Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Day 7 ~ One Year, One Nose


An Ounce of Civet (really, less than a gram)



Someone gifted me a small bottle of this stuff -- someone who obviously hates me (not really, she just knows that I am ever the curious cat) -- in an effort to tickle my olfactophile tendencies.

However, as a preface to this evaluation, I must say that I disagree with -- is it Steffan Arctander? I think it is -- who said civet didn't smell like shit. It does. Tremendously. Just sayin'.

On an odor intensity scale of my own design, I rate civet as a 7 (10 being a true screamer of a stink). Civet smells of vomit, rotting dirty feet, loads of crap, and brings to my mind memories of scooping huge piles of dog crap (we had a giant German shepherd) up in the backyard -- that came out of a dog who didn't have the best of diets as he was a sneaky midnight snacker of the neighbor's trashcan. We once came home from an all day excursion to find our silly dog in the back yard eating the innards of an aluminum can. He had managed to chew off the bottom seal of the can (the top was wide open) and had cut his bottom lip partially off. He was sent to the vet for a total lipectomy. After that he always looked as if he were grinning maniacly as his bottom teeth were always showing. And he wisely stopped digging in the neighbors trash. He also lived to a ripe old age.

So back to civet. It ranks a 7 and not a 10 because I'm a masochist and must love the smell of poop. The sensory feel I get from this scent is gritty and intense, rough, like sandpaper. In this form I cannot imagine how it could be used in a perfume. At all. The color of the civet tincture was crystal clear, but the color I see in my mind's eye is, of course, poop brown.

I definitely see the fixative potential of this material, but I -- gah! It's just too horrid to even think of using in something people -- strangers to me! -- will be spraying on their bodies. It's like something you'd think of people doing in BDSM clubs (not that I would know about any of that stuff -- no, really!)

I can say this much for civet tincture, it definitely mellows as it dries on the stick, lowering it's rankness down to halitosis instead of vomit, rotted feet, and shit.

The small vial of civet goes in the library, never to be smelled again, unless I'm trying to scare someone.

3 comments:

  1. Did you ever get the slightly rosey scents from the tincture? Raw civet paste is a toughie, hard to see anywhere past fecal. But I have tinctured at 1% and it really opens up and reveals some nice facets that I think would support florals well. Beyond that, it plays alchemist in the bottle. You may never small and say "Civet", but you may smell and say "what the hell happened that made it so different" Where did you source your civet? I would be happy to send you some samples of my civet tinctures if you wish.
    Michael
    d.stramonium@yahoo.com

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  2. Hello Michael, thank you for commenting! I have a small smear of the paste, a 10% dilution, and a 1% dilution. My eval was of the 10% and the whole paste. A friend of mine sent me the sample and I believe she sourced it from another perfumer, whose name I did not catch. I was being quite unfair to Mr. Civet in my eval by not using the 1% dilution, however I felt it would have been a little less interesting a read. I do find the 1% to be a much nicer level at which to evaluate as all the nuance of the civet paste begin to present. I can't say I've picked up a rosy tone to the 1% but perhaps now I will consciously sniff for it and see (smell) what I get. I don't use civet in my perfuming at all and most likely never will, but I do find it an interesting subject for evaluation. Again, thank you so much for comment. By the way, I love your email addy :)

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  3. My pleasure, thank you for sharing the wonderful olfactory experiences!

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