Perfume Directory

Nightingale (2016)
by Zoologist Perfumes


Nightingale information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 49 votes)

People and companies

HouseZoologist Perfumes
PerfumerTomoo Inaba

About Nightingale

The company says: 

Messengers of spring arrive, bearing gifts that bring smiles to faces dulled by winter’s chill. The joyous song of the nightingale accompanies vibrant fuchsia-colored aromas of Japanese plum blossoms as they spread, infusing the tepid air. It marks a fleeting moment of emotional awaking: to some a time for celebration and fresh starts; to others, a countdown to a departure for unknown horizons.

Nightingale fragrance notes

Reviews of Nightingale

It is a nice floral with a beautiful vintage feeling and some spice but it doesn’t last long enough for it to be enjoyed fully.
13th August, 2020
Zoologist – Nightingale (2016)

An impression of suede, followed by a fruity floral overlay, provides the initial reaction to Nightingale. This is very subdued on my skin and to my nose. I get no sweetness, as I would expect from plum blossom, no headiness as I would expect from rose, and no mustiness as I would expect from violet.

The nasty oud note bubbles to the surface, but is happily held down by the other multitudinous base notes, seven in all, the musk being the most predominant.

After reading the other reviews here and the note tree, I expected to be blown away by Nightingale, but I am underwhelmed. It all settles down to a dry, woody, unremarkable scent that I would have expected from a niche department store shelf from the 1980s or 1990’s, say by Elizabeth Arden or Estee Lauder.

A neutral rating from me. This one does not sing, it barely chirps.
16th July, 2019
The initial blast of this is a temporal throwback: a powdery chypre, complex florals and plum. It goes against my preferences to like a mid-20th century scent like this, but the rose and oakmass present a green contrast that gives it an updated 21st century feel. I'm not sure I enjoy the combination, they seem to pull at each other instead of naturally fuse. It's a feminine scent, no doubt: something to be worn in spring/fall. A dry-sweet Oriental with a good deal of longevity (8 hours) and moderate silage.

Zoologist is without a doubt my favorite niche fragrance maker. Victor Wong has truly created something special. It isn't a smell for me, and it isn't my favorite from the line: it is, however, complex and unique. Just a bit too feminine and retrograde for my tastes. Nor is it necessarily a smell I would like on a woman, but I appreciate the effort.

08th February, 2019
Nightingale has the veil-upon-transparent-veil quality of classic perfumery which is so sadly missing from too many current offerings. It offers light, shade, light merging into shade, shade turning to light; it’s playful yet through-composed and has me immediately making note to self: ‘try other perfumes by Tomoo Inaba’. It’s like wearing a kimono of fine silk with perfectly judged embroidery gracing it.
Nightingale opens a very particular shade of Japanese pink, with the specific plum blossom scent that is typical of Eastern plum wines, but then immediately refracted through various olfactory textures, soft powders, dry resinous woods, zingy saffron, crumbling moss – all traces, moving up and down in the overall cloud of this perfume. Nightingale is things shimmering through several sheer and shifting layers. Its austere notes (incense, saffron, oud, sandalwood, moss) rise up with all the delicacy of the smoke from those small Japanese joss sticks that are so restrained and yet give just the right dose of perfume, and that delicacy carries through the brighter tones – the pink, almost fruity, plum blossom and rose, the cool, calm musk, the ozonic buzz of violets. The sillage is gentle and inviting, and I’m with rogalal that this is like the imagined Guerlain release of classical elegance and character that just doesn’t happen these days.
Something where the detailing is so subtle can turn to fluff in the drydown and Nightingale doesn’t entirely escape this fate. Still, it’s pure joy for a good four hours or so.
12th January, 2019
A light pink-white floral tea. Opens with a blast of saffron, which imparts quite a heavy texture for the first few minutes. I found the weight of this to be a little surprising, but it settles quickly and is replaced by a dry tea and woods with juicy, fruit and berry notes and soft, powdery florals. It's a complex and beautiful opening, evocative and transporting.
Long-lasting (7+ hours) with moderate projection.
Lots going on with the violet. It makes a variety of partnerships through the development - with dusty saffron, sweet rose and sour plum blossom - and it really is the key player of the top and heart of this fragrance. It has an oriental drydown which should appeal to fans of classic Guerlain feminines - rose and white musk with a hint of oudh and incense. Leans femme.
31st December, 2018
I can't believe this is my 1000th review... I wanted to pick something auspicious, so here's Nightingale, one of my favorites.

Nightingale takes some of the best elements of classic perfumery and painstakingly fuzes them together into something that feels fully historically informed, but still maintains an unexpected modernity.

It kicks off with bright, shimmering cherry over a Patou-esque mix of rose, jasmine, and carnation, melting into a doughy clove core lifted from Mitsouko or L'Heure Bleue. There's an animalic civet that comes through as well, a perfect foil for all the prettiness. The end result is halfway between Patou's 1000 and Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue, but with its own character thanks to the sparkling cherry on top and the distinctive way that cherry mixes with the jasmine and clove. By the drydown, I'm left with flowery clove over animalic soap, which reminds me of a de-powdered Nuit De Noel.

Remarkably, if this sounds like a museum piece, it's very much not. While Nightingale's vintage inspirations cloak their charm in powder, Nightingale itself lets its beauty shine without any impressionist haze, so despite its density and complexity, it feels current and more straightforward than you'd think an intricate mix like this could be, and this means that, while clearly classically inspired, Nightingale never feels derivative.

Honestly, if Guerlain or Caron put out something this good right now, it's all we'd be talking about. Necessary sniffing for lovers of Grand Haute Perfumery.
22nd October, 2018

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