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Launched in 2015 by indie niche line Zoologist Perfumes, Bat was created by nose Ellen Covey - that would be Dr. Ellen Covey, Professor of Psychology at University of Washington who studies hearing and teaches sensory and perception. Her research centred on echolocation in bats and required her to spend time in their caves studying them. This is her job. Her hobby is orchids. She grows them commercially at Olympic Orchids, an orchid nursery in Seattle and she owns. And, because one thing leads to another, her interest in orchids led to the launch of Olympic Orchids Perfumes in 2010, a line of handcrafted fragrances inspired by the variety of scents produced by orchid flowers she grows.

The perfume thing is working out for Covey - her parfum, Blackbird won a 2014 Art and Olfaction Award in the Artisan Category, her Woodcut, won a 2015 Art and Olfaction Award in the same category and now Bat has been nominated for an Independent Award in the 2016 Art and Olfaction Award category. But I’m getting ahead of myself….

Bat opens with banana, soft fruits and damp earth. The surprise is how beautiful they smell. The fruits and their sweetness are muted, maybe because the fruits preferred by bats are fleshy and sweet, and not particularly strong smelling, and the damp earth smell is soft and true. As it blooms, there is a note of green, another dose of tropical fruits and then the myrrh – dark and resinous – anchors the fruits against the tang of mineral notes. This trip to darker depths is gorgeous and enhanced by the smell of vegetal roots.  At the base, it gets animalic from the furry musk that butts up against notes of leather and vetiver that keep my nose to my wrist. Rich, woody sandalwood adds another facet of depth while tonka adds a warm, vanilla-like sweetness that counterbalances the darkness beautifully.

The drydown is aromatic, rich and elegant – it’s a true unisex fragrance.

I suppose a case could be made for this being the smell of a day in the life of a bat and that may have been the inspiration for the fragrance, but the danger with this notion is that it might create the impression that Bat smells weird or is unwearable and that would be doing this gorgeous fragrance a disservice. There is nothing ‘weird’ about the way Bat smells. It’s natural yet refined and is stunning on the skin and a pleasure to wear.

Bat is a rare thing: a true original and an olfactory triumph.

Notes: banana, soft fruits, damp earth, fig, tropical fruits, mineral notes, myrrh, resins, vegetal roots, furry musks, leather, vetiver, sandalwood, tonka

Type: EdP

Parfumeur: Ellen Covey

Price: $8.00