From a research made with Basenoters with Hyraceum, Castoreum., Civet musk and Honey bee’s wax
Bal a Versailles – This scent defies classification for me. Powdery, musky, animalic, yes. But as far as naming notes? No. I can’t do that. Hyraceum turned it into an abstract work of art. Throughout its development, everything from sweet to salty to leathery, the hyraceum added another interesting facet, one that was more distinctly sexy. What’s more, I noticed that “floralizing” effect that Eule experienced with Kouros. There was an increase in the sweet florals at the beginning. I recommend this combination.
Dioressence – Today’s version (before the 2012 IFRA regs) has lost its animalic notes since the original. Instead, it is a dark, complex, green Chypre more in the line of Norell. Adding hyraceum put the animalic notes back into this formula, giving it depth and smoothness. However, like Jolie Madame, it did not require much to achieve the best results. A word of caution: adding too much caused this fragrance to “flatten out.” Two of Dior’s older Chypres, then, required a light touch when adding hyraceum.
Jicky – Here we have a real winner. For me, the civet note in Jicky smelled much better in combination with hyraceum. Together, they created a more interesting aroma that combined well with the lemon and lavender. Kumquat has a perfume that has become “tame” over the past few years that it has sat in its bottle. The civet has faded in favor of the vanilla base. She perceives it as “less sexy” than it used to be, even though, when it was new, it was so raunchy she could only wear it at home. After adding hyraceum, she declared that the experiment was a success, and is going to keep a supply of hyraceum to add every time she wears it.
Fougere I put Hyraceum in one fougere and nothing in the other. Tonight three friends wore a plane fougere with no hyrax on the left wrist and one *with* hyrax on the right wrist. At first, people could not perceive a difference. In fact before the wrist test I made smell strips (one a fougere with hyrax and one without). I gave these to people upside down so that they could not see the label and asked them to describe any differences. About half the time people thought the hyrax was in the one that had no hyrax. So end result is: no difference. However, after an hour or so, you can start to smell the animal scent of the hyrax on the right wrist. Two or three hours later, you cannot smell the left wrist at all. The plane fougere is gone. But on the right wrist with hyrax, all three people could still smell the fougere. And in addition it starts to have an earthy leathery animal smell. Point is: it’s there. So the Hyraceum acts as a fixative and strengthener of other odours as well as an odour itself. I truly learned something tonight.
One thing I would like to add is a significant difference I found when testing my ordinary fougere against the fougere “sauvage”, the one with a bit of hyraceum in it. At first I put the two on separate smelling blotter strips. I passed them to people with the label obscured and asked them to say which one they preferred. I got a 50/50 response. Some preferred the sauvage, and some the regular fougere. There was an equal split. In addition, I personally smelled the test strips every half hour for a while and then the next morning. I could not tell a difference. However, when the two perfumes were on my wrists (and other’s wrists) you *could* easily tell the difference, especially after an hour or so. At the very end, the hyraceum is still there on the skin while nearly everything else is gone. Meanwhile, on the test blotter strips, you don’t smell this difference.
Miller Harris “Fleuilles De Tabac”: With Civet, the smell became more intense and lasted longer (4Hrs.) than without for both of us and we both appreciated the effect.
John Varvatos “Vintage”:with Civet did not work well with what I though was lemon verbena. the results were a bit fecal and lasted on the skin as long as the one without.
Serge Lutens “Fumerie Turque”:mixed with Castoreum provided the most dramatic metamorphoses of the smell. it became the smell of musty, mildewed old house in a green frost. This change was only observed on my skin and not on my wifes. for heres it just intensified the smell of the Tobacco. The smell on the mixed arm also lasted an infinite long time (6Hrs.) we both though preferred the original smell without.
Roger & Gallet “Cigalia”: with Castoreum made the Lemon/Vetiver warmer and more sensuous the more it settled down. the mixed arm lasted much longer than without it.
Hilde Soliani “Bell’antonio”: this is another example were the combination with the civet did not work well with the strong Havana Cigar smell. It made it more muddied and over sweet. and the dryer it got the more intense it became that I had to was it off to be able to get it to a bearable level.
Boucheron “Eau Lagere”: this was the “outsider” from the Tobacco theme but the mix with the Castoreum was delightful and only made it more exotic in addition for extending it’s life by at least 2 hrs. However my wife preferred the original smell without.
Those tests were tried twice for each and it was consistent for bot of us on both times.
I am back with part 2 of my trial. I repeated the same order of mixes as I have done on my skin but this time on the plotters. I tested them with my wife 5 minutes after applying, 1 hr and 3 days after. The Civet mixes (Fleuilles de Tabac and Vintage) were inconclusive; meaning it enhances one but not the other and vica versa the smell lasted even after 3 days with and without depending on the perfume. The Castoreum however performed consistently positively in that it made the perfumes (Fumerie Turque, Cigalia and Bellantonio) more intense and lasted longer except Cigalia which disappeared after 3 days. What surprised the most is how long the smell lasted on the plotters without degradation.
Caldey Island Lavender with civet tincture.
On skin, I smell an immediate difference, with the added civet giving more depth to the CIL. It also makes it smell arguably more masculine, with the CIL on its own smelling lighter and airier. One of the reasons I wanted to combine civet with CIL was to see how close the result was to Caron Pour Un Homme and Jicky, since they both have this combination of notes. The result seems closer to PUH than to Jicky, although I’m less familiar with Jicky. On paper the difference between the two blotters is similar to the two skin tests, but manifesting in a slightly different way. On skin, the added civet seems at times to smell more animalic than on paper. I think this may be to do with the civet is mixing with my skin’s biochemistry. After a while, the two skin tests have started to smell more similar to each other (though the one with added civet has more presence). I think this is due to the civet mellowing with time, and also the musk in CIL’s base meshing with the civet. The civet definitely mixes well with CIL, and also gives it greater longevity.
Although CIL smells great with added civet, I think I ultimately prefer it without, since on its own it’s closer to the “summer wind made smell” scent of natural lavender that Luca Turin writes about.
For my second test, I tried combining Eau Sauvage with castoreum tincture. Again, I wasn’t able to make tests on anyone else, but I tested on my own skin and blotters.
I’m not entirely sure why I thought Eau Sauvage would work well with added castoreum, but I’ve just sprayed some on my forearm and a blotter, and I really like the effect – it makes ES smell less synthetic, with more natural grit to it. The castoreum isn’t overbearing at all – it combines well with ES. I find castoreum doesn’t smell as animalic to me as civet – civet smells like the natural funk of a human body, and is quite challenging in the top notes before mellowing to something more approachable, whereas castoreum smells much more straightforwardly pleasant. The added castoreum does, I think, make the fragrance smell more masculine and less light and airy, and perhaps slightly closer to Eau Sauvage Fraicheur Cuir, for which the original ES formula was modified to include leather in the basenotes. It also makes it slightly less of a summer fragrance (which I think is also true of Fraicheur Cuir). It’s almost as if the added castoreum modulated the whole fragrance into a deeper key, to use a musical analogy. The castoreum also definitely adds to the longevity, with the scent having a more noticeable presence for longer.
I’d sprayed most of my favourite scents along with Honey Bee to find out if there would be the same effect! My women friends all found the scent with the Honey Bee more attractive. They could tell it was similar, but they preferred the scent on the right side.
Over the next few days, I repeated it with other floral scents and had the same results. The original scent would intensified, the sillage and lasting power was increased., women preferred the side with Honey Bee. I didn’t ask men to smell my elbows, very embarrassing.
Honey Bee so far has made my favourite scents more special to me. Wearing it alone doesn’t do much for me, but with a scent the experience was incredible. I felt happy and more at peace too. I just tried it with L’Eau d’Issey pour Homme Summer (been squinting at the bottle but don’t see the year, it’s heavy on the ginger) and it has the same mesmerising effect.
Hyraceum turned all my scents into ‘pour homme’ scents. Like this -> POUR HOMME. So guys, if you think your friends might think your “Sa Majeste la Rose” too girly on you, maybe you could add a spritz of Hyraceum. It’s probably also going to last longer and smell stronger, it does for me. Just because I was curious, I sprayed Encens Flamboyant, which is mostly airy smoky frankincense, twice on a small spritz of Hyraceum. Hmm.. perhaps I should add the results of this last experiment to the ‘sticky’ at the male fragrance board…
I tried this experiment with my favourite perfume Ivoire by Balmain and the results were quite startling and sometimes unexpected.
With the Honey bee, the perfume grew rather deeper and delicious. The perfume is a very dry one with a sharp aldehyde/green entrance and the soft bee gave it another dimension altogether. The longevity didn’t increase but the depth definitely did. Results were 7 preferred with and 1 without.
The Civet was very surprisingly hideous with Ivoire. I like Civet, and even I balked at this mixture. The clash was quite striking in it’s complexity. The previously slightly sharper galbanum/orrissy opening notes of the Ivoire were intensely magnified. They really screamed and scratched at the nose instead of whispering and wafting in as before. Ivoire did not like the cat one tiny bit. It certainly added to longevity but I’m not sure in this case it was a good thing. Unsurprisingly nobody preferred it with this.
The Hyraceium was interesting. It brought out the woodier/mossy aspects of the Ivoire and made the floral part sing when previously it plays the part of a silent letter in a word. 2 preferred with and 6 without. The comments were that it was less fresh with. I didn’t notice much improvement with longevity either with this.
The Castoreum brought about the most debate. It really complimented the dryer oak mossy/woody sides of Ivoire but there was a real divide of opinion as to which one was nicer. 4 preferred with and 4 without. Again the comments were along the lines of less fresh with. The longevity was significantly improved.
All of them on a hanky had improved longevity, but not necessarily followed on the skin.
I decided to layer the pheromones with some Honore des Pres, Honores Trip. This is a lovely fresh all organic citrus fragrance. It is so fleeting I use it as a refreshing spritz, it is really uplifting but only lasts around 15 minutes on the skin. I layered it with the pheromones as i don’t have any little sample vials to mix it with yet. I spent the day at Hampton Court Flower show with other beekeepers and couldn’t get them to determine the difference between the scents, but i think they were not people who are interested in fragrance so not really interested in detecting the difference.
I had read that Castoreum had been used in the past to stimulate bees to make more honey, so there was a beekeeping link and i wondered if those who spend a lot of time with bees might catch a whiff of something they could associate with. I assume if bees respond to the scent in some way it is because it is similar to some pheremones they produce.
Anyway what i can certainly report is that the layered scent responded remarkably to the layering. I don’t pretend that it developed magnificent sillage but it did last remarkably on the skin. The civit seemed to associate best with the scent and made it sing in a vibrant but true way. I did not detect the skanky smell any longer just a fresh lively citrus smell that persisted close to the skin for about 10 hours. The mysterious Castoreum which i react to as a soft floral was less lovely with the fragrance at first. Floral rosy scent and a predominantly orangy citrus are not to my mind perfect partners. The result of the association was longish lasting but changed the citrus at first to something warmer which although not unpleasant was not especially desirable. What is weird is 24 hours later i can smell something floral citrus that is rather lovely very close to the skin, even after a brief shower this morning. I don’t know what to make of this, it is true that this is very faint and only the most intimate and sensitive other would know the fragrance is still persisting, but anyway it is still there on the ?Castoreum wrist.
So I can certainly add my anecdotal experience to this experiment that pheromones seem to react to prolong Honores Trip, which given its so very ephemeral nature is something of an achievement.
I have been really enjoying my first purchases from Profumo — the animal scents kit and Oak Moss, both spectacular! I wanted to share with the Forum an experiment I did last night. On my left wrist I sprayed one spritz of Profumo Oak Moss and one spritz of Profumo Civet tincture. And then I sprayed two spritzes of Mitsouko by Guerlain (EDP strength). Then immediately after that, I sprayed two spritzes of plain Mitsouko on my right wrist.
As you probably know, Mitsouko is regarded by many as one of the finest perfumes in history. Derived from Coty’s Chrypre, Mitsouko has been in existence for almost a century and is the most definitive chypre commercially available according to many. However, over the years it has been drained of some of its life by the increasingly intrusive IFRA regulations and a general cheapening of many of the Guerlain formulas by Guerlain’s new corporate owners. Specifically, Mitsouko once had animal ingredients (civet, I believe) in its based and abundant oakmoss. Recent IFRA regs have reduced the permissible amount of oakmoss in fragrances to a point that the fragrance is almost unrecognizable.
Anyway, back to my experiment. Almost instantly, the Mitsouko sprayed on my left wrist with the added civet and oakmoss from Profumo smelled better, richer and even creamier, though it wasn’t overpowering in strength. The unadulterated Mitsouko on my right wrist smelled thinner but good (even after reformulation, this fragrance still smells good, albeit thinner).
What struck me was that the blend on my left wrist fused together into a single harmonious scent, which is the real magic of good chypre scents — the whole is greater (and very different from) the sum of the parts. The individual notes of civet, oakmoss, peach from the Mitsouko (persicol) were replaced with a buttery almost transcendent fragrance of incredible smoothness and, as it turns out, longevity.
My wife, sitting near me, commented on the “great smell” and I let her sniff my left wrist and then my right and she clearly liked the left better and commented on its smoothness. How interesting that the oakmoss and civet, neither of which are “smooth” or buttery alone, interacted with the ingredients in Mitsouko to produce a transformative completely unique fragrance. Maybe this is what the vintage Mitsouko smelled like.
What fun this was! While the blend on my left wrist was not overpowering in an offensive way, it lasted easily three times as long as the plain Mitsouko on my right wrist. None of this would have been possible without the wonderful products from Profumo.
eh I just ran off to try this experiment right away and I agree, the “modified” version of mitsouko is better (I’m actually not a huge fan of mitsouko on its own, gasp!). the oakmoss is nice, but I am again surprised at how much civet can add to a perfume. it surprises me because it’s such a strange compound on its own, but when I add it to things that goes away and what’s in its place is extra added depth and richness, sometimes creating a whole third unique fragrance like you mention above. transformative properties indeed