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Hummingbird – Floral and sweet and woody – May 9, 2016

Green violet-ear hummingbird from Panama - Wikimedia Commons, by Mdf, 2008

I’m on holiday in Paris right now. It’s been a great trip so far. We’ve heard some great jazz, had some fabulous food and, of course, I’ve been stocking up on perfumes to bring back home so Kay and I can write about them.

May is my favourite month to be in Paris – despite the fact that the weather is bit unpredictable and that every weekend in May is a holiday weekend.

April in Paris is when spring begins, but by May spring is in full-bloom: flowers are everywhere, their fragrance filling the air, the markets smell of herbs and young vegetables and the temperature is perfect for sitting outside at a café and taking it all in.

So here I am in the place where great perfumes are born and yet today I’m wearing Hummingbird EdP by Canadian niche line Zoologist Perfumes.

Just to be clear: I’m no tedious, overzealous, flag-waving Canadian trying to upend the French fragrance world with a Canadian perfume. No, not me.

I had bought a bottle of Hummingbird with me as a gift for a friend from London whom I’m meeting up with here. She had read about Hummingbird on the Zoologist Perfumes site and was intrigued by its description: “From the ethereal perspective of the exquisitely adorned hummingbird, the world is an endless kaleidoscope of colourful, fragrant blooms offering up their tempting delights. An insatiable desire for sweetness propels the hummingbird as it floats from flower to flower, sampling the nectar with a gentle touch of its delicate tongue. Retreating to its lichen and moss-lined nest, it settles into the cozy cocoon and dreams of sweet ambrosia.”

Given the fragrant air outside the window of my Paris apartment, I thought I would test drive Hummingbird.

According to Wikipedia, Hummingbirds are the smallest extant bird species with the 5-cm bee hummingbird weighing less than a U.S. penny.

They are called hummingbirds because of the humming sound their swiftly-beating wings make. Small and active, they have high metabolisms that require sugar.  Hummingbirds live on nectar with a high  sugar content, consuming half their weight in nectar each day.

Imagine the scent of the nectar from fragrant flowers in one place? That’s what I smell when I sniff Hummingbird on my skin.

It opens light and fruity from notes of crisp apple, tart cherry, succulent plum and bright citrus. The fruits notes aren’t deep or bold, but springtime tender. Then the flowers come along: lilac (a favourite note – I remember plucking the flowers as a child and sucking that one drop of sweet nectar from it), lily of the valley (a reminder of La Fête du Muguet, May Day we just had here in Paris) and rose (plush and lush it adds depth to the other flowers). The fruity/florals are tempered by metallic-tinged violet leaf which gives it a fresh, spring green border. As it blooms, it gets sweetened by honey, true-smelling not saccharine sweet, before more flowers appear: I smell honey and jasmine-faceted honeysuckle – sweet, soft mimosa, fresh, rose-tinged peony, citrus scented tulip and a note of rich, fruity-toned ylang-ylang. That ylang-ylang really adds oomph to the mix for me. At the base, the sweetness fades into clean wood notes (sandalwood and white woods) warmed by amber. I smell freshly mown hay (coumarin) and dry moss – and remember a bird’s nest that fell from an apple tree in our garden years ago. A note of cream give the dry woods a richness they need.

Hummingbird is the heady smell of a gorgeous garden in full bloom with a woody aromatic, drydown that sits close to the skin. It is perfectly balanced so that the sweetness never becomes cloying or dominating, but hums in the background.

I felt a wee bit badly about having broken into my friends bottle of Hummingbird, until got an email from her saying that she gad bought me an Ormond Jayne perfume as a gift but got curious about it and tried it out.

I smiled broadly as I emailed her back to say that her bottle of Hummingbird was going to be a few milliliters short as well.

Hummingbird is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.