Fall and the urge to flee: Zoologist Hydrax, Moth, and Sloth

Fall at the beach

Well, fall has fallen at the parts of the Posse in the Northern Hemisphere and Los Angeles is no different. Well, who am I kidding, of course it’s different. We aren’t going to get snow. Although we have within my memory had it- albeit briefly, in the hills above UCLA and not actual snow- something they call “scrapple” or something. (edit- I just looked it up and it’s called “graupel.” Whatevs.) And while the mornings have been a bit overcast the days this week are borderline hot, with temps on this side of the hill into the 80’s (F) and up to 100 in Palm Springs. What we are getting is markedly shorter days with the sun going over the yardarm by 5:30 and dark an hour later. Come November 5th when the parts of the US that observe it will be off Daylight Savings Time it will be dark at 4:30. (Yes, there have been several attempts to make DST permanent and it was even voter approved but has not happened yet. Don’t know why.) I think it’s the darkness early and all day that kind of gets my “fly South for the Winter” thing going. Trouble is, I am not a sparrow and have to maintain (I.E. pay for) my nest here and therefore have to work. So here I stay. And whine.

Of course, as one of my old friends said about living in LA “Where do you go when you live at the end of the rainbow?”

Fall on Carmelita Ave

I do miss fall back East. I miss the foliage (although we do get a mini version- see pix) when the hills in my hometown are incarnadined with blazing colors or being in the city, walking in the brisk air, wearing tweeds and scarves and feeling like a New Yorker as you darted about on your errands. Even the winter snows have a sepia-tone to them when viewed in memory- you remember how magical it is to have a city stopped by a snowstorm, sledding on the hill by Paradise Pond as college students on dinner trays “borrowed” from the kitchens of Franklin King House, or of the snow falling in Milwaukee while in my little duplex we had a fire in the fireplace. Of couse these pleasant memories are offset by the one of trying to get home to my East Village hovel during that crippling blizzard, being told that morning, as one of the people who lived in Manhattan, I needed to report to work at Dean and Deluca (heaven forfend the denizens of SoHo go without overpriced designer coffee beans for 24 hours!) ASAP. Or waiting for a bus on Lake Drive in Milwaukee after the restaurant I worked at closed it’s dinner shift, wearing 16 layers of clothing and knowing with absolute certainty that if that damned bus didn’t show up in the next 5 minutes I would die of hypothermia. Or the ice storm that kept the heating oil guy from being able to get the truck up the steep hill to deliver the stuff needed to heat your house.

The “House of the Davids” (now sold and gone) in Hancock Park

So I will be happy that Santa still waves at us over the intersection of Beverly and Wilshire, the few trees turning on the side streets in BH, and the fact I don’t have to shovel snow. I will miss the DWP light show they used to put on in Griffith Park, but I guess that was a bit of showing off that got annoying to people when their light bills kept going up..

And on to the scents (You never thought I’d get here did you?) Zoologist is an interesting house and one that I’d been meaning to explore for a while, if only because some of the scents they do seem to have the effect on some reviewers as garlic does to Vampires. Of course that makes me want to try those first. Of course having the attention span of a fruit fly and never writing anything down I can’t remember which of them were the “worst” offenders. So I chose at random.

DWP Lightshow (also gone)

Hyrax was the out-of-the-box favorite, starting out with peppery, spicy heat. There’s something called “African Stone” which is basically desiccated Hyrax poop. (oh don’t get all upset- it’s supposed to be sterile, And it’s packed in alcohol.) the whole thing is wonderfully warm- I’ve never been to Africa but I have been to the desert and this does feel like laying on the sun-warmed stone before the heat of the day forces you to seek shade. Now I know that my tolerance for the more earthy aspects of scent are a bit higher than most, but honestly this one is a case of the warm fuzzies: this little beastie has almost a Disney-fied purr.

Moth is something different. Looking at the top notes (from the website) Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Cumin, Lemon, Nutmeg, Saffron you would think that this would open as the flame the moth was drawn to. Instead I get the heart notes of mimosa, heliotrope and rose first, as cool as fluttering moth’s wings. I get whiffs of smoke and and wood and resin, but it never gets too close to the flame, which I really like.

Sloth starts with calm chamomile, jasmine and lavender with a hint of cumin to remind you that this is after all the wild, and ends up as comb honey and I swear immortelle. It has just a touch of he buzzy-tinfoil aspect that’s all over our beloved (and by some feared) Miel de Bois. I can see doing an all-over spritz in the evening just so that I could have the warm fuzzy-buzzy embrace for my sleep. I might need to try that out tonight.

Honestly, between the three of them I would be hard-pressed to call a favorite. There’s a lot going on here and if you’re coming from a place where the latest Blah de Cannel or Miss Sauvage Petit Four is a walk on the wild side, then yeah, you’re going to run for the hills. Just don’t trip on the African Stone or the Snowy Owl might get you..

Samples of these and the other scents in the line are available from the perfumer at their website for $8. Which is where I purchased mine for this review. Photos are mine and Pexels.

  • Your blog is a treasure trove for fragrance enthusiasts! The detailed reviews and insightful articles have helped me discover new scents that perfectly match my style. Thank you for being my go-to source for all things perfume!

  • Filomena says:

    I just typed a decent comment and was told that my comment was “spam”, which it was absolutely not. I have been a member of perfume posse for a long time and am offended by my comment being noted as spam, which is was not in the least. It was only a comment of my feeling of autumn and winter on the east coast. I probably won’t be commenting any longer as I do not appreciate my comment being referred to as spam.

    • Maya says:

      That happens to me periodically. It has nothing to do with what you try to post and is not personal. It’s some kind of machine error and that’s the message that gets sent out. I got into the habit of copying what I write and then pasting it in comments and trying again. 🙂

    • Tom says:

      That happens to me, even on my posts.

  • rosarita says:

    I always enjoy your stories, Tom.
    Big Zoologist fan here and you picked a few that I really like. Moth doesn’t get much mention but it’s so good. I also really like Civet, Hummingbird and Bee. Oh, and Cow! Very pretty green floral. Sacred Scarab is amazing. And they have those cute travel bottles that are affordable.

  • Musette says:

    I love LA this time of year, before the mudslides start up.
    It’s chilly-adjacent here, with abundant sunshine, so I ain’t mad at it. I still have some basic garden work to do so hoping it stays thus for a couple of weeks.
    Zoologist is an interesting house – I’ve tried several..but while I’m intrigued I simply cannot seem to hold them in my skittery mind. Alas. I have Bee and Dragonfly (I think) samples. Oooh! And TRex. Somewhere.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve never had my own garden. Just taken care of a friends when they were away for a couple of weeks. Thank goodness I didn’t kill it..

      Also thank goodness I don’t like in an area where we get slides. Weird that RPV is on the move again. Houses slipping down the hills. Terrible.

  • March says:

    We’ve had graupel a few times here, I googled it to figure out what the heck it was! This time of year I get veeery nostalgic for the area of Northern VA where I grew up, fall in that region is gorgeous and lasts forever. People rave over it here (the aspens!) but they’re all yellow … ehhhhhh. I still haven’t tried the Zoologist … wait, I definitely tried one of them, which was it? I love the artwork.

    • Tom says:

      Fall is really the only season I miss about the East. Except that one day after months of grey when you wake up and suddenly it’s spring.

      Zoologists artwork is gorgeous..

  • Maya says:

    When I went to CA the first time, I realized (to my surprise) that I didn’t miss anything about back East. There are only a few places that I miss. One of them is Lahaina in Maui. When Lahaina burned down, it broke my heart. I loved that small, old town!
    As to Zoologist, I tried some early on – Dragonfly, Hummingbird, Nightingale – none of them worked for me. I also tried the original Bat simply because I think bats are the coolest little creatures. I would never wear this perfume but thought it was amazing. Recently, I tried Sacred Scarab and I do like this one very much.

    • Tom says:

      I’ve sadly never been to Hawaii. I’d like to go someday. Friends have been (and have lived there) and I never went.

      Zoologist is an interesting house. From what I’ve seen it’s amost performance art more than conventional perfume. Whether that works for someone or not is up to the person.

  • Dina C. says:

    I can relate to your nostalgia for how your neighborhood and town used to be. I’ve lived in mine since I was 11, and it’s changed so much. Great improvements, of course, but also some really nice things were lost along the way. Thanks for the Zoologist reviews. I haven’t tried any of these three.

    • Tom says:

      I think everyone’s place does that, big or small. The thing is not to get trapped in the memories of what used to be there (no matter how wonderful) and enjoy what is here now, I guess.

      I look forward to trying more of this line.

  • alityke says:

    Snow……SHUDDER! I hates it with a passion. Broken ankles, let me count the ways. I breaks too damned easily!
    Also scum in a Beamer he couldn’t control killed my much loved Boy Racer Saxo (sorry Tom but over this side of the pond, older Beamers pull the IQ lower than a snakes belly, stained tracky bum wearing crowd).
    When it snows here it comes from the east. We live on the Lee side of the first big hill so the snow gets dumped on us. At the first few flakes schools close, buses stop running, trains even less reliable. There is never enough gritting salt, motorways & A roads get done, villages don’t.
    Anyway, Zoologist. Only tried Chipmunk cos of Pia being the author. The rest? Too expensive to buy a bottle if I fall in love so I don’t try.

    • Tom says:

      I obviously moved far away from snow. The only way I like to see it is after a good winter rainstorm, when the air is clear enough to see it dusting the distant mountains. Living with it day to soul-crushing day? No thanks.

      And I dont take offense at the BMW thing- it used to be the case here. No the boy-racer contigent has moved on to Subaru WRX’s and the others have moved to Tesla. I drive like a grandma (ask Portia or March) and annoy people that I won’t go faster on surface streets than they wish. Tough. Whippersnappers! Get off my lawn!

      • alityke says:

        I was doing 20 on sheet ice. Beamer driver tried to over take & side swiped my VTR. He stopped & begged me not to go through insurance cos it was “his third smash in 10 days”.
        I went as near home as I could & driver door wouldn’t open. Illegal to drive so went put in a case with my insurer.
        Got a call from Beamer driver calling me all the names under the sun (or snow). I just told him he needed to learn to drive properly & put the phone down. Reported his him to the Police & left it there.

        • Tom says:

          Yeah, we get those too. The few times I’ve been hit and they say “don’t call insurance” the first thing I do is call insurance.

          Third smash in ten days? That the universe telling you to take the bus..

  • cinnamon says:

    I tried a few of these a while ago. That’s it. I tried some. I guess I should try some more but I find concept houses a tad annoying. The box graphics are great though. Anyway. Which blizzard? The last year I lived in NYC before moving was ’96 and there was a serious snowstorm in January. Initially not sufficient to close the subway on that Monday or the stock exchange. So, I went to work in lower Manhattan (if the exchange was open, we went to work). Stock exchange closed at 1 pm. A group of us found a Middle Eastern restaurant that was still serving and had lunch. Then, I caught the last A train towards home, which stopped in downtown Brooklyn. Ended up walking the rest of the way home in knee deep snow. It took over an hour and was so beautiful.

    • Tom says:

      Oh lord, I’m older than dirt. It was Feb 1983. D&D was in SoHo on Prince and I lived at 10th & B. I managed to get a ride most of the way home while it was early yet, but it was the first time I experienced thunder & lightning in a snowstorm. The next morning I walked to work down a deserted Broadway. It was beautiful but very eerie.

      Then the boiler in our building crapped out and took weeks to fix. Fun. But we were kids in the big city so we didn’t care.

      • cinnamon says:

        I have no memory of a big snowstorm in winter ’83. I definitely would have been in NYC then though. Loved D&D — and Cidarella fish.

        • Tom says:

          I am pretty sure it was this one:

          Citarella is still there, bless them. Dean and DeLuca sadly is not, but I know Joel and Jack are dead, and I think I read Giorgio owns a restaurant in SoHo on Spring street these days. They sold thier interests years ago.

  • Portia says:

    Hyrax sounds bloody good Tom.
    Love going down your memory lanes also. ALL my snow stories are full of love for it because I’ve never lived it, only visited for very short periods.
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      The last couple of times were visits and were perfect: once in Milwaukee visiting and staying in my friends little stone house with the fluffy snow falling- it melted the next day. The last time was in the Berkshires staying at an old b&b with my bff Bitsy. We stole all the firewood out of the other rooms. She was paying for the room so she naturally took the big king bed and I had the rollaway. She gave me a look when I capitulated immediately like “what have got up your sleeve?”

      We got back from dinner in the snowy evening dark and made a roaring fire. I made up the rollaway bed- and rolled it right up next to the fire. The look on her face was priceless..