Perfume Directory

Nightingale (2016)
by Zoologist Perfumes


Nightingale information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 55 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

I find this re-envisioning of a classic style affecting and I appreciate it on a level that has memories of that style, but doesn’t care for maudlin recreations of a time that’s past, however we feel about that. With it, all prerogative insinuations of old, vintage, stale and the terms ‘old-lady’ or ‘grandma’ are rendered silent. I find it brilliant that the modern ethos applied to this style creates a fragrance that is so evocative, intelligent, and with integrity to its own vision. I also find it pure-hearted, without winking, nodding or cynicism.
I love the saffron in the opening. It gives unexpected weight to the bright citrus and makes it multilayered. The shifting veil quality of the opening and most of the fragrance gimmegreen spoke about so well, is a standout.
The violet is a big player in it’s associations with the different parts of Nightingale. It tinges each each layer I come to. Saying that, it’s not a violet fragrance. But it makes use of violet as an integral part of the fragrance.
The florals are what really sing to me. Optimistic, fresh, lilting, blithe, kind, and a little Japanese in their mannered ethos. It’s a nice pairing of name and intent. The song is a kind of plum blossom or cherry blossom view of the world.
The drydown is the floral song sort of slipping into subtle base notes and coming to a twilight ending. There is no brashness in the drydown, in spite of the presence of oud and patchouli. It is all soft and delicate. I detect more of the ambergris gray influence. For the right person, this fragrance will probably become a treasure. It’s a new one for me, but I find it’s already in my top 10.
It’s hard to gauge longevity. I smell it coming off my skin at least three hours, but I catch waftings of it throughout the day, so it has a presence for possibly seven hours.
09th June, 2021 (last edited: 24th August, 2021)
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

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