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Rhinoceros as launched in 2014 by Zoologist Perfumes, a Canadian indie niche fragrance line launched in 2013 by Torontonian Victor Wong.

Mr. Wong has a real respect and fascination with animals:
“Our line of eau de parfum captures the idiosyncrasies of the animal kingdom and transform them into scents that are unusual, beautiful, fun and even shocking. Our scents will reconnect you with manifold delights of the natural world.

Our perfumes do not contain animal products. We don’t want to harm animals so that we can smell good. Therefore traditional animal musks have been replaced with synthetic ones for ethical reasons.”
Rhinoceros is the first one I tried and I keep going back to.

It opens with sour, aromatic bergamot along with a boozy note of rum matched with an astringent note of leather. This is not a refined leather note. It’s raw, dry and anilmalic. Lavender contributes a floral element while sage gives it a soft sweetness thanks to its amber aspect. But sage is an herb and combines with armoise give it an herbaceous dimension as elemi and conifer needles give it a sharp, piney aspect so that the opening is potent, powerful and bold – and now it gets interesting. The booziness fades away, and rose-nuanced note of geranium carries a floral note to the heart  as a deliciously balsamic note from pinewood and cedar wood, echoes the opening and creates a woody frame for notes of rich, musty oud, sweet tobacco and the maple-tinged sweetness of hay from immortelle. The heart is a complex woody/leather/tobacco/oud scent that plays off opposites: rugged/refined, animalic/dignified and so peaceful powerful it will steal your soul. The woodiness extends to the base with vetiver and sandalwood, but the leather dominates the base on me where it gets smoky and sweet from amber.

The drydown is rich and complex, dry and a little sweet and surprisingly lighthearted. To me, it is a very distinctive fragrance and memorable fragrance.

The first time I wore it, that game of opposites in the heart had me wondering if it was going to go off balance, but it’s crafted with such agility that it never does and I realized that those opposites make Rhinoceros perfectly unisex.

Cool weather really brings out the best of Rhinoceros, so now is the time to try it and to wear it.

Notes: bergamot, rum, lavender, elemi, sage, armoise, conifer needles, pinewood, tobacco, immortelle, geranium, agarwood, cedar wood, vetiver, sandalwood, amber, smoke, leather, musks.

Type: EdP

Parfumeur: Paul Kiler

Price: $6.00