MuskMUSK, AMBER, ANIMALIC SMELLS

The term "animalic" refers to both raw aroma materials and "fantasy" notes (derived from synthesis in the lab) which directly evoke a scent reminiscent of animals—either real ones, or more metaphorically, the libidinous nature of our own human animal instincts—and their primal force.

In perfumery, animal notes were traditionally rendered through deer musk, castoreum, ambergris and civet cats, but nowadays, ethical concerns for these animals' welfare have rendered their use obsolete and the substitution with synthetic variants a rule. (Only ambergris is by its nature cruelty-free, being naturally expelled by the sperm whale itself in the ocean, but it's a very rare and expensive ingredient for most commercial use, so synthetics replicating its aroma are the standard practice).

Musk especially has been synthesized in the lab in hundreds of variants, resulting in slightly different odor profiles for each (Galaxolide, Habanolide, Ethyl Brassylate, Allyl Amyl Glycolate etc).

Amber notes are different from ambergris in that the former is a mix of resins producing a warm, sweetish and very deep scent (most often in the "Oriental" family), while the latter is a rather salty, subtly skin-like deep note with no great sweetness to it.

A few cases of animals indirectly used for animalic notes—with absolutely no harm rendered to the animal in question—are hyrax (the petrified excrement of which is used), goat hair tincture, roasted sea shells and beeswax from beehives. Some plants, such as Angelica and Ambrette Seeds, also produce animalic-smelling compounds that replicate musk.

Last but not least, perfumery makes use of "fantasy notes," rendered through creative mixing of various ingredients or single synthetic reconstitution, that recall the ambience of some scents with animal inferences, such as milk, caviar, starfish, skunk cabbage, bacon, bbq cuts, leather or suede hide.

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