We’ve talked about Canadian perfume house Zoologist’s uncompromising style before, in our review for another of their fragrances, Bat. The distinct impression that we get from Zoologist’s lines is that they are so bold, so challenging and so genuinely different that if you find one you like it will become your signature scent, the sort of fragrance that new people who meet you will say things like “you know, that guy, he smells like delicious soil” or “the new girl, the one who smells like she’s rolled in freshly cut hay”.
For the avant-guarde amongst you, this is the brand you need to be checking out.
Zoologist are an up-and-coming perfume house based in Toronto, Canada. 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.
We’re just going to put this straight out there: for our testers Rhinoceros was a bit easier and a bit less challenging to wear than Bat. That doesn’t take anything away from Bat in the slightest, just to say that if you want to ease yourself into this brand then Rhinoceros might be the way to do it.
The first scents to hit you when you wear Rhinoceros are medicinal, almost like TCP, but in the way that some whiskies are (think Laphroaig here and you’ll get it). It’s a delicious sort of medicinal, and yes, even peaty in it’s top notes. Once you become accustomed to that hit of TCP, smoky, boozy notes emerge. Suddenly you will find yourself transported to a gentleman’s club in the 1940s, leather, smoke, booze all mingling to form something which together will remind you of a bar you have been in at some point in your life. Probably.
When we tested this, I could virtually see the leather wing back chairs, the velvet smoking jackets and the waxed moustaches. Phileas Fogg smells like this, one imagines.
The perfume mellows as it settles, unfolding into notes of lavender and a gentle, dry warmth. The leather and booze notes never really go away, but the sweetness of rum starts to come through which sets the fragrance up as a delightful set of almost contradicting scents.
There is a lot of sweetness in the base of this perfume and, combined with the medicinal and leathery top notes, there is an intriguing play off between the ‘adult’, hard, boozy notes and the more playful, sweeter, almost vanilla notes in the base. It’s a bit like – every dad’s favourite – rum and raisin ice cream; a chance to be naughty during the day but somehow get away with it, be a kid but with this grown up edge.
There’s also a pleasant musk to the base, and a note that smelt very much like dry, green tea leaves. From the notes for the fragrance I think this is vetiver coming through, but it’s a very dry, earthy vetiver which is less lemony than one might expect. It adds a nice complexity to the base, however, and tempers the sweetness nicely.
The other stuff
The longevity of Rhinoceros was good, it was still discernible at the end of the day, which is very pleasing – and really, for the price you don’t want to be re-applying every few hours.
The artwork that accompanies the line is very cool, and not what you would normally expect from a niche perfume house. That said, the bottles aren’t the most pleasingly designed that I have seen but that’s barely a consideration, they’re certainly not offensive (Moschino we are looking at you here: ugliest bottles ever!).
We found that Rhinoceros tended towards the stereotypically male end of the fragrance spectrum, but that said, it could work really well on someone who wanted to wear something a bit edgy and different. There’s certainly enough scope in the wearability of the fragrance for it to fit any gender. It’s definitely worth checking this fragrance out if you are someone who gets tired of the typical ‘woody’ male fragrances and wants something that has panache without being too weird.
Rhinoceros is priced at around £125 for 60ml EDP and is available from the magnificent Bloom Perfume who have it exclusively, and where you can go and try it out beforehand. It is also available from Zoologist direct. A sample of this perfume was kindly provided to us by Bloom Perfume.