Various Messages


Kenzo Peace Vintage Edition – “be the wood” — Done by Annick Menardo, the notes are: mandarin orange, cedar, tonka bean, musk, vanilla and heliotrope. I thought this was unisex, but I keep seeing it advertised as for women? I´d call it unisex. Oh, wait, let me paste in the blurb from Sephora, I wouldn’t want you to miss it: “woody musk that captures the deep desire for freedom in both men and women. The magnetic purple bottle is embossed with the symbol of peace and love—to carry the message around the world—” and is it just me, or does that make you want to smack somebody? Anyhoo, I was worried about the heliotrope but really, I´d characterize this as the masculine counterpart to Estee Lauder´s new Sensuous, if that makes any sense at all. I get very little citrus, some (okay, slightly powdery) woods, and a great pepper-musk drydown with an odd, interesting nutty smell. It´s pretty close to the skin, and you can spray both arms and not kill anyone. But it doesn´t do the disappearing act. I need to do a re-soaking to decide whether I like this or Sensuous better. I have a deep desire for that bottle. Peace, man (and/or woman).

Update: Now Smell This also reviewed this today, link here.

Ralph Lauren Polo Explorer – this ugly combat-green bottle, on the outside of the tester at Sephora, says “fresh woods, amber.” It made me start captioning the other fragrances in my head. I guess the bottle´s supposed to make you think of those covered Army canvas canteens? Polo Explorer smells fine and is as adventurous as your senior trip to King´s Dominion, if not less so. Mandarin, bergamot, coriander, leather accords, Cuban mahogany, sandalwood, amber and patchouli – and yes, that list is ultimately the most thrilling part of the experience. A disappointment after the delicious coffee-mango Double Black.

IZOD Men – “dude, where´s my car?” Clearly aimed at the high school/college crowd, this is inoffensive, in that there is nothing strong enough to offend anyone. Notes are lime, tangerine, grapefruit, mint, cucumber, air accord, cotton, cyclamen, lavender, juniper, saffron, and incense. That list sounds more interesting than the fragrance is, but seriously – it could be so much worse. It could smell like Axe. Or Bod. Or Hummer. I wouldn´t object to any young man wearing this. If I could smell it without sticking my nose in his neck (and what would my nose be doing there?) I´d assume I´d gotten a whiff of his laundry detergent and the lime Snapple he just drank. The drydown on paper smells like some fat fresh/ozonic thing, but full disclosure – there may be more to this. If I hadn´t drenched myself in the new Kenzo I´d have drenched myself in this, just to make sure it doesn´t morph into one of those fabulous aura scents I´m always yakking about. I mean, look at those notes. From IZOD. In a heeedious blue bottle. In some perverse way, don´t you want it to be fabulous? I know I do.

  • Patty says:

    What is going on with the bottle makers? I haven’t smelled any of these three, but I keep thinking Double Black is pretty much perfection, so they should have stopped with that one. 🙂

  • Robin says:

    Odd to read the comments on the Kenzo — it really has very good lasting power on me. But it is true that it doesn’t have a ton of sillage. We all need to do serious musk sniff-tests — Laurie at Sonoma Scent Studio has a travelling box going around so people can figure out which they can and can’t smell.

    • March says:

      Me too!!! The Sensuous is a funny one, though. Seriously, I think there must be some sort of musk anosmia going on. Sensuous starts off nicely, essentially fades, disappears for 45 minutes or so, then comes BACK. Weird.

      I would love the musk sniff test!! I remember Christopher Brosius doing that one little game with me and Patty — he had this vial labeled “wet sheep,” some sort of musk men can really smell. P and I couldn’t smell it at all.

  • moi says:

    Seriously rolling on the floor laughing at your review of the Izod. “What would my nose be doing in his neck?” Hee!

    Is it just Moi, or does anyone else here, regardless of happily married status, nonetheless still do drive-by sniffs of attractive men? Anyone?

    (and yes, I agree, they should NOT smell like Izod et al)

    • March says:

      Oh, I have gotten myself into hot water more than once. I mean, everyone knows I’m “into” perfume. So if I detect a fragrance on a man or woman I know, I pretty much dive on in there for the big hoovering. Women find it funny when I do it to them, but clearly less so when I’m nuzzling their husbands. The men don’t seem to mind, though… /:)

  • alba says:

    The hippie Kenzo did the disappearing act for me: I had just time to think “mmm, cedarwood and…?” and it was gone. Probably to get stoned. Oh well, this one’s not on the wishlist.

  • Elle says:

    I *love* the designs for Kenzo Peace. Definitely need to give it a try. Also need to retry Sensuous. I like subtle, but so far it’s registering as subtle verging on nearly nonexistent. Maybe the Kenzo is the answer. And I have thing for nutty notes in scents.
    I know that by now I should cease to be disappointed when very promising lists of notes don’t actually deliver, but, for whatever reason, I continue to feel quite let down when they don’t. The notes for Explorer have so much potential – too bad it’s a yawn. I’m just imagining what it could be if those components were extremely high quality and blended w/ real artistry.

    • March says:

      I should go over to Basenotes or somewhere and see what the actual dudes are saying about Explorer. I probably should have been nicer. Or maybe not 🙂 RL doesn’t do much that appeals to me. REally, it’s fine. It’s a little less wussy than some of his other masculines, and at least it’s not all fresh (my guess is this is the Mature Guy scent.) I wouldn’t object to it. But it doesn’t make my pulse quicken, either.

  • Dane says:

    I’ll need to re-test the Kenzo…it left absolutely no impression the first time I tried it.

    What a sad state men’s fragrance is in currently. I’ve pretty much run out of new releases to review, so I’ve turned to the standby unisex/unmarked numbers. Oh well!

    • March says:

      Ah, but the GOOD news is, then we get some new good stuff and we’re all thrilled! I know, I know — Pollyana. What men’s stuff have you liked recently? Anything?

      • Dane says:

        Niche men’s stuff – Amouage Jubilation was spectacular. Mainstream – not for some time!

        • March says:

          I think we are seriously overdue for some blockbuster men’s mainstream scent, and I really think we’ll get one. And I agree on the Jubilation, both the men’s and the women’s were excellent.

  • Dusan says:

    Hey, you liked the Kenzo! I need to roll myself over to Sephora and see if I can make it last for more than an hour this time. Lucky you with that perfume-locking skin of yours.
    Explorer I didn’t find as bad as you did – it was sort of an improvement on the ghastly CK Man – but I wouldn’t wear it myself. You know, with Double Black getting so much love on here, it seemed impossible for me not to like it and I don’t… dislike it, I just don’t find anything delicious about its mango or coffee notes, only bland woods 🙁 And this is not for lack of persistent trying, just so you know… Hey, next time you’re swinging past the RL counter, do try the Romance Silver – I’m curious to know if it grabs you. Plus it’s in a super gorgeous bottle unlike that ooogly Izod thingie. You make the juice sound appealing, though.

    • March says:

      Yeah, me and my scent-lock skin. And so sorry to hear about the Double Black! I see what you’re saying, it would be a total snooze without the mango …. the mango is really ripe and naughty on me, you know that smell. I was stunned that Ralph would do something so imaginative and unclean — I find it a little perverse. I have never tried Romance Silver — I never worked my way to the flankers in most lines, still trying to learn the regular! I do remember not liking the women’s Romance at all.

  • karin says:

    I totally agree with you, Matt…gun on the bottle – very funny! And a bit of irony that the second bottle, Explorer, is dressed in army green! Yes, we all hate war, but the whole head in the sand “love/peace” message can get a bit tiresome. I do love the Peace bottle, though, and the psychedelic boxes!!! I want all four! Reminds me of a brown suede purse I used to have, decorated with a punched-out peace sign and leather fringe…and long stringy hair parted in the middle, mini skirts and wildly colored bell-bottom pants. Ha ha. As for the scent, haven’t tried it, but I sure wasn’t wowed by Sensuous. Sensuous to me is quite boring and safe. Though some have mentioned it as bordering on the “niche” side of the fence, it seems much too “vanilla” and mass market to me. Oh well. And a name like Peace sort of conjures up a similar image – calm and safe. Hmmm…

    • March says:

      I didn’t notice the peace/war juxtaposition until I stuck the post up there, and it is kind of funny. Remember all the heat Viktor & Rolf took about that pseudo hand-grenade bottle in F-bomb? What do you think would happen if you made a bottle like a gun? Oh, and you could pull the trigger and it would squirt!! Hey, how come nobody hires me for my marketing genius?

      I like that hippie stuff too. I had a fringed suede jacket back in the day, and a few weeks ago I saw a hand-tooled and painted leather purse (remember those?) that was a ringer for the one I had in 8th grade. I wish I’d bought it.

  • Louise says:

    Wow, I have such a deep desire for freedom, and do so want to “be the wood” :d That said, Peace sounds more promising than Sensuous, which is anything but on me. MEH! This is worthy of at least a squidge, non? You’ve not tempted me with the others, darling.

    It kinda stinks how few “men’s” fragrances really are great…though I still adore A Men, Santos, and NR for men…on me:”> On the bf, he totally rocks Tom Ford Extreme, and pretty much whatever else I can sneak on him..including some florals, just so he doesn’t know. Funny how the male skin can turn a fem scent butch :d/

    • March says:

      Hey, I’m agonna give Sensuous a rewhirl today. No good on you, eh? And do you want to be the wood, or do you just want the wood? 😉 Talking about fragrance of course.

      A Men is great, a totally unexpected treat for me, given the way I feel about Angel.

    • Melissa says:

      Yawn. Not sure whether that was a reaction to most men’s fragrances, the early hour that I arose (emphatically not a morning person) or the packaging on the Polo Explorer. Luckily my son doesn’t care whether a fragrance is men’s or women’s as long as it isn’t overtly feminine. He has been know to root through my purse for samples and decants while asking “is there anything unisex in there mom?” I do love the CdG Incense Series and Josef Statkus on him. He would most certainly turn up his nose at the Izod and snort derisively.

      • March says:

        I’m always waffling about men’s scents. Honestly, it’s not like I’m really expecting something outre from Ralph Lauren. But Double Black was at least different enough to interest me. I always feel sorry for men, sniffing the men’s side of Sephora — but then half their women’s line (3/4?) makes me feel the same way!

        • Melissa says:

          I think I need to journey into the vintage end of men’s fragrances. My recent foray into women’s vintage fragrances has been a lot of fun. Of course, having a “partner in crime” hasn’t hurt (first initial L, you know who you are). And yes, the quote was shamelessly filched from her post a couple of days ago.

  • Francesca says:

    The copy is awful (magnetic bottle?) and the boxes are worse. Maybe because I got sick of psychedelic this and that everywhere the first time around.

    MattS made me LOL with “Welcome to our world, it’s not always that interesting, huh?”

    • March says:

      Aha!!! No cheating by mentioning that you remember the first time around! Although it’s a source of regular entertainment to me, pointing out to my kids how their “trends” were first sported by yours truly 20 or 30 years ago, and we did it better. Of course I never thought the stuff from the 70s would be back, and then it came back (honestly, though, a nicely cut pair of flare jeans ARE more flattering on most people) and now we’re toying with the 80s.

  • MattS says:

    Yeah, it does make me want to smack somebody too. I’m as much for peace as anyone else but something about peace signs and blather such as the aforementioned ad copy bring out my violent streak. Gimme a scent with a gun on the bottle.:d That being said, I kinda wouldn’t mind taking a sniff of this, having just realized I’ve never smelled a Kenzo fragrance before. Do nicer department stores carry them? I’ve never seem them around here. Isn’t there a really skanky one that everyone hates? That’s the one I wanna smell.

    I always walk past the Polo display, but I actually paused a moment and took a whiff of the original Polo in the green bottle that EVERYONE in my high school used to wear. It wasn’t that bad, really, I can see why it was such a success. Might need to walk back by and smell the Double Black.

    There’s one of the Izod scents that my bf used to wear, Lacoste, I think, and I loved it on him to the point that I raced out and bought a bottle, only to discover that I really didn’t love it that much and it smelled a helluva lot better on him than me.

    It sounds like you got to have some fun in the men’s department. Welcome to our world, it’s not always that interesting, huh?

    • March says:

      Um, the Kenzo specialty is not skank 🙂 but if you dig around in the reviews on here, I’ve done a bunch of them. They have really grown on me over the last year as I’ve come to appreciate having some lighter scents in the arsenal. KenzoAmour and Amour Indian Holi probably get the most play in my closet. It’s a type, though — if the words “rice steam” make you yawn, maybe not for you. And I like the Kenzo Pour Homme, and they have a gazillion variations — light woody/watery/fresh things. Our Sephora has them, but you’re right, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in the regular dept stores? Huh. Had not thought of that. Nordstrom has Amour, but I think that’s it.

    • March says:

      PS I bought my nephew Lacoste awhile back, I figured it was an improvement over the Axe he was wearing. No, seriously. And he was in this preppy phase, and I thought I could trick him into it. Also I think he was spraying his dirty clothes with Febreze so he could skip the hassle of washing them. b-(

      I like to sniff in the men’s dept., although I am still a newbie over there. Someone will mention men’s fragrance X, and only sometimes can I pick it out mentally — something unusual like Dior Homme or Guerlain Vetiver. The men’s dept. suffers from an overabundance of that … whatever that is. That woody/amber/fresh thing. I really, really hate fresh. It’s the same type of dreaded sameness you get in the women’s dept with everything smelling like lychee, cotton candy and tropical drinks.

    • Erin T says:

      Matt, maybe you are not thinking of skank, but of craziness? That would be Kenzo Jungle Elephant. Extremely sweet, but nicely odd and if you perceive cardamom as sweaty – I know I do some times – it might be the closest to skanky in the late drydown. I really like Kenzo Jungle Man, too.

    • Disteza says:

      Yeah, the skanky one you’re wanting to try was probably Jungle Elephant (I think it was described somewhere as being cumin bomb). Since I believe you’re way off the skanky deep-end like me, I’ll give you a skank-lover’s impression of Jungle Elephant so you don’t go waste $3.00 on a sample: Fairly sweet, with a generous helping of cardamom, some inoffensive musk, powdery woods, and a peculiar waxy crayon smell. No Cumin (and this from Ms. Cumin amplifier herself). No Skank. Not much else.

      • Erin T says:

        Yes, I hasten to join Disteza in saying Jungle Elephat is no MKK. If you are looking for cumin or dirrrrrty civet, you will find none. It is, however, weird, and is mentioned a lot around these parts. I like it better than Disteza, but it is not for everybody. I actually prefer the discontinued Jungle Tigre, which is *even sweeter* and has been described by March as smelling like the postage stamp from Hell. I notice the Tigre got mentioned in LT’s Guide review of the original Mauboussin scent, and so I think I can safely say there is now a fan club of two 🙂

        • Masha says:

          I own and love the Tigre! So that’s three now. I don’t wear it often but it always reminds me of that Shania Twain video when she’s out in the desert in a tiger suit, singing, “That Don’t Impress Me Much” while a black Trans Am zooms by or some such thing. And these days, with all the bland new scents, I’m appreciating both Jungles more!They’ve got character, love ’em or hate ’em.

        • March says:

          Hah, you remember!!! Okay, I find the Tiger too sweet, although it’s markedly less weird IMHO than the Elephant. The Elephant cracks me up it’s so peculiar, but still not thinking it would meet Matt’s skank requirements.

          Hey, he could layer it with CB musk, though. :-ss

          Wonder if that makes your arms fall off? Your nose?

    • MattS says:

      Yup. The Elephant one; that’s the one I was thinking of and I guess, having Elephant in the title, I just assumed there would be some barnyard animalic business going on. Hmmm…it’s probably the only one in the line that would catch my nose and I’m probably not gonna break my neck tryin’ to sniff it. Of course, if I pass it in a Sephora, I’m sure I’ll give it a go. The other day, my bf asked if I was so far gone that I was just gonna stop bathing and start dousing myself in pee. I had to explain to him that it was an artistic interpretation of these things that caught my fancy.:d

      • March says:

        … and so what were you WEARING?!?!? How could you leave out the most important part?!? 😮

        • MattS says:

          I think I was wearing Kouros. I haven’t even let him smell Pampelune yet.

          • March says:

            It certainly sounds like Kouros.

            Here’s the thing about Kouros. On me, and on a strip, I admire it absolutely while finding it vile. However, there are some men on which it smells, frankly, great — the sort of men you’d *think* would wear it, and I’ll leave it at that. :d

          • MattS says:

            Other than the bf, I always get compliments when I wear it. One day, I let my dad give it a spritz and he ended up having a strange lady follow him out of Target to smell him, wanting to know what he was wearing. My mom and I decided No More Kouros For Dad.

          • March says:

            No More Kouros For Dad!!!! Only safe, reasonable scents from now on. And shame on you, anyway — between that and MKK … what’s next, French Lover?!? ;))

            Hey … didn’t we used to have a big finger-shaking-no emoticon? Maybe it ran off with the whistler …

          • Existentialist says:

            Poor Dad never gets to have any fun…

  • Masha says:

    Oh, sigh, is blah the new fashion? I tried the Kenzo about a month ago (it got to Europe first, I think), and I’m surprised it’s a Menardo. It was…pleasant. On me, and watered-down version of Yves Rocher’s Voile d’Ambre. I hope Sensuous is a little more provocative!

    • March says:

      I think it did get to Europe first, and I was jealous! Sensuous is funny, and I am still trying to make up my mind. It’s got a ton of musks in it, and I think I am anosmic to some part of them. It fades in and out on me in a way I find peculiar. I’m going to give it another whirl today.