Friday, December 1, 2023

Braving the Musky, Animalic Hyrax from Zoologist

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How do you bottle heat? Amouage offered an answer with Journey Man, a lovely chili-lead perfume whose top notes carried a spicy bite. Olfactive Studios took a different angle by infusing Panorama with a visceral Wasabi accord. Most commonly, aquatic perfumes approach the matter by grasping at beachy scents, hoping that the association with summer haunts will conjure the sun.

Such experiments are mere tomfoolery compared to the blazing heart of Zoologist’s Hyrax. Hyrax opens with a wave of burning asphalt, followed closely by thousand-degree desert rock. Hyrax is a wonder of engineering in that it’s maximalist yet focused, monolithic yet textured. The holistic effect of this perfume is scorching desert, but if you dig into the note pyramid, you’re likely to identify every ingredient in the creation. And yes – one of those ingredients is likely to scare away at least half the audience reading this statement.

But before we get too far into this review, let’s backtrack. John and Kori found out about this scent when John decided to do a swan dive and get the entire sampler pack from Zoologist perfumes. As he was waiting for his order to be shipped, he looked up some of the scents over on Fragrantica and was intrigued by reviews of Hyrax. He shared that key ingredient, Hyraceum with Kori, and, well, they both just HAD to try it. Because, you know, why wouldn’t you?

Ah Hyraceum, the sun-baked product of Hyrax’s urine and fecal matter. If you’ve been to the “African” section of a zoo on a hot day, Hyrax is likely to whisk you back. However, it does so with an elegance that’s baffling in the context of the scent’s animalic heart. Zoologist has made the unapproachable beautiful in Hyrax. Any serious perfume fan would be foolish to miss the journey Hyrax has to offer.

So lets break down the notes for this fragrance before we jump into Kori and John’s official verdicts.

Hyrax Notes

Top: Elemi, pink pepper, saffron, Turkish rose

Heart: Hyraceum, hyacinth, styrax, whiskey

Base: Amber, benzoin, castoreum, civet, patchouli, sandalwood, tonka bean

Hyraceum smells nearly identical to deer musk, and it’s been used in African medicine for millennia, including to treat epilepsy.

Chad Bylsma of Âge de Querelle Perfumes

That’s some swell information! But you’re really just waiting for the actual review, so let’s get back to that.


So is Hyrax worth giving a spin? Well… Hyrax is likely to scare the living daylights out of noses that demand cleanliness in their scents, and it will almost certainly terrify noses that have trouble with animalics. Saying that Hyrax is an extreme animalic is almost an understatement. The main accord is a fusion of hyraceum, castoreum and civet – literally a stack of the perfume industry’s least forgiving animalic notes.

Somehow, with Hyrax you get even more than you bargain for. If you’re looking for an experience and you’re prepared to face the heat, you will experience a desert scent unlike anything else on the market. Certain noses may never want to travel back to the land of Hyrax once they’ve been there. Others are likely to treasure this doorway to the desert and find themselves whisked away again and again.

Personally, John and Kori absolutely adore it. Kori loves it to the point that she’s added it to her “get a full bottle” list. That said, there are a couple of caveats. This fragrance brings the heat… but it should not necessarily be worn IN high heat. While Kori loves Hyrax, she also sprayed it for the first time in 90 degree weather. That’s a little much for this fragrance. Wear it when it’s 80 degrees and below.

Secondly, be thoughtful of where you’re wearing this. This isn’t an office scent. This is a date night scent, a night on the town scent, a special occasion scent. Not, “I’m going to wear this and inspire my cubicle neighbor to start plotting my untimely death” an office scent at ALL.

For those of you who want to try it out yourselves, you can get a generous sample from Zoologist for $8. Just keep in mind regular shipping for a sample isn’t tracked and will take a good 2 or more weeks to arrive.

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.


  • Jade

    Jade is the Lifestyle Editor at the Fandomentals, where they obsess over perfume and underground music. Their wacky poetry is floating around the internet - beware! Follow them for fragrance and poetry content @johndarrextreme on Instagram.

  • Kori

    Kori is an entertainment writer and Managing Editor at the Fandomentals. In her spare time, she is a fragrance and watch enthusiast, lover of Eurovision, and Yanni devotee. Find her on Instagram at @fmkori

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