Scented Advent, December 19

Scented Advent, December 19

Today is the fourth Sunday in Advent, and my SOTD is Zoologist’s Bat, in eau de parfum format. So I think it is the original Bat, launched in 2015 as an eau de parfum and an Art & Olfaction Award winner in 2016, whose formula was changed in 2020 and now appears to be an extrait de parfum (the original formula, by Ellen Covey, is still available under the name Night Flyer, from her own brand Olympic Orchids, where you can currently get 20% off during December with the code 2021WINTER, including on her two discovery sets). I approached this scent with trepidation, as I don’t much care for bats, and so many comments over the years have mentioned rotting fruit. But when one is doing Advent calendar surprises, one must go with the scent Advent sent!

Bottle of Bat eau de parfum, from Zoologist Perfumes
Bat, by Zoologist Perfumes; image from bloomperfumery.com

To my relief, my experience of Bat is neither animalic nor rotting. It smells to me, as it does to other commenters, like well-aerated compost. Compost is, of course, decomposed soil, made up of vegetation that has in fact “rotted” or decomposed, but it doesn’t smell rotten, if you get my drift. We gardeners use as much of it as we can as a supplement to our garden soil, because it is so good for our plants. Many gardeners who have the space will create their own compost from grass clippings, fallen leaves and fruit, even fruit and vegetable trimmings and other such bits from the kitchen. When compost is well made, it definitely smells like dirt, but it has a sweetness to it that is quite appealing. And that is what Bat smells like to my nose.

In fact, I’ll go an olfactory step further and say that I also smell a bit of truffle as the scent develops. Not the chocolate kind, but an actual truffle, which is a tuber that grows beneath ground. Bat in its original form was famous for a banana top note, but I never really smell banana. It’s possible there may be some banana skins in the compost pile, but that’s as close as my nose gets to it. As it develops, I do smell myrrh and fig, which are listed as heart notes. The full notes list is: Soil tincture, Banana and Fruity Notes (top); Tropical Fruits, Fig, resins, Green Notes and Myrrh (middle); Musk, Vetiver, Leather, Sandalwood and Tonka Bean (base). Fig is really the only identifiable fruit I smell, though. I have a feeling Bat is one of those fragrances that will smell different at different times of year in different weather, as things like temperature and humidity vary. Right now, in cool dry weather, I’m finding it very pleasant; I’ll be interested to try it again on one of our hot, humid, summer days, and see if I smell more fruit. Luca Turin has written that he believes Bat includes geosmin, the molecule responsible for the distinctive scent of petrichor, or the earth after rain, and I have no reason to doubt that.

The Plum Girl blog has a wonderful post about Zoologist Perfumes, with an interview of its founder Victor Wong. All in all, I’m quite pleased to have the chance to try the original Bat. I don’t dislike bats, after all, and I value their role in our ecosystem, but they have startled me on occasions when I have seen them flapping around trees at twilight, so this fragrance is as close as I care to get.

Flock of fruit bats flying over trees
Fruit bats in flight; image from science.org.

Have you tried either version of Bat, or compared them? Do you have any particular favorites from Zoologist? Given that I tend to favor florals and greens, are there any like those you would recommend from the brand?

Perfume Chat Room, January 1

Perfume Chat Room, January 1

Happy New Year, and welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 1, New Year’s Day, and 2020 is finally over! I don’t want to get my hopes up too high, but I am cautiously optimistic about 2021. Above all, I am so very thankful for the healthcare workers who continue to care for the ill as the pandemic continues, and all the scientific, medical, technical, and support staff who are part of that or who have created the lifesaving vaccines we now have.

So my question today is, do you have a favorite fragrance (or fragrances) that you got in 2020? It doesn’t have to be a new launch, or on anyone’s list of “best of 2020”, just one that was new to you in 2020 that you like. Or if you prefer, what fragrances are you looking forward to in 2021? I’m very eager to try Snowy Owl, which Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has created for Zoologist. Some reviewers have sampled it already and it sounds lovely, with many notes I already enjoy. I think its official launch is this February.

What about you? And did you do anything special for New Year’s Eve?

Perfume Chat Room, December 4

Perfume Chat Room, December 4

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 4, the first Friday of the last month of 2020. Hurray! This year has been famously destructive in many ways, but I see light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. In my own religion, Christianity, the season of Advent began last Sunday, and it is one of my favorite times of the year. Not just because of preparations for holidays (with most celebrations on hold this year), but because it is a season of hope and anticipation. Many religions and cultures have some observance of this time of year, leading toward the Northern Hemisphere’s winter solstice when the Earth is tilted furthest away from the Sun and the day is shortest, night longest. Not surprisingly, a common theme is the emergence of light from darkness, since our winter solstice marks the end of daylight diminishing and the start of the gradual increase in light.

The season also brings with it many wonderful smells! Classic associations with this time of year are evergreens like pine and fir; spiced drinks like mulled wine and apple cider; beeswax from lit candles; incense from places of worship; sweet and spiced baked goods, often including vanilla; woody and smoky scents that recall hearth fires. I enjoy them all. Some perfumers try to create fragrances that evoke cold, like notes of snow, or ice, or frost. I was so excited in 2018 when Jo Malone had a limited edition fragrance called White Moss & Snowdrop, I thought I’d love it. Sadly, I didn’t. It was pleasant enough, but it didn’t make a big impression. My wallet was grateful! Now I’m excited at the news that Dawn Spencer Hurwitz will create a new fragrance for Zoologist, called Snowy Owl. Can’t wait to try it!

What fragrances do you enjoy at this time of year? They don’t have to be perfumes, you can list any scent!