Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself standing in an old church in Autumn just after harvest festival. It’s cold so the air is clear and your senses are sharpened. Beneath your feet you can feel stone flags that smell of years of use, you can smell the old wood of the pews, the cold water in the font, the whisper of incense from a service earlier in the day and under it all the damp, dark smell of the earth of the crypt rises up, soaking into everything. Cutting through the the musky earth is the sweetness from the harvest festival offerings, almost a taste rather than a smell, right at the back of your throat.
This is what Bat smells like.
Zoologist are an up-and-coming perfume house based in Toronto, Canada (the first time, to the best of our knowledge, that we have smelt Canadian perfumes). They were formed in 2013 but are already making waves having won several awards and been critically lauded for their intriguing and unusual fragrances.
Although Zoologist’s scents take inspiration from the animal kingdom, and are indeed all named after animals, they are keen to stress that no animal products are used in their production.
Bat is incredibly intriguing. One of our testers described it as ‘moreish and addictive’ and it’s true that once you spray it you have to keep wafting it in front of your face to see what unfolds next.
The initial burst of Bat is damp soil and damp wood, perhaps challengingly so, but that’s one of the things we like about this brand – they really aren’t afraid to be bold and even provocative in their fragrance profiles. One can’t help but feel that consumers will either love or hate their scents, but if they love them, they will really, really love them.
The strong, earthy scents are almost immediately undercut by the ripeness of banana. The banana isn’t overly sweet, thankfully, but it’s definitely ripe and hits you right at the back of your throat so it does feel almost like a taste rather than a smell.
The opening to this scent is really quite something, it’s evocative and takes you on a journey right from the start.
The earthy, soil notes calm down after a few moments, but never really go away throughout. Following them, comes the almost menthol-like clarity of myrrh as if someone has left one of the doors of the church open and a cooling draft is sneaking in. It’s pleasant and temporarily overrides the banana. Damp rock comes through and a strong, mineral tang that also smells cool like iron, or blood. At times the scent of metal is quite strong. The experience of a cold, babbling brook also shapes the scent and is followed by a warm, chewy, fruity note like raisin or date.
The musk comes through strongly in the base and contrasts with the cooler notes of the heart, leather also warms the perfume and an almost pine-needle scent sits alongside the wood which has persisted from the start and now grows mossy. Again, there is an intriguing hint of sweetness but not overly so, dried fruit rather than rotting plum.
The other stuff
The longevity of Bat seems very good, it was still discernible several hours after first application and we didn’t have to use very much to make it last all day.
Although Zoologist don’t specify if Bat is intended for a male or female audience (and indeed if you like it you should wear it regardless of your gender) it does seem to sit more towards the male end of the spectrum. It’s not necessarily an easy wear but it is a very interesting one which demands repeating. It’s enigmatic, esoteric and rather deliciously manly.
The artwork that accompanies the Zoologist range is very cool, not necessarily the clean, minimalist elegance that is customary from niche perfume lines, but cool nevertheless – perhaps more so that it dares to buck the trend.
Bat is priced at around £125 for 60ml of EDP. It is available from the excellent Bloom Perfumery London who very kindly provided us with a sample to review. It is also available direct from Zoologist.