|Note type: ||MUSKY, ANIMALIC, WARM|
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The perineal gland of a small African carnivore, Viverris civetta, produces one of the world's most sought-after natural aromas of animal origin: civet. The name is also given to the animal itself (from the Arabic zabad, "musk").
Few civets now exist in nature, and those that do are mainly to be found in Ethiopia and Egypt. Most are raised in captivity for the purposes of extracting the precious aromatic substance they produce.
Every week, the civet secretes three or four grams of its precious musk, which is generally removed using a spoon. Even when living in the wild, the civet needs to unburden itself of its glandular secretions on a regular basis, and to do so it rubs itself against rocks and tree trunks.
Natural civet (also known as civetone) has a potent animalic odour that's very warm and pungent, similar to the fragrance of musk. Freshly gathered civet is a foamy, oily, sticky white liquid that turns darker as it hardens until it gains its characteristic appearance of an ochre-brown mud.
Its peculiar olfactive character is due to civetone, a cyclic ketone which is one of the oldest ingredients of perfume, due partly to its remarkable fixative properties. Civetone can now be produced synthetically.
Increasingly rare as a natural compound, civet combines well with many essential oils, and especially when dissolved in the oils of Agarwood, Ambergris, Cistus, Ginger, Indian spikenard, Iris, Musk oil, Patchouli, Vanilla, Vetiver and White musk.
popular herbalist tradition)
Civet was already being collected for commercial purposes as early as 1000 BC, and King Solomon is known to have imported it from the Horn of Africa.
It became widely used in Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
In addition to its use in the perfume industry (as a perfume in its own right and as a fragrance ingredient in compound scents, especially in the 19th century), civet has also been used for medicinal purposes since ancient times due to its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties (it soothes skin affected by dermatitis).
Few substances have such a long tradition in aromatherapy: for nearly three thousand years civet has been celebrated for its invigorating and aphrodisiac properties (it was formerly used in the preparation of an aphrodisiac pomade). It was also rubbed into furniture for use as an ambient fragrance.
Civet is still used today in the Arabian peninsula and east Africa in the treatment of hormonal disturbances and as a remedy for hair loss.
Natural civet is a truly rare and precious substance, but is difficult to process: it takes an expert perfumer to get the most out of the unique potential it offers.
Our civet oil is a synthetically produced fine fragrance containing a fraction of the natural animal secretion; like the natural substance, it has good fixative properties and a warm, seductive and sensual note that's reminiscent of musk on first impression.
It's used as a fragrance component in perfumes with enveloping, voluptuous notes, and as a fixative in various kinds of aromatic compositions.