Zoologist Bee Review

Zoologist Bee REviewHey, my sweet ‘n skanky friends – not too long ago, when I was posting about “nude” scents, someone mentioned Zoologist Bee, so the last time I was ordering samples I threw some Bee into the cart, because I love honey scents, and bees, and honeybees, and honey… well, you get the gist.  Here’s some online blurbage:

“Like the frantic hustle of the bee through a maze of multi-faceted scents, Zoologist Bee delivers a surreal experience. The rich aroma of honey captivates, while alluring florals, royal jelly, animalic beeswax and regal incense unite to create a buzz, offering excitement, and the sweet rewards of life.”

Top: Orange, Ginger Syrup, Royal Jelly Accord

Heart: Broom, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Orange Flower

Base: Benzoin, Labdanum, Musks, Sandalwood, Tonka, Vanilla

Well, that sounds rather nice, doesn’t it?  And because I was associating it mentally with my nude/comfort scent post, I didn’t think twice about giving myself a generous spritz from my sample atomizer when it arrived.  To the extent I thought about it at all, I was expecting something sweetly gourmand, maybe like that honey-vanilla thing a few years ago from L’Occitane.  Instead, I got … whoa ho HO, NELLY.

Frankly, we need better descriptors for the many aspects of scent; to me, “skanky” suggests something more intensely animalic, but it’ll work here, I guess. The Brits have “pong” which could do as well, and I swear the French have some word for panty-smell (and it’s a compliment.)  Zoologist Bee has that furry, footy funk going on, not so much animalic as pollen-ish, a musty, musky-barnyard smell built on top of the sorts of ripe-rotten blooms that are pollinated by flies.

Bee falls into my mental category of “experiential” scents– to be sampled for all they have to offer; whether I like it or find it wearable is kinda beside the point.  Since I’d guess most folks would find this borderline unwearable, I’m surprised the reviews on Fragrantica aren’t worse.  Bee offers it all – a whiff of horse stables, a heady dose of hawthorne, standing downwind from a grove of Bradford pears in bloom and smelling like buttered feet … deeply interesting smells that aren’t everyone’s idea of enjoyable.

Maybe I’m smelling it differently than most folks?  Here’s LuckyScent waxing poetic (emphases mine): “the honey accord is both extremely realistic and un-animalic – a doughy beeswax note to muffle its sweetness, and a softly musky, woody base of sandalwood and benzoin to keep it from sliding off into honey’s more animalic facets….”  Uh, if you say so.  LuckyScent has no reviews of this; maybe people are afraid to contradict the experts.  Maybe they’re still trying to scrub Zoologist Bee off, or they’ve died trying.  Maybe they’ve forsaken perfumes and joined a nunnery. Three days later I can still smell it on the back of my hand, after all, and I am enormously grateful I didn’t get it on my clothing.

Have I mentioned my dogs?  They perked right up when I sprayed this, and then followed me around all evening, clearly intrigued.  No, seriously.  Don’t wear this to work unless you work at the zoo.

Really, it’s kind of fabulous, but I’d put it up (down?) there with the best of the barnyard scents.

OK so help a girl-blogger out here…. Zoologist as I’ve experienced it thus far equals variations on the same earthy-oud-smoky-musky-leathery Great Ape House, with the random smells-like-inky-sperm outlier (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Are there scents in the line that are less outlandish that I should smell?  How are you feeling about Zoologist in general?

Finally, I’m inserting my giant disclaimer here: to the person who recommended it, I’m grateful you did, because I’m enjoying the hell out of this even if I wouldn’t describe it as particularly wearable.  If you’re feeling stung, please know that my favorite honey scent is Lutens’ almost universally loathed Miel de Bois, which I love and wear, just so you’re clear who you’re dealing with here.  Anyway, Zoologist Bee was a delightfully curative antidote to the snit I was in after surfing the fragrance counter at Bloomies, bitter with disappointment and bored out of my mind, and I’d much rather write about this.


  • Neva says:

    I’m not a honey fan in any way but your review makes me curious about Bee. You’re the first reviewer not mentioning honey, honey, honey.
    I’ve sampled many perfumes from the Zoologist line and ended up buying three travel sprays – Civet, Panda and Camel.
    Zoologist has very pretty scents, like Nightingale and interesting green scents, but most of them have a balsamic, milky feel (Dragonfly, Elephant). I prefer my greens sharper so I had to pass on them.
    Bat, Moth and Rhinoceros are too strange, too artsy for my taste.

  • Tara C says:

    I thought Bee was pleasant but nowhere near as wonderful as HG Slowdive, my holy grail honey scent.
    Oh, and that French phrase is not complimentary. « Ça sent la foufoune mal lavée, » refers to a woman’s unkempt privates. 😉

    • March says:

      OK you’re the umpteenth person to mention Slowdive which I thought I’d tried but maybe not? Clearly I need to get ahold of that. And thanks for the dirty French lesson!

  • Michelle Little says:

    I love nearly the entire Zoologist line, even those that aren’t my favorites I find impressive. I love Beaver and Civet, Dragonfly, and Nightingale is just gorgeous with its plum and saffron.

  • Jo says:

    I love Hiram Green Slowdive and it is by far a better honey scent. I’ve tried Bee, and I so want to love Zoologist but in the end their stuff is just too experimental and end up not being really pleasant to wear long term. I like them in theory, but I never wear them.

    • March says:

      I think you and I are having the same general thoughts about Zoologist. They’re fun to try, but so far nothing’s made me go MUST BUY.

  • Austenfan says:

    Have you tried the Hiram Green honey scent? It’s called Slowdive. It’s quite a good take on honey, I think.
    I have tried just one Zoologist, can’t remember which one or what it smelled like. I know I’m in a minority but I just don’t like the images they use. Don’t know why, but I find them rather off putting.

    That said, I loved this review. It reminded me a little of your very amusing take on Manoumalia, which you loathed.

    • March says:

      I said somewhere else on here — I thought I’d tried the Hiram Green but can’t find any proof that I did, and a number of people have mentioned it…. I like the images although I think they’re a bit creepy/funny, sorta like Dogs Playing Poker.

      Manoumalia LOLOL. I just went back and read my review!

  • rosarita says:

    I adore Bee and am planning on buying a travel spray. I admit that I love Zoologist in general and want to smell everything they produce, even though I might hate it (TRex made me gag and Squid made me panic like “get it off me!!!”) I’m never bored with the line. Civet is my favorite and most wearable esp since it has tuberose I actually enjoy. Other favorites are Moth, Hummingbird, Camel, Macque, Elephant and Dragonfly.

    • March says:

      Hey there! Do any of them smell…. less skanky? More normal? I’ve read mixed things about Bat and Moth.

      • Tara C says:

        Bat smells like dirt and Moth smells like mothballs.

      • rosarita says:

        Macque & Elephant are lovely greens. Hummingbird is by Shelley Waddington of En Voyage perfumes, she’s one of my favorite perfumers and Hummingbird smells of fruit, flowers and nectar (one of the few fruity scents I like.) I get lots of cinnamon in Moth; it actually reminds me a bit of Musc Ravageur. Dragonfly has heliotrope and is really lovely. To each his own!

  • Sarah B. Patton says:

    Fab review, March. Oh, I love it when you hate something!

    • March says:

      Hey, you!… I didn’t hate it, I was just massively surprised, NOT what I was expecting, but I guess given the rest of the line I should have seen it coming!

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    I have tried them all so far with the exception of Macaque and Bat. The only ones I found wearable were Hummingbird, Panda, Dragonfly, and Bee–and I adore Dragonfly, it’s truly beautiful. Would that I had found Bee as interesting and complex as you did, though, I was thoroughly bored and disappointed. To me it was simply straight honey and weak floral.

    • March says:

      Alrighty then! Making my list, gonna try Dragonfly and Panda, maybe Hummingbird. And your response to Bee explains the baffling array of reviews I’ve read, because “bored” is not what happened to me, lol.

      • VerbenaLuvvr says:

        I’m starting to wonder if I’m just not good at picking up on funky/animalic. I just checked out the newest Dragonfly reviews, and people are saying “jalapeno flavored canned cheese”, “days old stale dirty sweaty socks”, “funky like the real outdoors”, and “musky”. I own this sucker and regularly soak myself in it, it’s in my top 5, and no way no how do I detect anything in that realm. Hmmm.

  • Kathleen says:

    I’ve had Bee on my radar to sample. Thank you for your review, I definitely want to sample it now. I’m ok with it not being wearable, I just enjoy sniffing all including skanky and unusual for the experience. Generally I enjoy Zoologist, I have a FB of Civet. I’d much rather sample Bee than all the mass-marketed sameness at department stores.

    • March says:

      I am like 99% sure I smelled Civet when Patty blogged on it (her review pops up in “related posts” today) but I can’t find my sample. MUST INVESTIGATE

  • cinnamon says:

    Hmmm… this sounds interesting. I’m not sure I’m sampled any Zoologist. The last time I did a big in-store sampling was at Bloom in London, a shop I have decided I dislike intensely. So, if I did try these I’ll have dismissed them because of the situation. Will have to have another go.

  • Matty1649 says:

    Thank you for your honest review. I don’t think I’ll be trying this. Sounds like it’s too ” pongy” for me X

  • Bee says:

    I am a fan of Zoologist. I like Civet (surprisingly gentle) Dragonfly, Nightingale and Macaque. Their whole aesthetic is very pleasing and the artwork is gorgeous. I was drawn to this for obvious reasons and my DH has it marked as a possible ‘beeday’ present – but now I’m thinking definitely must test first! Thank you for the warning.

    • March says:

      You are welcome! And hey maybe you’ll get the gentle sweetness that others rave over, hope it works out for you. I love the Zoologist artwork.

  • taxi says:

    This is one of the most colorful & descriptive reviews I’ve ever seen!! Love the review – never tried any Zoologist (and may never.)

  • Musette says:

    Lol! I laughed like a lima bean at “buttered feet”. And I love Uncle Serge’s MdB. And I love bees. So count me in!!

    • March says:

      I forgot you like MdB! Not many of us do….. I started to go off on a tangent about bee-petting in the review, but I figured it’s long enough already.

      • Musette says:

        I’m here to tell you that bees do not mind being petted. Or held (in the palm, not ‘holding’ holding). Bumblebees, that is. Honeybees have a whole other agenda and are best left to do their thing (though I’ve never been stung when approaching my hive)

        And bees don’t really smell of anything – but a clean hive does – and it’s a beautiful thing!


  • AussieSibe says:

    Great review – I do love what Zoologist do, but I agree that most are not wearable. I find Macaque an exception and just purchased a whole bottle. Such a beautiful green scent.

    • March says:

      OK thanks, that’s going on my short list of other Zoologist scents to try. I do love the label illustrations, they are gorgeous.

  • Pam says:

    Thanks, March, you made my day. I’ll be on the lookout for this one!