Poem for Zoologist Perfumes!

| Media Mention, throughsmoke

As you may know, I am a passionate perfume nerd. I’ve been collecting fragrances, reading about them, and writing about them for more than a decade. My first book of nonfiction, throughsmoke: an essay in notes, explores how I came to fall in love with the art and science of scent. And one of the anthologies I co-edited with Lindsay Lusby, The Book of Scented Things: 100 Poems About Perfume, allowed me to share this love of fragrance with poets around the country (each of whom wrote a poem inspired by an individually selected scent for the project). I’ve also been writing a sequence of short essays under the title “Sillage” (each piece is accompanied by a fragrant poem) for the journal Aromatica Poetica.

About two years ago, I wrote a fan email to Victor Wong, the founder of one of my favorite companies, Zoologist Perfumes. Here’s how Zoologist describes itself:

At Zoologist Perfumes, our fascination with animals is boundless. Their habitats, behaviours and looks; their similarities and differences with humans, and even their smells give us a lot to ponder. Their cunning inspires us, their agility resonates with our primal instincts, and their cuteness makes us giggle.

Our line of perfumes captures the idiosyncrasies of the animal kingdom and transforms them into scents that are unusual, beautiful, fun and even shocking. Our scents will reconnect you with the manifold delights of the natural world.

Our products are free from natural animal-derived musks; they have been replaced with synthetic ones for ethical reasons. We don’t want to harm animals so that we can smell good. Now you can gleefully spray Zoologist perfumes all over your body, care-free!

Zoologist Perfumes was founded by Victor Wong in 2013 and is a proud Canadian company located in Toronto. We work with award-winning perfumers to bring you innovative scents.

Zoologist makes gorgeous, weird, extremely memorable scents. Each perfume is a collaboration with a different nose, a perfumer who brings their own narrative, their own signature to the bottle. Zoologist’s fragrance, Squid, is a work of art; it smells of ink and sea salt and cold air. Bee buzzes with honey and flowers and sunlight. Sacred Scarab is lovely, a dark mist of wine, raisins, and myrrh. In an email, I said how much I would love to collaborate with Zoologist, perhaps by writing a series of poems inspired by some of the perfumes in the line. Victor wrote back within a day or two and suggested that I write a poem to be included in the marketing materials and packaging for one of the brand’s forthcoming scents. And that’s how I came to write a sonnet for their newest release, Rabbit! It felt like the perfect assignment. As a little girl, I loved The Velveteen Rabbit. Later, when I was eleven or twelve, I probably read Watership Down a dozen time, completely immersed in Adams’s world-building, his rabbity myth making. So, how exciting to now make my own small contribution to the landscape of rabbit literature.

I received my very own bottle of Rabbit back in the autumn, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the scent’s release. Well, it’s out now. If you’re interested in reading the poem and, perhaps, in ordering a bottle of your very own, you can go here. Or, if you just want to purchase a small sample of the fragrance, you can go here. And just to pique your interest, here are the notes listed for this cuddly, fuzzy scent:

Top Notes: Green Vegetable Leaves Accord, Cinnamon, Bergamot, Apple
Heart Notes: Clover Flower Accord, Carrot, Jasmine Absolute, Violet
Base Notes: Patchouli, Musks*, Hay, White Almond, Vanilla, Biscuit accord

*Synthetic Notes. Zoologist Rabbit does not use animal products.