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  1. #1

    Default Ylang-ylang and civet

    I tried Chanel's Cuir de Russie recently, and was conquered by it. It is the most beautiful fragrance I have ever smelled. Having admired my paper-strip-sample of it for a week, I have decided to order a sizeable decant of it tomorrow, considering it a must-have.

    Looking over its ingredients, I am surprised to find ylang-ylang. It is not something I would have believed could be used successfully in a fragrance of this type, since so simple and sweet. Nothing like the smooth complexity of the completed blend.

    I feel ylang-ylang occupies a vital place in ameliorating the civet, and, together with the leather and styrax, making it so seductive to my nose - a creamy, flowery animalistic bouquet, quite unlike the "noble rot" of Jicky's civet that mesmerised and disgusted me at the same time. Here I am just enchanted, even while the civet delivers the familiar 'kick' to my limbic system. It is a slight pain that is addictive, rather like the involuntary emotion that good music evokes.

    So I wonder, first, whether anyone could tell me if ylang-ylang is part of some sort of Chanel "house accord"? Are they particularly known for its clever use? I am not very familiar with Chanel, but have heard that it occupies a place in their No. 5 (which I have not smelled).

    Second, are there any other fragrances that use ylang-ylang to cleverly modify another substance?

    Third, are there any other fragrances of this type that anyone could recommend, in which an otherwise disgusting substance is made startlingly good through being cleverly blended with another, perhaps unexpected substance?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    So many questions! Ylang is vital to Chanel No. 5 and blends beautifully with the aldehydes that famously give this fragrance its character. I wouldn't descibe Ylang as simple, it is a most complex oil and could be regarded as a fragrance in itself. It is a favourite with perfumers as it blends with many other materials; other florals such as rose and jasmin, but also Patchouli (as in Jungle) and other woods. I have never heard of a Chanel accord ( similar to the Guerlinard?).

    One of the secrets of Perfumery is the use of trace items which in themselves can smell vile, Civet is an example (although I don't think Civit tincture does smell vile), but there are many others. Many sulphur containing chemicals, pyrazines and nitriles would not be acceptable at high levels, but in small amounts add zing and interest to an otherwise run of the mill fragrance. I'm not going to recommend any other fragrance though; that's for you to find out!

  3. #3

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    I will have to sample this. I love Ylang too, but it is difficult to find many masculine fragrances that contain it.

  4. #4
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Vuarnet Duo Homme has ylang-ylang as a note.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by David Ruskin View Post
    So many questions! Ylang is vital to Chanel No. 5 and blends beautifully with the aldehydes that famously give this fragrance its character. I wouldn't descibe Ylang as simple, it is a most complex oil and could be regarded as a fragrance in itself. It is a favourite with perfumers as it blends with many other materials; other florals such as rose and jasmin, but also Patchouli (as in Jungle) and other woods. I have never heard of a Chanel accord ( similar to the Guerlinard?).
    Perhaps it is an unjust association on my part. I have just known many teenagers who have favoured ylang-ylang, so I have considered it unsophisticated, an oil favoured by young girls and practitioners of aromatherapy. The essential oil is pleasant, but it can become boring or cloying after a while. Cuir de Russie is the only entirely successful use of it that I have come across so far in perfumery.

    I am surprised to learn that sulphur is used in some perfumes. And aldehydes... Interesting. I shall have to investigate which are used in Cuir de Russie. The only notes I've been able to register are civet, leather, styrax, ylang-ylang and iris.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Virgin Island Waters By Creed
    has a ylang ylang note

  7. #7
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    A long list of feminine fragrances (and several masculines) use ylang-ylang. Ylang-ylang lifts oriental notes and softens/rounds harsh notes. It blends especially well with jasmine. Most of the classic feminine Chanels (5, 19, 22, Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie) contain iris, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and rose. The iris in the classic Chanels and many of the Exclusifs is the best you can smell. The dominant floral in Cuir de Russie is iris but the ylang-ylang is more noticeable in the new Exclusifs version than it was in the vintage versions. It's still a compelling fragrance but not nearly what it used to be once Chanel attenuated many things including most of the birch tar (upon which the fragrance is based), the great raw and vitalizing clary sage note, the hints of something urban and rubbery that lifted everything even higher, etc. As well, the Exclusifs version almost leaves the civet smelling as if the fragrance was built around it rather than the birch tar. The civet is substantial in the vintage formulations but more tightly integrated smelling more like healthy sweat and just serving its purpose which is mainly to smooth and maintain a fleshy warmth. Civet and castoreum are far more common in the feminine classics. It's one of many reasons why they tend to be bigger and better compositions.

    The curent Cuir de Russie is still an excellent example of the best materials in the world but it's more of an iris floral animalic, or iris-ylang-jasmine floral animalic with great balsams, louder civet, and distant leather accents. The vintage formulation is probably the best fragrance I've ever smelled, but I can't say the same for the new stuff. Athough it still retains a lot of the same intelligence, it's somewhat feeble (in smell, not structure) and almost gives me the impression that I'm smelling saliva and faint fecal remnants.

    Regardless of your perceptions of ylang-ylang, it's an amazing essential oil when used correctly (I usually just smell it from the bottle). It smells great and is very calming, soothing, and mood lifting.

    Bandit uses a lot of ylang-ylang and civet, as does the original Montana Parfum de Peau. Both are fairly animalic leather chypres if you get the right formulations. Joy and No. 5 are excellent examples of ylang and civet, but they aren't chypres. They are amazing fragrances, though! If you haven't tried both of them in parfum then you are missing a huge part of what great perfume is all about. Tiffany for Men is a great men's fragrance that has a significant but mellow ylang-ylang note.

    This is a fairly accurate notes pyramid for the vintage formulation of Chanel Cuir de Russie:

    Top: Bergamot, mandarin, lemon, clary sage, orange blossom
    Middle: Carnation, orris, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cinnamon, spice bush, rose de mai, vetiver
    Base: Silver birch, juniper, civet, cedar, tobacco, opoponax, styrax, amber, musk

    scentemental should have some good things to say about this, so hopefully he'll be around.

    _
    Last edited by pluran; 23rd March 2011 at 02:23 PM. Reason: mons veneris

  8. #8

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    I suspect in the new EDT formulation the ylang-ylang has been amped up in relation to the iris and the leather note (which is iso-butyle-quinoline). I detect little to no birch or civet in the EDT. The vintage is smokier, the newer juice is more floral.
    -

  9. #9

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Sorry if you misunderstood. I said that sulphur containing chemicals are used, not sulphur itself. The smells of Blackcurrent and Grapefruit, for example, are down to chemicals which contain sulphur. Aldehydes are a group of chemicals which share a common structure in that they all contain a particular arrangement of atoms. The straight chain aldehydes are the ones made famous by Chanel 5 and are found in citrus oils; they smell fatty, clean, green citrus and metallic. But there are many other aldehydes which smell very different. The major components of Cinnamon, Cumin and Vanilla are all aldehydes (all different, not the same one), and Lemon oil and Lemongrass oil both contain the same aldehyde.

  10. #10
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    I suspect in the new EDT formulation the ylang-ylang has been amped up in relation to the iris and the leather note (which is iso-butyle-quinoline). I detect little to no birch or civet in the EDT. The vintage is smokier, the newer juice is more floral.
    The leather in Cuir de Russie (Chanel) has always been rectified birch tar, although there's much less of it in the current formulation due to IFRA restrictions. Leather chypres such as Aramis, Cabochard, Bandit and La Nuit (Rabanne, 1985) use the more bitter isoquinolines. Tabac Blond uses/used to use both.

    If you're not smelling civet in CdR edt and parfum, then you must be smelling the wrong samples.
    Last edited by pluran; 23rd March 2011 at 11:24 PM. Reason: palo santo

  11. #11

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    West Side by Bond no. 9 has plenty of ylang yang.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    The leather in Cuir de Russie (Chanel) has always been rectified birch tar, although there's much less of it in the current formulation due to IFRA restrictions. Leather chypres such as Aramis, Cabochard, Bandit and La Nuit use the more bitter isoquinolines. Tabac Blond uses/used to use both.

    If you're not smelling civet in CdR edt and parfum, then you must be smelling the wrong samples.
    Chanel's CdR , alongside Tabac Blond, has always been a poster child for leading the iso-butyl-quinoline revolution. I don't detect substantial, if any, amounts of birch tar in the EDT. Similarly, I always attributed any slight animalic-amberiness in the drydown to the presence of styrax and a bit of castoreum (as the animalic note was somewhat sweet), similar to how it is constructed in Royal English Leather.
    -

  13. #13
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Chanel's CdR , alongside Tabac Blond, has always been a poster child for leading the iso-butyl-quinoline revolution. I don't detect substantial, if any, amounts of birch tar in the EDT. Similarly, I always attributed any slight animalic-amberiness in the drydown to the presence of styrax and a bit of castoreum (as the animalic note was somewhat sweet), similar to how it is constructed in Royal English Leather.
    Your references are mistaken. Along with the birch tar, the civet in CdR is evident within seconds of smelling it, both getting stronger as it goes. It is correct that the newest formulation contains less birch tar due to IFRA restrictions, but the civet is as strong as ever although it smells different (more plump) due to the other attenuations/re-orchestrations. In order to camouflage the attenuations, the spices and balsams are also more prominent in the new stuff, even having some minor congruence with Polge's Egoiste. Jacques Polge (Chanel's in-house perfumer) discussed the various formulations of CdR (the levels of birch tar and iris specifically) going back to the 20's when he first worked with it in early 1980. I've owned several bottles and have yet to smell anything resembling isoquinolines, or castoreum. For reference, vintage Tabac Blond parfum is loaded with castoreum.

    And for what it's worth, the original formula for CdR and many others can be seen if you know where to look. In most cases it requires knowing someone, but they're not as secret as you might think.
    Last edited by pluran; 23rd March 2011 at 11:13 PM. Reason: mons veneris

  14. #14

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Both Turin and Pluran are in agreement on CdR's use of rectified birch tar rather than isoquinolines.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    Both Turin and Pluran are in agreement on CdR's use of rectified birch tar rather than isoquinolines.
    Having smelled the Givaudan molecule, I detect it strongly in CdR EDT. It may be a certain resemblance or it may have been reformulated and is now a 70-30 quinoline-birch formula but who knows.
    -

  16. #16

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Check out Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir

  17. #17

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Chanel's CdR , alongside Tabac Blond, has always been a poster child for leading the iso-butyl-quinoline revolution. I don't detect substantial, if any, amounts of birch tar in the EDT. Similarly, I always attributed any slight animalic-amberiness in the drydown to the presence of styrax and a bit of castoreum (as the animalic note was somewhat sweet), similar to how it is constructed in Royal English Leather.
    i have to disagree. cuir de russie doesn't smell like ibq has been used. bandit does, especially the vintage. a lot of it!

  18. #18

    Default Re: Ylang-ylang and civet

    to the original poster: ylang ylang is not that strange in a leather type fragrance. in fact, cananga oil (same flowers, different method, big resemblance) is a used in many leather accords. and if canaga is featured in the leather, it would be easy to create a connection between the floral notes and the leather via the ylang ylang route.

    and for no.5, ylang ylang isn't so much pronounced in the vintage as it has been recently. it used to be part of an abstract accord, nowadays the note kind of leaps out at you.

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