I don’t want to mislead you. “Civet” by Zoologist is by no means an aquatic perfume. But this sea and its white foam spluttering wild horses made me feel that bit more alive today, alongside “Civet“. I was watching from a sheltered spot, a suspended parapet near the train station close to where I work and the combination of cold, salty breeze and the narcotic white floral scent emanating from the depths of my blanket sized scarf was about as close to perfection as I could possibly hope for an otherwise dreary Monday.
“Civet” took me by surprise, because it’s more an elegant floral chypre rather than the snuggly animalic oriental I was initially expecting due to the promised musky inspiration. And yet this elegance has something wild, untamed at its chore. A bit dishevelled, like a white silk dress, frayed and ripped, and spluttered with mud but still exquisite in its cut and detail. It also reminded me a lot of the images I saw with the Ethiopian people of the Omo Valley who have the most amazing, original, artistic fashion sense. Their boundless imagination is breathtaking. Their spirit is pulsating with raw energy. Their creativity is striking and innovative. I spent hours staring at incredibly sophisticated fashion statements put together out of whatever nature can offer and nimble fingers can make: flowers, herbs, fruits, natural colorants, strings of beads, old watches, scraps of fabric, animal bones, you name it, nothing gets wasted, everything gets a new lease of spiritual, elevated life. Something as humble as a bunch of green, glistening banana leaves can become a majestic headdress, more regal than a heavily bejewelled gold crown. This sense of refined wilderness stirs me, touches me deeply. It feels so authentic, so profound! A Garden of Eden on Earth although this is a dangerous illusion to have. And yes I know it’s an illusion. The tribes of Omo Valley are under threat by the advance of Western civilisation and their future looks grim. I digress. The point I wanted to make is that “Civet” has the same energetic ripple, the same unbridled flow of life but raised to the sophistication level of the finest French perfumes. All the notes are vibrant and luscious, yet they blend with one another seamlessly, creating a perfume of passionate sensuality and refined appearance, which is perhaps the best kind of perfume to have.
“Civet” is quite the complex fragrance, and there are various tonalities ringing through it: a very bright, spicy-citrus start, with something herbal lurking at the edges, then a sweet, drop-dead gorgeous heart of tuberose and ylang ylang rounded off with powdery nuances and finally a dry, mossy base with a nutty-vanillic warmth mimicking the scent of hot, aroused skin. Overall, “Civet” made me think of vintage Diorella, but sweeter and more tropical. And definitely less urinous, which for some might be a plus and for others a minus. For me it simply means “Civet” is a beautiful perfume in its own right. Lovers of rich white florals with fruity modulations and a chypre allure should definitely try “Civet“. And for those afraid of overtly animalic connotations, no need to worry, the effect here is more of a golden, hazy warmth rather then direct bodily references. Highly recommended!
*Disclaimer: sample provided by the brand. This hasn’t affected my review in any way, my opinions are my own and sincerely expressed.
* Sea image: my own
* Woman image: ©Hans Silvester