‘The spring day seems still and peaceful. Yet beneath the wildly splattered canvas of a blossom-strewn meadow, thousands engage in a desperate race for survival. Worker bees toil at a frantic pace, ferrying a precious cargo of nectar and pollen to deposit it within cramped honeycomb cells, where it will nurture drones and larvae under the eye of a regal queen. In the claustrophobic hive, a deafening buzz offers evidence of the bees’ devotion to duty, not a single worker pausing to question its role in perpetual grind of life in the queendom.

Like the frantic hustle of the bee through a maze of multi-faceted scents, Zoologist Bee delivers a surreal experience. The rich aroma of honey captivates, while alluring florals, royal jelly, animalic beeswax and regal incense unite to create a buzz, offering excitement, and the sweet rewards of life.’

Perfumer: Cristiano Canali
Size: 60 mL / 2 Fl. Oz.
Perfume Concentration: 18%
Top Notes: Orange, Ginger Syrup, Royal Jelly Accord
Heart Notes: Broom, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Orange Flower
Base Notes: Benzoin, Labdanum, Musks*, Sandalwood, Tonka, Vanilla

























Honey is a strange beast. At once soothing and appeasing, it is also sticky and disturbing. I love it (there are times, on the occasions when I am craving sugar, that I just spoon it from the jar or pour it directly into my mouth from a squeezy for the finest natural sucrose rush), but I know there are plenty who don’t  —  the curiously animalic, almost dirty aspect to the smell of viscid syrup and honeycomb, that speaks of other things.





In perfumery, while honey notes occasionally find their way into gourmands as lingering base notes: as a genre, honey monothemes are relatively rare – and yet quite bold and individualistic when someone can pull it off. The original Miel De Bois by Serge Lutens (2005)  before it was neutered by reformulation, was amazing: a very divisive, almost mind-altering scent that I found myself uneasily drawn to, once writing an essay length review of it on a piece of paper I then lost, getting carried away with allusions to a novel, whose name I have also forgotten, involving the smell of minotaurs seething within hairy, pungent labyrinths. Kilian’s Back To Black (2009) by Calice Becker was another triumph of the miel: cleaner, cosier, more wearable but still fulsome; Hiram Green’s drowsy Slowdive (2017), a medieval mead of viscous, honeyed orange blossom absolutes drowning in tobacco.




The way I see it, honey is a note that really does depend on your skin type. I am simply the wrong one to get away with applying the essence of honeycomb to my wrist – it will become sour, sweaty, pissy, and I will have to wash myself free. On other people, those who don’t automatically bring out base notes quite as emphatically as I do, a honey fragrance can really furnish you with all the mellifluous sting of the hive, especially one as convincing and full-on as this latest release to the menagerie, by Canadian indie perfumery Zoologist.














The descriptions by the brand at the beginning of this piece just about sum this perfume up to a tee. One sniff of this extrait de parfum strength bee bonanza and I was in a jar of the stuff, pawing up honey like a grizzly bear and snacking on a Mars Crunchie, with its delicious filigree of processed,  fake honeycomb all at once; vanilla at the rear, sandalwood anchoring, a multidimensional honeyfest that I almost would like to own just for the fact that it is such an exciting encapsulation of the deliciousness that our bees, fast disappearing, have been reluctantly feeding humans and other animals with since the beginning of civilisation. With the sweetness and sickliness that is the bane of the honeyed scent tamed to a reasonable level  – the  full, warm, apis mellifera panoramic from top to base – Bee is an interesting and enjoyable perfume, and something of an apiarist’s delight.












27 responses to “BEE by ZOOLOGIST (2019)

  1. I remember that we were going to have a Honey chapter in my book, but it got chopped in the final frantic edit when I had to cut 45,000 words.

    What other honey perfumes really work?

  2. Tara C

    I detest Miel de Bois (haven’t smelled the reformulated version) – pissy dirty nappy. HG Slowdive and Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss are my favourites. Back to Black can be enjoyable if not oversprayed, it is so strong.

  3. Besides SL’s Miel de Bois, and another small company that made a honey scent that i disliked and will not mention, my sample of Bee was the most recent honey perfume I have sampled. I would say it is quite interesting and unusual and I would probably wear it but not for an extended time. I will have to say that honey (the pure product) is really quite excellent for alleviating a bad cold or mixing it with whiskey, tea, and lemon juice as it does wonders for making a hot toddy and chasing your cold away. Not sure if it would work with the coronavirus but I bet it is still a better option than most so-called remedies out there at the moment.

    • Definitely. I was going to go into all the health properties I love about honey but got sidelined: I read something recently about a 5,000 year old jar of honey being found in Egypt or somewhere and it was still edible; somehow it has the ability to regenerate itself and is powerfully antibiotic. In Japan, honey is very expensive – on average the equivalent of about 12 dollars though it can be much more as there are a lot of specialist honey stores. I tend to like acacia or orange, but recently had lychee which was nice. My ideal honey smells in fragrance are the kinds made in Italian bubble baths scented also with clover : I like a squeaky floral ‘detergent’ note to cut through the unclean beeswax ( so comforting !) and I know I have come across some perfumes which have utilized that fresher aspect but I can’t quite remember which ones. I think honeyed ouds are too much.

      • From everything I have read about honey, the bottom line is that natural honey seems to last forever. If you have a jar of it from 10 years ago, in 20 more years it will still be safe to use. And like I said coupled with the other ingredients for a hot toddy, it is still one of the best remedies and reliefs from the common cold.

      • It is amazing. The only thing I find offputting is when it goes all crystallized on a winter’s sill.

      • OnWingsofSaffron

        If it crystallizes just put the glass in a bowl with hot water. The crystals will disolve and you‘ll once again have runny honey.

      • I hadn’t thought of that !

        You sound like quite the honigmeister. You love it ?

      • OnWingsofSaffron

        Honigmeister: I love that! Just has this fleeting picture of a „honey badger“ as the Meister is not usually thought to be as someone kind, rather someone who badgers others. Perhaps SL Miel de Bois should be called „Der kompromisslose Honigmeister“ in German?
        So to your question: no, not really. I do however like dark Waldhonig (forest honey), a bit piney like Goutal‘s Encens Flamboyant which—to give another German name—could be called „Der Förster und seine Katze“.

      • !

        I always found the troubling catch between sweetness and bitterness in that Goutal quite difficult (but very fascinating). Do you wear it well?

    • OnWingsofSaffron

      I find EF interesting in theory, in reality it‘s taking a lazy piss in the woods: cat pee (as in so many Goutals, especially Ninfeo mio) plus fir resin.

  4. The only honey fragrance I ever tried besides SL Miel de Bois, was another independent little perfumery (in New England I think) which I did not care for on my skin and kind of turned me off of honey for the most part. However, with all the talk going on about honey, I took out the little wand from the sample and applied it to my wrist. After going through some twists and turns, I would now definitely purchase this scent.

  5. Liking the sound of it. For me these kinds of scents are once in a while stay at home alone types

  6. OnWingsofSaffron

    Apropos honey: Have you smelled / tasted buckwheat honey? Dark, dark honey, and one website describes the taste as „bold, robust and distinctive“. Indeed! My husband shudders when I fetch the glass, and its scent and taste reminds you of a barnyard full of goats. It‘s obviously the ideal honey for cheeses! Lutens‘ Miel de bois is charming compared to this buckwheat honey!

  7. Sometimes a shot of Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey does the trick for a cold or fever. Again, it would probably do nothing for the coronavirus.

  8. Robin

    There is a local honey here, near Reifel bird sanctuary, that smells exactly like Miel de Bois. The bees feast on birch tree blossoms. The flavour is divine; it captures that urinosity without being any less delicious. Wicked with a crumbly blue cheese on a thin fruit and nut crisp.

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