Perfume Review: Kenzo Power
Kenzo describe Power, their new fragrance for men, as "surprising", and it certainly caught me off guard. Given the name and the fact that the scent is hoped to become as powerful a seller as the feminine Flower, I expected something ...more archetypally masculine and more broadly appealing, I suppose (something that an average male buyer would immediately recognize as manly). Which shows how little imagination I have compared to the creative team at Kenzo, how little thought I gave to the overall esthetics of the brand and how much I underestimated the latter's willingness to risk. With Power, Kenzo taps into the trend in masculine fragrances, which views macho as not mucho, which believes that "charismatic" is not synonymoys with "agressive", and that understated power is as real and attractive as the more obvious kind. Fleur du Male, Fahrenheit 32, Gucci Pour Homme II, the trio of Dior colognes and above all Dior Homme are the examples of such "understated masculines".
Like Dior Homme, Kenzo Power was created by Olivier Polge, and like former, it is "a flower for men". In Dior's case, the flower was iris; for Kenzo, Polge conjures up an imaginary blossom. Given the fresh and sweetly-piquant top notes (candied citrus zest spiced by cardamom and coriander) and the softly-balsamic, a tiny bit powdery base, in my imagination I see that flower as a cross between lotus and iris, with the aroma that is simultaneously clean and sensual. In reality, the "abstract floral heart" of Power is supposed to be a blend of rose, jasmine and freesia, and I would say that of the three, jasmine seems to me to be the most apparent. Something in the mix of coriander, cedarwood and labdanum produces a subtly smoky effect...the smell of a cigarette lit somewhere in the far distance...this might be the perfume's only nod to the stereotypically masculine. Overall, the scent is beautifully androgynous. Its softness makes it entirely wearable for a woman; and I hope that the "new sensitive male" that made Dior Homme a hit will make Kenzo Power a bestseller too. A company that thinks outside of the hairy-chested box of masculine perfumery deserves to be rewarded.
Kenzo Power retails for $55.00-$75.00.
Image source, Kenzo USA.