Zoologist Buyers Guide
Niche Perfumery

A Complete Buyers Guide for Zoologist: Part One

Zoologist is a Toronto-based, indie perfumery that has a fascination with animals. Their fragrances revolve around their habitats, behaviours and looks. The Zoologist collection is completely vegan, bar Hyrax, allowing yourself to spray their perfumes everywhere, care-free.

“Our line of perfumes captures the idiosyncrasies of the animal kingdom and transforms them into scents that are unusual, beautiful, fun and even shocking. Our scents will reconnect you with the manifold delights of the natural world,” says the About Us page on the Zoologist website.

Zoologist Bat
Zoologist Bat 2020

Bat (2020 Release)

The 2020 interpretation of Bat takes inspiration from fruit bats that live in the tropics. Now perfumed by Prin Lomros, the scent is a Fig bomb with prominent Incense and woodsy notes.  

“This unique olfactory experience carries you with the fruit bat to a sumptuous feast in a lush tropical jungle, before whisking you down to the recesses of its cavernous home,” says the description on the Zoologist website. 

Throughout its life, Bat follows its note breakdown to a T. In the opening, Fig is eminent along with its supporting top notes of Passion Fruit, Pink Guava and a Soil Accord. Swiftly, the fragrance adopts its heart and base notes to create an Incense driven scent with dark woods and subtle fruits in the background. 

Making up the heart is Hay, Incense, Minerals and Night Blooming Jasmine. Whilst the fragrance concludes with Animalic Notes, Leather, Vetiver, Mossy Stones, Teak Wood and Vetiver. 

Beaver (2016 Release)

Beaver originally came out in 2014 but, we were treated to a reformulation in 2016. Chris Bartlett “improved the formula by redesigning the linden-blossom top notes accord, removing the smoke and ash notes, and enhancing the base notes accord with even higher quality musks. We also introduced a light leather note, an attribute of the real castoreum musk.”

Now, the fragrance begins with top notes of Fresh Outdoor Air, Linden Blossom, Wood Shavings and Wild Vegetation. In the heart, Damp Air and Dry Wood combine with Light Musk and Water. Finally Amber, Leather, Castoreum, Dark Woods, Heavy Musk and Vanilla conclude the base.

The fragrance is truly as “sexy and dapper” as Zoologist claims. The Leather and Castoreum fuse with the florals to create a scent that is fresh and mysterious. Notably, the Leather note is distinguished and extremely clean, as opposed to other rugged examples of the accord. The use of Vanilla, Amber and Woods play a crucial role in the background of this scent.

Bee

Cristiano Canali, take a bow, sir. Zoologist will tell you that “Bee delivers a surreal experience” and they are not wrong. Even The Art and Olfactory committee agrees with them as in 2020, it was a finalist for an award. Bee has top notes that come forward instantly, notably Orange, Ginger Syrup and a Royal Jelly Accord. In the heart is where you find supporting notes of Broom, Heliotrope, Mimosa and Orange Flower. Then, Benzoin, Labdanum, Musks, Sandalwood, Tonka and Vanilla conclude this showstopping fragrance.

Instantly your nose is met with this freshly squeezed, orange juice accord that has been boiled down and turned into a sugary syrup. The resinous effect of the top notes produces quite the decadent aroma! Once the fragrance settles, you are happily met with the Tonka and Vanilla which insert themselves perfectly into the mix of syrup.

Finally, Musk and Sandalwood settle the battling sweet notes and add a necessary density. The florals slowly enter the mix as well in a supportive role. They smooth out the kinks, giving the Orange and Ginger Syrup a chance to live freely on your skin. This gourmand fragrance is a must-try have for those who love Orange!

Zoologist Camel
Zoologist Camel

Camel

Back-to-back bangers from Zoologist! This desert-inspired fragrance comes from Christian Carbonnel and is truly a phenomenal depiction. The fragrance takes you on a journey of the senses, beginning with a gorgeous Rose note. Quickly, the fragrance morphs on your skin and begins to lean towards a very good rendition of the classic Oud and Vanilla combination. 

Dried Fruits, Frankincense and Palm Date support the Rose at the top. Following this great Rose accord are Amber, Cedar, Cinnamon, Incense, Jasmine, Myrrh and Orange Blossom. To conclude this terrific scent, Civet, Musk, Oud, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Vanilla and Vetiver round out the fragrance. 

The use of Amber, Cedar and Sandalwood is great as they support the Oud by lifting it up and keeping it on the more woodsy side of things. Musk and Civet also play a role but, they’re pushed off to the side.

Vetiver and Tonka Bean help project a darker side to the Vanilla. They produce a dirtier aroma that makes me think that a vanilla bean has been pulled out of the ground, dried and placed in the bottle whole. If you’re a fan of fragrances that are loud and pungent, Camel should be your next purchase.

Chameleon

When I first smelled Chameleon, I thought it was aptly named. Your nose descends on a journey filled with citrus, floral and musk. Every time you smell the scent, you pick up a different note, forgoing another in the process. 

This Daniel Pescio creation has top notes that spark creativity including Bergamot, Lemon, Madagascar Ylang Ylang, Mango, Pink Pepper, Star fruit and Violet Leaves. Down below you may find Cashmeran, Clove, Coconut, Frangipani, Jasmine, Saffron, Salty Skin Accord and Sea Breeze. At the bottom, Amber, Woods, Musks, Opoponax, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla and Vetiver complete the base. 

Chameleon truly is a free-flowing scent that makes the mind question what exactly you’re smelling. I’m positive that if a hundred people smelled Chameleon, they would all describe it differently. If I could box Chameleon into a general smell, I would say that it is citrus and musk with hints of floral sweetness. But, there is far too much going on to label it in such a basic manner. 

The most prominent accords in this fragrance are from the Lemon, Bergamot and surprisingly Mango. Vanilla adds a touch of sweetness but, it is gentle in its approach. It helps compliment the Sandalwood and Patchouli by acting as the same, rough Vanilla that you find in Camel. The Musks do a great job of adding a necessary oomph to the scent as it helps pronounce the delicate citrus accord.

Zoologist Chipmunk
Zoologist Chipmunk

Chipmunk

Holy Hazelnut! I’ll admit, when I saw that Zoologist decided to create a fragrance that resembled a chipmunk’s journey of collecting food before hibernation, I wasn’t expecting much. But wow, this fragrance is a spicy, Hazelnut scent with hints of chocolate and immense woods. 

Chipmunk is perfumed by Pia Long who did an outstanding job with this fragrance. Smelling it makes me want to bundle up beside a fire and enjoy hot cocoa at a cottage. The use of Hazelnut is extremely pronounced and lasts throughout the lifetime of the scent. 

The supporting notes of Cardamom and Nutmeg give the fragrance a spicy accord that works perfectly with the Hazelnut. It truly brings back Christmas memories and just makes me happy to smell it again and again! 

The wood notes of Guiacwood, Oak Absolute and Cedarwood produce an accord that lends itself hand in hand with Hazelnut. All of the notes work together harmoniously to support the Hazelnut and allow it to shine through in a beautiful way. 

Chipmunk has an official note breakdown of Quince, Pink Pepper, Red Mandarin, Cardamom and Nutmeg. The heart includes Camomile, Hazelnut, Fir Balsam, Oak Absolute and Earthy Notes. In the base, you may find Cedarwood, Amyris, Patchouli, Vetiver, Benzoin, Opoponax, Guiacwood and Animal Notes.

Civet

Perfumed by Shelley Waddington, Civet is a floral chypre with loads of spice. The fragrance reminds me of freshly baked gingerbread cookies and my father’s morning coffee on Christmas day. Your nose is welcome to baking spices, Leather and Incense which combines well with Vanilla and Coffee.

In 2017, Civet was a finalist for an Art and Olfaction Award and I presume it was for its terrific spice notes. The top notes in Civet are Bergamot, Black Pepper, Lemon, Orange, Spices and Tarragon. In the heart is Carnation, Frangipani, Heliotrope, Hyacinth, Lindem-blossom, Tuberose and Ylang Ylang. Finally Balsams, Civet, Coffee, Incense, Labdanum, Musks, Oakmoss, Resins, Russian Leather, Vanilla, Vetiver and Woods conclude the base. 

Civet is a great fragrance for those chilly winter months where you want to entice someone to come close and give you a cuddle. I would also recommend the scent for date nights or when you want to smell unique.

Dodo (2020)

Dodo is an attractive Fougère created by Yves Cassar with a prominent pine accord and enough spice to season a holiday turkey. On the top, you can find Bergamot, Petitgrain, Pink Pepper and Rosemary. In the heart is Cardamom, Pineapple which surprisingly shines through quite a bit, Clary Sage and Black Current Absolute. Finally, Basil, Lavender, Geranium, Cumin, Patchouli, Oakwood, Lavandin, Oakmoss Absolute, Tonka and Musk complete the base.

I’ll admit, I don’t think Dodo is a scent that I would wear as it is not my cup of tea. The pine accord and spices are eminent and make me want to categorize this fragrance as cold weather, winter or even a fall scent. But, I believe that Dodo should be left for distinguished gentlemen who are bored of classic Fougères. 

The Pineapple note in this fragrance stands out profusely which surprises me in a great way. The accord somehow plays with the spices and creates this enticing freshness that is unique. I would like to clarify however that the Pineapple note is dirty, almost as if you’re smelling the brown exterior as opposed to the inner, sweet portion.

Zoologist Dragonfly
Zoologist Dragonfly

Dragonfly (2021)

Dragonfly was rereleased in 2021, perfumed by Céline Barel. The older version that was perfumed by Juan Perez is discontinued and no longer available. Unfortunately, I did not have the chance to smell its predecessor but I can assure you that you’ll be happy with the new formulation. 

The top features notes of Grapefruit, Basil, Angelica Seed, Ginger and Rice. In the heart, you can find unique notes of Aquatic Florals, Geranium, Jasmin Sambac, Mimosa, Orris Absolute, Rose and Violet Leaves. Finally, the base consists of Rainwater, Moss, Patchouli, Tonka, Vetiver, Benzoin and Cashmeran. 

The fragrance is an extremely soft, clean floral fragrance that can be worn whenever you’d like. It’s not overbearing and extremely pleasant. The florals create a terrific sweetness that is buoyant yet robust. I especially like the use of Jasmine Sambac and Violet Leaves as it gives off a unique floral tone. 

In Dragonfly, I seem to find the same burnt caramel accord that I found in Seahorse. I believe that this may be due to the way the florals were incorporated but, again I am not complaining. It is an extremely unique take on a floral scent.

Elephant

This finalist of the 2018 edition of The Art and Olfactory Awards is a milky, gourmand fragrance that reminds me of many people’s first introduction to bubble tea: the classic milk tea. Chris Bartlett’s creation projects Coconut Milk to the forefront, along with Cocoa which adds a great sweetness. Beneath these notes are strong woodsy accords that add density to the fragrance.

At the top, you may find Tree Leaves, Darjeeling Tea and Magnolia. Within the heart are Cocoa, Coconut Milk, Incense, Jasmine and Woody Notes. Finally, Amber, Musks, Patchouli and Sandalwood complete the incredibly unique note breakdown. 

Elephant might be one of the most intriguing fragrances that I’ve ever encountered. I simply can’t get over the Coconut Milk note and how well it projects in the scent. It is extremely unique and a smell that everyone must experience at some point in their life. I believe that the note reminds me more of warmed-up, condensed milk with coconut shavings and cocoa powder atop it.

Hummingbird

Shelley Waddington is back with another great fragrance, this time in the form of a floral scent that made me feel more attractive after spraying it on. Hummingbird is a subtle scent that tends to linger as your day progresses.

The two versions of Honey, Lilac, Peony and various fruits produce an enticing accord that is extremely unique. In the top, Apple, Cherry, Citrus, Lilac, Muguet, Plum, Rose and Violet Leaf help produce a slight fruity sweetness. In the heart, Honeysuckle, Honey, Mimosa, Peony, Tulip and Ylang Ylang add a floral sweetness that is slightly gourmand and resinous. 

Finally, Amber, Cream, Coumarin, Moss, Sandalwood, Musks and White Woods work to bump up all of the sweetness levels and aid the longevity. This fragrance is a must-wear in the spring and summer for those days where you wake up feeling happy or need the pick-me-up. Hummingbird gave me a seriously positive boost of energy when I laid my nose on it, giving me the strength that I needed in order to have a productive day. 

Hyrax

The final fragrance of this two-part buyers guide is Hyrax. Now, this is the only non-vegan fragrance sold by Zoologist due to the African Stone. Zoologist explicitly tell us that “African Stone is a by-product of hyraxes and no animals are harmed in its harvesting. Zoologist Hyrax is not a vegan perfume.” However, the rest of the normally non-vegan aspects of Hyrax maintain synthetic, not derived from animals. 

This Sven Pritzkoleit creation has top notes of Elemi, Pink Pepper, Saffron and Turkish Rose. In the heart, you can find African Stone, Hyacinth, Styrax and Whiskey. Finally and the most important piece to this puzzle, Amber, Benzoin, Castoreum*, Civet*, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Tonka conclude the base. 

Hyrax is an absolutely stunning, manly fragrance that demands to be worn by a gentleman. The heart notes are projected aggressively due to the robust support system beneath them. The Whiskey and African Stone produce the gentleman’s accord that all refined men yearn for.

Hyrax smells as if it should be priced considerably higher than what it retails for due to its quality, longevity and overall smell. The fragrance is extremely pungent and demands not only your attention, but your respect.

The fragrance smells like a leather armchair that may be found in a cigar lounge. The smoke isn’t aggressive, but it has enough character to live on its own. The Whiskey and Tonka just add to this accord in positive ways, leaving boozy remnants and slight, gourmand sweetness. 

Final Thoughts

The first part of this two-part buyers guide is now complete and I have to say, I enjoyed every bit of it. Personally, I would love to add Chipmunk, Elephant and Bee to my personal collection in full-size form. What I enjoyed the most from this collection was that there was something for everyone.

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