There’s a new creature on the block. It comes from celebrated perfume house Zoologist. Is their ark getting full, or is there room for more in this menagerie?
Zoologist are one of those perfume houses that cause a stir. Their fragrances are bold, challenging, but also capable of provoking devotion among those who appreciate their uncompromising and unconventional scents.
Based in Canada, Zoologist stampeded onto the scene in 2013. Their fragrances are all inspired by and named after animals, but they stress that they have replaced animal musks in their scents with synthetic ones so that animals don’t have to suffer in order for us to smell good. You can read more on Zoologist on their about us page.
Zoologist’s presentation isn’t the most luxurious around, but there’s a definite sort of consumer who will respond to their quirky animal branding and packaging. Maybe hipsters, maybe people who just like to see animals in humanoid form. And really, who doesn’t like that?
Aldehydes, heliotrope, lemon, peony, rain water, cherry blossom, clover, iris, lotus, rice, amber, moss, musk, papyrus, sandalwood.
You will have noticed from the listed notes, that there are quite a few things feeding into the profile of this fragrance. We’ve noticed that when you get a fragrance with so many components, it’s hard to decide from the notes alone if you will like it. Is the heliotrope a stronger note than the lemon? Is the cherry blossom winning over the lotus? Without wearing it yourself it’s hard to tell, and if there are notes listed in the mix that you don’t like it becomes even more confusing. Does that mean you definitely won’t like it, or will they be quiet enough that you can get along with them? Hopefully we can give you the inside take on what it’s really like to wear this scent so you can decide for yourself if it’s worth your time, or not.
The first thing that we noticed when applying this scent is a huge collaboration between the aldehydes and the heliotrope. The aldehydes in this scent are lively but soapy, they’re less citrus than aldehydes can be, but have a vibrancy nevertheless. They also make the scent leap off the skin, giving it movement and energy (If you want to know more about aldehydes there’s a really great article on Beautiful with Brains).
The heliotrope comes through as a big brown hazelnutty cloud of a scent. The nuttiness has a toasted and dry quality to it but the soapy aldehydes stop it becoming gourmand and really boost the explosion of scent that you get when you apply this. The aldehydes give the heliotrope a sense of sparkling movement. Or, if you want to reduce it to lay person terms, this perfume smells of soapy nuts.
The take home message of the opening to this scent then really is soapy nuts. (Stop laughing you in the back row.) This is an unusual opening gambit for sure. Here at The Sniff, we are a bit in love with nutty scents so we rather enjoyed it.
Once the fragrance starts to open up, sweet florals begin to emerge. The soapy nuttiness never really goes away, but in the heart there is more subtlety than there was in the top notes. A watery note also creeps in. In our testing notes we described it as “watery roots”. Although it’s described as rain drops in the description for the perfume, to us it evoked the smell of something like an iris that you might have just dug up from the edge of a pond, its watery yes, but also fresh and slightly earthy and it’s backed up by a strong floral presence.
Blossom is another component that features in the heart of this scent. Due to the nuttiness of the heliotrope, it wasn’t easy to tell that it was cherry blossom in particular. The slightly almondy warmth specific to cherry blossom was lost slightly but the sweet blossomy florals themselves did shine rather pleasantly.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the florals in the heart of this scent don’t have muscle. They definitely do and together make a heady concoction. The peony, clover and iris do all come through, but they come as a sort of floral soup, rather than being identifiable individually. Peony was the only one that we could pick out with any degree of certainty. The florals have a weighty quality like you find in, for example, magnolia type scents. That sort of heaviness that makes them seem a little drowsy and indolent, but they definitely have beef.
What comes through mostly in the base is really creamy, powdery musks. The amber is present but not overpowering, and the same goes for the sandalwood. We couldn’t smell papyrus in this at all. The base is just a pleasant, creamy musk with florals flirting at the edges. It’s a lot more conventional than the rest of the scent, but no less pleasant for it.
If this scent was a colour imagine it starting off as green then brown, fading and warming to juicy pink before lightening right up to a shade of off white.
The other stuff
This fragrance projects strongly and is the sort of scent that other people will be able to tell you are wearing without getting too close. That said, the projection does ease off and after the first couple of hours it reduces to a very pleasant and not too obtrusive level fairly quickly. It’s quite a loud perfume, but somehow – perhaps because it is a little unconventional – it gives the impression of being quite tastefully so.
The longevity of the scent is pretty good too. It does fade significantly, after the first couple of hours, but what you are left with is still easily detectable and rather pleasant. The boldness is all in the start and the scent mellows to being something much easier to wear and much less challenging as it goes on. This is a double edged sword though; if you love what is bold about it you may feel that it quietens too much, but if you think it starts out a little loudly, then you may love how it wears after a couple of hours. Best thing to do would be to try it and see for yourself how it goes on your skin.
In terms of who this scent would suit it’s a difficult one to pitch. Zoologist market all their scents as being unisex, however, given that the heart notes are strongly floral, we felt that this does sit more towards the female end of the stereotypical perfume spectrum. The top notes do feel more genuinely unisex though so take this with a pinch of salt and see how you feel wearing it.
We felt that this scent would wear best during the day, and it didn’t particularly seem to lend itself to any one particular season. In a lot of ways that’s a plus point though, because year-round wear is always a desirable characteristic for a scent.