Bees. One of life's essentials. I'm thankful my garden in Seattle has swarms of bees in summer, gorging on flowers and filling the air with their hypnotizing buzzes. My mailman is not so happy with their sounds or numbers along the path to my front door, and he often employs the "drop (packages) and run" maneuver in high summer (used most often with snarling dogs, but in my case, with bees).
One of my favorite perfumes of all time was a honey fragrance: eccentric, bold, with a "I have no more f**ks to give!" character. Yes, it was Serge Lutens Miel de Bois (beloved by the most discerning, intelligent and delightful people on this earth...like Robin here at NST and myself). Miel de Bois has been reformulated, so Robin's review no longer has a perfume to match its words.
Still, I give any honey perfume a chance...as I continually search for old bottles of Miel de Bois.
Zoologist Bee* starts with the aroma of gingery orange marmalade, but that phase begins and ends quickly. I assume the scents bees come in contact with most are floral, and Bee's main attraction for me are its spooky/smoky, intensely scented flowers (in the case of Bee, the bee's environment trumps its products — honey, beeswax and royal jelly — as inspiration). There's a type of flower scent that I love above all others — an opulent, incense-y smell. In my garden there are three such flowers: broom, common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.) and Buddleja globosa (with a smoked-honey aroma). I think of their odors as spiritual, since they remind me of temple smells with flower offerings, burning incense and candles.
The first hint of "honey" in Bee arrives in late mid-development, when a potent beeswax note emerges and is joined by benzoin and what I'll call "honey musk" (vegetal/floral in character). The base notes of Bee have a pollen-powder aspect that slowly morphs into a honey-pastry finish (with tonka bean and vanilla adding a honey-incense-pudding accord). I enjoy Bee in all its phases.
Bee reminds me of another favorite perfume: L'Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l’Aube. If they were people, Bee and Séville à l’Aube could be brother and sister. If you asked Séville à l’Aube to take you on a tour of her city, she'd show you where to buy the best bikini, the most glorious toiletries, the tastiest gelato and espresso, the best vintage costume jewelry. She might even know where a bottle of original Miel de Bois could be found. Bee? He'd take you to the botanical gardens, on a house tour of a famous local author, to a Vivaldi concert at the cathedral, or to visit a good friend's farm where Anatolian shepherd dogs are bred (and puppies are waiting to be kissed). Séville à l’Aube is more feminine, stylish and 'heady'; Bee is boyish and down to earth. I'm happy spending time with both.
Zoologist Bee Extrait de Parfum is $195 for 60 ml or $55 for an 11 ml travel spray.
* Perfumer: Cristiano Canali; listed fragrance notes of orange, ginger, royal jelly accord, broom, heliotrope, mimosa, orange blossom, benzoin, labdanum, musks, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla.
Note: top image of a honeybee via Wikimedia Commons; middle image of Buddleja globosa by the author (notice the happy bee in the middle?)