Adam Michael has this to say “This is Indian material (not African), collected from the secretions of the female and male civet cats. The material is a solid waxy mass, golden brown in colour which quickly becomes pourable with gentle warmth. The initial aroma is overbearing, raw, vile and slightly faecal. However, well diluted the aroma of civet absolute is entirely different, displaying musky, smoky and heightened sweet animalic notes of sublime tenacity that in trace amounts will add soft velvet, animalic and musk qualities to many perfume bouquets.
This material rarely appears for sale as a true natural, I think at the time of writing we are the only UK business offering this which is largely because most perfumers choose the synthetic substitutes, entirely animal friendly and more cost effective compared to the natural. Clearly selling civet is a serious grey area for us however we never actively looked for this material, instead a regular supplier had a few hundred grams left after completing a sale to a perfume house and asked if we would like to buy it. We went ahead with the purchase because we have been asked on numerous occasions by perfumers across the past two years for natural civet absolute and also because it provided us with a chance to better understand this incredibly scarce material.”
Adam Michael has this to say “If you are not familiar with civet materials this could be a good place to start from. This tincture is over one and a half years aged at the time of writing (6th April 2018) and available in very limited amounts so if you are interested I’d encourage you to buy whilst we have this material.
This mind blowing tincture showcases the classic aroma profile of civet materials with unusual grace. The poo notes (due to the presence of the compound skatole) are always there, of course, but everything is softer and overall more pleasant than the absolute material, with subtle floral notes also present in this legendary aroma profile. For those who are not familiar with civet, it may be also worth mentioning that this material is not one for the faint of heart (or nose!). The paste itself is actually obtained from collecting the perineal secretions of civets, that have a habit of rubbing them around to mark their territory or when angry.
The supplier of the civet paste used for this tincture is currently trying to invest the revenues of the civet paste sold to create a friendlier value chain capable of offering better living conditions and respect to both the civets and the families involved in the paste production. As for uses there was a time when there were very few perfumes that would not contemplate the addition of a little civet, today this material is no longer used in mainstream perfumes but its repulsive yet compelling and fascinating animalic notes can still deeply transform perfume compositions, imparting unparalleled depth along with its notorious tenacity. Best used in trace amounts so that this little stinker can perform its magic whilst remaining below the threshold of conscious perception, and is therefore here offered in small amounts and can be further diluted for better control and shading. A little goes a very long way.
Adam Michael has this to say “The aroma of styrax absolute is described as woody-vanilla, leathery, animalic-castoreum, balsamic. In a leathery compound, this product brings a modern animalic and elegant note. Produced by fractionation of styrax absolute in order to respond to applicable regulations. This advanced process results in a material with a very animalic tone. The suggested use in cream is at 0.5%, shampoo at 0.3% and fine fragrance at up to 2%.”
Botanical Name: Liquidambar orientalis
Origin: Republic of Honduras
Adam Michael has this to say “This civet recreation consists of a blend of both natural and synthetic components. This material is free of civet absolute and contains no animal derived ingredients at all. An exceptionally powerful material that is best used below the level of conscious detection. When used in trace amounts this material imparts beautiful animalic warmth, is a great fixative, generally adds naturalness to a composition, and is a must for Oriental bases, jasmine accords, rose bouquets and pairs especially well with ambrette seed absolute.”
Arctander has this to say “In perfumes, Ginger Absolute may introduce the most interesting and surprising notes in high-class lotion perfumes, ect., or in the so-called “men’s fragrances” in the spicy series, after-shaves, etc. It blends excellently with animal notes (castoreum, civet, costus, labdanum) and with woody notes (sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, linalool, olibanum, etc.), with floral notes (very interesting effect in gardenia, etc.) and in many types of modern fantasy fragrances.”
The producer describes the aroma like this …”Spicy-peppery, toffee-chocolate, warm-balsamic-woody with a gourmand dry-down. This is a useful material in gourmand, woody and balsamic compounds.” This ginger absolute is produced by solvent extracting the roots and then this material is molecular distilled to obtain a completely soluble material. The colour is chocolate cookie brown.”
Botanical Name: Zingiber officinalis
Adam Michael has this to say “This absolute opens with light and airy notes reminiscent of birch tar infused with aged vetivert and new leather. An animalic sweetness follows comparable to inhaling heavily diluted civet and possessing a gooey benzoin warmth. Cade wood nuances are also present, very light, but worth noting. The appearance of the pure material is very hard, resinous, solid and amber-brown in colour. It takes quite a lot of time and heat in order to become pourable, which makes it a slightly challenging material to work with (and to get out of the bottle). For this reason castoreum absolute is now offered diluted at 20% in ethanol.
Castoreum absolute is produced from an oily substance that’s secreted into the abdominal glands of both male and female beavers. The plum sized glands are removed from the beaver and left to dry. I understand the drying process can take place over a number of years. Now the dried glands are extracted chiefly via a benzene extraction which results in a material that resembles a concrete. This material is then alcohol washed to provide the absolute. By definition it is not really an absolute but instead an absolute-resinoid.”
Arctander has this to say “Castoreum (the tincture in particular) is used extensively in perfumery. Its warm, animal, leather-like sweet odour makes it an interesting item in “men’s perfumes”, fougeres, chypres, Oriental bases, leather notes, tabac bases, ect. A frequent “smoky” note in castoreum is not a natural odour, but is due to the drying of the glands over smoking fires. This curing or processing of the raw material may also be responsible for the so-called “birch tar” note of castoreum.
“Castoreum products blend particularly well with ambra notes, calamus, cananga, cedarwood Atlas, Chamomile Moroccan, creosol, labdanum products, isoeugenol, oakmoss products, sandalwood oil, veratraldehyde, zingerone, ect.”