June 19, 2019
By Rachel Syme
June 18, 2019
The plant that animates this fragrance, which is inspired by the extinct birds of Mauritius Island, is the fiddlehead fern. “Dodo embodies the green and herbaceous elements of a traditional fougère, but mixed with something strange and unexpected,” said the Zoologist founder Victor Wong.
The scent also has a fatty underbelly of synthetic ambergris (an unctuous mineral material derived, glamorously, from whale vomit), which gives it something of an ancient, wet cement feel. This is a green that is sprouting up from the pavement.
June 18, 2019
BEESTIG LEKKER Zoologist Perfumes laat zich voor zijn niche- geuren inspireren door het dierenrijk. Als je je daarbij speelse, kinderlij- ke flacons inbeeldt: think again. Alle parfumflesjes hebben hetzelfde tijdloze en luxueuze design en zijn bedrukt met een zwartwitfoto van hun muze. Zo is er bijvoor- beeld Panda, een bloemi- ge geur op basis van bamboe, of Elephant, een exotische ‘groene’ geur met kokos en cacao. De omschrijvingen van de geuren (die je kan lezen op de website) zijn trou- wens stuk voor stuk lite- raire hoogstandjes.
English Translation (by Google)
BEAUTIFUL DELICIOUS Zoologist Perfumes is inspired by the animal kingdom for its niche scents. If you imagine playful, child-like bottles: think again. All perfume bottles have the same timeless and luxurious design and are printed with a black and white photo of their muse. For example, there is Panda, a floral fragrance based on bamboo, or Elephant, an exotic "green" fragrance with coconut and cocoa. The descriptions of the scents (which you can read on the website) are literally all of the best.
November 20, 2018
By Rachel Syme
"Until recently, designer perfumes represented the snooziest corner of the fragrance market. Not anymore. In today’s climate, playing it safe is a one-way ticket to irrelevancy, and this year’s crop of high-fashion scents radiates risk and adventure."
"It used to be that if you wanted to buy a new perfume, you’d have to trot down to your local department store. But the internet has completely changed the way consumers discover scents—now you can order samples from thousands of independent perfumers with a click. The new digital scentscape has led to a rise in more challenging fragrances, the kind you’d never find at a mall."
"Zoologist Tyrannosaurus Rex, which smacks of sticky pine, tart geranium, and juniper oil"
June 14, 2018
A new generation of cutting-edge perfumers is putting Canada on the fragrance map.
Text: Sarah Daniel / Photos: Le Guartier
Like so many bright ideas, Victor Wong’s occurred to him in the shower. The video-game graphics designer had long been frustrated with his 9-to-5 in Toronto, and it was while vacationing at Quebec City’s Château Frontenac that he first got inspired by the power of perfume. He was enraptured by the hotel’s toiletries, shower gel and body lotion, which are all infused with Le Labo’s Rose 31 – a spicy floral scent that the cult perfumers developed specially for the Fairmont hotel brand. The scent’s namesake bloom, Rosa centifolia (also found in Chanel No. 5), is a prized type of the flower and is harvested in Grasse, France.
“I had never smelled anything like it,” says Wong, who promptly set out to test hundreds of perfumes and explore countless fragrance forums, blogs and books. This research ultimately led him to found Zoologist, a niche fragrance brand which features quirky yet technically sophisticated scents that are heavy on synthetic animalic notes like musk and ambergris, all meant to evoke types of wildlife.
Since then, Wong quit his job and his fragrances have earned numerous accolades (among them, Beaver was named ÇaFleureBon’s perfume of the year in 2014, and Bat won best indie perfume at the 2016 Art and Olfaction Awards) and the respect of the perfume elite, including Luca Turin, author of Perfumes: The A–Z Guide and one of the industry’s most ardent critics.
Historically, Grasse has been considered the world’s fragrance capital, with perfume dynasties as plentiful as the jasmine, orange-blossom and tuberose fields that inhabit the landscape. In fact, well-documented nepotism has created a barrier to entry for those who aren’t part of the perfumery bloodline. But Wong’s success confirms that a new era is firmly under way, one in which indie perfumers – many of whom have no formal training, let alone family ties to Grasse – are carving out significant space on our vanities, and doors are opening for first- generation perfumers right here in Canada. According to marketing company The NPD Group, fragrance sales in the United States totalled $4 billion in 2017, with new categories turning the industry on its head. In fact, while the aughts belonged to fragrances launched by celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Sarah Jessica Parker, “artisanal fragrances” started gaining popularity thanks to a similar trend in the food and beverage world, from micro-brewed beer to handmade cheeses. “Consumers want the same kind of quality attention and materials in their fragrances,” says Kissura Craft, fragrance-industry analyst for The NPD Group. The other part of the appeal is that these scents are harder to get your hands on, making them feel exclusive compared to the ubiquity of mainstream labels. (A recent NPD survey found that 63 percent of American shoppers say they want “a scent that is unique and different.”)
Still, while Canada can boast of being the birthplace of many globally successful makeup brands, from M.A.C. to RMS Beauty, things have remained relatively quiet on the perfume front, with the exception of Toronto-based Susanne Langmuir, who launched an exclusive fragrance line at Barneys New York before creating her Bite Beauty lipstick line. (Lang also helped Nova Scotian Barb Stegemann develop her 7 Virtues fragrance line, which features ingredients sourced from countries such as Haiti and Afghanistan, with the goal of empowering women and farmers in those regions.) There are also perfumers who outsource the actual scent-making side of the business, like Ben Gorham of Byredo, and Michel Germain, who had New York’s Sophia Grojsman (the mastermind behind hits like CK Eternity and Lancôme Trésor) help him develop his women’s fragrance, Sexual, for his wife Norma. Germain, who has been in the industry for 25 years, received a lifetime achievement award at the 2016 Canadian Fragrance Awards.
Wong has adopted this outsourcing model, working closely with perfumers in the United Kingdom and else-where, Skyping and tinkering with the formula until it meets his expectations. But many small-batch Canadian brands are popping up across the country, helmed by founders who are creating fragrances themselves, their homes doubling as chemistry labs. Arborist turned per-fumer Josh Smith is one of them. Smith launched Edmonton-based Libertine Fragrance as an alternative to what he felt were generic-smelling mass perfumes and their glossy marketing campaigns. While working on an industrial-design degree, he got interested in fragrance-making and “began to wonder if perfume could be more authentic an experience, more artful and less about fancy yachts and gendered scents.” His line of unisex scents quickly took off, a coup he owes to living in Canada rather than fragrance capitals like Paris or New York. “There’s just so little [perfumery] going on here, that it really helped me stand out,” says Smith. Canada’s landscape has also helped by serving as a muse, its botanicals featuring prominently in Libertine fragrances like Soft Woods, with notes of juniper berry and balsam fir, and Sweet Grass, which smells of freshly cut hay.
“A lot of the best tree essential oils come from Canada,” says Josée Gordon-Davis, founder of Vancouver-based perfume and skincare brand Reassembly. While Wong and Smith’s fragrances feature a combination of natural and synthetic ingredients, she primarily works with essential oils. “My mom was a holistic practitioner, so she had these essential oils all over the house – that’s what she wore as perfume,” says Gordon-Davis, who sometimes forages for ingredients right in her backyard. For instance, Mountain Milk, which features sandalwood, black spruce, fir needle and vanilla bourbon, contains evergreen tips she collects from nearby forests. Every bottle is different, depending on the season. “Similar to a wine, the rain or lack of rain, the soil, all of these things contribute to the life or breath of the fragrance. I don’t fight these natural events, but rather embrace them.” On the other side of the country, Montreal native Julie Simard Jones takes her inspiration from both nature and her own memories, hand-blending natural perfumes for her brand Les Lares. Jones appreciates the creative free-dom her home base affords. “I didn’t grow up beside a lavender field, so I can’t talk about perfume in the way that a perfumer born in France might be able to,” she says. But working here gives her the space to experiment. It also helps that these Canadian perfumers push boundaries, without being held back by tradition.
“Bat is probably one of the first fragrances to feature synthetic-molecule geosmin, which smells like earth,” says Wong. “It’s been around for a while, but most per-fumers wouldn’t use it as the predominant ingredient.” The result is “somewhere between patchouli and a woody amber,” writes Turin on his blog, perfumesilove.com, and “the fragrance seems lit from within by the earth note.” With its budding perfume industry, could Canada earn the nickname of Grasse West one day? It’s a lovely thought. But for now, all of these perfumers have much more humble aspirations. “I don’t want to take over the world or start a perfume revolution,” says Gordon-Davis. “I want to make beautiful scents that speak to people. Whether it’s six or 6,000 people, I’m okay with that.”
April 25, 2018
Sie stehen auf unisex-düfte?
Do you like unisex fragrance?
Dann sind sie reif für nischen-parfums
Then you are ready for niche perfumes
Betreten sie die wunderbare Welt des kleinen Manufakturen, wo Duft radikal-emotional und frei von Zuordnung umgesetzt wird
Enter the wonderful world of small perfume houses, where fragrance is radically emotional and free from association.
1. Banane, Feige und Leder: "Bat von Zoologist
1. Banana, Fig and Leather: Bat by Zoologist
April 15, 2018
Higgs, the science fashion magazine in United Kingdom. In issue 02, they have created artwork inspired by Zoologist Rhinoceros and Camel perfumes.
February 13, 2018
By Tresor Prijis
…"Further expanding on this notion of eroticism is the breathtaking Civet from Zoologist, which paints a portrait of this animal magnetism in hues daringly dark. The feral nature of the civet accord is veiled in a cloud of spice that reverberates through a bouquet of subdued florals."
December 27, 2017
By Hanan Haddad, 27 December 2017
"This is where niche perfume houses come into the picture. In recent years, we have seen an incredible spike in popularity and demand for niche perfumes as more and more people are discovering unique scents that speak to them, beyond just crowd-pleasing fragrances. Everyone wants to be distinct in every aspect.
These are the niche fragrance brands that you might never have heard of before but should totally get your noses on. Their artistic and one-of-a-kind scent offerings will leave a memorable trail that’ll linger in the air for you and others to enjoy."
July 24, 2017
In celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, EliteGen proudly presents 15 Canadian brands and the stories behind them.
Founded by Victor Wong and based in Toronto, the scents of Zoologist perfumes are inspired by the animal kingdom, yet they are free from natural animal-derived musks. The fresh woody Beaver is like breathing in the fresh outdoors, while the Hummingbird is infused with delectable fruity nectars.
由Victor Wong創立並紥根於多倫多，Zoologist 香水系列以動物及大自然氣味為靈感，卻堅持不用取自動物的麝香。帶有樹木氣味的Beaver香水，仿如置身樹林呼吸新鮮空氣 一樣，而Hummingbird香 水則充滿果香，讓人感覺 心曠神怡。
Text: Leslie Yip / EliteGen SingTao
July 24, 2017
No need to swim in it. A quick spritz of these summer scents will have you vation ready in no time.
Sylvanus Urban is a digital and print media group based in Toronto, Canada.
April 10, 2017
The Hindu, April 8th, 2017
by Surya Praphulla Kumar
In 2012, a burnt-out video game designer at a Toronto-based toy company found his calling in a hotel room, after smelling a musky bottle of Le Labo hand lotion. Wong recalls coming home later to trawl the message boards of popular perfume sites, Basenotes and Fragrantica. “People told me I should learn perfumery and design my own scents, but I knew it would take years of practice to become good at it,” he begins.
So when he decided to launch his own perfume line, Zoologist, he put out an open call. British perfumer, Chris Bartlett, answered it with the idea to capture the essence of a beaver — smelling of wet fur, musk and felled trees. The scent, bottled with a picture of a beaver in Victorian clothing, came out in 2014. And though the perfume blog, CaFleureBon, named it one of the best scents of the year, Wong admits “it was too challenging for many people”. So the duo revisited the formula, adding more “fresh air and river top notes”, and relaunched it successfully late last year.
Today, his menagerie of scents includes Bat, Civet, Panda, Hummingbird, Rhinoceros, Macaque and Nightingale. “Fragrances that are notorious for smelling very animalic get a lot of attention, but I wonder if it’s ‘all talk and no sales’. The challenge for me is whether to bring a strong scent to the market for a small group of people — for the name (and fame) — or something less aggressive for sales,” says Wong, who is working on a scent that will remind the user of walking by a pond.
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Covey, the founder of Olympic Orchid, a US-based brand of handcrafted scents, teamed up with Wong’s Zoologist for Bat, which won the 2016 Art & Olfaction Award (independent). “I didn’t want to make a perfume that literally smells like a bat, but one that represents the cool, earthy, damp limestone cave where they live, the fruit they eat, and the clean, musky smell of their fur,” explains Covey, who trekked through the jungles of Jamaica in search of bat caves.
Though she believes working with animalics isn’t more challenging than any other scent — “it’s all a matter of balance — she believes this niche trend is in the forefront, with the mass market slowly catching up. “The early part of this century was dominated by scents that were ‘clean’ and ‘light’. The resurgence of animalic scents is just the fashion cycle coming back around,” says the perfumer, who is currently working on a scent inspired by a musical composition, which will have animalic notes.
April 03, 2017
Up your travel scents with these Canadian fragrances.