Notes: bergamot, black pepper, fir, laurel leaf, neroli, nutmeg, champaca, geranium, jasmine, osmanthus, rose, ylang-ylang, resins, cade, cedar, civet, frankincense, leather, patchouli, sandalwood, and vanilla.
Tyrannosaurus Rex is actually my first foray into the world of Zoologist. I have of course seen the brand all over social media. The bottles with uniquely detailed illustrations of animals on the labels can’t help but stick in your mind. I just hadn’t had the opportunity to sample anything before now. Well, I’m starting with the king of the dinosaurs, and perhaps that’s the best way to begin! The brand refers to T-Rex as “a gargantuan scent” and it certainly is. Antonio Gardoni, who burst onto the perfume scene with Maai, is the perfumer here, and it seems fitting that the rockstar of the perfume (and architecture) world is the creator of this larger-than-life scent.
T-Rex starts off loud and gargantuan indeed on my skin. It’s all black pepper, birch tar smokiness, and just a hint of balsamic fir tree. This opening is chaotic, and it really shocked me the first time I tried it. It absolutely conjures up the chaos of the Cretaceous period. The smoke in particular signals danger and the reality of extinction. I have to be honest, the opening is just not wearable in a realistic way for me. I don’t want to get into my apartment building’s elevator and send everyone into a panic because it reeks of smoke! The birch tar is very strong on me. I only need to dab the tiniest amount of perfume onto my skin in order to get a huge impact.
This opening lasts for an hour to an hour and a half on my skin. By the two hour mark, T-Rex undergoes a shift, and the floral heart starts to shine through. This is where I feel the composition really starts to open up and it lets me actually wear it, instead of the fragrance wearing me. I get a big yellow floral from the ylang-ylang. (Everything in this composition is big and over-sized. That’s just the nature of Mr. T-Rex.) The black pepper has calmed down considerably by this point, but there’s still some rich spice from the nutmeg. There’s definitely a red rose note lurking, but it’s not allowed to dominate with so many other notes competing for wear time here. The heart of the composition gives me the impression of a streak of dried blood in a landscape that’s otherwise dense with flora and fauna, perhaps the only remaining visible sign of the once dominant T-Rex.
But don’t think that Tyrannosaurus Rex goes all floral and sweet at the end. Around the four hour mark, the civet note starts to come through on my skin. Here, T-Rex reminds me faintly of Jicky with civet and vanilla notes that are slightly reminiscent of the guerlinade base. But T-Rex isn’t dying down yet. I still get another solid four hours of wear time. The base is animalic, maybe signaling a shift from dinosaurs to mammals, with civet, leather, vanilla, and a gorgeous resinous note. I also get something slightly chocolately on my skin. It’s a dry, earthy chocolate, so I wonder if it’s the patchouli turning slightly edible on my skin. It’s an unexpected note here, but I always welcome a chocolate note!
Tyrannosaurus Rex as a composition isn’t really about whether or not I personally like it (I do, once I get past the opening). It’s about the challenge. It’s the challenge of composing a scent around an extinct animal and a time period during which humans didn’t yet exist. I think Antonio Gardoni pulled it off. T-Rex will definitely be a unique scent in Zoologist’s library of scents. (Unless they plan to do other extinct animals!) T-Rex is well-worth smelling. It’s an absolute must to test it on the skin because this is a composition that develops and shifts according to skin chemistry. That’s part of the challenge, too. As the wearer, this composition gives you the chance to tame the T-Rex beast, or at least get to know the beast a little bit better.
The photo and info on the notes are both from Zoologist.
And here is an interesting interview between Zoologist’s Victor Wong and Antonio Gardoni.