Monday, 27 March 2017

Nightingale Review


A somewhat more conventional scent from Zoologist, Nightingale is nonetheless a pretty chypre built around an old-fashioned pairing of rose and violet. As in Chanel’s Misia, the rose gets a raspberry jamminess thanks in part to the ionones and although some papery associations aren’t too well covered in the earlier stages of the perfume’s evaporation curve, the overall development is pleasing and ultimately reveals a base that to me smells mostly of labdanum, musks and a big dose of oakmoss replacer.

Nose: Tomoo Inaba
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): bergamot, lemon, saffron, plum blossom, red rose, violet, oud, patchouli, sandalwood, oakmoss, olibanum, white musk, labdanum, ambergris.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Macaque Review


Just as ‘one swallow does not a summer make’, so the release of two galbanum+incense fragrances in 2016 does not signal a new trend. If it did though, I wouldn’t be complaining.
Where Tom Ford’s Vert d’Encens plays on the balsamic elements of galbanum more to an oriental effect, Zoologist’s Macaque goes fruity-floral with apple and some banana-ey ylang. Tucked in amongst the foliage is a green tea base (Givco?) that does well not to overwhelm the blend and, on skin in particular, I find the fond to develop a nice mossiness beside the wood and musks.
Another pleasant surprise from this house.

Ps. When are the marine animals coming?

House: Zoologist
Nose: Sarah McCartney
Release date: 2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): cedar, green apple, blood mandarin, olibanum, galbanum, honey, palisander rosewood, ylang, jasmine tea, cedarmoss, green tea, white oud, musk.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Beaver Review


By the time a UK distributor was found for Zoologist perfumes earlier this year, Beaver (one of the house’s first releases back in 2014) had already been reformulated. Director Victor Wong has, to his credit, made frank admission of the change; spoken openly about poor sales of the original; and, so long as concentrate of the latter remained, offered customers the option to purchase either it or the new iteration.
Beaver 2.0 is a surprisingly green, citrus-floral affair, its fresh linden (a.k.a. lime) blossom theme painted with aldehydic and ozonic flourishes. Underneath is a very elegent and complex-smelling blend of musks, light cedar-type woods and just a hint of something dark. I understand the original went for a much bolder leather/castoreum base and can imagine a stronger clean/animalic contrast working well in this composition.

Nose: Chris Bartlett
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2014 (original)
Notes (per Fragrantica): linden blossom, fresh air, light citrus, castoreum, iris, vanilla, smoke, undergrowth, animal musks, ash, cedar, amber.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Persil Biological Laundry Detergent Review


Jean-Claude Ellena likes to tell the story of the time he was turned away at Edmond Roudnitska’s doorstep because his clothes smelt too strongly of washing detergent. As a non-perfumer, I’m happily free from any such constraints and can enjoy the daily ritual of putting on a freshly laundered shirt and taking a deep breath as my body heat warms the fabric. 
Granted, many laundry care products these days are obnoxiously strong and with the advent of scent boosters like Lenor’s massively successful Unstoppables, only getting more obtrusive. 
Persil’s green-capped liquid detergent however, bucks the trend and smells fantastic: fresh and green with a big dose of very incense-like aldehydes (my favourite part). The scent lasts well on laundered items yet is subtle enough not to clash with the perfumes I wear. The biological formula is effective, too. 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Bat Review


There’s so much Geosmin in Bat that wearing it feels like your perfume is trying to waterboard you. Heavy, humid notes of damp earth catch in your throat and oppress the smell of green banana and berries. Only in the late drydown phase does this feel integrated with a rich smelling base of strong, even a shade steroidal blond wood, resiny spiciness and a wet, Cashmeran like muskiness. 
It’s a very thoughtfully considered response to a brief, but for portability’s sake, I would prefer to see the levels adjusted. 

Nose: Ellen Covey
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2016
Notes (per Fragrantica): banana, fruity notes, soil tincture, fig, tropical fruits, myrrh, resins, green notes, musk, leather, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka bean. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

Panda Review


It’s been said there are three basic types of green notes in perfumery: (1) galbanum greens (including spicy greens); (2) violet leaf greens (including ivy and fig greens); and (3) cut-grass, hexanol/hexanyl greens (including fruity greens). Locating Panda within this triangle is not entirely straightforward, though it pulls more towards corners 1 and 3 than 2.
Panda’s overall theme then is fresh, cyclamen-aldehyde like verdancy; powerful, slightly metallic greenery over a fruity-floral heart of lily-of-the-valley and orange blossom with concord grape and melon nuances and a very subtle, sichuan pepper contrast. The effect comes somewhat at the expense of naturalness of feel and come the late drydown of pale woods and musks, the scent remains close to the skin. This however, is in line with expectations given the fragrance’s (presumed) objective.

Nose: Paul Kiler
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2014
Notes (per Fragrantica): buddha’s hand citron, bamboo, Sichuan pepper, green tea, mandarin Zisu leaves, osmanthus, orange blossom, lilies, mimosa, incense, sandalwood, pemou root, cedar, fresh musk, bourbon and haitian vetiver, damp moss.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Rhinoceros Review


A boozy scent that’s as big and boisterous as its namesake, Rhinoceros announces its presence with an arrestingly terpy opening of elemi whose lemon-citrus notes dovetail with bergamot and a herbal accord of lavender/sage/armoise. Detectable even in the top is the elaborate blend of nearly a dozen different musks (c.15%) and this complexity is further expressed with one of the most convincing liquor notes I’ve come across. The official pyramid lists rum, but to me the richly textured accord - alcoholic, woody, leathery, smoky – reads closer to whisky, at least initially. As the perfume dries down, the dried-fruit facets of the oakwood extract do become clearer, as does a honeyed sweetness that links to deep, woody amber fond.
Colour me impressed!

Nose: Paul Kiler
House: Zoologist
Release date: 2015
Notes (per Fragrantica): rum, bergamot, lavender, elemi, sage, pine needles, artemesia, tobacco, oud, immortelle, geranium, cedar, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, leather, musks.