The Portuguese journalist Miguel Matos wrote a fantastic article about the rise of the animalics in perfumery. The article consists of 3 parts. I try to give a short summary here:
PART I: Civet, Castoreum, Styrax, Africa Stone, Ambergris, Costus, Leather, Musk, Cumin… Animalics are back. Of course you can’t tell from a visit to a mainstream perfumery shop. It may be too soon to say that this is a real trend, but 2015 sure was the year of animalic compositions appearing in the niche perfume exhibitions of Milan (Esxence) and Florence (Pitti Fragranze). Even in the TFWA expo.
PART II: Animalic ingredients were key elements to vintage perfumery. They turned floral compositions in alluring experiences that dealt with subliminal levels of seduction. But somehow, because of obvious questions of cruelty (musk and civet), the expensive character of some of them (like ambergris) or even the fact that people started to prefer lighter scents, animalics were left behind. Beautiful perfume bases like Animalis (by Synarome) were relegated to oblivion as we saw modernity smell less beastly or sexual. The aquatic trend of the 90’s obliterated animalic perfumes for good, with a few exceptions still surviving at the back of the shelves. But now the recent animalics are possible due to the fact that synthetic equivalents of animalic essences are now more developed with good reproductions.
PART III: Barbara Herman is a blogger (yesterdaysperfume) and author of the book Scent and Subversion. She was one of the first noted voices online to defend the importance of animalic elements in perfumery. Vintage perfume is her cause as she collects and writes about lost fragrant memories. “Civet. Musk. Rotten fruit. Women’s underpants. Dirty ashtrays. Blood. This catalog of smells might seem out of place in a positive discussion of perfume, but all of these scents became metaphors for everything my modern, sterile office life lacked,” she wrote. “In the virtual, deodorized, homogenized, and antiseptic world I felt myself dissolving into, these Things That Stink felt alive. (…)”
Its a truely beautiful article to read. Have a good week! Yours, Fran