.

  38. #38
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    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Hi Jane !

    I love civet and I don't think I have ever had an aversion to it.

    I only know that I crave perfume even more just before my cycle begins and then the craving gets less intense the days after . I have noticed this consistently now for some time.
    My nose has gotten even more sensitive since becoming seriously interested in perfumes and scents. Like Jane has said, I constantly smell unwashed bodies and hair when I go out and I have to move away from these people. I don't know if this is hormone related or not but it's strange.
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/370...o-Profumo-Onda
    For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.

  39. #39

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    My sister could not tolerate jasmine in any form during her entire pregnancy.

    I know I sometimes have an affinity for aldehydes. Sometimes I CRAVE Maitresse by Agent Provocateur. At other times, I want leather and jasmine.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Civet and hormonal cycle -- is there a link?

    Thanks so much Lilybelle & MimiGardenia. I've always enjoyed chatting perfume with you too. So kind, mindful and insightful- taking perfume to a whole other level ((hugs))

    The highly tuned nose can be a blessing and a curse. Toss some hormones into the mix and whoa.

    Mimi I can blame you for my addiction to Jicky! Only edp will do! It is SO divine.

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