Judging by the passionate colours of the fluidly designed phallic yet curvy bottles, I was really expecting something powerfully seductive. Instead, what I got from KenzoAmour was a cuddly synthesis of gourmand suggestions, what is now known as “comfort scent” – the olfactory equivalent of a chocolate, ice cream or a bag of chips on a lonely Friday night, watching cartoons on the couch and wearing pyjamas with matching cartoon character prints.
Kenzo Amour starts with a confusing floral bouquet – nondescript, abstract, utterly synthetic florals labeled as frangipani and cherry blossom. I smell a hint of rose and powder that is a faint déjà vu of FlowerbyKenzo – one of Kenzo’s greatest hits. There is an underlining of powder and musk. The heart notes dive into a concoction of cherries and steamed rice, in a dessert connotation such as rice dumpling or a fluffy coconut bun sprinkled with crushed raw peanuts; And a rather gentle suggestion of cherries – somewhat like a subdued version of Lutens’ Rahat Loukum. What saves me from drowning in sweetness is a slightly tart note, which I cannot quite place my nose on, and might be the white tea notes.
I was really expecting for something truly new from Kenzo Amour, and instead I got quotes from different perfumes: The base is powdery musk and vanilla, as in Flower, or the signature dry down of the Ormonde Jayne line (The tartness of Amour reminds me of the pink pepper and dates notes in Ta’if, and the steam rice recalls the basmati rice in Champaca). Also, it is also not far off from other mass-marketed scents such as Armani’s Mania and Code.
As for the beautiful packaging and bottles - this is quite a clever marketing stunt: three bottles of the same fragrance, in three different colours and slightly different shapes. These look great next to each other in the ads. But in reality, they look like an interesting take on clean Scandinavian and/or Japanese design gone affordable and sold at IKEA, after being molded into cheap plastic or ceramics, or worst yet – adapted into leather couches. I almost bought into it, and first bought the large freesia coloured bottle, only to discover that in this size it looks more like a vase than a perfume flacon – and the colour is all wrong, it’s orange and plasticky looking (anyways, when displayed on its own…). I suggest starting small, with the fuchsia bottle, which is truly adorable. However, when it comes to functionality, these beautiful designs can act rather odd: the elongated neck of the lid creates the peculiar feeling of gabbing onto a drumstick, prepared for a juicy bite… (well, it is juicy, actually…).
Notes: Cherry Blossom, Frangipani, White Tea, Steamed Rice, Thanaka Wood, Vanilla, Musk Perfumer: Daphne Bugey
Bottle design: Karim Rachid
Box design: Research Studios
Images and information about notes and designers adapted from Kenzo's website.