Perfume Directory

Macaque (2016)
by Zoologist Perfumes


Macaque information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 45 votes)

People and companies

HouseZoologist Perfumes
PerfumerSarah McCartney

About Macaque

The company says: 

High upon the mountain, a group of macaques rest and play, the young mentored by exacting elders. Inside a solemn temple in the ancient mossy forest below, a ceremony takes place – a quest for inner peace. Frankincense, white oud, and jasmine tea chant in meditative harmony, their light florals and sweet offerings falling into rhythm with sweeping aromas of nature. Observing the macaques’ orderly, hierarchical society we can almost see our own hopes mirrored in their eyes.

The opening notes of Macaque offer a panoramic view of a cedar forest – intensely green and majestic. Gradually, whimsical frankincense and subtle aromas of ylang and jasmine tea begin to unravel. As you settle into the calming scent, you discover elegant traces of white oud, moss and musk, and find yourself reflecting on the tranquility of a soft but vibrant clearing among the trees.

Macaque fragrance notes

Reviews of Macaque

Baseeta01/14/17 10:09

This is a joy ride, and I've been wearing it and wearing it and I still feel my words are inadequate, my knowledge of notes lacking. It starts out with a sharp sour apple and what I can only guess is galbanum green. This party quickly settles down into what my inexperienced nose thought was pear or banana or some other soft, lightly scented fruit, but now I'm guessing is jasmine tea mixed with green tea. Frankinsence adds smoke to this, rosewood and cedar keep it grounded, a touch of ylang ylang adds a floral, and drop of honey adds a bit of sweetness. I feel so unworthy and unqualified to write about such a well crafted scent, a scent that shows you so many faces before it settles down to something so beautiful and refined that you will sleep peacefully with your wrist pressed to your nose.
09th December, 2020
Macaque won't turn heads, but it really is quite nice. Green tea and sour apple are very clear, and are wrapped in a blanket of flowers and herbal notes. I can't say I've ever smelled galbanum before so it's hard for me to know how much it dominates those herbal notes. But there is something familiar here I can't quite put my finger on, so maybe it's that. I don't tend to like oakmoss but it works here in a small amount.

It smells altogether very familiar. There's also something cooling about the mix, when I take a close sniff, it feels like it's gently soothing and opening up my sinuses like Vick's VapoRub. Compared to Panda 2017 it's by far the better apple/tea scent. Much more natural feeling. Not a favorite but it's pleasant. Easily one of the most wearable in the collection, while still not boring.
22nd January, 2020
I immediately get light florals from the initial spray. Then as I sniff closer to my skin, I get hit with a sweaty funkiness. This could be the ylang ylang, of which I am not a fan.

An hour or so later, there's a "sunny" and drier quality, while at the same time it manages soapy, grassy notes. The funk is still there, though much faded.

Overall, it's a very pleasant, light fragrance. On my skin, a single spray to each wrist is definitely enough to keep it wafting up for several hours, as I work at my computer.

Update - after about 6-7 hours I'm left with a mainly sour note, although the scent as a whole is barely there.
16th January, 2020
Zoologist – Macaque (2016)

A blast of galbanum and oud at the outset, dominating all remaining 11 ingredients in this creation. Sadly, as with all scents containing oud, (a note I loathe), it dominates throughout. I do get occasional sweet fruity green notes (the green apple no doubt), which waft above my arm. Thankfully the oud remains on my skin and not in the atmosphere above it, so if I just sit quietly, I don’t have to endure it. Cedar in the olfactory shape of shaved pencil dryly drifts up on occasion.

Still, the green effect is not that unique or special here. Galbanum, when used judiciously, can be marvelous (Weil de Weil, Givenchy III), but here it seems shy and retiring. It might have garnered a neutral rating had they just left out the oud, but no matter, it’s here at the center and must be dealt with.

My second sample from this house and both experiences are negative.
13th July, 2019
I was indifferent to this when I first smelled it perhaps a year or so ago, and thought I'd come around to it again today. I felt like I went on a bit of an adventure with a truly wonderful fragrance-I didn't give this one the credit it deserves.

Opens with a slightly tart apple-woody aroma, rich with white oud. It's slightly musky (lighter than many of the other offerings from this line) and green-the galbanum is with the scent during all phases, as it should be, adding lush green imagery to the scent. I can envision a Macaque sitting tranquilly among the bamboo, airy and light. As it dries down, sweetness from the honey and the tea add a nice, deep richness to the overall scent. All of Zoologist's scents are complex, and this one is no different-but for me, this is all about balance. Not too light, and not too heavy-a sort of zen mixture. The tartness and sweetness combine throughout for a wonderful combination, a true balancing act that works to Macaque's benefit.

This is very, very good. I feel like this scent may be easily overlooked in the Zoologist catalog: it doesn't make as much of a statement from the get-go as others. However, there is a wonderful story here for anyone to enjoy, that progresses and gets deeper as time goes on. Sillage is good (just past arm's length) and longevity is very good: 8 hours on my skin, which is excellent for a spring/summer scent.

Add this to your collection, you will NOT be disappointed.


27th March, 2019
A pale jade green ice faerie

Macaque was unexpected. The nose behind this scent is Sarah McCartney, founder of 4160 Tuesdays, a house that makes quirky, indie perfumes that remind me of listening to lo-fi, shoegaze tracks. I was expecting something along the same lines, but Macaque is both more difficult and much smoother than the 4160s I’ve tried.

The opening is bright, sharp and clean. It’s a little too chilly for my taste, and high pitched, but it’s just on the right side of challenging. It reads pale green to me rather than a deep mossy forest green as the ad copy suggests. There's bitterness, but there's no weighty earthiness to it. Tart green apple emphasizes the scent’s crispness while galbanum intensifies its hue. I’m not a fan of the “green tea” accord which is a kind of transparent, floral soapiness we find with a number of green tea fragrances on the market that are as alike to smelling loose tea leaves or freshly brewed tea as smelling cherry lozenges are to real cherries.

The scent thankfully softens during its development, balancing the perfume’s sharp edges with a touch of sweetness and some blurring from the musk. “White oud” which I’m guessing here is a slightly fruity, clean take on oud wood, provides a little more depth, but on the whole, there's no satisfactory baseline drop to this perfume.

What impresses me most about Macaque is its contradiction between a smooth texture that plays against its colour. Imagine the drape of a soft silk with a gentle sheen that’s been dyed the colour of a frostbitten green jade.

This is not a scent I would wear. I’m having a difficult time even imagining where this could be worn. I personally prefer a development with more heft. I wish the galbanum here was more earthy and grounding. Despite softening, there is a severity to it. Macaque is not easy to pull off. But it has definitely piqued my curiousity about Zoologist. This is on the good end of "neutral" for me.
23rd November, 2018

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