Your Favorite Animalic Perfumes

According to conventional fragrance marketing, most women run screaming from animalic notes, unless they are the clean, laundry type musks. Anything that smells too untoward or raunchy is a taboo. Now for most of you it may not be the case, but as I hear over and over again about the “fear of anything dirty,” I wonder what you think about it. Do you like animalic notes or detest them? What are your favorite “dirty” perfumes?

I enjoy the animalic notes in vintage fragrances like Chanel Cuir de Russie, Robert Piguet Bandit and Estee Lauder Azuree, which smell like a well-worn leather jacket. Serge Lutens Muscs Koublaï Khan is a fragrance I wear on a regular basis for its delicious rose wrapped in dark musk. L’Artisan Dzing! smells both like wet cardboard and a warm fur coat.

My favorite animalic perfume though is something called Lola. She’s my mom’s cat and she smells of soft musk and cedarwood.

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119 Comments

  • Zazie: I love many animalic fragrances – I don’t perceive the ones I love as dirty; my adjectives of choice would be deep, velvety, warm, comfortable. Some of examples are Jicky, Une fleur de Cassie, Shalimar, Joy.
    But I am not comfortable with all kinds of “animalic”: I cannot manage notes that smell like “throwout”: ELDO’s Rien, Acampora’s Jasmin, and I would add many mainstream perfumes, in which I detect something animalic – not coming from the bottom part of the body, but from the uppermost.I can’t handle that. Shalimar parfum initial, Angel, the first Pradas… June 16, 2012 at 8:14am Reply

    • Zazie: P.s. Love the pic! Is she Lola? June 16, 2012 at 8:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, it’s the sweaty notes that you don’t seem to like. I gather that you aren’t a fan of cumin then either, right? June 16, 2012 at 1:35pm Reply

  • jtd: I tend to love animalic perfumes that have a powdery component that gives them a clean-over-dirty feel. Amouge Gold Man is sensational and maintains that balance from top to bottom. Also, a recent favorite for me, Les Nereides Fleur de Musc Poudree. June 16, 2012 at 9:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve never thought that this combination might work, but you’re right, the clean powdery and musky dirty can be such a great combo. I haven’t smelled Fleur de Musc Poudree, but it sounds so good. June 16, 2012 at 1:41pm Reply

    • Memory of Scent: jtd you happen to mention two that I have neglected. Gold Man is indeed extremely fecal but I found it intolerable to the point of forgetting it. The combination of heavy indolic flowers and white musk just rubs me the wrong way. But the light florals and powder of Fleur Poudrée de Musc on the other hand are an incredible team to the stinky musk. Fortunately I have a bottle but it is sadly discontinued. I would be happy to share a sample with anyone who wants to try this beauty. June 17, 2012 at 4:08pm Reply

      • Memory of Scent: oops, of course Gold Man is not a white musk… It is a strong, real roaring musk. June 17, 2012 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Nancy: I vote for a newly created fragrance in honor of Lola! June 16, 2012 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: :) She smells good and clean. I’m not sure how often my mom gives her a bath, but I know that every time it happens it’s a major undertaking. She hates bathing! June 16, 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Jillie: Lola is so cute! My husband and I love the smell of our two kitties – strangely they are so different from each other, but that smell of fur is the base note they both share. Casper absorbs any perfume that I have on (and he hates fragrance!), and Symba just smells of Symba and adores licking off whatever we are wearing.

    I don’t think I care for animalic notes in perfumes, but suspect I am not educated enough to always detect them. Is skank the same thing, or a variation? Cumin always reminds me of BO, and I can’t fancy that – but am I right to assume it is animalic? Musk must surely be animalic, and yet the whitest musks are used in laundry products, just because they smell so clean! The more I learn, the more I realise that there is to learn …… June 16, 2012 at 9:44am Reply

    • Victoria: You mean that Symba licks her perfumed hands? My mom’s cats like to sleep in her clothes, but I’m not sure if they like perfume.

      Skank, as I understand it, is the animalic note, something that smells obviously like leather, warm furs, sweaty skin, dirty hair, mutton grease… Cumin smells distinctly sweaty to me, but in cooking, it doesn’t usually come across this way, because you usually roast it or cook it somehow, so the sweaty note disappears.
      Most musks used today are far from skanky, as you said–most are so clean and fresh that they’re sparkling, rather than heavy and rich. Have you smelled Miller Harris L’Air de Rien? That’s the perfect illustration of skanky for me. June 16, 2012 at 1:49pm Reply

      • bluegardenia: don’t forget feces! this seems to be a classic note in many (especially older, of course) scents! bal a versailles comes to mind. June 19, 2012 at 12:10am Reply

  • Elizabeth: My favorite animalic perfume is vintage Miss Dior. Oh, what wouldn’t I give to have it again! Also, I really want to cuddle with that cat. She looks so soft and sweet! June 16, 2012 at 11:51am Reply

    • Elizabeth: Must add: I actually find Muscs Koublai Khan very comforting. To me, it’s how candlelight would smell: There’s something glowing and warm about it. When I first smelled it, I thought: “where are all of those sweaty notes I read so much about? To me, this smells like a full church, lit with hundreds of beeswax candles.” June 16, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

      • Victoria: That’s what I wrote in my review of MKK–I read all of those scary descriptions of it, but when I finally smelled it, I was surprised that I got none of them! June 16, 2012 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: She’s soft and has a sweet personality, but unfortunately she has hardly any patience for cuddling! You pick her up for 2 seconds and she already starts to fidget. June 16, 2012 at 1:50pm Reply

  • iodine: I appreciate cumin in fragrances and the “used underwear” note that appears in scents like Bandit, or Al oudh (is it civet? I’m not sure about it..). I’ve also recently fallen for patchouli and I love its animalic facets: when I spray on some Bornéo, then leave the room and come back after a while, I’m always surprised by the huge musty beast that’s waiting for me!
    Lola is truly beautiful! June 16, 2012 at 12:24pm Reply

    • Amy: I am loving sweaty, cuminy stuff right now. I can’t wait for my fb of Rubj EDP to come in the mail. I am also finding some masculine stuff to have more of the sweaty type animalic smells I love. June 16, 2012 at 12:28pm Reply

      • Victoria: Amy, you’re going to have a great time with Rubj! Any cumin lover should try it. Curious whether Vero Profumo’s new Mito contains any animalic notes. June 16, 2012 at 1:54pm Reply

        • ana: Hello Victoria! I was fortunate enough to win a sample of Mito, and to my nose it’s not at all animalic. It’s a really lovely mossy citrus, with a creamy floral heart to die for. Very smooth and elegant. And to answer your question , my favourite animalic fragrance so far is Dzing! from L’Artisan Parfumeur. Truly unique and memorable. June 17, 2012 at 3:19pm Reply

          • Victoria: Mmmmm, thanks, Ana! Mito sounds even better than I imagined. I love the combination of moss and citrus, and a dollop of white florals can’t hurt. June 17, 2012 at 3:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmm, I love Borneo! To me it also smells raunchy and dirty, but not at all offensively so.
      Lola appreciates your compliment. :) June 16, 2012 at 1:53pm Reply

  • yomi: I love patchouli – really do! I love using it in fragrances.
    Apart from my creations – which I am hoping will reach the U.S. Someday , I love kouros by YSL, rare rubies by avon ,which is a chypre fragrance with a worn learher note and of course Aramis.
    Animalic notes are fine by me – even though they need a careful hand when they are being used. I don’t think nigerian women object -as my experience goes! June 16, 2012 at 12:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s so interesting to learn about regional preferences for perfumes. What kind of fragrances do women in Nigeria usually go for? Any specific brands? June 16, 2012 at 1:56pm Reply

      • yomi: There are quite a lot of foriegn fragrance brands but the popular ones include elizabeth arden, bvgari, mary kay, givenchy – its quite a market. Lauder is not too popular amongst the younger generation.
        My brand Parfums Lambo is more popular for air care but we are trying to compete for the fine fragrance market. June 16, 2012 at 2:03pm Reply

        • Victoria: Since you already have a brand name, it should be easier for you to do so. Good luck!

          Interesting about Arden! Elizabeth Arden Red Door is one of the most popular fragrances in the US. And it’s very popular in Latin America. June 17, 2012 at 7:57am Reply

  • monsieur: My favorite animalic perfume is Dzing! There are many different things in this fragrance. İf only had a little bit more intense… I don’t know muscus koublai khan and I’m very curious June 16, 2012 at 12:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, Dzing is such a brilliant fragrance! It smells like cardboard, vanilla and warm leather–so unexpected. June 16, 2012 at 1:57pm Reply

  • carter: Costus is probably my favorite animalic note. Vintage Rumeur, Nina Ricci Fille de Eve, and Muscs Kublai Khan all address that craving nicely. June 16, 2012 at 1:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: Costus is fascinating! You named some of my other favorites. I would also supplement your list with Scherrer, Dior’s Diorama, Parfum Gres Cabochard. I should revisit Fille d’Eve. June 16, 2012 at 2:00pm Reply

      • carter: You should! Fille d’Eve is wonderful stuff.

        And I couldn’t agree more with your comment above that L’Air de Rien is the “perfect illustration of skanky.” Amen, sister! June 16, 2012 at 7:59pm Reply

        • Victoria: Skanky, but not offensive, I should add! It feels like someone’s presence, the warmth of someone’s skin, but it’s very pleasant. June 17, 2012 at 7:58am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Great topic, Victoria. Some of my faves in no particular order would be:

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue pour le Soir
    Paco Rabanne La Nuit edp
    Rochas Femme edt (edp is nice but much less cumin to my nose)
    Penhaligons Amaranthine
    Sonoma Scent Studio Rose Musc
    Robert Piguet Bandit in either concentration
    Ava Luxe Madame X
    Serge Lutens A La Nuit, Miel de Bois, Fleurs de Oranger and Muscs Koublai Khan (I wore the latter yesterday and my children loved it)
    Alexander McQueen Kingdom edp
    Joy in all concentrations
    Shalimar edp
    Angel for its dirty sweetness
    Calvin Klein Obsession edp or Ciara 100% when I want something with lots of substance and comfort like a sedate tigress in a bottle
    Vivienne Westwood Boudoir
    And while they aren’t officially animalic, there’s something about Fracas and Agent Provocateur that just call to mind skin and afterglow. :)

    It seems I’m at the point in my perfume journey where these sorts of frags fascinate me, and I like to discover new loves that I was previously frightened away from because of their polarizing nature. I very much want to try Rubj though am afraid I’d fall in love with both concentrations and need to own each for their differences.

    However, I wasn’t able to conquer Secretions Magnifique or that Untitled No. 8 despite managing to endure two test dabs a couple weeks apart. ;)

    Oh, and I have to agree that my Diva, a 15-year-old Siamese, always smells wonderful and often bears a hint of various perfumes from laying on my pillow or a recent cuddle, and there’s no other scent like that one though it would be lovely if it were possible to bottle it. June 16, 2012 at 2:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a fantastic list! It could be a textbook page for “great animalic perfumes!”

      Secretions Magnifique is in a different spirit for me as well. It’s very marine and saline, so not really animalic in a furry-leathery way. Still haven’t smelled that Untitled No. 8, but I’m so curious now. June 17, 2012 at 8:00am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Oh, also forgot to add Worth Courtesan (chilly yet earthy) and something wonderfully animalic by Ajmal, but I don’t recall which it was. Everything I’ve tried from that house is just gorgeous! :) June 16, 2012 at 2:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ajmal’s Dahn Al Oudh Raysan is an incredibly animalic oud. At first, I was shocked to smell it on my skin, but it softened over time. And all the while I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist. It was an intense experience! June 17, 2012 at 8:02am Reply

  • Gnosmic: I asked a perfume group recently to name the strongest (not necessarily favorite) animalic note or accord they had encountered. I anticipated many of the responses, but there were a few veterans who quickly replied, “Oh, that’s easy. Untitled #8 by Brent Leonesio.” I haven’t smelled it, and now I’m eager to give it a sniff! June 16, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: And now I really want to smell it! :) June 17, 2012 at 8:02am Reply

  • Alityke: I adore Ubar and my collection of vintage Miss Diors. I have Muscs Koublai Khan as well but tend to layer it under vintage Poison (try it before commenting) the combination is out of this world.

    Civet seems to be my animalic drug of choice.

    All the cats we’ve owned have been fascinated by my husbands shoes and feet. One she used to stick her head in his oldest stinkiest pair and shudder with pure joy. June 16, 2012 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s so funny! We had a dog that loved doing that with my dad’s clothes. If you left anything on the floor, she would pick it up and put it in her corner. After a while we finally realized where all of those stray socks kept going. June 17, 2012 at 8:04am Reply

  • Anna Minis: It is a pity for the parfumeurs, but I am happy that real civet and real castoreum are not allowed anymore. I hope that it’s true. I think you can only do that if it’s possible without unnecessary cruelty. That said, I regret the poor quality of the new Vol de Nuit: that was one of my favorites. My cat smells of sweet honey between his ears. Lola is a beauty, but in my eyes my cat is the most beautiful animal in the world: a tabby, tomcat. His name is Herakles. June 16, 2012 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: I absolutely love the name of your cat! :) June 17, 2012 at 8:08am Reply

  • Memory of Scent: It seems I have a high threshold for animalic notes. The only time I have felt that I was smelling something definitely bestial was Bal á Versailles pour Homme and I admit I got a little scared.
    Musc Koublai Khan smells like a warm hug and I love it but I really can’t see the animal in it. Just warm, cosy, soft musk.
    L’Air de Rien smells not animalic but human to me, in a clean, baby scent way, but I guess this is my truly animalic scent.
    I get a hint of animal breath in Le Labo Oud and a bit of cat fur is Sarrasins. At least the smell of my cat’s fur :) June 16, 2012 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: The feminine Bal á Versailles is quite an animalic bombshell too!

      Mmm, your cat must smell delicious! :) June 17, 2012 at 8:10am Reply

  • Neferteria: This is my first time to post, but I have enjoyed reading all the fascinating blog entries as well as the responses. Thanks to all of you for sharing! As I have a life-long love for horses, I have always loved the scent of the barn, the leather tack, and the smell of the horses themselves. We have always had a menagerie of animals in the house, and I have loved the scent of all of them. However, there is a difference between the scents I like in an environment and those that I want next to my skin, my most personal space. The most pronounced personal animalic scent that I have and love is Rochas Femme, which I started wearing back in the 60s. I must say, though, that I much prefer the vintage, which I had the good fortune to find on eBay. A mere whiff of that takes me back! As I remember, there is some civet in some of the other scents I enjoy, but not any of them have the distinct animalic scent of Femme. I have found that cats don’t like any scent on me and usually want to lick it off. My mare, however, seems to enjoy my perfumes and is very fond of many essential oils herself! June 16, 2012 at 5:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: Neferteria, welcome and thank you for your comment! I see what you mean about the scents that you like to smell around you and those that you enjoy on your skin. When I was little I had a small dog that smelled like corn chips, and while I loved that dog and her sweet scent, I doubt I would want to smell it on myself.

      On the other hand, I love the smell of horses that I get in flowers like jasmine and magnolia. Not too much, of course, but a small accent which gives them such a dark, complex aroma. June 17, 2012 at 8:12am Reply

      • Neferteria: I love those notes, too, but hadn’t associated them with horses! I also love wood in my florals. I’ve never liked anything too light and airy, even in the summer. June 17, 2012 at 1:48pm Reply

        • Victoria: I remember a story my teacher told me about visiting Spain and eating at one of the small outdoor cafes. She said that the whole time she was there, she was wondering how come she smelled horses. Towards the end of her visit she figured out that she was smelling night blooming jasmine! Not all varieties remind me of horses though, but some types are very leathery-horsey.

          You might like to try The Different Company Jasmin de Nuit, which has spices and woods mixed in with its jasmine. June 17, 2012 at 3:42pm Reply

  • Sofia: Lola is gorgeous! I love cats, and the smell of cats too.
    Anyway, my favourite animalistic scent is Kiehl’s Original Musc, and it must go well with my chemistry because I always receive compliments with it on. June 16, 2012 at 5:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: We have so many cat lovers here! :) Thank you, she’s a sweet cat and she think that my mom is her mommy too. My mom has two other cats, and Lola gets very jealous if my mom starts paying more attention to them. June 17, 2012 at 8:14am Reply

      • Sofia: How cute! Cats do get jealous easily. My mum had a cat, and after about 7 years she decided to adopt a 2nd cat. Our 1st cat got so jealous that she got a big bald patch on her head and the vet said it was due to stress out of jealousy, imagine that!! June 17, 2012 at 8:28am Reply

        • Victoria: Poor thing! Observing my mom’s cats made me realize how sensitive they are. My mom is usually gone for most of the summer, and the cats miss her so much they stop eating properly.

          Here is another one of my mom’s charges:
          Viola June 17, 2012 at 8:35am Reply

          • Sofia: how beautiful! June 17, 2012 at 8:57am Reply

  • Perfumista8: Great topic. I love animalic notes but have stayed within the “safe” zone. I think it’s time for me to take more risks. I’ve been curious about MKK for years- now I’m inspired to get a decant at least. Question for those who’ve worn animalic scents happily – do you ever worry that someone does pick up major skank from your perfume while you’ve been happily thinking you smell comfy? Do you just need to adopt an aditude of who cares what others think? June 16, 2012 at 6:05pm Reply

    • annemariec: Glad you asked that. I wonder what other people think?

      I once wore Annick Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri Par Camille to work and someone wondered aloud where that smell of fertiliser was coming from. I’ve never worn it out of the house since then. (It’s not really suitable for the office in any case, I guess. Shoulda known!) June 16, 2012 at 6:25pm Reply

      • Victoria: I remember a classmate asking me where the smell of hamster cage was coming from–I was wearing Donna Karan Black Cashmere. I had to admit sheepishly that it was me. :) June 17, 2012 at 8:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m a timid lover of anything overly animalic, I admit. When I wear perfume, I do so to smell good, but of course, my definition of what smells good changes over time. A few years ago, MKK would be a no-no. Today, it feels just right.

      But your question is excellent, and it made me think… I guess, I wear my intense animalic perfumes mostly in the evening or when I’m alone at home. These fragrances are relaxing and comforting to me, so somehow they feel most appropriate for such moments. In other words, they aren’t my party perfumes! June 17, 2012 at 8:22am Reply

  • maggiecat: I’d like animalic notes more if they smelled like cats! I like Jicky and a few other scents with civet notes, but I prefer my musks fairly clean. My cat, btw, loves perfume and seems to prefer certain scents of mine (lavender) to others (floral musk). Lola is beautiful! June 16, 2012 at 6:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jicky now has more clean musks than civet, so if you haven’t smelled it recently, I recommend it!

      I love that your cat has his scent preferences! :) June 17, 2012 at 8:25am Reply

  • Elisa: I love the touch of castoreum in SSS Winter Woods. I also love the drydown of Putain de Palaces, which reads as a very dirty musk to me. June 16, 2012 at 7:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: The aldehydic top notes of Putain des Palaces are such a contrast to that musk! June 17, 2012 at 8:25am Reply

  • Tulip: Is Lola a Russian Blue? So adorable. June 16, 2012 at 7:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: She’s a Scottish fold! :) June 17, 2012 at 8:26am Reply

  • Cybele: My animalic favorites are Yatagan and Le Labo Oud 27. I like ELO Rien and Dzing but don’t really find them skanky. Can’t stand L’Air de Rien or Secretions Magnifique. June 16, 2012 at 9:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Adding Le Labo Oud 27 to my to-sample list. Somehow I’ve missed it. June 17, 2012 at 8:27am Reply

  • Nikki: Such a beautiful cat, Lola Lola, the blue angel…I like Shalimar extrait and Jungle L’elephant for animalic scents…of course, there is such a vast cultural difference in what people experience as sweaty or the scent of a woman who hasn’t properly washed (quote by French perfumer…don’t remember who now). The French cheeses I buy here would never sell in the US general shops. That reminds me of the founders of the company FRESH, who were so surprised when they immigrated to the USA that everybody talked about fresh, fresh, fresh….what else, rotten? So they called their company FRESH, smart move! However, I would rather eat some gorgonzola or roquefort and wear a perfume that smells like sex at times than smell fresh, fresh, fresh all day long! June 16, 2012 at 10:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: I was just reading that the recipe for Limburger cheese was changed to make it less stinky, because the younger generation couldn’t tolerate the original’s full ripeness. June 17, 2012 at 8:30am Reply

  • Bryan Ross: Kouros, the original, for me. Not really dirty, to be honest, but the best treatment of synthetic civet I’ve encountered.

    Second would be Creed’s Orange Spice. Even more refined (and attenuated) civet, then citrus perfection.

    I just love that kind of scent, the “dirty” citrus. June 17, 2012 at 12:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Kouros was an acquired taste for me, and I still remember how repulsed I was when I first tried it. Now, I find it so appealing. June 17, 2012 at 8:31am Reply

      • Nikki: Kouros is amazing, I love it. I tried to wear it myself but it didn’t quite work, that is one sexy fragrance! I don’t feel there is anything equivalent for women…? June 17, 2012 at 12:08pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have a friend who wears Kouros, and it smells wonderful on her. Somehow she carries it off perfectly. June 17, 2012 at 3:44pm Reply

  • Kurt: I really like the civet in Grey Flanel and Kourous. June 17, 2012 at 3:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Another Kouros fan! I’ve recently smelled one of the flankers, but they simply don’t improve on the original. June 17, 2012 at 8:32am Reply

  • Eva S: I don’t own any intensely animalic perfumes, I don’t think but I really like a hint of the animalic epecially in the drydown. It sort of finishes the perfume properly, like the civet in Amouage Gold Woman. Another favorites are Memoire Woman, Rubj EDP and Onda. I mostly wear them at home, although I wear Bandit to work, and it gets a lot of compliments! June 17, 2012 at 10:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I always wanted to smell Memoire Woman on someone else. I think that it has a great sillage! June 17, 2012 at 4:36pm Reply

  • chris: Sometime’s you get a little Horse Manure blast from Chanel’s Cuir de Russie and the opening of Anima Dulcis by Arquiste is a little animalic. The goalpost’s of what an animalic fragrance is, where moved for me, when i tried the Xerjoff Oud Star Zafar. Have you tried this one yet ? It is quite EXTRAORDINARY! June 17, 2012 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: I have a pack of samples on my desk, but I still haven’t smelled them. June 17, 2012 at 4:37pm Reply

  • Julie: Bal a Versailes (wearing it now) and Femme are slightly animalic to me. I’ve got a small “coin” bottle of vintage BaV EdP, and it’s much more skanky than the current version, which to me just smells like sweet leather and incense. Smell Bent’s Lumberjack Werewolf, which I love, is to my nose a combination of wet dog and earwax. I only wear it at home in cold weather. June 17, 2012 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Lumberjack Werewolf sounds intriguing. :) June 17, 2012 at 4:40pm Reply

  • bluegardenia: my feelings on une fleur de cassie change every few days…or hours! i love it, and then it makes me uncomfortable, but i can’t stop smelling it, but then it just feels too dirty…i have a feeling soon i’ll just start bathing in it, because i remember a time (about 20 years ago) that i thought fracas smelled dirty too, and shortly afterwards i couldn’t get enough of it (and still can’t). June 17, 2012 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Une Fleur de Cassie is a combination of musty paper and honeyed florals on me, but I love it!

      The first time I smelled Fracas, I thought that it was so skanky! Now, I don’t think that at all. June 17, 2012 at 4:42pm Reply

      • bluegardenia: i know right? nowadays i find fracas is almost clean at times! clean and fresh and dark and sexy and very complex and beautiful. une fleur though – on me it’s an exquisite, peppery flowery baby poo! :) June 17, 2012 at 4:45pm Reply

        • Victoria: :) We’ve just smelled too many other strongly animalic fragrances, I think. Plus, Fracas is more indolic (moth balls) than animalic-dirty. After spending time in India where moth balls are used as a form of disinfectant, I associate them with cleanliness! June 17, 2012 at 4:50pm Reply

          • bluegardenia: interesting that indole is mothball! i’ve never smelled it on its own but have heard so much about it smelling dirty. mothballs to me don’t smell particularly dirty either! what do they make moth balls out of, i wonder? June 19, 2012 at 12:30am Reply

            • Victoria: Indole in the pure form smells of moth balls, which are made out of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene.

              I have no idea why it’s described as fecal though. Indole is present in feces, that’s true, but it doesn’t smell fecal on its own. And when diluted significantly, it starts to smell pleasant and floral. Nothing fecal and dirty about it. June 19, 2012 at 6:34am Reply

    • Nikki: I adore Une Fleur de Cassie! I don’t consider it animalic though, will have to smell it again. It smells like a sexy woman to me…. June 17, 2012 at 5:41pm Reply

      • bluegardenia: interesting. i get an immediate and lasting scent of dirty diapers with une fleur. a very creamy, overripe smell. it makes me feel rather uncomfortable…therefore i’ve been smelling it as much as possible! June 19, 2012 at 12:35am Reply

  • Emma: I have a few vintage dark animalic perfumes that can put to shame Muscs Koublai Khan!

    Hermes Caleche parfum vintage
    Amouage vintage (before it was wrongly renamed Gold as I believe it feels more silverish than golden like No.5 does)
    Caron Narcisse Noir parfum June 17, 2012 at 4:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those sure do make MKK smell like something shower-clean! Narcisee Noir parfum especially was such a stunning, dark and brooding fragrance. June 17, 2012 at 4:43pm Reply

  • behemot: My cat, Albus, often smells like Lola, it means cedarwood and musk.. (especially when I get organic cedarwood litter for his box :)
    But what smells best on him is ..Dzing. I spray a tiny bit on my hand and, after a while, touch Albus’ back. LAP “Mechant Loup” (a funny name for a cat perfume!) works very well too.

    As for famous literary cats, Musc Koublai Khan would be a good signature scent for Behemoth from “Master and Margerita.” i would also perfume this diabolic cat with Kouros layered with fragrances smelling of vodka. Does anyone know any vodka perfumes?

    Lola is LOVELY. June 17, 2012 at 7:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: MKK would be perfect on Behemoth, as would be Lanvin My Sin! Arquiste Aleksandr, Demeter Black Russian and Bulgari BLV Notte pour Femme list vodka among their notes, but they seem far too crisp and bright for Behemoth.

      Do you know, there is a special perfume for cats called Oh My Cat. I haven’t smelled it though. June 18, 2012 at 7:36am Reply

      • behemot: Yes, I have seen and smelled Oh My Cat and remember iit as “nice”, but it was in my “pre-perfumista” days. There was also “Oh My Dog” line These fragrances were done by The Dog Generation and are now discontinued.
        I have heard that The Dog Generation founder was Etienne de Swardt, who created Etat Libre d’Orange . June 18, 2012 at 12:07pm Reply

        • Victoria: Etienne de Swardt was the one who launched the idea. He was trying to launch it within LVMH, IIRC, but LVMH backed out and he went solo. Then eventually he started Etat Libre d’Orange. June 18, 2012 at 5:01pm Reply

          • behemot: Thanks for explaining this. Now i understand :) June 18, 2012 at 8:46pm Reply

            • Victoria: Oh good! I re-read my comment and found it a bit convoluted. :) June 19, 2012 at 6:29am Reply

  • Kaori: Oud, a bit of cumin and civet are ok with me. Dzing is beautiful!
    Speaking of Jean Desprez, have you ever tried or heard of “Jardanel”? I have a small brochure showing the picture and I am curious to know how it is.

    Kaori June 17, 2012 at 9:49pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jardanel is a floral oriental with a big green note. It starts out very aldehydic and citrusy, but the drydown is a luscious oriental–incense, balsams, civet, sandalwood. I didn’t like for the opening accords, which seem too sharp to me, but once Jardanel settles, it really takes on a different character. Interesting, but nothing I would go out of my way to find. June 18, 2012 at 7:38am Reply

      • Kaori: Victoria,
        Thank you for informing me. Your description is perfect, as always :)
        I forgot to tell you that Lola is beautiful:)
        I have snuggled only tabby cats…

        Kaori June 18, 2012 at 8:26am Reply

        • Victoria: I move too much and too often to get a pet of my own, so I play with my mom’s when I get a chance. Like you, I love tabbies. They tend to have such fun personalities! June 18, 2012 at 10:00am Reply

  • Grusheczka: I love animalic notes and a few fragrances I use on a regular basis with such notes are Lutens’ MKK and Bois et Musc, L’Artisan Dzing, MFK L’Absole Pour le Soir, Kiehl’s Original Musk, Malle’s Musc Ravageur, Chanel Cuir de Russie, plus a number of musk oils – the dirtier, the better. I do also love the way my cats’ fur smells. And I adore the photos of your mom’s cats! One of mine is a Russian Blue and looks a lot like hers. Thanks for the post! June 18, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Good! I’ve done my deed in populating internet with more cats. :)

      SL Bois et Musc is so rarely mentioned, but it’s such a great musk! A good musk for those who find MKK too dirty, and Clair de Musc not sexy not enough. June 18, 2012 at 10:02am Reply

  • Anna Minis: I always have had tabbies, they are the most wonderful cats, the real little tigers and panthers. They all have a different smell, and a different character, but all tabbies are intelligent. My Herakles can understand some words. I think you are insulting a cat with “Oh my cat”. Every cat has a beautiful smell of his own. June 18, 2012 at 11:07am Reply

    • Victoria: I only know that some people actually wear Oh My Cat (and its counterpart, Oh My Dog) perfumes themselves! But I haven’t smelled either. June 18, 2012 at 11:10am Reply

  • fleurdelys: I LOVE animalics in fragrance, and just hate those clean laundry musks. The dirtier, the better (ha)! Bal a Versailles and Bandit are two favorites, and Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit has major civet. June 18, 2012 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: La Nuit is just so ripe and rich! A perfume bombshell. June 18, 2012 at 5:03pm Reply

  • silverdust: Didn’t know that the fragrances I loved were animalic until I read this post! LOL When I was a teenager I used to exercise horses and loved the leather/horse smell — and made my first ‘fumer purchase of EL’s Azuree.

    Agent Provocateur also seems to push the envelope, but I think that’s just the coriander talking. Victoria Secret Basic Instinct has made it into the more refined outlets of the “dupe” market and is out there — but I like it — much to others’ chagrin.

    MKK smells “sweet and clean” to my nose and (horrors!) practically a replica of Jovan Musk Oil from the ’70s to me.

    Thanks for this fascinating slice of scent. I’ve got lots of suggestions of things to try! June 18, 2012 at 2:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Jovan Musk Oil used to be so much sultrier! I sniffed some from a friend’s old bottle and I couldn’t believe that it’s the same perfume. But hey, Jovan Musk is a classic. :) June 18, 2012 at 4:59pm Reply

  • Alyssa: Glad to see the chat about this is still going on! It was so much fun to read about everyone’s animalic perfumes. I am very timid when it comes to musk and like my cumin well-buried (I can do modern Femme, but not Rubj EDP or L’Artisan Al Oudh), but I adore a rich civet or leather note and love, love, love the horsey animalic note that shows up in some dark jasmines like Sarrasins. June 18, 2012 at 7:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fun to think about these scents that aren’t considered conventionally pretty. Then again, even the sweet smelling rose has a hint of dark, animalic growl under its soft petals.

      Now I want to more horsey perfumes! *off to dig out my decant of Sarrasins* June 19, 2012 at 6:27am Reply

  • kjanicki: I love animalic perfumes. My favourites are Cuir de Russie, Bandit, Rochas Femme and the Party in Manhattan. I also love the horse and hay aspects of L’Heure Fougueuse.

    The only animalic perfume I have ever had trouble with is Bal a Versailles. I have a bottle of the EdC but it’s too “barnyard” for me to wear most of the time. June 19, 2012 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: L’Heure Fougueuse is the most elegant of all horsey perfumes. :)

      Have you tried Bal a Versailles parfum? It’s softer than the EDC and a bit easier to wear. Still a skanky sillage monster though! June 20, 2012 at 3:44am Reply

  • Elena: I’ll be going to a bachelorette party soon, and today I was thinking of what perfume I should wear. So many of these sound fabulously skanky and wild. Good ol’ Bulgari Black will have to do for me, the only one mentioned here that I have (so far…!) is Cuir de Russie, but to me, that’s way too refined. More like the scent of leather clinging to a society lady after a day of riding rather than something more primal. I have a tiny vial of Fleurs d’Oranger, but I didn’t get much musk from it. I’ll have to try it again with that in mind. June 19, 2012 at 10:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Elena, what else do you have? Bulgari Black is definitely a great choice! It’s dark and brooding and devastatingly sexy. June 20, 2012 at 3:35am Reply

  • Elena: I have only a few. I started getting into perfume just last year when by chance I fell in love with Hermes Un Jardin en la Mediterranee. In contrast to it, my other few bottles of perfume I had seemed flat and boring. (Gucci Flora, which I still like but not love, CK Contradiction from when I was a teenager, ugh, I cannot imagine why I bought it now, YSL Babydoll, ok but juvenile, and I do love the grapefruit top note, Ferragamo pour Femme which I wore in college and still like-not-love although I did wear it a lot this spring, Champs Elysees, like-not-love, also from college, even Coco Mademoiselle which I used to love but I think I’ve gotten sick of it because it’s so popular. No problem with that one, though, since my daughter broke the bottle and it’s gone now!) I’ve been having fun with perfume blogs and sniffing at places like Nordstrom to try and find others I love and are so complex and evocative. I love the Guerlain AA Mandarine Basilic which I wear when I’m going to play tennis or go to the gym as a light cologne. I also like Prada eau Ambree, but sometimes it rubs me the wrong way. I got the Jardin apres la Mousson, but I seem to like it less and less every time I wear it, and I now wish I didn’t get a whole bottle. I read a review that said it smelled like pickled ginger from a sushi place, and now it’s hard to shake that. I have 20 vials from Surrender to Chance from their beginner niche set, and I am loving or at least appreciating almost all of them. Cuir de Russie is probably my favorite so far, as is Black March. My almost 3 year old loves it too, and requests the “dirt one”. June 20, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a nice and diverse collection, Elena! Just enjoy exploring and little by little you can add more. Having too many perfumes isn’t necessarily the best thing–it’s knowing what suits your mood that’s more important. Well, that’s my perspective anyway. :)

      I used to wear Coco Mademoiselle too, especially the body milk which was the softer version of the original scent. Now it seems so strong and sweet to me, so I think that my tastes have changed. June 21, 2012 at 10:53am Reply

  • Austenfan: I have been away for a week, so I am only reading this now. The whole skanky thing leaves me a little bemused, maybe it is a cultural thing.
    Mind you my dog rolled in what I think was either fox urine or deer urine today, and that had to be washed off! Not necessarily a bad smell- which for instance vomit is to me – but very overpowering inside the house! June 24, 2012 at 4:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, gosh, that sounds like my dad’s dog. She would always find something like that and unless we kept her on a leash, every walk in the woods would end up with her in the bathtub! June 26, 2012 at 5:16am Reply

  • Brian Shea: AH! I too love the smell of my kitties fur! Its such a pleasant scent. It reminds me of the outdoors; fresh air and lake breezes and oddly enough, clary sage! I think it would be great to somehow get the scent of my cat’s fur into a perfume! :D Dogs fur actually smells pleasant too when they are freshly washed, very similar to a cat’s, but it doesn’t last very long. Your cat is adorable, by the way. I miss mine; I left them in Chicago with my parents when I moved down to Miami. June 25, 2012 at 12:04am Reply

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