New Perfume Review Zoologist Seahorse- Tropical Reef Technicolor

Growing up in S. Florida I became certified to scuba dive as soon as I was able. With access to a boat there were lots of reefs easy to get to. I had a favorite one called Hens and Chickens. I spent a lot of early mornings motoring out there just after sunrise. By the time I would get anchored and into my gear the sun would just be above the horizon. This would give that effect you see in many photographs where there are shafts of light spearing through the clear water. I would dive down to the bottom and sit still. It would take a few minutes before all the denizens of the reef would return to their morning activities. I would add to their scavenging with a piece of bread I would break up. That brought many of them right in front of my mask for a show more colorful than the best cartoons. When I think back on many things of pleasure from my past there are distinct scents associated with them. Except for this. The only actual smell was the rubber of the mask and a bit of the ocean. It was a disconnect from the vibrant colors and life right in front of me. I’ve wondered what a perfumer would do if I asked them to interpret that as a scent? Somebody else had a similar thought which has led to Zoologist Seahorse.

Victor Wong

That somebody else is Victor Wong the creative director-owner of Zoologist. He has become one of the best creative directors in independent perfumery because he asks questions like what does a reef smell like? It all must be based on what you think bright colors smell like. For Seahorse he asked perfumer Julien Rasquinet to collaborate on this idea. The result is an extremely clever mix of abstract and realism.

Julien Rasquinet

When you see the colors of the fish on the reef you see neon yellows, flaming pink, deep azures, and outrageous orange. For Seahorse M. Rasquinet translates those into cardamom, tuberose, clary sage, and neroli. They are the imagined tropical fish darting around.

He places them in a fantastically realized oceanic accord of fennel, ambrette, ambergris, and seaweed. This is the water the fish swim through. The use of the fennel is particularly inspired as it is what M. Rasquinet seemingly uses as the linchpin for his oceanic accord.

Seahorse comes out of the bottle fully formed on my skin. The sun-streaked ocean is filled with vibrantly scented colors. It always felt as if I was noticing the “fish” at different times throughout the days I was wearing this.

Seahorse has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

This is another exceedingly smart aquatic from Mr. Wong. Squid was an aquatic of the ocean depths. Seahorse is one which represents the shallower part of the ocean. The Technicolor riot of the tropical reef.

Disclosure: This review is based on a bottle provided by Zoologist.

=Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Dragonfly 2021- The Surface of Water

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.

Victor Wong

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.

Celine Barel

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.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Chipmunk- From Modest Beginnings

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.

Victor Wong

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.

Pia Long

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.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Macaque Yuzu Edition and Macaque Fuji Apple Edition- Monkey Business


If you’ve ever traveled to a part of the world where monkeys are free in the wild you know you can get lost watching them. All species of monkeys are fascinating in their antics. If you sit somewhere observing them long enough you pick out distinctive coloring or markings, individualizing them. They are still the same type of primate they just now have some separation. That same concept has been applied to perfumery in Zoologist Macaque Yuzu Edition and Zoologist Macaque Fuji Apple Edition.

Victor Wong

If you visit the temples of Asia, you will often find a colony of Macaques as the treetop guardians. Creative director Victor Wong imagines this setting with two different monkeys present. Collaborating with perfumer Mackenzie Reilly each edition carries a different top accord over the same heart and base accords. As you might surmise the top accord of Yuzu Edition is built around that Asian citrus and the same occurs with the Fuji Apple Edition. The accords are so different that they interact in their own way with the remaining foundational accords.

Mackenzie Reilly

Yuzu Edition is not the crisp lemon-y scent you might be expecting. It is instead a diffuse version of yuzu lilting among the hinoki wood of the surrounding forest. It isn’t a great analogy, but it reminds me a bit of the traditional Onsen bath taken by Japanese on the winter solstice. The hot water makes the citrus less brilliant while giving it more expansiveness. This is what Ms. Reilly achieves here. She has a deft way of creating space in her compositions. The way the yuzu spreads out forms a place for the remainder of the development to interact with. There is a soft resinous accord which forms a lovely harmonic. As the base accord appears it has the effect of focusing things. Olibanum does this with the resins. Oakmoss gathers up the yuzu, adding it to a soft green carpet. An austere sandalwood adds a roundness to the stern hinoki.

Fuji Apple Edition is the crisp scent you might expect. Just like the snap of biting into an apple. The apple used here is that crisp fruitiness I prefer. What comes next this time is the silvery shine of olibanum. It adds a different type of crisp. The same hinoki continues the theme of delineated pieces. It begins to become a little less OCD as the same soft resinous accord in Yuzu Edition softens things in this version. The oakmoss provides another softer contrast of green. Only that sandalwood continues the theme of austerity from the top.

Both Yuzu and Fuji Apple Editions have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

While these are technically flankers, they are different enough that I think I’ll be wearing them both. Yuzu Edition over these final days of summer. Fuji Apple Edition is going to be my scent for apple picking in the fall. Which Macaque will you take home? I am quite curious to see if one prevails.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Zoologist.

Mark Behnke

A Tale of Two Creative Directors

Ever since I began writing about perfume, I always wanted to give credit to the perfumer and the creative director. It is as important to me as knowing who writes and directs a movie. In the best cases the partnership is creativity amplified.

Over a typical year I receive hundreds of samples. One consistent event always seems to happen. I receive a couple of sets of new releases, and they rise above everything else. This happened about six weeks ago. I’ve been spending my own sweet time enjoying myself. This week I’m finally going to share my thoughts about them. There is one consistent piece of what I will cover they are overseen by two of the best creative directors in all of perfumery, Alessandro Brun of Masque Milano and now Milano Fragranze and Victor Wong of Zoologist. Both are shining examples of how to succeed creatively and commercially in the independent perfume sector. They also share the same love of perfume that I, and probably most readers, have. That passion forms the core of their success.

Mr. Wong was literally “one of us”. He was part of many Facebook fragrance groups. You would find him in the middle of discussions with other fragrance aficionados almost daily. One day in 2014 he announced he was going to start his own brand of perfume for which he would act as creative director. I remember thinking to myself that I hoped he didn’t lose too much money. Success was not the likely outcome.

Yet Mr. Wong entered the process of overseeing the vision of his new brand Zoologist like “one of us”. He chose from among the fragosphere’s favorite independent perfumers. For four years he nudged some of those individualists into a team setting. For many of them he would extract their best work. All in service to creating a cuddly animal inspired perfume.

2019 would mark a turning point as he took the step of working with perfumers from IFF. He also maintained releases from the roster of independents he had yet to work with. What was admirable was he asked for the same adventurous creativity that had become the signature of Zoologist. Over nearly thirty perfumes there are “challenging” ones and “crowd-pleasers”. What unites them is Mr. Wong’s vision.

Sig. Brun has been one half of the creative direction, with Riccardo Tedeschi, of the premier independent brand Masque Milano. When I first met him at Esxence in 2013 I thought he was part of an irritating trend. Carpetbaggers in the perfume aisle. Over the early years of attending Esxence I saw people who were less interested in perfume. They wanted to get to the marketing part, the perfume was secondary. When it came to Sig. Brun, I had it completely wrong. It became extremely clear to me when I sat down with the sample set of the first four Opera perfumes, he helped creatively direct.

While he didn’t hang out on the Facebook pages I would come to realize he is also “one of us”. He adores the art of perfumery. He reveres the opportunity he has to add to it. Together with Sig. Tedeschi they have worked with a European-based roster of young perfumers. This again leads to what is the best work for many of these precocious talents.

Now Sig. Brun is breaking out on his own to oversee his own line, Milano Fragranze. He is interpreting the city that he loves, Milano by interpreting eight different areas of the city. It is another triumph.

I am spending today waxing operatic about these two visionaries because the rest of the week is going to be focused on the extraordinary perfumes they’ve just overseen. The four new Zoologist releases along with the debut collection of Milano Fragranze is as good as independent perfumery gets. Which is a tale of two creative directors at the top of their game.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Snowy Owl- The Quiet of Snow

If you’ve ever done any snow shoeing or cross-country skiing you’ve probably noticed something. The way the snow adds a sonic damper to the world. When you’re out trekking through a wintry landscape there is a quietness to things. Whenever I stop for a drink of water that quiet never fails to soothe me. it is part of the reason I’m out moving through the cold. To find a world where things are reduced to a few elements. Zoologist Snowy Owl celebrates this.

Victor Wong

I have been excited about this before I heard the name of the animal because two of my favorite people in independent perfumery were teaming up. Zoologist founder-creative director Victor Wong and perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz are my idea of a dream team. I have given both my year-end awards multiple times. They exhibit everything I think is right about this sector. They are passionate perfume lovers who make perfume it is as simple as that.

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

I was curious to see what animal they would work together on. The Snowy Owl seemed perfect for a fragrance meant to capture that quiet of snow I spoke of. Ms. Hurwitz is based in Boulder, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains. This experience can be found just outside her front door. Together they create a beautiful contemplative winter inspired perfume.

I wondered what the snow accord would be made of. When I first smelled it on receiving my sample, I thought it was perfect at capturing the watery nature of snow melting in winter sunshine. When I turned my focus on what made this up, I found two ingredients that are not on my favorites list. Ms. Hurwitz uses Calone and mint with an assist from muguet and coconut water. The first two ingredients I mentioned are part of so many pedestrian fragrances I am amazed at their use here. The watery melon-like quality of the Calone is given lift through the mint. The muguet adds a soft floral verdancy while the coconut water adds the dampness. It is a compelling opening.

It gets better as galbanum gives the green of the muguet a boost. Orris adds an earthy piece while an austere frankincense recapitulates the cold air. It ends up coalescing around a musky base built around ambrette and civet. The woods are represented via cedar and oakmoss. Once it is all in place a soft scent of silence appears.

Snowy Owl has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Snowy Owl feels like a partner to last year’s Musk Deer in the way they project a softness. This has more of a wintry bite, but I would still describe it as soft. There was a point in every day I was out in the winter woods where the sun informed me it was time to turn for home. Most of the time I did that with the desire for more time to spend outside in the stillness. Now Snowy Owl brings the quiet of snow home to me.

Disclosure: this review is based on a sample supplied by Zoologist Perfumes.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Best of 2020 Part 2: Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director, and Brand of the Year

After yesterday’s broad overview, in Part 2 I get very specific naming the best of the year in four categories.

Perfume of the Year: Shalini Iris Lumiere One of the joys of writing about perfume for over a decade is I’ve been able to watch brands develop. My favorite is when a creative director and long-time collaborator find that magic moment when all their hard work produces a transcendent perfume. Shalini has been making fragrance since 2004. In 2020 it made my Perfume of the Year, Shalini Iris Lumiere.

Iris Lumiere is the fifth perfume from fashion designer Shalini and master perfumer Maurice Roucel. I have enjoyed the other four releases a lot. Iris Lumiere took a quantum leap over those. It achieved that by showing me a different version of iris. As mentioned yesterday I write a lot about the powdery or rooty nature of the ingredient. Iris Lumiere showed me something I had never experienced before, an intensely greener version.

It has always been one of M. Roucel’s strengths to find new ways to showcase well-known ingredients. His choice to use galbanum and muguet as green interrogators of orris formed something captivating. It was if a fresh green rhizome had been harvested with moisture dripping off it. Months away from being the dried version we are familiar with. By using the overdose of galbanum it creates a sparkling set of jeweled facets among the irises. The final piece is to shine silvery moonlight on it using frankincense.
M. Roucel has been making perfume for decades this is among his best perfumes ever and not just the Perfume of the Year for 2020.

Perfumer of the Year: Maurice Roucel– It was clear to me heading into the fall that my Perfumer of the Year was going to have the initials MR. Throughout the year it seemed like Maurice Roucel and Mackenzie Reilly kept having a competition in my head. They both worked creatively across every sector. What tipped the balance is M. Roucel did make my Perfume of the Year.

Besides that he also did an artistic composition in NEZ Hong Kong Oolong. Monique Lhuiller was an entirely different version of the mainstream fresh floral.  A Lab on Fire A Blvd. Called Sunset is a fabulous dry leather via California car culture.

I could’ve written a similar resume for Ms. Reilly as her year was also impressive. They say you are judged by who it is you competed against. M. Roucel was pushed all year by one of the most impressive new perfumers we have. In 2020 it was the old master who is the Perfumer of the Year.

Runner-Ups: Fanny Bal, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, Josh Meyer, Mackenzie Reilly, and Cecile Zarokian.

Creative Director of the Year: Victor Wong, Zoologist Perfumes– There is no better story in independent perfumery than that of Victor Wong and his Zoologist Perfumes brand. 2019 was an extraordinary year for Mr. Wong including Squid being named the Fragrance Foundation Perfume Extraordinaire at this year’s awards. He entered 2020 with a dilemma. He chose to re-invent one of the flagship perfumes of the brand with a new perfumer. The 2020 version of Bat shows why I hold Mr. Wong in such high esteem. Working with perfumer Prin Lomros they created a different species of bat as the environment was shifted from cave to jungle. It was every bit as enjoyable. He would follow-up with three new releases Sloth, Koala, and Musk Deer. The latter is an expectation shattering take on musk. It is that ability to take chances that makes Mr. Wong my Creative Director of the Year for 2020.

Runner-Ups: Alessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi of Masque Milano, Carlos Kusubayashi of A Lab on Fire, Natalia Outeda of Frassai, Renaud Salmon of Amouage, and Celine Verleure of Olfactive Studio.

Brand of the Year: Masque MilanoAlessandro Brun and Riccardo Tedeschi are always looking for ways to evolve their successful enterprise. In 2020 this involved creating a new collection called Le Donne di Masque. They re-invented the first two releases of Petra and Dolceaqua before adding Madeleine at the end of the year. This provides a new way of looking at Masque Milano. Just to make sure we didn’t forget the old way Ray-Flection joined the Opera collection. This was another fantastic year for one of the premier brands in artistic perfumery which is why they are Brand of the Year for 2020.

Runner-Ups: Amouage, DSH Perfumes, Frassai, Imaginary Authors, and Zoologist.

My broad overview of 2020 can be found in Part 1 here.

The Top 25 perfumes of 2020 will come tomorrow.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Best of 2020 Part 1: Overview


That 2020 has been an unusual year would be an understatement. None of the fragrance expos. No trips to NYC for perfume events. Instead it turned out to be a different kind of exploration. I’ve been hovering around 650-700 new perfumes tried every year since I started Colognoisseur nearly seven years ago. If you asked me in May if I would be close to that I would’ve been skeptical. Yet when I look at the last line on my 2020 spreadsheet the number reads 634.

One of the reasons it is close to a normal year is I reached out to some new lines for samples. Over the course of the year I was able to delve into new independent perfumers; Jorum Studios, Libertine, Baruti, Christele Jacquemin, and Chronotope. It was a great experience which allowed me to see developing aesthetics in one piece. It was brands like these which provided that fun of finding something new which usually comes from Esxence or Pitti.

One of the trends that seemed to expand dramatically was that of reviewers becoming creative directors of their own perfumes. Most of these were as cynical as the mainstream releases using focus groups to design their fragrances. They just tried to decide what their readers/subscribers liked best based on measured response and made something to reflect that. That’s just a focus group in a different costume. There is a fantastic template for anyone serious about doing this. Just look at Victor Wong of Zoologist. He has gone from Facebook to the Fragrance Foundation Perfume Extraordinaire Award this year. He makes perfumes he likes while trusting there is an audience. So far, he has been right.

Renaud Salmon of Amouage

Amouage went through a big change as new creative director Renaud Salmon took charge. Over the course of the last half of the year M. Salmon reassured me that this important brand is going to do well as it moves in a different direction. I believe it will continue to be one of the key creative brands in perfumery.

This was also a year for some truly odd accords for perfumes to be built upon. One which repeated over and over was the scent of horse. Maison D’Etto’s entire collection is based on horses from creative director Brianna Lipovsky’s life. Ignacio Figueras Palm Beach and Sarah Baker Bascule also brought some thoroughbreds to the party.

Wet cardboard was the centerpiece of Nez 1+1 Folia. Clay pottery formed the nucleus of Jazmin Sarai Fayoum. Freddie Albrighton and Antonio Gardoni challenged me with one of the most difficult fragrances of the year in Douleur!2. It walks right on the edge of unpleasant, which was its intent.

The gourmand style of perfume continues to evolve as 2020 was bookended by Rasei Fort Cielito Lindo and Masque Milano Le Donne di Masque Madeleine. Both finding a new level for the genre.

If there was one thing I realized as I was looking back over the year I must have written a riff on the following a lot this year. “The dual nature of iris as both powdery and rooty was on display”. 2020 is the year of iris. It is also the year of great iris perfumes as you will see as I unveil the list of the best of the year.

I also want to close this overview with a thanks to everyone on the perfume side who assisted me in getting perfume sent to me. I may not have left the house, but the world of perfume showed up on my doorstep daily.

My other thanks are to the readers of this blog. In this ridiculous year of uncertainty writing for you every day was one of the few bits of normalcy which remained for me. I cherish that you choose to share my passion for perfume by dropping by.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my picks for Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director and Brand of the Year. That will be followed by my Top 25 new perfumes of 2020.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Musk Deer- Pillowy Musk


Back in 2013 when Victor Wong founded Zoologist Perfumes, he was an anomaly. Here was a guy making the leap from perfume lover to owner- creative director of his own line. As he started, he said all the right things about making a perfume brand which would be innovative. Although the very smartest thing he might have done in the beginning was to name them after animals. Drawings of cute creatures got people to pick up the tester. They would find that Mr. Wong was keeping his promise. Over the last seven years he has grown into one of the best creative directors in perfumery. He has frequently worked with the independent perfumers, bringing out some of their best work. More recently he has begun bringing in some of the professionals from the big houses. What is quite remarkable about Mr. Wong is there is a consistency to his vision that comes through every time. The latest release Zoologist Musk Deer does it again.

Victor Wong

For Musk Deer Mr. Wong partnered with perfumer Pascal Gaurin. There will be fans of the brand who will be looking for some big animalic powerhouse. What they get instead is a different vision from Mr. Wong. Instead of skankfest he imagined the animal wandering through a winter wood marking the trees with his musk trying to attract a mate. What that means in a perfume is a very plush musk. There are animalic facets but Mr. Wong and M. Gaurin render them in subtle hues.

Pascal Gaurin

It opens with a spicy rose composed of calamus and cardamom among the petals. The cardamom imparts a bit of a chill to set the wintery milieu. The musk comes next. Because they are using a botanical source in ambrette this has a smoother scent profile. As the musk appears it is quiet. It comes up through the spices to take its place on top. As it does M. Gaurin uses a set of ingredients to tune the botanical musk into an abstract version of the real thing. He does this with the indoles of jasmine, the earthiness of patchouli, the rootiness of orris, and the intensity of oud.  As it forms a more animalic version of musk it never crosses the line into skankiness. This is gorgeously well-mannered. It is a musk to wear when you don’t want to provoke. It ends on a woody base of sandalwood and cedar framing the musk accord.

Musk Deer has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

I remain impressed that after seven years and 26 perfumes Mr. Wong is still capable of throwing me a change. I expected something huge. The subtle pillowy musk that I got is sublime. It is going to be living on a couple of my winter scarves because it is such a fascinating perfume. Musk Deer is another triumph for Mr. Wong.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample I received from Zoologist.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Zoologist Koala- A New Tree to Climb


I have always enjoyed anthologies and compilation albums. I am usually drawn in by an author or musician only to discover something entirely new. Some extra books and music to download. It hasn’t really happened to me in perfume until I received my sample of Zoologist Koala.

Victor Wong

When I received the press release in advance of my sample of Koala from Creative director-owner Victor Wong I realized I was going to be experiencing a perfumer new to me. After I got to know more about perfumer Spyros Drosopoulos I felt like I should have known of him before this. He came to perfume from a career as a neuroscientist. Even though I have no interest in making perfume when a fellow scientist does, I am usually interested. Dr. Drosopoulos has founded his own line Baruti. As has become routine for Mr. Wong he finds the most interesting perfumers to produce stellar work for him.

Spyros Drosopoulos

One of the other hallmarks of Mr. Wong’s creative direction is he tends to take what we know about the animal on the label. In the case of Koala they take the mental image of one languidly chewing eucalyptus leaves turning it in a delightful direction.

Dr. Drosopoulos opens with that expected ingredient by placing it inside a sticky honey matrix. You might look at that and think of a home remedy for the sniffles of honeyed tea and Vicks Vap-o-Rub. This is not as simple as that. The eucalyptus has a more vegetal presence the honey captures in that slightly animalic embrace which is sweetened through the addition of mimosa. This is a soft soothing top accord. Over the heart a set of spices insert themselves into that. I was expecting them to add more zing, but they add even more softness. It is a remarkably snuggly perfume for much of the early development. It switches into the base as vetiver, oakmoss, and sandalwood evoke the wood and leaves of the tree our fuzzy narrator is perched in.

Koala has 14-16 hour longevity and average sillage.

You might look at that ingredient list and think this is a cold weather scent. I wore it on two hot and humid days, and it was delightfully cooling through the mentholated effect of the eucalyptus. I think there won’t be much of my sample left by the time there is frost on the pumpkin. Mr. Wong has been on quite a creative trajectory over the last two years. He has a vision and an audience he wants to share it with. He has regularly produced perfumes which are among the best of the perfumer he hires. I can’t say where Koala falls in Dr. Drosopoulos’ career because it is my first exposure. It is like those anthologies and compilations I mentioned I can’t wait to climb this new tree for myself.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Zoologist.

Mark Behnke