‘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.