Blog post by Gwen

Civet – spicy and floral and a forever fragrance

It’s the last day of Cocktail Week here in Paris, and what a week it’s been. This annual cocktail fest takes place at bars and speakeasies across Paris that offer cocktails at prices that have left me shaken and stirred. And while I’ve been out and about sampling tipples, I’ve gotten a fair bit of attention – not for my drinking prowess or mixology chops but for the fragrance I’ve been wearing Civet from Canadian niche line Zoologist Perfumes. I’ve been wearing it every day, test-driving it in a way and getting compliments from more than a few Parisians. I’m not surprised. Parisians know their fragrances, and Civet fits in like one of their own.

Launched in 2016, Civet is the second collaboration between Zoologist Perfumes founder and Creative Director Victor Wong and perfumer Shelley Waddington. This is the same pair who produced one of my favourite fragrances of 2015, the Arts and Olfaction award-winning Bat.

Civet is centered on civet musk. I love civet musk in fragrances, but I’ve always had reservations about its use in perfumes because harvesting the secreted oil is such a brutal process for the civet. But Zoologist Perfumes doesn’t use animal products, so I feel better about wearing their fragrances. And that’s a good thing because the instant that Civet hit my skin and the first molecules rose to my nose, I knew that this was going to be a forever fragrance for me.

Civet opens with a nose-tingling citrus fizziness from sour bergamot, bright, vibrant lemon and sweet, succulent orange. Soon, black pepper and spices come forward, warming the citrus fruits, which in turn keep the spiciness fresh and vibrant. Tarragon adds a lovely anisic quality to the opening that bridges it to the floral heart of carnation, frangipani, heliotrope, hyacinth, tuberose and linden blossom.

The heart is big ‘G’ gorgeous! It’s like a magical bouquet from some secret, imaginary garden. I smell carnation’s clove aspect, green scented hyacinth, the heady and tropical-sweetness of frangipani and ylang-ylang and creamy and indolic tuberose, the brightness of Linden blossom and the vanilla facet of heliotrope – all at the same time and some at different times, creating a heart that is gently spiced and sweetly floral.

But it’s the tuberose that lingers through to the base, where it meets the civet. The civet here isn’t skanky or stinky - this is no wild cat. Leather, resins and woods make it sultry and sophisticated, and like its namesake animal, lithe and nocturnal. The surprise is a note of coffee weaves through the base. Civets feed off coffee beans, so there’s some justification for its presence here, not that it needs it.

Civet feels vintage yet modern, and at first, I thought the attention I was getting from Parisians was because Civet resonated with their perfume history, but I realized as time passed that I was overthinking it. Parisians, like people everywhere, know when something smells good.

Check out Civet in our Shop.