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Niche Perfumery

A Complete Buyers Guide for Zoologist: Part Two

Welcome to part two of the Zoologist buyers guide! If you haven’t read part one, click here.

Zoologist truly showed me the meaning of niche quality. These eleven fragrances all embodied the animal that they were created to represent. If you’re looking for a showstopping fragrance that will last hours upon hours on your skin, look no further.

Zoologist Koala
Zoologist Koala

Koala

“A cloak of rich green velvet sweeps across the Australian horizon, the majestic eucalypt forest flattering every curve of the undulating landscape,” describes Zoologist on their website and upon smelling the scent, I agree. 

Created by Spyros Drosopoulos, the fragrance is a phenomenal take on an aromatic and green scent, with Eucalyptus and other medicinal notes coming to the forefront. In the best way possible, Koala has a very enjoyable cough drop aroma. 

I would describe it as the cough drops that you would take as a kid, knowing they weren’t going to do much other than tasting great. The Menthol and Spices make your nose tingle, which is a feeling that I’ve never experienced in a fragrance.

On the top, you may find Eucalyptus, Menthol Honey Gumdrops and Mimosa. The heart consists of Black Tea, Geranium, Incense, Spices and Vetiver. Finally, Musk, Amber, Oakmoss, Vanilla and Sandalwood conclude the base. 

The superstar notes in Koala are the Eucalyptus and Menthol Honey Gumdrops by far. But, as the fragrance progresses the Black Tea and Incense step up and take over the scent.

Moth

Moth is a dark and rich fragrance that can hypnotize those passing by. The Oud is extremely potent but blends beautifully with aromas of gourmand Honey and sweet, delicate florals. The Tomoo Inaba creation lasted practically a day on my skin, evolving with each and every smell.

The opening consists of an extremely spicy aroma, conglomerated with a sharp citrus accord, presumably from the Lemon. As the fragrance lives on your skin, you begin to smell the spice morph into smoke, then quickly into a deep wood.

Mixed in with the aroma of the Oud is a very similar Honey note to Bee, although I find that the raw texture is lost. What you experience is a luscious Honey note that mixes very well with Musk and Resin. It reminds you of the aroma that may project off of a tea after stirring it with a spoon full of Honey. 

At the beginning of Moth, you can smell Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Lemon, Nutmeg and Saffron. As we trek downwards, Heliotrope, Iris, Jasmine, Mimosa, Muguet and Rose round out the heart. At the base, we find Ambergris, Honey, Resins, Guaiac Wood, Musk, Nagarmotha, Oud, Patchouli, Smoke and Vetiver. 

Macaque (Yuzu Edition)

Macaque Yuzu has been reinterpreted by Mackenzie Reilly, whilst the older version designed by Sarah McCartney is discontinued. The new version of this fragrance is absolutely terrific! At the top, notes of Japanese Yuzu and Mandarin announce themselves amidst Juniper Berry.

In the heart, we begin to pick the notes of Myrrh, Hinoki Wood and Hydro Carbon Resin. As we approach the base, Oakmoss Absolute, New Caledonia Sandalwood and Olibanum Hyperabsolute interject themselves into the aroma. 

There are two main points about this fragrance that I can’t stress enough. First of all, the Yuzu accord is extremely natural and surprisingly pungent. Citrus notes are notorious for being poor in longevity but this Yuzu accord is here for the long run. 

Secondly, the fragrance is incredibly easy to wear. This should be your dumb reach in the daytime, at the office or in the high heat. The woody notes are not overbearing, nor are they absent. They compliment the citrus accords very well, allowing the Yuzu to be the first thing you smell. 

Zoologist Musk Deer
Zoologist Musk Deer

Musk Deer

Victor Wong and Pascal Gaurin, I owe you two gentlemen an apology. When I heard the name of the fragrance and read the note breakdown, I was skeptical. But once I placed my nose onto my wrist and inhaled Musk Deer, I was blown away.

The fragrance consists of Cardamom, Calamus Oil and Rose on the top. In the heart are Sambac Jasmine Absolute, Patchouli, Cedarwood Atlas and Labdanum Absolute. Finally, Ambrette Absolute, Orris Absolute, Laos Oud and Australian Sandalwood round out this near-perfect scent.

Musk Deer has an extremely sensual wood accord that mixes superbly with the floral notes. Jasmine, Patchouli and Rose stand out and embody the sensual nature of the scent. They appear very sweet, but not headache-inducing. 

The Musk accord that is produced throughout the fragrances life is simply phenomenal. It’s light and playful, whilst supporting the Oud and surprisingly heavy Sandalwood. The Musk accord is comparable to Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Intense in terms of how prominent it is and how well it is incorporated.

I would highly recommend this fragrance to anyone who enjoys the gentlemanly nature of Oud Wood and Xerjoff Naxos. Musk Deer is a great option for men who want to smell refined, sexy and playful. 

Nightingale

A Nightingales’ song “marks a fleeting moment of emotional awaking: to some a time for celebration and fresh starts; to others, a countdown to a departure for unknown horizons.”

You’re immediately met by a sharp citrus accord, which settles down throughout its life. The Lemon note projects the most noticeably, slowly transitioning to a clean sweetness. Once dried down, the fragrance is a floral lover’s dream, with Japanese Plum Blossom and Violet. 

The florals are simply beautiful, making me feel joyful and energized. Nightingale reminds me of those terrific mornings where chirping birds replace my obnoxious alarm clock. The base notes of this fragrance are not bulging out, rather they sit in the background and work to lift the delicate florals. 

Tomoo Inaba’s creation has top notes of Bergamot, Lemon and Saffron. The heart consists of Japanese Plum Blossom, Red Rose and Violet. Finally, the extensive base notes are Oud, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Moss, Frankincense, White Musk, Labdanum and Ambergris.

Panda (2017)

When I first wore Panda, I instantly thought of the word harmony. The quality ingredients were all blended together perfectly, giving me a scent that is impeccable in so many ways. Paul Kiler’s 2014 interpretation of Panda was been replaced by Christian Carbonnel’s 2017 design.  

Panda has top notes of Apple, Magnolia, Mandarin, Lily, Osmanthus, Ozone and Tea. In the heart is Amber, Bamboo, Earthy Notes, Jasmine, Orris and Patchouli. The base concludes with Civet, Musk, Sandalwood and Vanilla. 

The fragrance is very soothing in its nature. It is calming and one that I enjoy with each and every smell. The Apple is extremely protrusive in the opening, along with the Ozone note and florals. The use of Earthy notes and Bamboo allow the fragrance to feel fresh and inviting, without stepping too far into the citrus or overly sweet category. 

Panda has qualities of a blue fragrance without being categorized as such. Similar fresh out-of-the-shower accords can be found in Acqua Di Gio, Dylan Blue and Sauvage. Although, Panda is unique in comparison to those designer fragrances as the Apple provides freshness, mixed with perfect levels of sweetness. This is definitely a fragrance that deserves daily wear for self-happiness and to intrigue others.

Zoologist Rhinoceros
Zoologist Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros

Rhinoceros is admittedly not one of my favourites from this collection, although I appreciate the vision. Perfumed by Prin Lomros, The fragrance has Pink Pepper, Whiskey, Coffee, Rum and Basil on the top. Beneath are Leather, Incense, Tobacco Absolute, Flouve and Ylang Ylang. Finally, Laos Oud, Patchouli, Nargamotha, Oakmoss and Amber complete the base.

Right away, you’re struck with an aroma that is hard to pin down. After a few whiffs, I picked out Coffee and Whiskey, although the Pink Pepper tickled my nose. As it progresses, you’re met with a very high-quality Leather note amidst Amber and some Tobacco.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I am not the biggest fan of Amber, nor am I a fan of Leather heavy fragrances. What I may say is that for those who love these characteristics, Rhinoceros is the fragrance for you. It is full of heavy Leather accords and a Tobacco note that takes a more floral approach than smoky.

Sloth

Woah! For all of my craft beer drinkers, Sloths opening smells eerily similar to Eagle Banana Bread Beer. The fragrance will maintain the slight fruity accord throughout its life, transitioning into a green, woodsy scent. 

Prin Lomros is featured back to back, starting Sloth with notes of Chamomile, Açaí Berry, Lavender and Violet Leaf. In the heart are Marigold, Beeswax, Anise, Jatamansi, Jasmine and Cumin. Concluding the fragrance is Hay, Frankincense, Myrrh, Mushroom, Oakmoss, Vanilla and Tonka. 

Once Sloth settles down, you find very sensual baking spices, mixed with a slight wood accord and fruits. I pick up Banana, although the original aroma has seemingly drifted off. Replacing it is the burnt sugar that sits atop a freshly baked muffin, blended with a modestly acidic fruit. 

A slight green accord may be picked up from the background. The aroma is fresh and slightly woody, alluding to the stems from which berries grow. 

Snowy Owl

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz did an absolutely phenomenal job of embodying the snow owl in a scent. The fragrance practically cools down your body and nose upon smell with its minty accord. You are transcended into an area that is 10 degrees cooler, slowly allowing your body to acclimate to the cold weather. 

Snowy Owl will later warm-up, utilizing woody accords and Vanilla. They work in unison to sweeten the scent, without becoming overbearing. The Vanilla note is raw, floral sweetness, as opposed to the very chemically driven versions that we see in some designer scents.

The top notes in this fragrance consist of Snow Accord, Lily of the Valley, Mint and Coconut. Below, Iris, Snowdrop, White Rose, Mate, Frankincense and Galbanum amass in the heart. Finally, the base notes are completed with Ambrette, Cedar, Civet, Musks, Oakmoss, Tonka and Vanilla. 

Zoologist Squid
Zoologist Squid

Squid

2020 was a massive year for Zoologist Squid. Designed by Céline Barel, the fragrance won the “Perfume Extraordinaire of the Year” award at the Fragrance Foundation Awards. As well, it received a finalist result in the Independent Category of The Art & Olfaction Awards. 

Squid is an aquatic scent that is influenced by incense and sweet musks. The note breakdown of this fragrance is intriguing and sounds supernatural. At the top, Pink Pepper and Incense meet Solar Salicylate. In the heart is a Black Ink Accord, Salty Accord and Opoponax. To conclude the award-winning fragrance, Ambergris and Benzoin pair with Musk. 

What instantly jumps out at me is this aquatic accord that is murky and unfiltered. It smells as if an oceanic fragrance decided to go rogue and slowly inch its way closer to the side of Musk and Incense.

Then, I’m met with the same burnt caramel accord that I’ve been finding in most aquatic scents by Zoologist. It is textured like rocks at the bottom of the ocean, yet sweet and aromatic. 

Tyrannosaurus Rex

The 23rd and final fragrance of this two-part buyers guide, Tyrannosaurus Rex is a leathery, smoky scent that projects the accord that all Leather lovers want. The accord is rugged and unforgiving, giving the other notes minimal room to breathe. 

In the opening, the fragrance may seem overbearing. But as it settles, it turns into a scarily similar rendition of Islay Scotch whiskey. Antonio Gardoni designed this fragrance with top notes of Bergamot, Black Pepper, Fir, Laurel Leaf, Neroli and Nutmeg. In the heart are Champaca, Geranium, Jasmine, Osmanthus, Rose and Ylang Ylang. Finally, Resins, Cade, Cedar, Civet, Frankincense, Leather, Patchouli, Sandalwood and Vanilla complete the fragrances note breakdown. 

Cade and Leather are the main perpetrators of this manly aroma, which sends you to a dingy bar in Islay. You walk in to see a gentleman wearing a cracked leather jacket. As you approach him, you watch as a puff of smoke floats above his head. You tap him on the shoulder to introduce yourself and you’re met with the slam of a crystal glass. 

Pungent whiskey flies out of the cup, settling onto the bar. As the man turns around, you notice that he has the face of a dinosaur. You smile, knowing that you’ve met the Tyrannosaurus Rex in all of its glory.

Final Thoughts

Zoologist fragrances have strung me along through a journey of the animal kingdom. All of the scents evoked emotions that differed from bottle to bottle. What maintained consistent throughout was the quality of each and every scent, although not all of them suited my tastes. If your collection needs to be spiced up, grab a Zoologist sample set and enjoy the journey.

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