January 5, 2016

Zoologist: Bat and Hummingbird

Zoologist is an indieperfume company created by Victor Wong that commissions some of the most interesting indie-perfumers to make perfumes inspired by iconic animals (without the use of any animal products, no less).

This is a lovely concept, and it seems that the perfumer and the animal spirits have been well-matched to bring out the perfumer's personality as well as express the spirit of the specific creature.  I find there's something almost Ancient Egyptian in this inspiration, as that mythology depicted many an elegant god and goddess with the head of an animal joined to the body of a human, both male and female, harmoniously combining both with a natural balance and poise.

The Zoologist site is engaging and the graphics are delightful.  I especially love the illustrations for these two perfumes, Bat and Hummingbird. There is something unique in the company's overall style and approach, which is a little more masculine than is usual in perfume presentation design. Original, engaging and contemporary, with a light sense of humor, while harking back to the beautifully detailed engravings made by artist-naturalists of past centuries.

The site has in-depth interviews with the perfumers on the inspirations behind the construction of each perfume.

The two that are my favorites so far are Bat by Ellen Covey and Hummingbird by Shelley Waddington. They work harmoniously together too, wearing one on each arm. The deep fresh earthiness and fruit of Bat coordinates well with the nectar and florals of Hummingbird.  They both have a light spirit, lift off with an airbourne energy, grow more dimensional and complex, while gentle and imbued with a subtle variety of natural intensity sweetnesses.

Bat is the essence of an appealing cool mineral earthiness, a true black soil, fecund, dark and spare, touched by the sweet creaminess of tropical fruit and a forest aura.

There is an airy quality, something of the experience and environment of a small delicate flying creature who eats fragrant fruit and flocks to rest inside the dark recesses of caves, to come out and whirl around at night, navigating by radar. Seems like every animal has its own super power and for bats it is the invisible sense of radar, that unerring aim and sense of direction toward what they need and desire.

For all the earthiness there is a liftoff that carries on with energetic vitality, steady throughout the perfume experience.

Notes are listed as - Top: banana, soft fruits, damp earth. Heart Notes: fig, tropical fruits, mineral notes, myrrh, resins, vegetal roots. Base Notes: furry musks*, leather*, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka (*= chemical notes, as Zoologist does not use animal products).

The listed banana note almost frightened me, but it comes through gently with a fresh creaminess that modulates all the rest, and so not as a dominating note.

For me that is the damp earth, mixed with myrrh, vetiver, and tonka. There is a night-ly quality here, one with the excitement and energy of a night out, as the opposite of sleepiness; fueled by the clean mineral and nectar notes. The woods are subtle and the perfume grows dimensionally as it dries down, getting softer all the way there.

Hummingbird by Shelley Waddington is a study in the layering of nectars, floral and fruit, moderated by a creamy musk and soft woods supporting a pure froth of aromatic energy.

It has an ethereal and energetic nature, delicate and refined.  The sweetness of these nectars is bright and light, not amped up or heavily syrupy. The perfume's most striking personality feature is the purity of a strong Spring white flower style, softened by airy cream and woods.

The intense energy of a floating hummingbird hovering in mid-flight is represented by the aromatic high pitched singing quality that goes on and on through the life of the fragrance.  The fruit is represented by natural nectars, without standing out as recognizable separate notes, but rather joined as an accord that pulls together all the essential mildness within the sweetness.

I felt the hummingbird persona, I also felt the wildness hover beside the civilized behavior of watching the birds take a friendly offering at a feeder, perhaps inspiring decorative painted images on fine porcelain cups and dessert plates, from which to take afternoon tea. This perfume has an ornamental, decorative quality that is sunny and softly bright.

Notes are listed as - Top: apple, cherry, citrus, lilac, muguet, plum, rose, violet Leaf. Heart Notes: honey, honeysuckle, mimosa, peony, tulip, ylang. Base Notes: amber, coumarin, cream, moss, musks*, sandalwood, white woods.

Please see the links above and the Zoologist site for more information and to order samples and full size perfumes.

Images above taken from the Zoologist site, and Pinterest for the depiction of Anubis, the dog headed god of Egypt.

Copyright 2016, Lucy Raubertas, All Rights Reserved.


LaDomna said...

These sounds so wonderful! I'm especially keen to try Bat, Ellen Covey always makes the most intriguing scents!

Brooklyn Fragrance Lover said...

Great review!

deana sidney said...

I planted red bee balm and lobelia for the hummingbirds and loved watching them feasting on nectar. Once , just once, one came up close and hovered while I was gardening. I stopped and held my breath so as not to frighten the little fellow. An amazing encounter - but couldn't smell the little guy. Also met a bat who had come into the house. It was a tiny delicate thing that I caught with a towel and put outside. They are sweet really, again -- no chance for a sniff but then perfume isn't always capturing an exact scent, is it? More about an idea or an spirit. I look forward to sniffing theirs after your marvelous (as always) descriptions!!

Lucy Raubertas said...

Thank you for your comments!
Both of these perfumes are more recreating the environment or life activity of the creatures, putting the wearer in the place of the bat or hummingbird, not so much the smell of them as animals themselves. I doubt they have much going on as an identifying smell. I have heard that owls have a very sweet almondy smell at their necks. There may be birds who have developed smells that attract or signal. I am looking forward to the the Cat and the Owl, whenever they will be done by Zoologist. Those two animals seem like such prize subjects! There are so many others, too, of course. Dragonfly would be cool.

Ellen said...

Lucy, thank you for the excellent reviews. Parrots also emit a sweet, powdery smell when they're in certain moods. It really smells lie a perfume. Parrot would be another good one for Zoologist.

Lucy Raubertas said...

Hi Ellen,

Parrot would be an excellent subject for Zoologist - I had no idea. I can just imagine it from your description, and would certainly lend itself to another beautiful illustration on the label. It's bound to happen. xo

Gail said...

Hi Lucy,
Not all parrots have a beautiful fragrance. Some Amazons (and others) can smell like old, dirty socks. The best smelling parrot, in my opinion, is a Blue Headed Pionus. I am biased, though. My parrot Gomez is a Blue Headed Pionus. His fragrance is a powdered, honey floral.
Azar (AKA Gail)

Lucy Raubertas said...

Dear Gail, that is fascinating. How lucky you are to have such a beautifully fragranced bird. I have read they bond very tightly with their people. Kisses to Gomez!