Friday, May 10, 2019

Tyrannosaurus Rex by Zoologist Perfumes

Painting by Mark Hallett.

I always anticipate a new release from Zoologist Perfumes for their creativity and sense of inventiveness. I would imagine if you are a perfumer it is energizing to conceptualize a scent via story board inspiration from  Zoologist's Victor Wong and know that originality is not only acceptable but desired. I have enjoyed the dizziness of inhaling nectar scents from the darting viewpoint of a hummingbird, the flight of a bat as it leaves its cave dwelling and soars through the night sky, and the charge of an elephant in search of food. I had read various reviews of Tyrannosaurus Rex painting it as a real beast of a fragrance so I kept delaying the trial of my sample in the heat of an Australian summer. Now back in the Northern Hemisphere we're experiencing some cool rainy days and  I decided it was time to try out the mighty Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Zoologist scents have always taken me on a journey and this one is no exception. The image that popped into my head as this fragrance evolved on my skin was the old Jurrasic Park ride at Universal Studios in Florida. My husband and I took our kids there about fifteen years ago and I remember reading that the ride closed recently so it could be rebuilt bigger and better. I always liked the cave rides, as we called them, at amusement parks. You're hot and tired from tromping through an amusement park filled with hoards of people, you've been standing in line for an hour, then finally you get to sink into your bathtub of a boat. You start to float, cool water mists your face and as you enter the darkness you wait for another world to unfold before your eyes. If you missed this particular experience here's a video below. It all looks rather tame and hokey now, but I loved it.

 Join me on this journey to experience the new Zoologist scent Tyrannasourus Rex!

My frame of mind as I apply the perfume Tyrannosaurus Rex: I'm ready for anything. Initially I smell something other-worldly, as if I've landed on a planet with a strange and different atmosphere to which I am not accustomed. The perfumer Antonio Gardoni used notes of bergamot, black pepper, fir, laurel leaf, neroli, and nutmeg in the opening, all of which sound rather ordinary. I was expecting  one of those creative lists with ingredients of cyanide, dragon's blood, or meteorite shards. Somehow he creates a moment of magic from these mundane ingredients, a pause where I thought, "I haven't smelled anything exactly like this before." Then within a minute the moment is very quickly quenched by the smoke of distant fires. The smoke intensifies and the smell is soon punctuated with the scent of burning tar. Is this a reference to the burning tar pits that supposedly swallowed dinosaurs whole? The Le Brea Tar pits in California came into being 65 million years after the disappearance of the dinosaurs, a fact I seemed to have slept through in science class, but lets not quibble. This is my dinosaur park ride and it is exciting and everything I hoped for.

La Brea Tar Pits as depicted by Charles R. Knight.

The sharp aroma of molten tar intensifies and the smell of out-of-control fires burning and smoking becomes even more pungent. This is the smell of scorched earth. Whether this is a result of flaming volcanoes pouring streams of red hot lava or an asteroid has just crashed and annihilated all life on Earth I do not know, but these fires are fierce. Cade oil is present in Tyrannosaurus Rex and is responsible for much of this smoke and tar. This cloud of thick smoke and bubbling tar is everything I've read in the reviews for the perfume. While the fires smolder, this erases any other smells for me. I get no champaca or jasmine, no geranium or rose, this is epic. Although I love to burn fires in my house's fireplace in winter, the smell always gives me an allergic reaction. That is what seems to be occurring now. The smoke is so freaking realistic that I begin to wonder, do I need to get my bottle of Afrin?

Leather and patchouli add to the sensation of a large animal crashing about, the thick hide impervious to the flames and the large feet tearing out bits of earth as he pounds the ground, on a chase for his next kill. There is civet in the brew but I do not get a strong feral aspect to the scent; I believe the smoke overcomes that aspect on my skin.

This level of excitement can only carry on for so long. As our imaginary boat goes around the next curve in the river ride the smoke from fires still smolders but begins to fade in ferocity. Curls of ancient incense begin to rise from the smoking ground and it feels like a resurrection of the blistered landscape. Resinous frankincense along with cedar wood bring calm, and now finally  I begin to smell the florals which were MIA before. The florals are background noise and muddled to present an emergent landscape of rebirth and regeneration. I do not distinguish between the individual notes of geranium, champaca, jasmine, osmanthus, rose and ylang ylang. I have read that a rose oxide note was used to simulate the smell of blood as the T-Rex wrecks havoc, but the blood smell is not as pronounced for me as it was in Imaginary Author's Bulls Blood, for example.

We are nearing the end of this ride and things begin to change more quickly. The smoke is faint and fading. Florals are indistinct but present. The resins and incense have transformed this perfume into more of a smooth oriental-style scent and base notes of vanilla and sandalwood accentuate this effect. In truth I don't smell vanilla, I just feel it adds a creamy sweetness to the heavier smokey and wood notes. Once Tyrannosaurus Rex arrives to this point, the scent trail goes on for hours and hours. It has been quite the ride. I feel like we have traveled from the wildness of this:

to the softer side of the dinosaur:

Barney and young Selina Gomez

Maybe that's an exaggeration, Tyrannosaurus Rex still has some bite, but it has morphed into a very easily wearable resinous oriental perfume.

Let's talk about the perfumer that Victor chose for this project, Antonio Gardoni. I would love to know the process by which Victor picks perfumers for specific projects but pairing Gardoni with a rather ferocious scent like Tyrannosaurus Rex seems smart. Gardoni is an architect by trade and more recently channeled his love of plants and nature into an interest in fragrance creation. He first created perfumes for his brand, Bogue, in 2012. Bogue perfumes are known for having a presence and in some cases being a challenging ride. I have only smelled and reviewed one of the Bogue creations, MEM, and here is what I said: "There is a moment at the beginning when the civet and castoreum, supposedly base notes yet here they are in the first five minutes, take me on a wild ride that I'm not sure I'll safely survive." You can find the complete review here.

With Tyrannosaurus Rex, Gardoni and Victor Wong have given us a dazzling glimpse into a prehistoric world that somehow reinvents itself into a very wearable perfume. I have to admit that in the Zoologist world my preference is to be a warbling Nightingale or a flitting Hummingbird but that doesn't mean I don't appreciate the journey provided by Tyrannosaurus Rex.

You can read my other reviews about Zoologist Perfumes starting here with Bat.

Perfume sample was purchased by me from Luckyscent.


Undina said...

Sorry, Zoologist perfumes do not interest me (as a concept, and I didn't like a couple that I cursory smelled), but I just wanted to pop in to read what you wrote and say "Hi!"

Cynthia said...

Thanks for reading! I am not interested in wearing each and every one, but I do find them very fun to write about because there are so many things going on and they almost always evoke memories for me. I guess this is because they are often very different smells. Have you tried Nightingale or Hummingbird. These are the more feminine ones, but are my favorites.