The original formulation of Zoologist Rhinoceros captures a stampede through a gentleman’s study. Torn leather furniture, splintered mahogany bookshelves and a puddle of spilled whisky radiate their fragrances in the wake of chaos. It’s truly a monolithic scent. Like most Zoologist fragrances, Rhinoceros swallows you whole and plunges you into the heart of an intriguing environment.
The weakness of Rhinoceros is that said environment is relatively one-dimensional and oppressive, and you can read Kori’s in-depth criticism of that scent here. The real challenge posed to Zoologist’s new formulation of Rhinoceros is whether perfumer Prin Lomros could take the best of Rhinoceros’ ideas and translate them into a richer, more nuanced fragrance. I’ll waste no time in reporting that he has.
Rhinoceros Version 2 Notes
Top: Pink Pepper, Whiskey, Coffee, Rum, Basil
Heart: Leather, Incense, Tobacco Absolute, Flouve, Ylang Ylang
Base: Laos Oud, Patchouli, Nargamotha, Oakmoss, Amber
Lomros is an exciting perfumer whose creations under his two houses, PRYN and Strangers Parfumerie, receive the passionate reviews that often indicate the presence of a true visionary. The two existing Zoologist scents under Lomros’ name – the magnificent rainforest of Sloth and fruit-forward reformulation of Bat – are incredible fragrances with a maximalist flair. It’s a display of good instinct that Lomros has gone in the opposite direction with Rhinoceros, resulting in a far more nuanced and appealing version of the Zoologist’s original formula.
Upon first spray, noses familiar with Rhinoceros will be shocked at the new version’s decorum. Rhinoceros V2 opens in a more spicy and subdued fashion than its explosive boozy-woody predecessor. The basil note is key in the fragrance’s construction, adding a bit of a wild green flair – imagine opening a window to a fancy study and smelling the dry air of a nearby forest wafting among the bookshelves. Pink pepper, used quite often in mainstream perfumery these days, adds a nice bite to this opening effect. These offer a really nice dressing for the heart of the perfume, which begins to shine rather quickly.
Rhinoceros V2 seems designed in such a way where incense, patchouli and oakmoss show up rather early in the perfume’s journey, and that’s a good thing. The smoky and gentlemanly elements hover around the leather, which logically remains at the heart of this fragrance.
As it dries down, Rhinoceros V2 begins to reveal a masterful structure that does justice to the notes on the page. Oud becomes present but doesn’t dominate. Wafts of the opening whiskey and coffee notes whisper around the fragrance hours into its wear. Most notably, Rhinoceros eventually sheds its smokier elements for a rich, lovely dry down that echoes the heart of its predecessor with more texture and appeal.
Rhinoceros V2 truly does feel like an upgraded sequel to the original fragrance. The Rhinoceros has been tamed, but its spirit is as beautiful as ever. Now you can simply get a little closer, sidle up to the glorious detail of this creature, and befriend it without fear of being trampled.
For those of you wanting to get your hands on this reformulation, Zoologist has announced this fragrance will be available for purchase later in 2020!
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The Fandomentals “Fragdomentals” team base our reviews off of fragrances that we have personally, independently sourced. John received an unsolicited sample of Rhinoceros Version 2 along with a paid-for order from the brand. Any reviews based off of house-provided materials will be explicitly stated.