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Product Reviews

Zoologist Eau de Parfum: the Vegan Street Review

Product Review: Zoologist Eau de Parfum
by Marla Rose
Anyone who knows me knows that I am something of a bat fiend. I have always been fond of bats – I think growing up with Morticia Addams as my personal style icon and being into Halloween above all other holidays – probably has something to do with it. A few years ago, though, I discovered a video where I learned about the amazing winged giants known as flying foxes (here is an article I wrote about them for Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Advocacy for Animals), which is a genus of fruit-loving megabats from throughout tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Australia and East Africa, and my fondness has taken on new dimensions, bordering on an obsession with all things bat. Well, a healthy obsession.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a Facebook share of a bat-inspired perfume. Wha’? I immediately followed the link to Toronto-based Zoologist Perfumes and was fully captivated by the illustrations and descriptions of their animal-inspired line of perfumes. What especially hooked me is their commitment to cruelty-free scent creation. As they write on their website, “Our perfumes do not contain animal products. We don’t want to harm animals so that we can smell good. Therefore traditional animal musks have been replaced with synthetic ones for ethical reasons. Now you can spray Zoologist perfumes all over body care-free, and with glee!” Same with leather notes and other scents that would usually be cruelly derived: they are vegan. I immediately messaged Victor Wong at Zoologist Perfumes and asked for a review sample. He promptly messaged me back and the samples arrived shortly afterward. Here we are today! The scents in this collection are Bat, Panda, Rhinoceros, Beaver and Hummingbird.

First off, as a design geek, I appreciated that these come in beautiful illustrated bottles with a lovely gothic sensibility mixed with a bit of humor. Opening the packages, we can see that they take their scents seriously and they come with poetically rendered descriptions, understanding that the aromatic adventure begins first in the imagination. Here, for example, is the description of Bat Eau de Parfum: “Mystical, mysterious murmurings glide upon a blanket of inky sky. Shadows smear across the moonlight, their darting journey shrouded in darkness. Bats, the only mammal capable of true flight, are enigmatic and alien.” Ah…purr…

Aesthetes can be seduced by pretty packaging and lyrical descriptions but here, the proof is in the parfum. How did I like them?

I will start out by saying that our preferences for scents are about as subjective as with any other personal taste. Scent is probably even more instinctive to us as the first sense that we develop. In other words, I have a personal preference for certain scents just as you do. Owning the limitations of not being able to be a neutral judge, I will still describe these scents the best I can. Again, this is all just based on preference and has nothing to do with the quality of the individual perfumes. I found them all to be complex and interesting, even the ones that weren’t my favorite.

To be unbiased, I had my husband spray them on pieces of paper so I didn’t know what was which scent and then I wrote down my impressions before learning. Here is my order from most favorite to least.

Bat. Not surprisingly, I loved Bat right away. The scents used to render Bat in perfume form happen to be scents that I love because I tend to like deeper notes: Musk, sandalwood, vetiver, figs, myrrh. In my notebook, I wrote, “This one is really dark and mysterious, in a good way. Dreamy, mesmerizing and enigmatic. What the coolest Goth chick at your high school would wear.” On their website, Bat is described as bringing together rugged elements like soil with tropical scents like figs and soft fruits. This is one I would wear. I’m batty for it. (Sorry, I had to go there.) Yes, this feels like a bat to me: strange, mysterious and beguiling.

Panda. What does a Panda smell like through a perfumer’s interpretation? Pretty darn snazzy, apparently. After I sampled it, I wrote, “Really intoxicating. Sexy. Cucumber-y? A nice balance of lower notes and citrus. Unique and lovely.” On the website, Panda is described as a “green fragrance” and I can see that: it is light, clean and refreshing but complemented with some nice more base-y scents, like cedar and bourbon. It is a good blend of professional and sexy if that make sense. This is another unique perfume.

Rhinoceros. This is an interesting blend, one that I described in my notebook as “Earthy, musky, sage-y, woodsy? Nicely balanced. This is a more masculine scent.” I can see how it evokes a rhinoceros: confident, strong, terrestrial. I think this could be a gender neutral scent but it seems to be one I’d associate with males more without being overly rugged: there are some nice counterpoints in there with lavender and amber to create a harmonious scent.

Beaver. This one reminded me of Rhinoceros a bit but was more subtle and less distinct to my nose. Maybe it was a little lighter? I wrote, “Musky like rich soil. This is a more neutral and understated scent.” For people who like to wear a scent but want it to be more subdued, this may be the scent for you. On the website, Beaver is described as being woven with musks and wild flowers, cedar and smoke, evoking a riverbed, the beaver’s home. I liked this perfume but it’s not one that excited my particular scent preference profile.

Hummingbird. Hummingbirds are such gorgeous birds, little iridescent creatures that seem to be brought here from a different realm, one with magic wands and faeries. The issue with the Hummingbird scent for me is, like its source of inspiration, this perfume is driven by fruits and flowers and I just don’t like those scents in perfume form. The only ones I like are single scents like honeysuckle and lilac but blends give me a bit of a headache and seem too “high pitched” to me. As florals go for me, this is a pretty one, and, like all of the Zoologist scents, multifaceted and heady but balanced. I wrote, “Floral without being cloying. It smells like summer at its peak.” If you are a floral type of scent person, this might be right up your alley. Err, garden.

I definitely recommend checking out Zoologist Perfumes the next time you are looking for a new signature scent. Are you feeling enigmatic and sexy like a Bat? Fresh and green like a Panda? Strong and confident like a Rhinoceros? Earthy and subtle like a Beaver? Ethereal and summery like a Hummingbird? Perhaps you have different moods for different days, a Panda by day and a Bat by night? (Purr…) I highly recommend getting a sample set of all five to try on for size. Many thanks to Zoologist Perfumes for being artistically inspired by animals but not using ingredients obtained through harm and violence.



Vegan Street received this product for free to review and this was my honest evaluation.


2013-2016, Vegan Street


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