Perfume Directory

Squid (2019)
by Zoologist Perfumes

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Squid information

Year of Launch2019
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 23 votes)

People and companies

HouseZoologist Perfumes
PerfumerCeline Barel

About Squid

Fragrance Foundation Awards independent category winner, 2020.  The company says: 

The vast ocean swells and contracts, caught in the relentless tug of the moon. Beneath the surface, a school of squid emerges. Strange, elastic forms propel from the deep in a frantic search for sustenance. They are not alone. Their predators lunge, only to be foiled by blinding jets of murky ink. The hunt ends abruptly as a monolith materializes, greedily engulfing all in its path. The massive sperm whale dives, leaving a temporary peace bobbing in its wake. Decades on, relics of the battle resurface. Lumps of ambergris, expelled by the whale and polished by the salty currents, wash ashore. Waste? Flotsam? To the perfumer this elusive substance is nothing less than treasure.

Squid fragrance notes

Reviews of Squid

Finally doing a proper sampling of Zoologist Squid, released around the summer of 2019 if memory serves correct, an apt marine inspiration for the warm weather. It’s aquatic, inky, semi-fresh, but not heavy in citruses or calone. Certainly the standout note is the black ink accord, as the association with the squid makes it both a unique and apropos component, but there is pink pepper, salt, ambergris, musk, and opoponax. All told, it’s floral but not really citric, sort of a musky, inky homage to the sea and nod to the signature creature. On my skin, the ink is more prominent in the initial couple of hours and the scent pivots more toward ambergris in the dry down, a fun but subtle evolution.

It’s quite well done, perhaps the first aquatic to come out of the house, and while clearly year-round-friendly, something that would be nice to wear in the approaching warmer weather in the northern hemisphere, as many associate the summer with traveling to beaches and into the ocean.

In my opinion, Squid is among the strongest few releases from the house in that it balances artistry and accessibility, and it offers something new in the aquatic realm, at least for me, in terms of the infusion of ink with other aquatic elements. It feels carefully done, complete, and balanced.

While not as dense or rich as other compositions in the line, Squid still performs quite well, and at 20% concentration, has great longevity. It is sold on the website of Zoologist itself (based in Canada) as well the websites of the US boutiques Perfumology and Luckyscent, and is at the standard pricing (of the line) of $165 for 60ml.

8 out of 10
14th May, 2020
I was so excited when I found out Zoologist was doing a marine animal with Squid. I love marine life, and thought it was a long time coming (and that they should make more of them!).

I definitely get the ink here. Something about this is decidedly "viscous". It's not light or refreshing like Acqua di Gio or a host of other aquatics, this is dark abyssal water. There aren't any blue resins out there to my knowledge, but that's the impression I get. Rich, smooth, dark blue resin.

I wouldn't describe it as a particularly bombastic scent. It's well-made and evokes the Squid imagery well, but it's actually pretty laid back. A squid is muted in terms of personality, stoic and aloof, and I feel the same way about this scent, so I guess it's pretty appropriate. Maybe it's just that I'm coming from the blood and chaos of wearing T-Rex yesterday. This is certainly wearable, and is a bit softer projection wise. For now it's quite pleasant but not a favorite. However, I definitely want to sit with this one a bit longer. I have a feeling it will grow on me.
20th January, 2020
Just sniffing the air after spraying: had a coughing fit, which made me a little angry. Salty, warm and stuffy, dirty, with a hint of vanilla.

Up close to my skin, all of the above descriptors intensify - plastic beach chairs that have been left out in the shed or in the trunk of your car for too long, and now you have to deal with it.

Medium sillage for me - and though it faded over the hours, it still retained its cloying salty dirty vanilla-ness on my skin into the evening. Wasn't able to detect much of a change during its dry-down.

I don't ever remember a scent annoying me like this one did, and it was amusing to have a negative emotional reaction to a fragrance.
19th January, 2020
I must admit that the squid is a creature which occasions me a little trepidation, ever since I saw the film 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, featuring an epic life and death battle with a giant squid.

The fragrance however is not at all alarming but a very civilised affair. The marine aspect is quite different from the usual, hinting at a sumptuous meal of 'fruits de la mer' served in the elegant surroundings of the Nautilus by the gracious host, Captain Nemo.

Somehow the atmosphere aboard that tastefully furnished vessel is conjured up in this highly original fragrance, a refreshing change from the usual ocean breeze and tropical flower compositions. The avant garde elements seem to be concentrated in the topnotes, where they can be best appreciated by the wearer as they apply the fragrance.

The main body of the perfume bears a distant resemblance to Bulgari Black, which is perhaps where the reference to black ink comes in. There is a black tar and oily aspect, nothing so crude as cod liver oil though that idea did come briefly to mind, but it's more like a pleasant effluvium from the deep sea equipment.

As Elena Knezhevich of Fragrantica puts it "Zoologist Squid sings a song of the sea, a melancholy tale told through tangy brine... all united by the moody aroma of ambergris..."
07th November, 2019 (last edited: 31st January, 2020)
An aquatic for folks who don't typically like aquatics (that would be me).

It does a fantastic job of channeling the feel of "clean seawater". Like spray from a boat misting your face...it has a slight smell, and I think Squid captures that. It's not coastal briney, barnacled, seaweedy or fishy, as some hardcore aquatics try to be. It's not a grungy pier, and doesn't smell much like a seashore. The mental imagery for me is clean, bright, seawater: open ocean. There's an "ink" note, but not sure I'd call it squid ink, which smells pretty fishy in cuisine. Just ink, and it combines well with the mineralism of the seawater note, and highlights the imagery of bottomless, clear seawater on a sunny say...that hypnotic deep blue color.

The structural backdrop is basically bright spices (apparently pink pepper and opoponax, though I wouldn't be able to peg them without referencing the pyramid), and a clean, dry sort of sweetish mineral/ambergris, the sweetness from a light dusting of benzoin. The base sillage has a surprisingly smooth warmth to it, and up close you still get some inky hints.

A really impressive composition...unique yet very wearable, particularly with that inviting sillage. Some might find it a little boring, but I think it's good to see Zoologist exploring more approachable territory while staying true to itself. Could easily be a summer staple.
29th October, 2019 (last edited: 17th July, 2020)
Flowers, by the ocean. Salty, sea notes. Things swimming around the ocean and near the surf. An odd, spicy, cumin-like, incense note. Water-logged driftwood, rotting in the sun. Ink? Yes, there is an inky scent.
This is a rowdy perfume at first. Then the heart mellows everything into an interesting, resinous scent with an ocean vibe that lasts and lasts. Not as obnoxious as some oceanic perfumes I've tried.

Becomes more incense-like, a little "muskier", and the sea notes stay. Resinous accord remains. It's a happy scent. My husband even enjoys it (and he is particularly picky at what I spray on his neck).

Mellows out more later, to become just a plain incense perfume, more or less.
07th October, 2019

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