Kenzo – Winter Flowers and Power

I got malled at BBW — on a research project regarding pumpkin scents.  I ended up trying their three different pumpkin room sprays on my hands and arms (Caramel, Spiced and Perfect?) along with some other fall-ish stuff … by the time I left there I smelled like I’d been in an accident at the pie factory.  I smelled like The Pie Slut.  I smelled like Pumpkin Greedy.  The funny part?  A random guy followed me through the mall telling me how great I smelled.  And then in line at the post office, another guy did the same thing!  I guess men really do love it when women smell like dessert.

Today’s nail (quick, someone, stage an intervention!!) is Nicole OPI in Ni-Coal (a gunmetal silver nail polish) with NYC’s Starry Silver Glitter on top.   The multi-colored glitter looks fantastic on that background, if I do say so myself.  But let’s move on.

Since Patty is doing the highfalutin’ scent blogging this week, with two obscure, niche $$$$ scents, I’m here with Perfume For The Masses Part Whatever — two new Kenzos!   Because you know I love me some Kenzo.  First up: Kenzo Winter Flowers (a flanker of the original FlowerbyKenzo) which I was kind of afraid to smell, because I keep seeing the word “powdery” and because the consensus at reliable sources like Now Smell This is that if the original Flower didn’t do much for you, this probably wouldn’t either.

I admire the original Kenzo Flower (she said diplomatically), but I much prefer the woody-incense Flower Oriental, or even Flower le Parfum.  And I am really looking forward to the upcoming KenzoAmour parfum, while we are on the topic of Kenzo.  The Winter Flowers bottle, as always, is lovely.

And the juice?  Very interesting.  I won’t be buying a bottle (and you will soon see why) but it wasn’t because I was bored.

Kenzo Flower the original has wild hawthorne, rose, violet, cassia, hedione, cyclosal, opoponax, white musk and vanilla, and smells like very expensive face powder to me.  It’s a nice, pretty powder, but powder is powder and that’s that.  The dominant florals are the rose and violet, in the exact powdery way some makeup smells like rose and violet.

Kenzo Winter Flowers has notes of mandarin, violet leaf, camellia, hellebore, patchouli and vanilla.  I have never smelled a camellia that had any scent other than a faint vegetal plant smell (I thought they were grown for their appearance?) but I could be wrong.  The best part of Winter Flowers is, given a few minutes it reeks — first of what I assume must be the hellebore on me, and then later of the patchouli — the dirty kind, not the medicinal kind.  Someone chime in here — it’s got that distinct stink of hawthorne, that buttered-feet smell that is both wildly compelling and a little gross.  Robin at NST notes in her review that hellebores are part of the buttercup family, and hawthorne smells to me like buttercups times ten.  Hellebores can have a variety of scents, and maybe there’s a reeking hawthorne-ish one too? I know you can buy stinking hellebores — literally, helleborus foetidus.

I have tried this several times (courtesy of Sephora) and on my skin 1) it is unisexy/masculine once you get past the first five citrus-y minutes and 2)  I find it mildly repellent, yet I cannot stop sniffing my hand when I am wearing it.  There is something wonderfully, compulsively sniffable about that patch-buttered-feet-vanilla drydown I can’t get enough of.   The vanilla reminds me a bit of Annick Goutal’s Vanille Exquise — sharp and a little burnt.  I am pretty sure I don’t want to walk around wafting this, but I may change my mind.  Stranger things have happened.  As always, YMMV (your results may vary).  Robin found it a palatable alternative to Flower and not much more, really.

Kenzo Power, I am sorry to say, was a snoozefest.  Despite the gorgeous, heavy bottle (the heft in my hand, you have no idea!  look at it!  that’s it to the right, the photo doesn’t do it credit), the creative work of Olivier Polge, and the delicious sounding notes — bergamot, coriander, cardamom, tolu balsam, cedarwood, labdanum — it goes on light and citrusy and … well, kind of dull.  It falls squarely into the category of those super-light Kenzos for people who don’t want to smell like much of anything.  It’s inoffensive, less weirdly powdery than the Peace/Vintage Edition, and … meh.  It’s possible to do a light, weird spice scent — CdG 8 88 comes to mind — but this thing I can do without.  Keeping my fingers crossed for the lovely gold KenzoAmour Le Parfum…

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  • floriferous5630 says:

    I have a camellia sasanqua (v pretty single white flowers with pink flushed tips to petals) which I bought specifically for its scent. It’s in flower now as we’ve moved and I bought a new plant to replace the one I left behind, and it must be a bit confused! I have just been out and taken a good deep sniff, and it is very strongly scented; sweet, sharp, and not remotely face powdery!

  • violetnoir says:

    Ooh, indeed it does sound dreamy, darling!

  • Jen says:

    loved kenzo summer. maybe it was the leafy bottle.

    but most importantly, is there any perfume that has some pumpkin spice smell to it without being like an airfreshener? personally ADORE pumpkin spice to death… to smell like that doesn’t sound all that bad to me.

    • March says:

      Divina’s looking for the same thing on Fragrance Bouquet. You might try Demeter? I ended up really liking the CANDLE (unburned, just sniffing the candle in the store) of Perfect Pumpkin, maybe you’d like spicy pumpkin better? To be honest I found the room sprays a bit much in the store on my skin :d but at $3 a pop they’re probably worth taking home and trying. I don’t like my house scented so those things don’t tempt me.

      • March says:

        Sorry, kind of incoherent. Those are the Bath and Body Works candles/room sprays I’m talking about, they did 3 pumpkin variations this fall.

  • Elle says:

    Wow! Patch buttered feet! Seriously, that has me almost contemplating purchasing a bottle unsniffed. But I shall resist and sniff first. And how did I not know that hellebores have a scent?
    I used to wear a pumpkin pie Demeter during finals in grad school (also their graham cracker and cinnamon toast) to ground and comfort me from lack of food or sleep (I’m a world class procrastinator). Men *adored* those scents on me. I, however, got bored w/ them fairly quickly. I still like gourmands for comfort, but I just can’t see wearing scents to please other people (possibly simply stating the obvious there given my intense happiness over the thought of patch buttered feet).

    • March says:

      Well, it’s a staid patchy buttered feet. I mean, it’s not some ginormous thing like … what … Jungle. It’s Kenzo after all. But I find the original inexpressibly dull, and wanted to convey how much more stealthily interesting I found Winter.

      And yes, you are a freak. 😉 In the best possible way. btw I have this big Demeter list going, will have to add those. So it is true men love those scents! Honestly can not think of any other scent a random man has admired … wait. Addict. Vanilla. There you go.

  • Klara says:

    The Kenzo Amour Le Parfum notes are:
    Incense, Rice,Frangipani Flower, Amber, Patchouli, <benzoin, Vanilla.. a lot of cold weather goodness.
    And I agree with Dusan – there is some cumin in this perfume 🙂

    • March says:

      cumin!!!! cumin cumin CUMIN CUMIN CUMIN march does the dance of the cumin. really really looking forward to this one!

      • Existentialist says:

        Smiling at your cumin dance. I love it too, although my sweetheart says it smells like sweaty feet (as opposed to buttered feet, which I really cannot quite conceive of). I tell him , no, feet smell like apple cider vinegar. Really now. Everyone knows that.

  • Disteza says:

    Regarding camillia fragrance, there are some cultivars that do indeed smell…of face powder! The smell doesn’t waft very far, and since camillias bloom when it’s cold, few people smell them at all. You really have stick your face in the blooms, or cut them and bring them inside for a couple of days to ferment. Also, you’ve got camillia sinensis, the plant from which all true tea springs. The flowers don’t smell, but I think there are enough tea-based frags out there to attest to the aromatic qualities of it’s other parts.

    Not that I’ll be trying anything from Kenzo anytime soon; the line doesn’t do anything for me (on me?). Most of them go from ‘Meh’ to ‘Gone’ in 2 hours or less. Oh well, more $$$ to spend on those new Amouage beauties.

    • Disteza says:

      Now if only I could learn to spell ‘camellia’ properly…. :-\”

    • March says:

      Kenzo was my code for “don’t bother” forever. Then I fell in love with Flower Oriental and Amour (which I found so dull before) and … well, you know how it goes. They are hardly powerhouses on me, but Amour is such a comfort. I think part of it is, in general I think I have perfume-amplifying skin. I mean, I almost never complain about longevity as you know. So they work for me better than they work for a lot of folks. Having said that, even I can’t work up much love for their summer scents.

  • violetnoir says:

    Nah, you don’t need a nail polish intervention, babe. Just enjoy it while it lasts. I, too, was polishing my tips up to two times per week…and then I got bored, couldn’t really find the time, or my nails started to look dry…maybe all of the above. But I do love the pedicures, and at some point in the future, once my middle nail on the left hand stops looking so dry, I’ll start painting again.

    What do you know about KenzoAmour Le Parfum? Please divulge!

    And, you are so totally hot, March, I am sure the fellas were sucked in by the dessert-smells AND the looks! Wasn’t it the smell of cinnamon buns that men supposedly liked best? Beats me! My husband rarely eats dessert, and when he does it’s creme brulee or some chocolate concoction. Now that’s yummy!


    • March says:

      Wait, they dry your nails out?

      :d 😕 8-}

      Let’s see, I’ll try to stick a link in. It sounds like a stronger version of KenzoAmour, check out the comments herein. What first caught my eye was the bottle, which is gold:

      “Kenzo Amour Le Parfum was inspired by the gold of the Orient, and has been given a woodier character with amber, incense, benzoin and patchouli. The perfumer is Daphne Bugey.” Swiped from NST preview. Doesn’t it sound dreamy?

      • Louise says:

        Ach, did we fail to discuss nail care 😮 ?

        It’s the remover mostly that can be drying, so changing polish too often isn’t a great idea-though I’ve never had a problem. You can use cuticle oil at night and on bare nails between changes to help moisturize, and wear your pretty yellow rubber gloves for dishes and cleaning events :)>-

        • violetnoir says:

          Yep, it’s the nail polish remover for sure. But with all of these glittery/shimmery colors, you need a heavy-duty remover to get all those little glitters off the nail. I hate, hate, hate the smell of rubber gloves and their stickiness, but I have been using cuticle oil on a more regular basis.

          And, at this point, there are so many friggin’ colors to pick from, I am sort of on sensory overload. I can’t make a decision as to what color to use on my tips!

          So for now, I’ll stick to perfume overload. 😉

          Hugs, babe!

  • Dusan says:

    M, the Elixir is more intense only in that it feels (don’t know about wears, as I only sampled it on paper) like a parfum version: not as ‘loud’ as the regular, but softer, nuttier and with a light cool powdery finish. Judging by the blotter that still smells strong a week later, I’d say the longevity is great, but can’t vouch for the sillage. That help?

  • Thurible says:

    now i am wishing that someone would come along and butter my feet. being an hombre, i’ve liked Kenzo Flower, for the frisson of Olfactory Transvestism. my wife does not share this frisson; neither, do i suspect, will she thrill to the prospect of foot-buttering. but who is to say? news at 11. I am interested mightily in KWF (and i thank you for yet another super review), delighting as i do in the weird foetor of Malle’s Une Fleur de Cassis, which no one else seems to notice. neither do they agree that l’heure bleu smells like edible art supplies…. (oh the windy solitudes the perfumisto must traverse! be brave, my buttered feet!) anyway, three cheers for Weird Stuff You Can’t Stop Smelling.

    • Musette says:


      Definitely with you on FdCassie and I, too, get a whiff of edible art supplies in L’Heure Bleu, which I adore (there’s a hint of kindergarten/library paste) I also get a little more cumin out of Femme (one of my HGs), depending upon the day…

      let us know if you get your feet buttered!


    • March says:

      Wow, you wear Flower? That is so great. Your wife is underappreciating your charms. I love “women’s” scents on men, although as I said on here elsewhere, I think LucaTania said it’s a ringer for the original, brilliant blah blah Caron Royal Bain de Champagne. Unless it was something else. 🙂 You tasteful person you. (I believe they gave it two thumbs up). I’d love a report back on Winter Flowers. And you are welcome.

      I agree with your description of LHB — I think it’s the heliotropin, which conjures up Play-Doh and related items. Cassie is IMHO the most out-there of the MAlles, and I see KWF has cassie as well, so maybe you’ll love it.

    • Shelley says:

      Yes! There is a scent within Fleur de Cassie…which I only recently was able to get over/past. I’m sure it will come back…just like Jack/Johnny in “The Shining”…

      • Musette says:

        In my opinion, one cannot wear Fleur de Cassie truly well unless one is in a bespoke suit, stilettos, full face makeup (with powder, thank you) and hairdid. But that’s just me – I find it a very exacting fragrance.



  • Lee says:

    Can’t comment on nails.

    Only smelled Kenzo Power which reminded me of some brand of detergent in an interesting way, before falling apart into its synthetic amber’n’woods lite dull and raspy components.

    Loved stroking the bottle though.

    I want to try the men’s Jungle sometime…

    • March says:

      The men’s jungle!!! I punted that until this fall because I figured that would be the time to try it. I definitely need to get some. Plus I want one of those cute zebra bottles. 8-|

  • moi says:

    I’ve been wearing Flower by Kenzo for months since I first discovered it at the Detroit airport duty free. I’m cuckoo for it like no other scent in recent memory. So, thanks for giving me an excuse to skip out today for a trip to Sephora.

    But could ya stop with the OPI, por favor:)? I’m still trying to get through last year’s colors!

    • March says:

      Oh, you’re so welcome!! Check out the new OPI Sephora colors while you’re there! 😉

      And hon, those ARE last year’s colors, if not earlier. I’m a total noob and just discovering them, pearls among Louise’s castoffs. :”>

  • Robin says:

    Buttered feet! So all hawthorn reminds you of buttered feet, or just this one? That’s such a perfectly gross description, now I’ve got to go smell some hawthorn and decide if I agree. Or would it ruin hawthorn for me, hmmm….

    • March says:

      All hawthorn. On my trip to the UK I remember thinking, what is that heinous smell? Hawthorn groves. Not that I’m complaining about it — I think it’s an interesting smell. But buttery and a little locker-room-ish.

  • jawhara says:

    Great review, thanks March! I actually tested a shy spray of winter flowers yesterday, didn’t think much of it, but then caught myself unconsciously sniffing my wrist all evening…

    And isn’t it strange how PR wants us to smell of musk and the like in order to attract men, when all they like is cupcakes? probably makes them think of mommy… I once looked at a bottle of EL pleasures delight, and the SA conspiringly told me that men like it a lot because ot smells of caramell. Well. Strangely, my fiance is glued to my neck whenever I wear Avignon. And he’s not even Catholic.

    • March says:

      Hah! So it crept up on you too, did it?!? So far most of the comments on here are running the opposite of mine in opinion….

      EL Pleasures Delight smells like *caramel*? Ach, I thought it smelled like glue. Your fiance has much better taste. :d/

  • Dusan says:

    Hiya! Kenzo Power didn’t wow me but I thought it was nicely done. KenzoAmour Le Parfum OTOH – gorgeous! Not as gourmand or salty-musky as the original, Le Parfum is woodsier (benzoin alert!) and sweeter in a crunchy-amber kinda way.
    M, since you’re a fan of Hypnotic Poison, have you smelled the Elixir? *he asked, wiping up drool from the keyboard*

    • Dusan says:

      And dude, not sure if it’s a facet of the benzoin in KALP, but I swear I can smell cumin in there, too. Yum yum yum!

    • March says:

      Hey, everybody in Europe got the KenzoAmour parfum before we did!! Where’s mine already? :-w

      You know you’re making it sound just that much more enticing. Love that benzoin, and cumin sounds great too.

      HP Elixir? Have not seen or tried it. Is it more intense than the HP? Not sure I could take more! :d

  • Louise says:

    Punkin’-could it be that the men were following you just because you’re so freakin’ hot 😡 ? They could all have sinus infections, and still trail behind you.

    Interesting the methodology that was used in the research on “scents men like”-pumpkin, vanilla, and was it lavender?

    I love the Kenzos, and I’ll not even whine here…they are fleeting on me, though the Kenzo Amour parfum mentioned by Klara is appealing :d/

    • March says:

      Cannot WAIT for my Kenzo Amour parfum! I may buy it just for the bottle, although I’m hoping what’s inside is worth it…

      Maybe they just love my nails? 😉 Okay, maybe not. But thanks for the compliments!

  • Divina says:

    First of all let me just say that you are the sweetest, kindest, funnest person out there! *hugs tightly* How sweet are you? The info you gave me on pumpkin scents was invaluable! 🙂

    As for Kenzo Flower.. Oh, my god, I can’t stand it. It smells to me like powdery peony, and I hate peony soliflores. I can only take peonies in tiny doses. The Oriental Flower was awesome on paper strips and on my best friend, it smelled a-ma-zing! On me it smelled like scented, unused baby diapers. Great… I am sad it was a limited edition (at least here in europe, is it still out there?) however, cause I really liked it on others. I do want to smell the new Winter Flowers, since my experience with the other flanker was good. (had to laugh about your camelia comment btw, I’ve never found one that has any smell in real life either!)

    Kenzo Power.. I love! Some of its bitter, moist, tea-like notes reminded me a good bit of Annayake Pour Elle, although Power is not as obnoxious as Pour Elle 😉 The boyfriend fell in love with it from the moment he first sniffed it, and that happens so rarely I was stunned. He wanted to go out and buy it the next day o_O… I can see how someone might find it boring though! It doesn’t really have a strong impact, nor does it have any strong components that instantly pop out to grab the attention.

    • March says:

      Kenzo Flower, I was too lazy to look for my book, but Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (I need to come up with an easy shorthand — Turin/Sanchez? LTTS?) I believe said Flower is a dead ringer for some formerly wonderful, now-ruined classic — Caron Royal Bain de Champagne, maybe? So I keep trying to reevaluate it that way, but it’s still being smothered in powder. 🙂 Baby diapers, feh.

      Okay, you’ve convinced me. I’ll retry Power again. I am looking for something lightweight for the husband, and I think the bottle is so gorgeous. You and I both like obnoxious Pour Elle, I’ll think of it in those terms.

    • March says:

      Oh, PS — you’re welcome! I hadn’t been in there for awhile so I got to see their new stuff. Wonder if you made any decisions? Also my nominee for worst smell offender in the mall now is Lush. b-(

      • Divina says:

        No decisions yet, since I’ve been practically under house-arrest, LOL! I am studying for two exams and I am pretty much chained to my desk or alternatively, the couch, surrounded by stupid books.. As for Luca and Tania, March, you MUST come up with a cool shorthand for them! It has the potential to become as ubiquitous for perfume blogs as Brangelina is for the gossips! This blog has a good history of coining terms anyway! Still think Lee’s “transformers” is genious, and can’t help but use it myself when coming across a perfume that keeps changing :d

        • March says:

          I was thinking about the Brangelina thing … HVS up there is suggesting LuTan, do you think it’s a possibility? Is LuTania any better? If I explained it first? It makes me giggle. Good luck with your studies!

  • hvs says:

    Hmm. On me Power is a translucent freak show – I quite like it. And Winter Flowers is winter powder. And I quite like the original. Well, I did until I met Le Parfum. I’m thinking you might change your mind about Power someday. Maybe?

    • March says:

      Oh, you know me. I’ll probably be on here in six weeks singing its praises. I do wonder whether I’m having trouble smelling it? Also, I’ve read a lot of comments that it smells different (and lasts longer) on your clothes… 😕

  • Eva says:

    Dear March, Patty, Lee and all fellow perfumistas and perfume divas, just wanted to express how much I LOVE, LOVE!! this blog. This is my tiny piece of sanity, luxury and indulgence each day and I get serious withdrawals when I have to miss a day or two. Love the comments, expressions and varous thoughts. Good or bad – love them all! Because of you all I have had the opportunity to try some incredible fragrances. Am eternally grateful. ^:)^ (and of course smell wonderful)

    • March says:

      Oh, thank you so much! How sweet of you. My husband wonders what I DO on here all the time. I love the conversation and information exchange. I have met some wonderful people through fragrance. 😡

  • Klara says:

    I have tried the Kenzo Amour LeParfum and love it! Actually, I am going to get it today.
    I thought that the original Amour Eau de Parfum was too light for me, not long lasting at all.
    Well, the perfume is very potent on my skin – I can even smell it the next day. And it is really beautiful – a woodier and spicier version of the Eau de Parfum. There is even something in it that reminds me of Safran Troublant…

    • Masha says:

      Where did you find it? I’m dying to try it. It’s not in southern Germany yet, at least, nowhere near me.

    • March says:

      Oh, I am so excited! I love Amour and it sounds like this one will be a winner too. I’m not sure when it comes out but I wish it would get here already!

  • carmencanada says:

    So March, are you actually *confirming* that research about men preferring the smell of pumpking pie on women? Remember, that research caused a stir a couple of years ago… Wonder if it’s just an American phenomenon… Nah, I’m sure it *bears* thinking…#-o

    • Shelley says:

      One of those rounds of scent preference tests was conducted here in Chicago, and got a fair amount of local media play…I am just solipsistic enough to not have thought about it possibly being an American thing…I propose we have international testing days, which would involve volunteers on every continent putting on basic comfort food scents from all parts of the globe. One day a month for a year? Pumpkin, Plain Old Vanilla, and bacon could be Scents from North America.

      We’ll keep tabs on followers (followed by a stranger in a mall, eh, March?) and random comments, and report results at the end of the year. If results bear out the theory, we can create a signature line of scents: Comfortus Foetidus. 😉

      • March the No-Taste Loser says:

        I realize as I typed it that “followed through the mall” sounded stalker-ish, but I have a good antenna and it felt playful and not scary. Some of it could have been flirtatious, but not creepily so.

        I’d think they’d love bacon. And now I’m thinking about a recipe I saw somewhere for candied bacon … where’s my mouthwatering emoticon? =p~ Seriously, isn’t that disgusting? (The emoticon, not the bacon.) Who thought that up?

      • carmencanada says:

        Shelley, thing is, we do have pumpkins in France, called “potirons” (poh-tee-rohn, not pot-iron), but they’re used in soup. So pumpkin pies have no connotations here in France.

        • Shelley says:

          Carmen, I make pumpkin soup, too! (I’ve got a good recipe that uses apples…) But for sure it’s the cinnamon/sugar aspect of the sweet pie that was put into play for this research…. March is asking below the question I didn’t say out loud: what would the equivalent “comfort scent” be in another locale/culture?

          • carmencanada says:

            Okay, I should try smearing myself in croissants…8-}

          • Musette says:

            Well you could…but then you would probably have as many women as men following you around….I know I certainly would be! Fresh, warm, flaky croissant……….=p~

            (it’s cold and raining here so anything ‘warm bread’ sounds just divine right now)


          • March says:

            I walked around Paris like a rube wearing baguette crumbs all down my front. Good thing I walked 12 hrs a day so I didn’t come home shaped like a … boule. 🙂

      • Masha says:

        When I waited table at our canteen for a year as a volunteer, we were trying to sell our new chocolate chip cookies a la mode. I wore Demeter Chocolate Chip Cookie, just to see what happened, and we sold out every day! It was like a Marketing Miracle….

      • Vidalicious says:

        From Central Europe, the unique PotatoKugel-WithOnions-SauteedInBaconGrease would have every Lithuanian man I know chasing my skirt!

        • March says:

          And me. I’d be chasing your skirt too. 😡

          • Musette says:

            Can you imagine? D wearing the warm croissant, Vida with the kugel and bacon grease, March will be pumpkin pie and Masha on chocolate chip cookie detail. I could do Demeter’s Gin and Tonic, just to round it out. We might start a riot, with men, women (and maybe dogs?) jostling each other to get a whiff of us!!! 😕


    • March the Silly says:

      It’s got to be an American phenomenon, right? French men would prefer the smell of … macarons? Clafoutis? 😉

      • carmencanada says:

        Actually, I don’t know which smell rates a “following around Saint-Germain-des-Prés” here. Whenever I’ve been followed, I’ve attributed it to my shoes: I had a pair that never, *ever* failed to make a slip of paper with a phone number materialise out of a perfect stranger’s hand (in case you’re wondering: zebra print, ankle strap, high heels). Or perhaps it was my pulchritude. But never my sillage.
        Macarons? Well, I suppose if I were carrying a *box* of them (yup, that did happen once).

        • March says:

          Oh, I want to meet you. And your fun friends. Will have to get back to Paree … how do you wear heels on those streets? I am a klutz. But I would follow you all the way home too if you were carrying a box from Laduree…. 😡

          • carmencanada says:

            You are eagerly expected! For the high heels, well, it’s a matter of training (and of finding the right make). For the boys, it definitely works better in Spring. For the macarons, it’s year round (love in a box, I say).