Ambergris, Civet and Musk; what are they and how do they smell?

Fragrance notes are either synthetic or natural. Natural fragrances don’t smell very nice on their own and can even give you a headache if you use too much of them. Typical examples are the oil of jasmine and roses. They are too concentrated on their own and must be diluted and mixed with other scents before they come into their own and smells good.

Let’s take a look at a few of the natural notes.


Ambergris, What is it?

Ambergris is a natural product. It is a pathological secretion produced in the sperm whale. Some believe that it is whale vomit while others believe that it is whale poo … whatever it is, it’s worth a lot. It can be found, if you’re lucky, on the beach where it washed up and looks (and smells) like a smelly stones. Depending on the quality of it, you can get up to £180.000 for a lump on the size of a football.

Ambergris is used in quality fragrances (because of the price you won’t find it in cheap perfumes) and the smell is best described as marine, a smell of animals and luscious.

We have many fragrances containing ambergris, Below you´ll find a few:

For Him:

For Her:

Civet, What is it?

Civet is another natural product which is frequently used in the perfume industry.

Civet comes from the Mongoose, it is a gland secretion that comes from both the male and female animal. The animals are caught in the wild and placed in small narrow cages where they are teased till they get angry. This increases the amount of secretions they produce. This secretion is Civet and are assembled with a spatula and placed in small animal horns. After the civet is collected the Mongoose is released, another one is caught and so it goes on until enough Civet is collected.
The smell of Civet is particularly unpleasant; it is a bit like that of the secretions from an angry skunk.

Civet mixed in perfumes however gives a nice warm scent when it is mixed with flowery scents.

Below is a few of our fragrances containing civet:

For Him:
Gentleman by Givenchy, Aramis 900 and Tom Ford Noir.

For Her:
Jean Patou Joy, Ysatis by Givenchy, Ungaro Diva and Boucheron by Boucheron.

Musk, What is it?

Musk is a secretion from a gland found in the male Alpine Musk Deer, a small animal found in the mountains of northern India and Central Asia.

The secretion, which only comes from males over two years, can be found in an internal pouch in the stomach of the deer. When the stag is caught it is killed, and the musk bag is removed and dried. For this reason the Alpine Musk Deer is in danger of becoming extinct so for this reason it was banned ( in 1976) to use genuine Musk in fragrances, which is why today the perfume industry can only use a synthetic mix that is very similar to the genuine musk .

Musk has a distinct scent, it is sweet and pleasant. It gives a warm tone to perfumes and is excellent as a background note to bind the other notes . Therefore, you will find that most perfumes contain musk.

Since ancient times, musk have been said to be an excellent aphrodisiac and was used as such in fragrances. Modern science believes that the smell of musk is similar to the smell of testosterone, which can act as a pheromone in humans.

Black Musk by Jovan, Acqua di Gio Homme by Giorgio Armani and Versace Man Eau Fraiche are but a few of our fragrances with musk for men.

For women we have¨White Musk by Alyssa Ashley, Flash by Jimmy Choo and Narciso Rodriguez for Her.


So, this was a little insight into what a few of the natural ingredients in a fragrance are and where they come from. I will return in another blog with other notes, if there is any you are interested in, please write and I’ll include them in my next blog.



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