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domingo, 14 de fevereiro de 2016

Zoologist Bat: A Dual Review

by: Jodi Battershell, Miguel Matos


Fragrantica Editors Jodi Battershell and Miguel Matos tried Zoologist Perfumes' new Bat Eau de Parfum upon its release. They share their thoughts on the fragrance in this joint review.
The dapper bat adorning the Zoologist Perfumes Bat label offers a fanciful rendering of an animal that is peculiar and frightening to many of us, but do a search for images of bats online and all kinds of cuteness presents itself. Fruit bats are surprisingly adorable when they're noshing on grapes using the sweet little thumbs on their wings (or their long-toed feet). Add the word "baby" before "bat" in that search for prepare to ooh and ah over images of tiny baby bats wrapped around fingertips, feeding themselves from baby bottles, swaddled like newborns in fuzzy blankets, etc. These much-maligned critters get a bad rap thanks to vampire legends and concerns about rabies (very few bats are actually rabid), but they play an important role in our eco-system: aiding pollination of plants; helping control the mosquito population (especially valuable now in light of concerns over the Zika virus) and reducing the need for pesticides on our food by consuming many of the bugs that destroy crops. I think it's fitting that these hard-working and noble creatures are honored with a perfume.
The Bat perfume composed by Dr. Ellen Covey for Zoologist pays tribute to the biological characteristics of the bat—its diet and habitat—as well as the myths and legends surrounding these furry, mysterious creatures of the night. Already known and loved in the perfume community for her sometimes beautiful, sometimes startling but always distinctive fragrances, Dr. Covey was an ideal choice for creating this most unusual fragrance honoring a most unusual animal. She is equally well-versed in lightness, sweetness, fruits and green notes (think Olympic Orchids' Elektra orOlympic Rainforest), the resinous and the spicy (GujaratBay Rum) and deep, dark fragrances that emphasize base notes (Salamanca, The Devil Scents Dev #1 and Dev #4).
.A straw-colored fruit bat eats a banana on exhibit at the Oregon Zoo
We find all of those categories represented in Bat and the overall effect is quite striking. The beginning of the fragrance packs a wallop. What I first took as an opening note of "beets" (with flashbacks of Tom Robbins' Jitterbug Perfume, in which this humble veggie plays a pivotal role) upon further sniffing revealed itself to be a pronounced note of soil. This earthy, rooty, mineralic aroma is a hallmark of the scent, along with dry, grassy vetiver, both of which I can smell throughout the fragrance's evolution. Sweet fruits—pulpy, juicy, but with no added sugar—blend well with the soil note as it slides from top notes to the heart. Wafts of menthol and the bitter green of crushed leaves dissolve the fruits as Bat continues its flight. By the time this creature is ready to fold its leathery wings and sleep for the day (a journey which took more than eight hours on my skin), I've settled comfortably into the fuzzy vetiver-musk of its fur. 
Bat is not for the faint of heart and won't be a scent for everyone, but for fragrance fans of a certain stripe, this unusual fragrance which flies us out of the earthy depths of the cave and through the fruit trees before folding its wings around us (maybe with a few green leaves and still stuck in our fur) will delight. If you've enjoyed the other Zoologist fragrances or you are an appreciator of Ellen Covey's unique aesthetic, this is a must-try.
Thank you to Zoologist Perfumes and Dr. Ellen Covey for the opportunity to try your new fragrance!—Jodi Battershell
After the first editions dedicated to animals like BeaverPanda and Rhinoceros, Zoologist launches Bat. What an unusual animal to associate with a perfume. And beware, for the liquid is as strange as the animal itself. Bats are curious animals. We all know the terrible cultural associations they have, most of all connected with vampire myths. Myself, I think they are very cute from afar. God forbid any bat from getting close. They look cute and ugly at the same time. To me Bat represents an example of the highest level of sophistication that experimental perfumery can achieve. Like almost all of Ellen Covey's work, Bat is not a perfume made to please the crowd. It is an enchanting smell, an odor created with an artistic purpose above all. It's also very complex and unusual. I have never smelled anything like this before and that, by itself, is a great accomplishment.
First of all, the first sniff I took at Bat was from the envelope the sample came in. Without opening the vial I already had felt all the splendor of this fragrance, even though on paper it smells incredibly musty. It made me think of my father's wine cellar, in fact. Then there's the hand experiment. Sprayed on the back of the hand, and pressing my nose against it, I felt Bat as exageratedly strong. Very sweet and fruity with a prominent damp accord. The first spray kept me from wearing it properly. But this is not a fragrance for smelling from very close in the attempt of understanding it. This is a fragrance to live with. So, the proper way to smell it is by applying four sprays on the neck and let the fragrant whispers come to your nose. Beware, I like my fragrances strong. The common fragrance user should maybe spray only two times as this has the strength of vintage Poison (which I also apply liberally).
Sprayed on the neck, like I wear all scents, this turned much more leathery. And this is how I knew that this is a fragrance I have to get for my collection in a full bottle so I can wear it frequently without saving my small sample. This is everything that I ask for a fragrance as work of art. Bat is wearable (but almost at the verge of non-wearable), stunningly beautiful, strong, sublime (in the sense that it conjures beauty but also almost intimidating features), unique, original, dense, complex and capable of triggering the imagination. Very rarely do I find all these elements in the same bottle. This is, hands down, my favorite of the Zoologist line (I also liked Beaver).
How cute are baby bats sleeping on a green leaf?
Bat is so interesting, since it captures different aspects of the animal, but it's not a realistic depiction of the animal. It is eminently fruity and exotic with banana coming very clearly in the front. I feel it as very leathery and tarry, too, but without any smoky facet. It has a warm feeling and something enveloping from the musk notes. All of this is composed having a very damp background which never fades. Musty and moldy like a dark bat's cave, but this aspect doesn't go over the top. In fact, only one more drop of this accord and Bat would be a mess. I can smell wet roots and stone walls, but they are covered in fruit leftovers from Bat's latest meal. I can also feel the subtle presence of a floral accord and and added sweetness coming from tonka and sandalwood. In short, this is to me a bat cavern in a tropical jungle where the animals are eating fruit in the middle of a very hot day. It can be the best fruity fragrance I have smelled until now. And I absolutely love it. Only a couple of warnings. First: don't spray too much and not on a hot day. Second: this is only for the lovers of risqué fragrances. All conservative perfumistas should stay away.—Miguel Matos

Zoologist Bat
Top notes: banana, soft fruits, damp earth
Heart notes: fig, tropical fruits, mineral notes, myrrh, resins, vegetal roots
Base notes: furry musks, leather, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka

Product images: Zoologist Perfumes; Fruit Bat: Oregon Zoo.

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