Art and Olfaction Awards finalist, 2017. The company says:
As the sun sinks over the dense tropical forest, civets emerge warily from the thickets. Under a carpet of narcotic flower blossoms, a smattering of coffee berries peppers the ground. The moist air is heavy with mossy aromas that penetrate every crevice, but the musky scent of the civets dominates; their marked territory daring one to enter at one’s own risk.
Zoologist Civet pays homage to the age-old ingredient, civet, as well as chypre perfumes of bygone days – perfumes that refused to be intimidated by raw, alluring, animalistic musks. Civet is a moody and complex brew entwined in mystery. It opens with a spicy floral accord, threaded through with dark coffee tones. Slowly it prowls forward, unraveling base notes of leather, moss and vanilla that combines with distinctive civet musk to create a bewildering, sophisticated scent with the promise of a sultry nighttime rendezvous.
Civet fragrance notes
- bergamot, black pepper, lemon, orange, spices, tarragon
- carnation, frangipani, heliotrope, hyacinth, linden blossom, tuberose, ylang ylang
- balsams, civet, coffee, incense, labdanum, musks, oakmoss, resins, russian leather, vanilla, vetiver, woods
Where to buy
Latest Reviews of Civet
If I were to guess, I’d say the formula for this one got mixed up with something bound for an incinerator. Not that I plan to burn it or anything.
Lest that smell even worse.
All that said, this dries down to an absolutely wonderful skin scent. It takes all night, but you’re left with something very special on your wrist in the morning. What is it, an aquatic sandalwood? Yes, I think that covers it.
So I’m torn. Guess that means Neutral. Yet again.
The opening is a blast of citruses and spice, replacing what would otherwise be seen as the dated aldehyde opening of chypres past. The sweet tangerine, orange, and lemon play well with the black pepper and tarragon, bringing us easily into the fruity-floral core that defines most of Zoologist Civet. Tuberose, frangipani, and carnation form the heart, and here is the biggest reason I ultimately feel indifferent about it. I'm not the biggest fan of peachy, fleshy tuberose, nor am I the biggest lover of sweet frangipani either, so with both overdosed as they are here in Zoologist Civet, I struggle to overcome the apricot nightmare they create in my mind. This is one osmanthus note short of making me run to scrub however, and they do gradually soften with the carnation, backed by hyacinth and musky ylang-ylang, although it's not enough to save it for me. The claimed wisps of coffee are also noticeable here, which adds yet another gourmand facet in addition to the fruit blast which I am not super okay with, even though the rest of the base is nice. Patchouli, birch tar, oakmoss, labdanum, and the rest of the classic chypre vibe is here, recreating some of the Mousse de Saxe beauty that merges with the latecoming civetone to bring a slight urine quality to the finish. Notes of fresh cedar polish it off, and the far dry down I actually enjoy. Performance is stellar, and use where/when you want, because the affable nature of the arrangement really does belie the musky growl underneath, although it stops shy of being a modern day red light fragrance.
Problem for me personally, is it's not really worth waiting for the far dry down while putting up with all that tuberose, frangipani, and swirling sweet citrus notes which dominate for the first four hours or so of this fragrance. This is strictly a taste thing on my part, as I really do not like sickly-sweet fruity florals, "fruitchouli" orientals, or candy fruit ethyl maltol gourmands. What Zoologist Civet effectively does, at least in my mind, is mix this very popular modern style with the form factor of a classic early 20th century chypre, then tosses some cat pee on top to justify the name of the perfume. For lovers of far feminine-leaning perfumes, this might just be a perfect blend of new and old, bringing all the youth bounce and sweetness of a modern day designer women's fragrance, with the gravitas and come-hither allure of a classic chypre once worn by mature take-charge women who knew what they wanted and didn't ask for it. I can really appreciate this vibe, as it's something we need to see more of (and not just in expensive niche land), it's just not something I could particularly enjoy wearing. I tend to like my bold women's chypres full of butch leather and smoke, or resplendent yellow florals filled with blooming aldehydes, real Bette Davis or Catherine Hepburn stuff. By comparison, Zoologist Civet is more like Joan Rivers, who was in a perpetual state of cosmetic revision her whole life, in that it feels so face-lifted as to be more about its own revision than about what originally lied under it all. Still, if you like fruity sweet animalic chypres, this is of a rare breed not to be missed, and samples are easy to come by. I'm just not a fan of the style presented, but can appreciate the work put in by Waddington herself. Neutral
This isn't a heavily animalic fragrance, and I appreciate that. I can only really notice the harsh parts of the civet note in the first thirty seconds. Past that, everything blends really well together. I will say though that this really needs warmth to bring out some of the special aspects. My wrists dim into dry resins and incense quite quickly whereas my chest projects sweet honeyed florals for longer.
Overall I would say this is a modernized version of an older era of perfumery, and done well. The kind that makes me appreciate things I wouldn't normally. It's not one of my favorites, personally, but I definitely see the value here.
A bittersweet coffee and vanilla opening with a full texture, leather and a furry musk coming up dry and a little dusty through florals, predominantly tuberose and heliotrope with a tropical frangipani/ylang-ylang accord. Although each of the florals are identifiable, they're blended to give just an edge of softness and beauty to a somewhat grainy texture. Within 20 minutes, it's settled into a vanilla-coffee, ambery musk with the florals drifting by on a soft breeze. Cool, smooth labdanum is a great base for spicy frankincense with vanilla keeping the basenotes from becoming too dry.
In low doses, it's powerful but stays close to the skin. After 6 hours, it's barely there. It's totally gender-neutral and I find it very sexy. Scent is often akin to framed moments of foreplay - like the glamorous, saturated city lights of Tom Ford, or the rich mystery of vintage Guerlain - but this is the smell of *actual* sex, not the evening that came before it.