V: Deer

How an odd, fanged deer created modern perfume.

quintidi, the 15th of Frimaire, Year CCXXXI
A roe deer at sunset. Photo by Bob Brewer / Unsplash

Good morning. Today is quintidi, the 15th of Frimaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate le chevreuil, a deer that defines what it means to be a deer.

The calendar specifies today's animal as the roe, a European deer that is smaller than its North American relatives, but, ironically, a close cousin of the moose. It's also closely related to the reindeer, to keep yesterday's accidental seasonality alive. (Fabre d'Eglantine assembled this a good half-century before "A Visit from St. Nicholas" by Clement Moore canonized the Santa herd.) A male roe is known as a roebuck, a word that will be familiar to anyone who ever shopped at Sears (R.I.P.).

Deer are arguably even more important to the way we smell than flowers. Specifically, a species of deer that roamed northern Europe and Asia and is now on the brink of extinction. A species of deer with fangs instead of antlers.

Let's talk about musk deer.