A little while back I received a query from Peter about a mysterious civet oil bottle. I answered as best I could - happening on an interesting thread while doing so - but thought that readers, in the US especially, might be able to give their input. Here is his message,
Back in the early to mid 1970's, I was given a rather small bottle of
civet oil. It was black and I believe dimpled in the center and a
small screw on cap with an applicator wand, could you tell me who
made that fragrance?
Peter, Block Island, Rhode Island."..........
I have seen repeated, even obsessive mentions of a civet oil from the 1970s by Alyssa Ashley. It also appeared under the Houbigant label. One testimonial indicates it was bottled in a small black bottle with an eye logo on it; you can find it also in a transparent bottle. It is discontinued and some people are looking for it really hard.
Since it is very difficult to find it (in oil concentration), you might want to look for alternatives. Someone suggested Dusty Rose Perfumery which makes a copy of the Alyssa Ashley Civet Oil. You can also find some real civet tincture at La Via del Profumo as well as synthetic civet at The Mystic Corner.
Finally, as a fragrance replacement that might potentially satisfy you, I recommend Oropuro by Laura Tonatto which can be characterized as a straight-up civet perfume (we need to have the equivalent of the term "soliflore" for animalic notes -- how about a "sola-bestia"?); I find the Eau de Parfum version to be more civet-y than the extract.
Orange Spice by Creed is a great civet perfume - very pure, old-world, with spicy and citrus-y nuances. Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent, which was mentioned by a reader, I find less purely delineated as a civet perfume than the Creed one and certainly less elegant, but if you like your civet to be dirty, on the rancid side, with hints of unwashed oily hair, that's the one to go for.