The Stories Behind Zoologist Perfumes (Part 4)

“Mood Board” for Zoologist Hummingbird. ©Zoologist Inc.  Images in mood board taken from the Internet. Sources unknown.

It was a bright sunny winter day, my co-worker Shane and I were having lunch together in a restaurant near our workplace. Shane was leaving the company, and I wanted to thank him for helping me edit the contents on my website, which would launch soon. At work, we never really got along well, but I admired how he always wins a debate by throwing a lot web analytics terminologies at people loudly like a popcorn machine.

I told him I had imported 1000 bottles and got 1000 packaging boxes made, all I needed to sell were 300 bottles, and I should be able to break even. “Good luck with that”, he said. While I appreciated his honesty, I wasn’t feeling pessimistic – last I heard America had a population of 300 million.

Winter passed, flowers bloomed and leaves were about to fall again. I stared blankly at the 980 bottles, boxes, sprayers, caps and desktop shrinkwrapping machine sitting in my basement like I was in a safe room all prepared for an apocalypse. Youtube reviewer Fragrance Bros. just told me he would not review my scents for my own good.

I remember gifting a coworker a bottle of Rhinoceros, for he was my dutiful fragrance guinea pig. He told me he was not masculine enough to wear it, despite he had a face full of beard. I knew I had to create a scent that was floral and feminine because most perfume wearers are female, so I messaged Paul Kiler (the perfumer of Rhinoceros and Panda) if he knew any perfumer who might lend a hand. He recommended Shelley Waddington of En Voyage Perfumes. I told him I was too shy to ask, and he said he would give her a call. I asked him to be persuasive. Then I realized I had never smelled any of her creations.

After some emails exchange, Shelley agreed to design a scent named Hummingbird for me. The perfume would smell like spring, sweet nectars and a bouquet of flowers. I felt hopeful.

To kick-start the project, I sent her a “mood board”, a collage of images that I gathered. I am very visual person, and I think a successful “storyful” perfume could affect the wearers’ mood and get their imagination running.

The first set of mods arrived, and a few stood out. I asked for another round of revision and she sent me another set, each with subtle variations. Here came the difficult part – they all smelled fantastic and finished. There was one particular personal favourite that smelled like a piece of toast spread with condensed milk placed next to a bouquet of flowers in the morning. I almost cried smelling it. But that was not Hummingbird. I bit my lip and picked the one that I thought was the most representative of Hummingbird, and at the end, it was a big hit…

Author: Victor Wong

A perfume lover - niche, designer, modern, vintage, I love them all. I am also the owner of Zoologist Perfumes, a small Canadian perfume house. Please visit or for more info!

2 thoughts on “The Stories Behind Zoologist Perfumes (Part 4)”

  1. Dear Victor,
    I am subscribed to your blog and so enjoy it. Upon reading the above installment, the line “he told me he was not masculine enough to wear it” made me immediately go to your site and order a bottle of Rhinoceros. Then I paused: what if I didn’t like it? (Highly unlikely, but then you know how THAT goes…), so I removed it and changed my order to the 5 samples of your perfumes. Then, I removed THAT and ordered the entire set of 7: better to be safe and go all the way. However, I know that Rhinoceros will be a favorite, because Cellier’s Bandit, Black Afgano by Nasomatto and Cuir de Russie by Chanel are all old friends. I am looking forward to meeting Rhinoceros. Thank you.

    Nancy Bonham


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