Who can fail to fall in love when looking at the lovely face of the koala? Will Zoologist’s interpretation of this personable creature manage to charm us to the same extent?
Eucalyptus, honey, gumdrops, mimosa, black tea, geranium, incense, spices, vetiver, musk, amber, oakmoss, vanilla, sandalwood.
Koalas are endearingly adorable. Despite, or perhaps because of, their grumpy nature, these teddy bears look reminiscent of angry old men. That sort of cuddly/grumpy combination is not really reflective of Koala by Zoologist though.
Koala the scent opens with a warm, bright eucalyptus. It feels like sunlight falling through dappled eucalyptus leaves and calls to mind clean cotton shirts, line drying in the sun and aided by a gentle breeze. When you call to mind eucalyptus, you may imagine a camphorous sinus cleaner, but this is much softer and less overbearing although the body of that material is still there. The eucalyptus brings that menthol freshness, but it is coupled with honey that is detectable at the end of an inhale, almost as the smell equivalent of an aftertaste. The honey smells sunshiny and golden. If anything this facet could have been pushed further to bring a really warm embrace but the start of Koala smells really invigorating, bright and uplifting.
As Koala matures, a cough-sweet type element becomes noticeable. Likely a combination of the eucalyptus and honey, it has a faintly medicated vibe and here it does nicely jive with the grumpy old man vibe of koala the animal, feeling a little like a cheeky pun by the perfumer. You can almost imagine the round shouldered chap conforming to those lovely stereotypes of carrying a cough sweet in his jacket pocket.
Further into the scent the green, astringent bitterness of geranium picks up the green thread started by the eucalyptus. The sunshine we noticed at the start begins to wane a little. Koala takes on a less friendly tone as we move deeper into the dry undergrowth, there’s a thrill of something slightly more menacing lurking. Whilst wisps of white incense smoke may occasionally be caught, the other facets listed feel like supporting characters hovering at the fringes but not really making themselves known in any obvious way.
The tension that Koala sets up, between the rays of sunshine, the expansive clarity of the eucalyptus and the bitter greenery is an interesting play. Eucalyptus itself is a captivating material to wear, and Koala is a nice example of a scent which showcases the pleasant facets of this without knocking your head off or making you feel like you are sniffing smelling salts. That said, the fragrance seems to stall once it gets passed the middle phase. The greenery softens and disappears and what is left – a mix of faint oakmoss and sweetness – doesn’t quite have the body or character that you would expect from a Zoologist scent, or indeed even from the start that Koala set up for us. It’s strange, but Koala seems to just vanish into the canopy, just when you feel like it should start to really flourish.
The other stuff
Koala doesn’t seem like it has the oomph to be one of Zoologist’s more celebrated scents, but that doesn’t mean it lacks interest, not at all. Whilst the base may flitter away and disappear before we are quite ready for it to, the top half of the scent particularly is charming and the eucalyptus is a really nice element – and one which isn’t utilised all that often in perfumery.
The longevity of the fragrance is around four to six hours following application and the sillage or projection of the scent starts off at around handshake distance but quickly reduces to hugging distance or so. This isn’t a bombastic monster of a scent, nor is it particularly tenacious. Neither of those things are inherently bad in their own right, but be aware in case you were expecting a T-Rex of a scent, this is not that. Test before you buy to ensure that you are happy with the projection and longevity on your own skin.
It’s easy to imagine Koala wearing very nicely on a warm summer’s day, when the cooling freshness of the start of the scent will bring a bit of respite from the warmth.
The perfumer for Koala was Spyros Drosopoulos and Zoologist point out that Koala does not use any animal products.
Zoologist have to be one of the best known niche brands in the marketplace today. Their bold scents coupled with strong visuals make them a fan favourite, and often talked about. The brand is from Canada and has a generally fun, modern vibe with an emphasis on a sort of modern irreverence that is backed up by the sheer force of their best known compositions. They clearly aren’t for everyone, but those that do enjoy them will find signature scents here for sure.
Koala by Zoologist is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £160 for 60ml extrait de parfum.
You can also buy Koala from the Zoologist web boutique.
We were kindly gifted a sample of this fragrance by a friend and follower of The Sniff who has no affiliation with the brand.