Will Dodo do what the Dodo did?
Fern, lime, lychee, raspberry, ambergris, fir balsam, geranium, rose, amber, feathery musk, oak moss, patchouli, sandalwood.
Dodo opens with a strange cacophony of notes, which verge on – but manage to stay the right side of – unpleasant. There’s a real sour, bitterness to the first wave of the scent, lime rind and pith making your face feel like it wants to collapse in on itself. There’s hints of an animalic undercurrent too. Bear with us whilst we try and describe…
You know how horse manure really doesn’t smell that bad at all? Kind of warm hay, slightly fermented? Dodo has this facet of something similar in the opening, but it’s like if you imagine the horses eating nothing but citrus fruits. Their leavings would still have that pleasant horsey warmth, but the main bulk of the scent would be semi-digested citrus peel, bright in its zingy bitterness, and that is sort of what the first part of Dodo smells like. That combination of familiar and strange, warm and sour. You couldn’t accuse the start of Dodo of being anything other than compelling.
Dodo does open big; bold and confident, but it doesn’t begin quite as ostentatiously as some of their other scents, hinting that this might be a perfume which is good for people who want to smell great without being too in-your-face about it.
Once Dodo has had time to fully reveal itself, unfurling like some prehistoric plant, it settles into something much drier than we had imagined it might. There’s a dusty, arid quality about the next phase of the fragrance. As the sour lime recedes, it calls to mind images of a mesolithic wasteland punctuated only by the tendrils of tough, leathery ferns that dare to defy the landscape. Underfoot is a coarse, gritty sand, and overhead the newly risen sun threatens its dominion over the earth as the day matures.
There’s an interesting contrast between this dry facet and a more thirst-quenching fruity sourness that lingers and floats above the arid terrain. These two aspects of the scent set up an interplay which is at turns more citrusy invigorating becoming more arid wasteland and moving back again. Wearing it keeps you on your toes as you are never allowed the certainty of knowing what it is going to smell like from minute to minute.
As the scent ages, the plants grow bigger, more daring, until we find the sand between our toes firming up, and the ferns around us reaching above our heads, blotting out the obliterating sun. The wasteland has become a forest…
Fir balsam enters the scent later on in the wear. It treads a very fine line of smelling a little like toilet cleaner but bringing freshness to the scent and unsurprisingly, Zoologist manage to keep the fragrance just the right side of that line. A grapefruity sourness lingers in the background and draws a thread which began right at the start of the fragrance.
Dodo has a final twist for us as in its maturest phases it softens significantly and at times this feels as if it happens all of a sudden. It doesn’t become a different perfume entirely, just suddenly it’s much more mellow and chilled out. It’s a bit like you were wandering around in the jungle landscape, utterly lost and fearing for your life, and then suddenly you realised you were right on the edge of a beautiful holiday resort.
The chilled out patchouli comes through in the base, mellow and pleasant. The whole fragrance takes on a damper vibe, making it feel as if the jungle is starting to steam after a recent downpour.
The old adage is that dodos died out because they were really delicious, and this scent at its most mature may just very well make you smell good enough to eat. (You might want to stay away from hungry sailors though just in case.)
The other stuff
Like the rest of their line, Zoologist have managed to make Dodo really quite interesting. The fragrance feels well blended and the dry down in particular is appealing, with a clean, brightness throughout. It’s masculine-leaning, and we can imagine it having a wide appeal, nigh on flying off the shelves (if Dodos could fly).
The scent feels as though it has been composed as a technical exercise rather than an artistic expression but nevertheless the exercise is a success. Overall, Dodo reads as one of the more straightforward of Zoologist’s range. It has a smartness to it which would pair well with a clean white shirt and a suit and we can see city gents wearing this in offices and boardrooms with ease, because despite the notes and the landscape it conjures, this is a strangely indoorsy scent.
The longevity of Dodo is good; we got 6-8 hours of wear out of it when we tested it. We felt that this scent would really suit a city professional looking to smell sharp, fresh and a bit different without being totally wacky or weird. A good way into niche perhaps?
Zoologist are a Canadian brand who have been making waves in the perfume community in recent years. They offer a slightly bonkers stable of scents all themed around animals. The brand are quick to reassure, however, that they do not use animal derived products in their scents.
Out of all the companies on the market today, Zoologist are one which showcase a really strong brand. Their perfumes all have a common identity. Once you are familiar with their line you could blind sniff a scent and figure out that it was from the Zoologist family, no problem at all, even if you had never smelled it before.
We’ve also reviewed several others from their line including Bat, Rhinoceros, Elephant, Dragonfly and Hummingbird and Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Dodo is available from our friends at Bloom Perfumery London, along with the rest of the Zoologist line. It is priced at £145 for 60ml.
You can also buy Dodo from the Zoologist web boutique.
We were gifted a sample of Dodo with no strings attached by Bloom Perfumery. Thank you to them for their generosity.
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