I love Shalimar too but L’Heure Bleu even better. But as I said to Beth, ever since it was launched, I loved Obsession the very best.
I use to say that I know a little about a lot of things, but there are a few subjects I know more of. Like perfume materials and civet is among three others an animalistic material that come from glands on the civet cat There are Civet cats that are kept in captivity for perfume purposes (and not very nice captivities that is) where they are kept alive so their secretions can be “harvested”. There are three more animal derived materials; musk from the musk deer (endangered spices and is controlled by CITES), castoreum (used among other perfumes in Shalimar) from beavers and ambergris – illegal to own and trade in the USA and import/export is prohibited in Australia (ambergris is also called ambra and amber) from the sperm whale. Google them all and learn.
These animalistic materials are used as base notes in perfumery and in botanical perfumery they are not used at all, even though animals are natural 😉 In natural perfumery some people argue that using ambergris is ok since it is whale vomit and no harm has been done to the animals and civet cat’s are kept alive, not killed but…nah, not for me. There was one adventurous natural perfumer who tinctured up hair clippings from a billy goat in rutt and I have smelled a sample of such a tincture (made by another perfumer though) and it has the reminiscence of castoerum (or was it civet?) if my olfactory memory suits me right – which I have had the unfortunate ;o luck to smell in perfume class in Grasse, France. Un diluted you almost got floored sniffing it, but as with all these animalistic (and other very special base notes as well as concretes and absolutes) ) it shows it’s true self in dilution down to 1%. Yep, you read correct – 1%, unbelievable but true. I have a drop dead gorgeous jasmine grandiflorum absolute diluted to 1% and then matured and it’s a smell to die for.
It is my belief (although I can’t write it in stone) that nowadays all these animalistic materials that are used in the perfume industry are in fact synthetic. I mean, you wouldn’t survive long in the trade if you opened up and said your perfume contained real musk…I admit though that I do have a problem with quite many synthetic notes – they kind of offend my olfactory sense, but I rather sniff synthetic musk than the real thing.
Of to bake a lime meringue pie.