Blog post by Gwen
Zoologist Civet - zoologist.com
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.
It’s also the second scent in the ‘Zoologist Animalic Musk Trilogy’. Beaver was the first and was centred on castoreum. Civet is centered on civet musk - the glandular secretion produced by the civet cat (A/K/A Viverridae, the family name of small to medium-sized mammals found in Asia, Africa and southern Europe).
Now, 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 since Zoologist Perfumes does not use animal products 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 spices , 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 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 name sake 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 all the attention I was getting from Parisians was because Civet resonated with their perfume history, but I realized as time passed that it isn’t that complicated.
Parisians, like all people, know when something smells good. I hope Mr. Wong has a lot of this stunning juice cause men and women everywhere are going to want to wear it.
Civet is listed in our Decant Store.