Kenzo Eau de Fleur(s)


You know what we need?  We need a break from March´s ponderous explorations of 80s big-hair scents and her other navel-gazing posts, complete with lint.  Well, thanks to a mercy box from someone (not naming any names) March can pull her head out of her Poison and report on the first hopeful signs of spring.

1) Snowdrops all over the neighbor´s yard.

2) These three new Kenzo Eau de Fleur dealies.  You know what a Kenzo gal I am, right?  (And no, they do not send me this crap to review as their BFF, although frankly they should.)  According to their website, “Kenzo flower waters are picked from Japanese trees.” {Note from me: one assumes this is not literal.}  “Each eau de toilette in the collection evokes a delicate trail of tree blossom. Three new fragrances made of natural, clear and streamlined floral notes. Every year, Kenzo will enrich this collection by picking another flower.” 

Let me point out (courtesy of NST) that the perfumers are: Jean Jacques (Soie), Aurelien Guichard (Tea), and Francis Kurkdjian (Magnolia), which might slow down any instantaneous dismissal of these as duty-free dreck.

So, we have:

Eau de Fleur de Soie Silk – look, they do the Franglish translamation from the Japanese for you right there on the label!  Fleur de Soie’s “shameless allure conceals its secret charm: a crimson floral note with a tender, fruity heart.”  As far as I can tell it´s an impression of Silk Tree mimosa (Albizia julibrissin, not to be confused with regular mimosa) with some watery notes and slightly tart fruit.   In Japan, silk tree is used for bonsai.  If you google you get gardening sites of people begging you not to plant silk tree mimosas – lovely as they are, they reseed rapidly and are considered an invasive exotic throughout much of the U.S.

Eau de Fleur de The Tea – “special edition.  Musky green floral. A white cowbell with a heart of gold. Sheltered under its leaves, the tea flower diffuses a floral concoction with notes of green tea and a hint of musk.”  Um… okaaay.  This is a floral tea.  It´s delicious.  This made me so happy because I had to grab several tea scents at random to compare, and what is more sprightly and happy and evocative of warmer weather than tea?  Anyhow, this Eau de Fleur is: less sweet than Nicolai Fig-Tea; not as weirdly rubbery/black as the Speziali Fiorentini (which is $24 and rocks at BE, here’s the link); kinda sorta in the direction of Bvlgari White without the herbs; heavier than L´Artisan The Pour un Ete.  I´m not sure I´ll run out and buy a bottle, since I have a lot of tea scents already, but if it appeared on my dresser I´d wear it.

Eau de Fleur de Magnolia – “Perched on their branches, magnolia flowers flaunt their dignified and willowy allure. A radiant floral bouquet, bursting with hesperidian notes, dances beneath a cloak of petals.”  A citrusy floral with a slightly funky undertone, which makes sense – magnolias smell weirdly lemony/mushroomy.  In my opinion. 

What did I think of these?  I thought they were a nicely done, in a cheerful, Kenzo-esque way.  If you think Kenzo is an inexplicable waste of time, these aren´t going to change your mind.  If you appreciate Kenzo´s lighter scents and slightly offbeat whimsy, they´re worth sampling (they´re on the Nordstrom website, not yet in my local store, but I assume they will be.)   Magnolia was my least favorite, the drydown being slightly murky-woody.  I found the Silk Flower surprisingly wearable – it´s less sweet than you´d guess and lasts decently without becoming cloying or edible, although please note that I was dabbing.  The Tea was my hands-down favorite.  It has an attractive musky base and doesn´t do any of the odd things tea scents can do on the skin (too sweet/sour/bitter/dank).

Kenzo bottle image: Nordstrom

ysl-paris.jpgP.S.: if you´re dying to feel the vintage YSL Paris love all over again – I bought an older bottle on eBay, please look carefully at this image at left.  I don´t know when they changed the box, but the newer ones are all pink, whereas the older ones have that wide black stripe down the middle and across the bottom of the box.  They show up pretty regularly on eBay, be sure to ask about the box if they’re using a stock photo.  I’m not sure whether there’s anything about the bottle that’s different, but this is definitely the box I remember.

My new, vintage EDT was the same nuclear blast from the past I remembered, and I couldn´t be happier.   The ones currently stocked in stores with the all-pink box are wan dupes of old Paris, and shame on them.


  • Holly says:

    In case anyone is interested, I found a good place to get Kenzo stuff at really good prices. Here’s the link:

  • violetnoir says:

    Finally made it, but can’t post from my other computer site. I am heartbroken. I don’t want you guys to think I am ignoring you, because I am not.

    Would love to try the magnolia Kenzo. Those blossoms have a very distinct fragrance that no one has really been able to duplicate into a fragrance.


  • Robin says:

    Thought these were well done too. I liked the Magnolia maybe a bit more than you, but agree the tea is best. The Silk is too pink for me.

  • Tara says:

    March….I love, love, love your discussion of the 80s fragrances. Sometimes I wish it were the 80s all over again so at least we could have some fun with BIG hair and bright colors (I just loved the hot pink lipstick others would wear although it looked ridiculous on me…I could pull off the teal eye liner though) and goofy festive music. Everything has to be so perfect now adays…

    Thanks sooo much for the tip on vintage Paris. I bid on a mini on ebay, but would love a big bottle, maybe two (I think I am teleporting back to the 80s)!! Do you have any hints for finding vintage Coco, because I would the 80s version of that too.

    I also have a question about another 80s scent (maybe you have already answered this, if so I am sorry). Did YSL reformulate Opium? That was my signature 80s scent for a while (my best friend wore Tatiana) and I hadn’t sniffed it for years and when I did just a fews weeks ago I thought it was terrible! I was wondering if I my sense of scent had completely changed or is it different?



    • March says:

      My guess is they’ve all been reformulated at this point, and given what YSL did to Paris, why not Opium as well? I think they’re always trying to make the “same” scent with cheaper ingredients, but it’s like rendering the Sistine Chapel in Crayola.

      eBay’s tricky. First off, it’s not like everyone’s a perfume expert. Some folks label scents “vintage” and they’re lying – what they mean is, used. For my old Coco bottles I tried to find individual sellers (like yardsalers) or people who said, this is my mom’s bottle from the 80s. Those folks could be lying too… it’s a crap shoot. One bottle of Coco was completely off, I think it was watered down (easy to do in the stoppered flacons.) The tricky thing about Coco and Opium is I can’t think of an obvious packaging change. Re my YSL Paris bottle I bought up there – somebody was just selling it NIB — it wasn’t labeled “vintage.” They were probably totally unaware it was old, and who cares, for most people? They’re not weirdos like us. 🙂

      So. I’d say troll eBay for “vintage” Opium but also look at the new listings every day for people’s old looking bottles and then ask where they came from, if the seller doesn’t say.

      • Tara says:

        Thanks …I keep watching on ebay…


        P.S. As for being a perfume weirdo, my husband thinks I’m crazy as do my two sons since I make them smell everything – good, bad, or otherwise. I then ask their opinion and usually get the typical monosybilic (I hope I spelled that correctly) response “nice” or “gross.” They definitely think I am a weirdo, but I’m a happy perfume weirdo!!

    • March says:

      PS I miss the asymmetrical earrings. I was always wearing one giant jeweled earring on one side and a stud on the other. 🙂

      • zoe says:

        Everything old is new again, March. I wear the asymmetrical earrings now, and the only fashionable thing I wore in the 80’s was diapers with duckie prints on them.

        Eau de Fleur de Thé was my fav, too. I tried all three and thought Soie smelled “pink”, like Robin above me. Magnolia was nice but meh, and Thé was fun. Don’t like the pricing, and won’t shell out, but still: fun.
        Eau de Fleur de Thé *does* sound like you’re stuttering when you say it fast, though.

        • zoe says:

          Meant to add that Kenzo decided not to give us the benefit of instant transmaculation French-Japanese-English over here, but I guess that means the name sounds less stuttery than it could have, after all.

        • March says:

          I just got back from coffee with Louise and the Magnolia smelled excellent on her. And I am glad to hear a new generation is rocking the mismatched earrings! I tried to talk my 14yo into it when she lost one of a pair, and she looked at me like I was nuts. 🙂

      • Louise says:

        you’re still partially a stud :d/

  • sweetlife says:

    Well I adore your introspection, March, and I count on regular doses of it, but not at the expense of your contentment, so glad you got to take a little break…:x

    I have nothing to say about the perfumes, but had to report that THAT is the mimosa I think of when I think of “mimosa.” I had to be educated about the other, real/regular mimosa when I first started sniffing and couldn’t figure out what the heck those mimosa perfumes were all about. Because the Persian sort really does have the most beguiling perfume — very hard to smell close up, but will come and get you in a gorgeous wave when you have just walked past the tree and think you are not going to smell anything at all. And yes, they’re everywhere down here in Austin–my arborist called them “trash trees,” as concept I just cannot get behind, though I understand invasives in theory. (And I hate wisteria.)

    It’s is SPRING down here. How about a weekend trip? :)>-

    • sweetlife says:

      eek! typo city! forgive please

    • March says:

      I don’t even know that I know what “real” mimosa smells like except in perfume, and there are a ton of mimosa-ish plants out there. I love these too, that stealthy scent. They’re the sort of trees (like witch hazel) that you walk by and go … hey … waitaminnit … what’s that gorgeous smell?

  • Nava says:

    Yeah, I can differentiate between the Tysons now. I can even get to them without the assistance of MapQuest. :d

    Amour is pretty punch-in-the-face on me. And, I looked on and there is a limited edition perfume version now. One more journey to flankerville…

    • March says:

      I think they have an endless series of LEs. I forgive them because many of them are interesting, and I love their nutty bottles.

  • Nava says:

    Hey – don’t be so hard on yourself; it’s fun to remember the 80s, especially when you watch all the stupid VH1 reality shows like I do and see how lame all those hotties from the 80s have become. Seriously, does it get any worse than Bret Michaels and his “Rock of Love Bus”? I am almost ashamed to admit I watch that “dreck”!

    Is the Kenzo scent in the leaf bottle still out there? Never cared for how it smelled, but I loved the bottle. Same goes for the Amour scents; great bottles. I do really like Indian Holi though.

    • March says:

      The leaf bottle is as close as your nearest Sephora. Which is in the OTHER Tysons. Wait, the other other Tysons. The one for regular folks. 😉 I will have achieved true Kenzo enlightenment when I can appreciate its contents, which are on the light side even for me. 🙂

  • Elle says:

    I’m so glad you got a bottle of the vintage Paris! I know ebay does a lot of annoying things, but I have to admit I’m constantly saying little prayers of thanks that they make it possible for me to continue purchasing various long since d/ced or reformulated scents.
    I will definitely be checking out these Kenzos. It’s been ages since I pulled out a tea scent to wear. Must go dig one out and I do think that before spring is over, I’ll probably have to have a bottle of this Kenzo tea. Sounds fab! And better to purchase it now than in ten years when it’s become uber collectible or something and I have to pay a king’s ransom for it.
    Oh, and I *love* your 80s scent posts and more introspective ones. The 80s ones are brilliant because there is only a limited amount written about those scents. It’s incredibly helpful to have blog reviews of them and also to just be reminded of them. And your introspective posts are essential reading as far as I’m concerned. I missed a few when I was MIA from the blog world for much of December and January, but I went back to read most of those posts and the post about choices and your post quoting Eliot’s Ash Wednesday (very coincidental here!) have continued to haunt me. I rarely catch the weekend posts on the weekend due to an insane life, but I *never* miss going back to read them later. I think of these posts as the equivalents of base notes in a scent – the critical notes that give depth and grounding and which are always my favorite ones. I know – I’m weird and I do tend to equate far too much in this world w/ perfumes. 🙂

    • March says:

      Everyone rags on eBay (and I’m still mad at them for kicking off the decanters) but how else would we try so many of these things?

      I feel like doing a tea post. Honestly, I can’t think of the last time I wore a tea scent. I sort of burned myself out on them. And isn’t that one of the most appealing things about our fragrance love? To come back to something and appreciate it fresh, all over again. 😡 I thought: TEA! Wow, that’s GREAT! 🙂

      Hey, just keeping the 80’s love alive… but it is nice to revisit something that doesn’t get much attention any more, even if the results are wistful.

  • Francesca says:

    Reading my from iPhone in bed at 6 a.m., I thought you’d written “Jean Jacques (Sole)'” and thought, sleepily,”either way, that’s not good.”

    Now that my eyes have refocused, I can say those frags sound pretty.

    I do remember that original Paris box. Great graphics.

    And 10 degree wind chill be damned, yesterday I broke out the Après l’ondée. House in CT still under a foot of snow, and it’s too early for the daffodils in NYC’s parks, but I can have my own little spring anyway, can’t I?

    • March says:

      Yes, you can have your own spring. In fact, at this juncture, it’s required that you make your own spring until it comes along on its own, and Apres sounds like the way to go. 😡

      Funny what one notices (or, rather, doesn’t). I didn’t notice the change in the Paris box until I started nosing around on eBay.

  • Erin T says:

    Ya know, I sprayed the Magnolia one, magnolia being one of my favourite flowers. (Darnit, I had almost forgotten about that elizabethW magnolia shower gel Jessica reviewed and then the new elizabethW boutique posting at NST yesterday reminded me.) The Kenzo Magnolia smelled like… tea. I grabbed the bottle to confirm I had sprayed the right one. I had. I became too weirded out to try the one actually called “Tea”. But I love me some Guichard. So I’ll go back to the counter… (Like anybody’s surprised by that!)

    • March says:

      And I think you should buy that Dragon lipstick while you’re there … which one did you wind up with? I’m still thinking about Bubblegum.

      I got a whiff of tea too, btw, but it was fleeting and I couldn’t decide (since I had tea on the other arm) if there was overlap.

  • MattS says:

    Aww…I’m partial to March’s ponderous explorations of 80s big-hair scents. But I have a yard full of daffodils and that makes me so happy. Spring is right around the corner!

    • March says:

      And we have a daffodil sighting! Excellent!

      I’m meeting my dad tomorrow at the National Gallery of Art, it’s supposed to be warmer.

      • Existentialist says:


        • March says:

          I saw the Robert Frank show last week, and tomorrow it’s the Dutch cityscapes, which I hear is magnificent. We’ve been waiting for the crowds to die down. I can’t believe all the people who live here and never go down there.

          • Existentialist says:

            I read about the Dutch cityscapes, and how they are meant to be viewed from a particular perspective to look right. I was intrigued. Now very envious…

  • Frenchie says:

    The Kenzos seem interesting and I can’t wait to sniff them.
    However, it is the info about YSL Paris that got me all excited. It is one of my Mum’s favourites and it smells wonderful on her. At least, the real thing used to. So I just put a bid on ebay for the black-pink bottle! it was the only one, others were all pink. Fingers crossed, I really want her to have the original again.

  • Louise says:

    Ya know, I’ve been enjoying the big hair scents. I put on some vintage Cartier Must last night, and it guided me straight through a power outage (cold!) and into this morning. That’s some powerful juice.

    I recently was gifted a decant of Kenzo Flower Oriental, and oh, my, it is a lovely, so wearable scent.

    These new Kenzos sound so pretty. But I betch a dollar they wouldn’t cling to my persnickety hide but 3 minutes….:((

    • Melissa says:

      Coincidentally, I too have been wearing Kenzo Flower Oriental.:-\”
      It is such a perfect scent for this time of year, with its insistent floral notes mingling with incense and wood. Louise, I share your concern about the new Kenzos. I think my skin would immediately devour them and demand more.

    • March says:

      Cartier Must IS some big hair! I can picture Demi Moore in it right now in some giant ‘do… I love looking at 80s photos and movies, the hair is like the exact opposite of what people want today (flat and shiny).

      I am surprised you can get Oriental to stick to you. It’s very nice, isn’t it? 😡

      • Melissa says:

        Flower Oriental has great staying power for me too. I can’t remember what the floral note is and I don’t have time to look it up, but it shines right through those incense and wood notes!

  • Lee says:

    I haven’t tried these, though I would like to add that Albizia julibrissin is not considered invasive in the UK.



    • Tommasina says:

      Lee – I’m laughing, here: I remember my mother’s almost weeping when, about 2 years after my arrival in the southern US, I told her I was hacking away at madly-scrambling wild wisteria, muttering “Bloody things”; she told me she was very proud of her 5-year old plant which had just put out its first 3 buds…

      March – thanks for reviewing these 3 Kenzos. I tried them at Duty Free a little while back, but was underwhelmed – possibly because I’d already sprayed several much more tenacious beasts. Must try them again on our return voyage to US soil at the end of next month, especially Magnolia + The. Lemony-skanky woody-murky, you say? Hmm…:-?

      • March says:

        Tommasina — yes, this is the frequent problem with trying Kenzos. That kind of has to be the only thing you’re trying, they’re so light…. so, do you think it’s a southern climate thing? I wouldn’t plant wisteria at gunpoint. 🙂

        • Tommasina says:

          Oh yeah, def. a climate thing. My poor mother! Mind you, she planted a wisteria at the house in south-west France where she now lives full-time: it’s spectacular (and non-invasive) in spring time. I guess this must be the ideal climate. Wonder if it will start flowering before we leave? Probably not. But I *shall* try the Kenzos at Duty Free, even if I don’t get to see her wisteria in flower 🙂

    • March says:

      Pondering… your remark and Tommasina’s … I am not the source of all knowledge. I was just surprised (because you can buy them here as ornamental trees) how many sites/photos were devoted to their eradication. Invasives are a real problem here, particularly in the south and west… maybe a climate difference? 😕

  • i tried the tea and the silk one just before christmas when they hit a few stores in germany. the tea one is especially nice (i love tea scents as well!!), and i’m also with you on the silk one. i also sniffed a little on the magnolia bottle and didn’t find it too interesting. it’s nothing i’ll buy in the near future i guess, as i got a mile long list of other scents i’d love to own before those, but i’d recommend the tea lower to all tea lovers out there..

    • March says:

      I am wondering whether I have nose fatigue or maybe some anosmia to the Magnolia? It seemed less “there” than the others. I’m glad you enjoyed them as well. It is a nice tea.

  • Musette says:


    I’m sorry – you lost me at “Kenzo Flower Waters are picked from Japanese Trees”. I’ll have to come back later, after I stop laughing!