By now I’m sure that most of you have heard about the “new animalics” trend that’s been gaining speed for the last few years. In case you don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about, fragrances “of ” and inspired by animals are kinda hot right now. I’m not at all surprised since the strong interest in vintage / vintage style perfumes has been gaining traction for quite some time and many (most) of those older fragrances are laden with animalic aromatics. It gives them that luscious body, and sensuous warmth that we’re hard wired to crave. Certainly some densely animalic perfumes can scare the bejeezes out of the wearer while others seem to purr and softly seduce bringing you ever closer… like moths to a flame, when they smell that olfactory ‘siren song’. I am definitely one of those vintage perfume lovers who couldn’t be more delighted with this renewed interest in what some might call ‘poopy’ or ‘cat pee’ fragrances. (I’m sure that warmed you up, right?).
It occurs to me that another avenue into animalic fragrances, especially of the ‘retro-nouveau’ variety, might be the prolonged fervor for oud / oude / oudh perfumes which depending on the quality and the amount of natural aquillaria wood oil used, can be mighty fecal. Yes, some are down right ‘poopy’. Not a bad…well, that’s in the nose of the beholder. Anyway, it seems that if these particular aspects that can be found in botanicals are to your liking then true animal notes (real or synthetic) are not that far away as you journey through fragrance. It’s only a hop, skip, and a furry jump from the more intense oud perfumes to that of the cultivated critter.
There are a number of fabulous vintage fragrances and houses that specialized in more animalic scents but I’m only going to delve into one right now: the House of Weil. Their main affair was furs. The fragrances that they are known for came later but most were inspired by, and meant to be worn with, their furs. Their most famous and longest selling perfume was Antilope and I believe their most sought after fragrance is Secret de Venus (sometimes fetching well over $1000 per bottle on ebay). Secret de Venus actually started as a bath oil and came in a number of ‘fragrances’ such as Antilope and Zibeleine, but there was later a Secret de Venus perfume developed that to me, feels like the House of Weil’s “Guerlainade’; their fragrant signature base. It’s warm, ripe, sensuously animalic, and lushly floral in that early – mid – twentieth century kind of way. Aldehydes are present but not very loud at all which allows the base to rub itself around you like a cat hoping that you’ll scratch it’s ears and belly. A lesser known Weil fragrance that has long intrigued me is Chinchilla. Of course, I *LOVE* the name. And the beautiful silken creatures, so soft and sweet. I had had this name and some scribbles in my notebooks for some time before the real impetus came to push me toward creation. Last summer, a lovely young woman came to work part time at my studio whose family name is also Chinchilla. That was it! A sign… that the time was right to get to work.
Especially when making retro-nouveau style perfumes, I love to leave little trails to historical perfumes in my designs. It’s fun. And I hope that those that know vintage fragrances will pick up the trail and find my clues. So, too, with my Chinchilla, I thought about the House of Weil as well as the original ‘Shocking de Schiaparelli’, with it’s dominating CIVET note and honey heart. Most importantly, though, I wanted to really evoke the texture of fur. That would be something new that these beauties from the past didn’t do. The furriness and the kind of ‘dusty honey’ quality that came together really sang to me… and I have to admit that I fell in love. And to my amazement and delight, many others did, too.
So, that was last Summer into Fall… and now I’m working on a couple more to fill ‘my little petting zoo’. They’ll still be the more contemporary retro-nouveau designs with the vintage calling cards. I’m having a ball creating these… some a bit more whimsical, some more sophisticated. All with a little growl, and a purr.
I’m really happy to share some links to reviews for Chinchilla (with many thanks) to Lauryn at CaFleurbon, Samantha at IScentYouADay, Cynthia at The Fragrant Journey, Victoria at EAUMG, and Steven at the Scented Hound,
credits: aquillaria aromatic link to wikipedia.org; image for arabian oud perfume found here; house of weil links at fragrantica.com, shocking de shiaparelli link at fragrantica.com; image for weil furs found on pinterest; chinchilla de weil extrait image found on our instagram. (please feel free to follow! 🙂 )