Kenzo 7:15 AM in Bali


While waiting impatiently for KenzoAmour Le Parfum to show up at our local Sephora, I got bored and ordered up a reasonably-priced bottle of Kenzo 7:15 AM in Bali, which I’ve seen random nice things said about on Basenotes, MUA and elsewhere.  I didn’t really even look at the notes; I knew there was some vanilla, and it sounded like a comfort scent.  Nobody loves some Kenzo comfort more than I do.

I am not sure what, precisely, I was expecting a fragrance evoking morning in Bali to smell like — woods?  Rice steam? Beach?  Anyhow, this definitely wasn’t it.  I went online and looked it up. The notes are very simple:  jasmine, vanilla, orchid and passionfruit.  Done by Daphne Bugey, it’s classified as a fruity floral and seems to be exclusive to duty free shops, as reviewers keep mentioning that’s where they found it, and I think it’s first in a travel series concept.

7:15 AM in Bali opens with a strongly citrus note, somewhere between grapefruit and orange, and a not particularly sweet or gourmand, slightly powdery vanilla.    Over the next 10 or 15 minutes the strongest citrus fades and I am left with the vanilla overlaying something sweet-tart and powdery, which I assume is the passionfruit, and that’s … pretty much the whole story for the rest of the day.  It’s not overwhelmingly strong, but it’s not exactly fleeting, either, a characteristic it shares with KenzoAmour, at least on me.

Full disclosure — I have no idea what a passionfruit smells like.  I spent some time online, and it’s humorous — you get the “passionfruit smells like passionfruit” problem, like “describe the color green.”  But passionfruit is apparently used to create a grapefruit smell in some body products, and I saw various descriptors evoking citrus, tartness, and creamy exoticism.  So I’m going to guess that the unfamiliar smell that coexists the entire time with the vanilla is passionfruit.  That non-vanilla part is a blend of grapefruit, cranberry, tangerine and mango, and that’s about the best I can do.  There’s a minuscule amount of gaminess in the long drydown (this thing lasts 16 hours, easily, on me) and I don’t know whether that’s the jasmine talking or the passionfruit.

Over the past year I’ve turned into a huge fan of vanilla, which probably surprised me as much if not more than it might have surprised you.  I like vanilla with all sorts of things, including smoke, wood and leather.  But not, as it turns out, with citrus.  Vanilla and citrus just smells … wrong to me.  I think it’s what I find so troublesome about actually trying to wear Shalimar Lite.  It’s the olfactory equivalent of biting into a chocolate from the heart-shaped box and discovering you just snagged the lemon cream.  Ugh.   I hate those things.  It’s a matter of personal taste, obviously, but I don’t think vanilla and citrus play nicely together on their own.  Dark smells like leather and woods damp the vanillic sweetness down.  Citrus doesn’t give vanilla anything substantial to anchor itself to; if anything it magnifies the cloying aspect.

So I shopped it around.  I wore it on and off all week, asking friends, family and (heck, why not?) random strangers what they thought.  It’s not difficult to wear, just a little peculiar — that unfamiliar sweet smell along with the vanilla.  Maybe they were just being nice to the crazy lady, but they loved it.   Women thought it was “sexy.” One man said, “delicious.”  So what do I know?  I guess it’s all that and a bag of chips (or more accurately, a bag of foreign candy.)  It’s an odd little thing, and I have to admit it grew on me.  This morning I was done fiddling with it, but I put it on anyway.  Just because I wanted to.

Outside of airports, 7:15 AM in Bali can be found without too much difficulty at various e-tailers for around $40 for 50 ml.  Image:

  • Francesca says:

    The fabulous Belgian chocolatier in the town where I spend every spare moment has the most divine dark chocolates filled with passionfruit ooze, called Cleopatra, with a picture of the “Egyptian dish” molded on every one. Must. Get. Some. This. Weekend.^:)^

  • Amarie says:

    I have just slurped on a passionfruit in your honour, and yes it would make a very interesting note in a ‘fume. I think I still prefer it as the main ingredient of Australa’s cultural dish of pavlova. I don’t know if you are familiar with it: a huge soft meringue filled with cream and topped with fruit, preferably lots of passionfruit because the crunchy seeds held together with sparse orange tart flesh play off the sweetness so well. My kids are addicted to passionfruit and eat large amounts, both nellie kelly( the black ones) and the banana passionfruit which is different again. I can taste passionfruit and vanilla together, but I dont think I would come at smelling like it.:)

    • March says:

      Ah, so there are even varieties of passionfruit with different tastes/smells. Of course. I’d heard of pavlova and pictured something vaguely trifle-like, but wasn’t sure what went into it. I think I’d like it. 🙂

  • Lee says:

    I’m with MarkDavid on the daft name. I’m wondering what difference two minutes either way would make.

    I love passion fruit. You can get them in most supermarkets here.Floral fruity mucal astringent loveliness with a hearty set of slime coated seeds to slurp on and crunch.

    • March says:

      Don’t be ridiculous. 7:17 in Bali would be a TOTALLY DIFFERENT fragrance. [-(


      Now, if YOU’D wrote that copy right there for this fragrance, I’d have bought it based on that alone.

    • MarkDavid says:

      Mucal Astringent, you say?
      I bet it sounds lovelier when you say it than when I read it.
      Especially because you’re British.
      You Brits can make anything sound elegant and fabulous.

      Remind me to make you say “Mucal Astringent” when I come to visit.

    • vidalicious says:

      We doctors have antibiotics for all that mucal…@-)

  • Elle says:

    I’m w/ you on the distaste for vanilla/citrus scents. I *keep* trying to like Shalimar. Year after year after year I try. It simply won’t work for me. Yet. I’ve had too many changes of heart w/ scents to ever give up hope. Too bad about the Kenzo – I *love* the name.

    • March says:

      Aha!!! You like the name too! And I’m glad to hear about the Shalimar, I forget about your feelings and I think, what is wrong with me? >sob< I wonder if they'll take place over the day? 9:45 AM in Ulaan Bator? Noon in Guadalajara? 😕

  • MarkDavid says:

    Im wondering where this recent trend of putting times in fragrance titles is coming from? 7:15 AM in Bali? Why 7:15 AM?

    Or Five o’clock Au Gingembre. I’ve smelled it and when I do, dare I say – its more like 11:30 in the morning. Its not quite ready for Happy hour yet.

    It’s all confusing and has thrown me off balance. I can’t remember what time my meeting starts, now…

    • March says:

      Well, it’s somewhere between 7:15 AM and five, right? Let’s call it elevenses and have a cup of tea ~o)

      I actually really like the name 7:15 AM in Bali, while finding the name 5 O’Clock au Gingembre a bit twee. I state that while offering no logical argument whatsoever in my defense. 🙂

  • Francesca says:

    There’s a big passionfruit note in Renée Fleming La Voce, too. I was sniffing it with a friend and we were both puzzled about what that sharp (in a good way) and fruity thing was, so we looked it up and that’s what it was.

    • March says:

      I totally forgot about that, I need to try it! Right? I love Renee Fleming. I was hoping her fragrance would be good.

      • March says:

        PS Is passionfruit poised to become the new lychee? 😉

      • Francesca says:

        Yeah, La Voce is quite pretty. Very ladylike. I really can see wearing this to the opera. I loved the passionfruit note. Then a long time later, after I’d washed my hands several times, I picked up the subtle chocolate note of the finish on my wrist. Didn’t think I’d like a choc frag, but this was lovely, like a chocolate something being prepared in a distant room. It’s a very elegant scent.

  • Denise says:

    HI! Long time, no comment, hope y’all are doing well! I’m always on the lookout for scents using notes from tropical fruits or plants (as a child, I visited my grandmother in the Philippines frequently and have fond memories of mangoes, etc, you can’t get them quite like that here!) But I find the idea of citrus and vanilla too “Creamsicle.” But – did I read “benzoin?” There’s an overview of my basically meandering, pre-coffee thought process. Must try it.

    • March says:

      Sorry, we meandered off topic — the benzoin is for the new KenzoAmour Le Parfum (Dane was complaining about nothing but amber.) That’s a post that’s coming up! :)>-

  • Musette says:

    Weird how some citrus and vanilla works – and some don’t. Think orange/vanilla. Yum (both culinary and perfumary). Lemon/vanilla? Not so much (my opinion only)…..

    I’ve only had passionfruit once or twice and, like Karin, LOVE it! But I can’t see it paired with vanilla – kinda defeats the purpose, IMO.

    You are a brave’un, buying unsniffed! I confess to not buying a FB of anything until I’ve exhausted my samps, am scrounging around like a crackfiend for the last drops and dreaming about the frag during the Restless Hours….

    Of course, that’s just new stuff – my standbys tend to crowd the drawer in multiples, ‘just in case’;)


    btw – is it just me or is that perfume name just a little clunky?

    • March says:

      It’s stupid, buying unsniffed. It almost never turns into something I love, and these days I can get a sample of almost (not quite) everything to sniff beforehand. Basically it was a sacrificial gesture to keep me from putting my unsniffed hex on KenzoAmour parfum. 🙂

  • karin says:

    Hi March! Did you say PASSION FRUIT????? I’d never experienced passion fruit either til I had a passion fruit lemonade at the Hali’imaile General Store in Hali’imaile on Maui. OMG. I died and went to heaven. It was INCREDIBLE! For the rest of our stay, I had to have everything passion fruit – daiquiris, shave ice, POG juice (YUM), etc. When we returned home to Maine, you can imagine, I couldn’t find ANYTHING passion fruit. Some juice companies have passion fruit juices, but most cut it with grape or apple, robbing it of its zing. Shopped around on the web til I came across The Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. They sell frozen passion fruit puree. Heaven!!! (They also have all kinds of other fruits – FYI.) Passion fruit is acidic and sour – needs sugar to sweeten it. Hard to describe the scent except that with it’s acidic qualities, you could probably liken it to citrus, but with a tropical twist. Not sure I want to smell like passion fruit, but I love it so much, I’ll have to try the Kenzo scent. Oh…to have that lemonade again. I need to go back to Maui. 🙂

    • March says:

      I’d probably love passion fruit. I like odd fruits, and odd juices. Okay, I didn’t like durian, but I gave it an honest effort. So I’ll keep an eye out.

      Slightly off topic but related — on our trip to Thailand I discovered everyone juices watermelon. It’s a standard juice, like apple juice is over here. The.greatest.thing.ever. I pondered a juicer just so I could have my own.

      • Musette says:

        Pepperblossom –

        You can do it in a blender or even just with a sieve/strainer – easy! I do it ALL the time, having become addicted to it courtesy of the Santa Monica Market (Main St) that sells freshly-juiced juices.

        Recipe: take a watermelon, whack it in half. Scoop out the sweet innards. Chop innards up a bit. Put in a strainer, over a big bowl (or something that can take the juice). Take a potato masher. Mash the innards. when strainer gets too innardy, dump the innard residue into the compost pail and begin anew.

        Juice is what is left behind in the bowl. Slurp it down and doubledogdare anybody to try and snatch some!

        Whole thing takes about 10 minutes.

        Easier version: Scoop out innards, minus as many seeds as you can easily dump – toss in blender. Pulse for a hot minute. Pour through sieve.

        Vi-ola! Juice. You can add sugar and a touch of water and shaved ice with a wedge of lime for an agua fresca. Yum.


  • Dane says:

    I don’t think I know what passionfruit smells like either???

    Either way, I wouldn’t get too excited over Amour Le Parfum…not what I had hoped for. Where did the vanilla go? All I get is amber amber amber. It’s not miles away from my cheapo $20 bottle of Nemat Musk Amber, only not as good.

    • March says:

      Really?!? That’s terrible. I get a ton of benzoin, which makes me really happy. 😡 I’m still trying to decide whether this is different enough conceptually that it might win anyone over who thought the first Amour was a snooze. What do you think?

      • Dane says:

        I suppose you’re right…it will attract new fans, but I was hoping for an actual parfum concentration of Amour, rather than a completely new fragrance. Oh well…I should have known after Flower Le Parfum! All is good as long as Amour is still on the market. 🙂

  • Silvia says:

    Am totally with you on hating the citrus/ vanilla combo in perfume, to me it’s the olfactory equivalent of fingernails scratching a blackboard 8-x

    • March says:

      Interesting, though, isn’t it? I’d never thought about it. If you’d asked me, I’d probably have said, oh, vanilla/citrus would be fine. Even though I can think of two other fragrances off the top of my head I dislike with precisely that combo. I didn’t connect the dots until this one. :”>

  • Louise says:

    Oy, Marchele! First vanilla, then what, powder 😮 ?

    But isn’t that the fun of perfuming? I’d never thought I’d like that Mitsouko thing you kept on praising, but now 😡

    I spritzed a little Kenzo Le Parfum on at our local Sephora (it was in as of Friday or so), and as usual, had a bit of a time trying to smell it at all. It did last, but did the nasty vanillic-to-plastic act that plagues me so frequently. Another Kenzo hope dashed…but they are so pretty on you.

    Still, I think the citrus/vanilla bit would just not work for me /:)

    • March says:

      I’m still fiddling with my KenzoAmour LP review, so I thought I’d do this one first, since I couldn’t find much else to say about it. I realized at 4 a.m. that it reminds me a little of my impression of that Kilian marshmallow fragrance, but since I don’t have that one on hand I can’t test my theory. It has about the same kind of development, though — a big fluffy cloud of sweet, end of story.

      I hated those Vanille-Citron scents at Sephora for the same reason. Vanilla/chocolate, vanilla/spices, fine.

  • Masha says:

    I tried this at Heathrow and the whole family agreed that it smelled exactly like a Bavarian lemon cream, which we eat a lot of around here. And though I sure love that dessert, I didn’t want to smell like it! It’s definitely yummy, though. What it has to do with Bali, I have no idea. I remember in Hawai’i, the lilikoi (passionfruit) would be falling from the trees in great profusion and rotting on the ground, now that was a powerful smell. But Kenzo didn’t go for that aspect of passionfruit….

    • March says:

      Well, there you have it. Nothing calls up Bali in the morning like a Bavarian Lemon Cream. 😉 I’m having trouble seeing the connection either. If you read their online promotional blather there’s a lot about the jasmine and its connection to Bali, but the jasmine is a pretty minor player.

      And thus my lousy unsniffed buy track record continues. 🙂 In terms of my unsniffed track record it’s not a disaster, but I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d sniffed it first in a store.