I “know” a lot of people within the perfume fragosphere. I’ve never breathed the same air, but we surely have burned a lot of bandwidth. It has given me a great deal of joy to watch two of those people evolve into part of the industry. Victor Wong as owner-creative director of Zoologist and perfumer Pia Long of Olfiction have followed their nose to individual success. When I found out Mr. Wong had asked Ms. Long to collaborate on Zoologist Chipmunk this felt like it was destined to be.
The idea was to create a perfume which captures the final days of autumn. As the chipmunk is frantically grabbing the fallen nuts to help survive the coming winter. Chipmunk is a woody fragrance built around that.
From the start a sweet hazelnut is present. Ms. Long sweeps a fruity layer of quince and mandarin over it as if the autumn sun is low in the sky. A set of spices start to inch hazelnut towards Nutella territory. Before that happens the roughness of oak turns it back into an acorn. This forms what becomes the central accord of Chipmunk.
It plants its roots into a loamy-scented earth while existing among the firs. The high and low of both explore different pieces of the core. Ms. Long adds in chamomille in its dried floral spiciness to provide even more texture. It is one of those things I really enjoyed as I wore this.
We make it back to the animal’s hiding place as it unloads the acorns it just picked up with. This is realized with a furry base accord given depth via vetiver, benzoin, and opoponax. As this comes together it feels like a contemporary interpretation of the masculine woody fragrances of fifty years ago. It isn’t as loud, but it has presence like those old powerhouses.
Chipmunk has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am going to wear the heck out of Chipmunk this fall. It is that scent of woods after all the vegetation has disappeared in preparation for winter. Mr. Wong and Ms. Long have created a successful modern woody perfume. It makes me smile to think of how this came from those modest beginnings so long ago.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Zoologist.