Friday, September 22, 2023

Zoologist Panda: A Stunning Green Apple Surprise

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Whether it’s genetic aversion to cilantro or an unexplainable hatred for onions, most of us have an intense dislike for one flavor or another. I’ve outgrown most of my own picky eating habits over the years, but sometimes I’ll stumble upon something that my palette just doesn’t agree with. Such is the case with green apple. I bit into a green skittle expecting lime a few years ago, and my tastebuds immediately shrieked in protest. The Skittles rendition of green apple is particularly screechy and tart in a sickly-sweet way, and that quality is hardly limited to the fruit’s candied incarnation. Green apple also makes its presence known – and I mean really known – in many perfumes.

Now, I love most tart fruity notes. An apple pie’s flavor profile hinges on the mix of sweet, spicy, and bitter flavors. Yet there’s something about green apple that’s always threatening to push past the realm of balance straight into the world of wincing unpleasantness. It’s why I never wear the previously-reviewed Nautica Voyage or Versace Eros anymore; why deal with an abrasive lead character when you can find compositions centered around a more likeable star?

For this reason, I assumed Zoologist’s Panda just wouldn’t be for me. The fragrance is lead by a green apple note, and the perfume house is known for anything but its subtlety. Even so, I couldn’t help but dive into a fragrance which, by all means, should be an instant scrubber. Fortunately, Panda turns out to be yet another Zoologist fragrance that weaves risky notes into an undeniably masterful symphony.

Panda (2017) Notes

Apple, magnolia, mandarin, lily, osmanthus, ozone, tea, amber, earthy notes, jasmine, orris, patchouli, civet, musk, sandalwood, vanilla

Like several fragrances in Zoologist’s lineup, the current version of Panda is a rework. The previous version was centered around bamboo and watery florals. This version is barely similar to its predecessor, opening with a blast of green apple and earthy tones. The fragrance’s initial whiff inspires visions of rain-soaked groves where the scent of overripe fruit drifts like a thick mist over the soil. The sharp, tart edge of the central green apple note is mellowed and contextualized in the deep minerality at the perfume’s base. By pairing these two extremes together, Zoologist has created a perfume with a massive personality that nonetheless is likely to please everyone in the room.

Upon drying down, Panda’s fruity sweetness slowly gives way to the soft, juicy nature of the central note. It’s a jubilant perfume from initial spray to last waft. There’s nothing particularly surprising to discover here, just one really good idea that holds true for hours on end. It’s the sort of perfume that makes one curious about what other magical combinations lie in unimagined realms, especially those that one might normally write off due to previous unfortunate experiences. Panda is ultimately an adventurous perfume in the best sense of the term: one that evokes a place that, once discovered, inspires travels into other unknowns.

Zoologist Panda can be sampled or purchased here.

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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. 

4.3 Reviewer
Users 0 (0 votes)
Fruity AromaticType
A delightful, inventive recasting of the temperamental green apple note.
Extremely strong fruit and soil notes could overpower the nose.
Panda is a delightful crowd pleaser that commendably recontextualizes risky notes.
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  • 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.

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