There are pairs of creative director and perfumer that seem to understand each other innately. I think when that kind of artistic confidence arises both pieces of the collaboration have some freedom. When Victor Wong of Zoologist asked perfumer Celine Barel to create Zoologist Squid it felt like one of those moments. That fragrance was an aquatic of the depths of the ocean. The same creative team chooses to skim the surface of a pond in their second act, Zoologist Dragonfly 2021.
I used to visit a Japanese Garden in S. Florida where I grew up. I found I could spend hours watching the dragonflies dart over the centerpiece lotus pond. The sun would be high in the sky adding a sparkle. The scent of the lotus and the surrounding gardens would mix with the water. Because this was S. Florida the scent of a thunderstorm on the horizon would also be part of the milieu. Mr. Wong and Ms. Barel capture this in Dragonfly 2021.
Grapefruit and ginger evoke that afternoon sunlight in an energetic way. Angelica and basil give you a sense of the green of the garden underneath that sun. The scent of the pond comes through a set of watery florals and rice. The latter adds this layer of humidity over the citrus and florals. The floral presence coalesces through jasmine, mimosa, and rose. Along with this is the impending thunderstorm using petrichor. The ginger acts as the sizzle of the lightning in the thunderhead as the storm breaks.
The final stages are after the storm. There is a wet soil accord of patchouli and moss. Vetiver is the wet grass. The florals begin to rebound and reassert themselves. A hay-like sweetness of coumarin and benzoin gets dried out through cashmeran. The dragonfly flits across it all.
Dragonfly 2021 has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
I am going to be interested to see how Zoologist fans categorize this. The brand has long been seen as having “crowd-pleasers” and “challenging” entries. The fullness of the florals could put it in the first category. Once the petrichor breaks through there is a sharpness though the final stages that I could see being thought of as “challenging”. I think it is an example of a pair of creatives imagining what is on the surface of water.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Zoologist.