Zoologist Civet Perfume Review

Zoologist Civet

Civet is my absolute favorite from the niche brand Zoologist. So, I feel horrible that I’m just now reviewing it! I said in 2016 in my yearly list,

If I were to choose a perfume of the woman I wish to become, it’d be Civet.

It’s been two years and this still hold true. Civet is the sort of aromatic meets amber-style perfume that I’ve gravitated to since I started wearing perfume. It brings to mind vintage, classic perfumes and style, but in comparison to its predecessors, it’s a much easier to wear perfume. What do I mean by that? Well, you know how some clothes or designs are breathtakingly beautiful but feel out of place in the modern world even if their appeal is that they don’t fit in the modern world? Imagine living in a house surrounded by brocade and velvet. It seems nice at first but after while it could start to feel oppressive.. Or yes, someone like Dita von Teese has a wardrobe that many of us lust for, but geez, sometimes you just want to bum it up in sweats. So, with perfumes, it’s like there are things that are gorgeous but start to feel like period pieces, things that don’t work with my life at all. I save them for special occasions, etc. But, what I really like are things that pull from the best of the old and mix it with the new. Imagine that house with all its brocade, but it has HVAC and Bosch dishwasher. That’s what I want in a perfume. Civet is opulent and glamorous in a way that merges the past and present. It’s just one of those perfumes that’s really put together well.

Civet opens with a champagne-like effervescence with dry, brut citrus and peach. It’s then spice market spices and spicy florals like carnation. It has a heady, indolic white floral in its opening but it’s paired with a licorice-like note (AKA tarragon) that I find to be a genius addition to this composition. This is tuberose which becomes a star player as the fragrance wears. This tuberose is lactonic (creamy). There’s a genius coffee accord in this fragrance that perfectly accentuates the almost tropical florals. As the perfume wears, it becomes more balsamic and smoky. It’s smoldering incense, musk perfume on a vintage fur stole and a balsamic, tobacco-hued amber. At this stage, it reminds me of one of my favorite but discontinued perfumes that was a modern take on a classic from the 1950’s, Estee Lauder (by Tom Ford) Youth Dew Amber Nude. The spices and the vanilla remind me of cola. The leather, the musk and the incense just adds a sensuality that you don’t get in a lot of modern amber perfumes. The coffee beans make it feel more modern than all those old perfumes.

There’s a lot happening in Civet, you can see that from the note list. I’m sure mileage will vary on everyone. Personally, on me it’s like a balsamic, spicy and smoky floral with the perfect amount of animalic musk. I don’t find it overly civet-y or skanky. In fact, I think it could benefit from a smidgen more funk than it has. But, I’m not that sensitive to skank. Anyway, it’s been two years since this was launched and I still think it’s excellent. If you like vintage-style perfumes, you need to try this one. It’s one of those “perfume-perfumes”.

Hedy Lamarr

Notes listed include bergamot, black pepper, spices, tarragon, lemon, orange, carnation, frangipani, heliotrope, hyacinth, linden blossom, tuberose, ylang-ylang, musk, civet, coffee, incense, Russian leather, vanilla, vetiver and more. Launched in 2016. PERFUMER – Shelley Waddington

Give Civet a try if you like spicy ambers, vintage or balsamic/aromatic perfumes. Or perfumes like  Chanel Coco, Caron Bellodgia, Cartier Les Heures de Cartier L’Heure Convoiteé, Estee Lauder Cinnabar, YSL Opium, Estee Lauder Youth Dew Amber Nude and/or CREED Vanisia.

Projection and longevity are above average. I prefer this one in cooler weather/winter.

Civet comes in a few sizes with the 2 oz bottle retailing for $145 at Zoologist. Samples are also available for purchase.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONSpicy, balsamic floral amber funk. It’s absolutely gorgeous, timeless and elegant. So, why don’t I have a bottle yet? 😉  Why am I not this women yet?

BTW – This perfume is named after an animal but there are no animal ingredients in the perfume. Just wanted to clarify that.

Want more reviews? Try…

Perfume Posse 

Musings of a Muse

Australian Perfume Junkies

*Sample provided by the brand. I am not financially compensated for my reviews. My opinions are my own. Product pic from the brand. Hedy LaMarr (my favorite) from

8 thoughts on “Zoologist Civet Perfume Review

  1. HVAC *and* a Bosch?!? Sign me up!!!
    I know I had a sample of this…. I really need to find it and give it another try this winter.
    This is what usually happens- I think, “oh I’ll try this when it’s warmer/cooler” and then I set it aside and NEVER SEE IT AGAIN. lol

    1. Lol, right? I have lived in enough old houses for so long that those two things are WEALTH to me, lol.

      Same over here. I have a little box of “try these when it’s cold” and since moving, um, where did I put that? It’ll be summer before I find them again. With Civet, I just think it’s the best when it’s cool because these sort of notes seem to become Godzilla sized in heat/humidity.

  2. Your comment about it being a perfume of the woman you wish to become got me to buy a 10ml bottle. (Thank you every company that offers this size bottle, allows creating a large perfume library. And thank you for about the best descriptive sentence in a perfume review ever!)

    It is potent and gorgeous and definitely a cooler weather fragrance, wearing it is another reason to look forward to autumnal weather!

    1. Yay! So happy you like it too. It’s just so glamorous and sophisticated. I need to buy a bottle before it gets much cooler. Basically, I want my scarfs and cardigans to smell like this.

      I LOVE that they offer the smaller bottles too. I’m truly thankful for that. The creative director was a perfume lover before he had formed the house so I think he knows exactly what people like us want from a brand (discovery sets, smaller bottles, etc.)

      I have heard that T-Rex, the new limited edition, is absolutely a stunner and something to try if you like Civet. I haven’t tried it yet.

  3. Every time you review a perfume from this brand it reminds me that I really need to order a discovery set… I haven’t tried anything of theirs yet but the marketing is so on point for me. I have a master’s degree in zoology, lol.

    Civet sounds amazing. Fall is already in full swing in the PNW and I’ve busted out all my cozy ambers and spices, what a perfect time it would be to order this!

    1. You should try just for the names, tbh 🙂

      They aren’t all for me. Some I find , others I find repulsive (Bat) but then there is stuff like Civet that I love. This isn’t criticism of the brand. They all give me something to talk about and I know for every one that I don’t like, it’s someone else’s favorite. Civet just happens to be mine.

      It would be! I think this would be great for a Seattle fall/winter.

  4. Such a perfect and beautiful review. Thank you for enjoying my work and for sharing your thoughts. Your writing holds great meaning for me.

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