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Monday, October 27, 2008

What Men Like... Review of Kenzo Winter Flowers

"It is better for you to have reduced a single free man to slavery by gentleness than to have freed one thousand slaves." Omar Khayyam

A male friend who smelled Winter Flowers with me had just one thing to say about it, "it smells seductive"...Now, a heavy-lidded oriental like Opium or Shalimar is seductive, a sultry floral like Mahora or Fracas is seductive. An animalic musc like Koublai Khan or cumin-heavy fragrance like Theo Fennell is seductive. I have heard, although it is hard for me to relate to such a point of view, that a clean, right-out-of-shower scent like, well, anything by Clean, is seductive. Winter Flowers, a limited edition of Kenzo's blockbuster Flower, is none of those things. It is a whisper of a scent, a feather-light cloud made of powder and petals. My friend, when told my theory about orientals and big florals being seductive, opined that I am thinking simplistically and that their seductiveness is too obvious. Give men some credit, urged my friend, we are not that predictable.

Flower, Kenzo's blockbuster, is the perfume I cannot smell. I tried many times and all I get is a faint whiff of powder diluted with water. Winter Flowers, although still quiet, is intensified just enough for me to be able to smell it. It seems to me to be a woodier and a little more floral take on the original. It is a very hard fragrance to describe, because at no point of its development (in itself more or less non-existent) does it smell of any one ingredient in particular more than of others. It is a delicate amalgamation of notes that is impossible to take apart. I asked my friend what it smelled like, and he said that it smells like warm skin. And that is spot on. Winter Flowers is a skin scent slightly amplified. And, I suppose, therein lies it seductiveness. It smells ...familiar, gentle, comforting and a little vulnerable. It smells innocent, and, as Baudrillard said, there is no aphrodisiac like innocence.

So to the question, which always has and always will be asked on perfume forums and blogs, the question of What Men Like...They are complex creatures and their minds work in mysterious ways that can't always (if ever) be explained rationally. They are all- and it will come as a surprise- very different. What's an aphrodisiac to one will be a huge turn-off to another: one thinks Shalimar is sex in a bottle, another's mother used to wear it and therefore sex and Shalimar exist in two galaxies far, far away from each other; one is salivating when you wear a gourmand scent, another one stands to attention when you smell like freshly laundered linen... I do think, however, that we all, men included, have TYPES of scents to which we are attracted (on others, anyway). My friend, for example, is drawn to perfumes that are powdery and a little sweet, to soft, warm scents that speak in sotto voce. But, really, all this serious and half-serious analysis of men's preferences is needless. A perfume, even if it is something he doesn't like, will not prevent him from liking you. And if he likes you, he will like whatever perfume you wear.

Kenzo Winter Flowers is available at Sephora, $65.00 for 1.7oz.

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23 Comments:

Blogger Natalie said...

Hmmm... love me, love my skank?! If the issue at hand were clothing, I'd agree that if a man likes you, he'll like whatever you wear, but perfume? I think scent is such a visceral experience that it can't be overlooked as easily as clothing or something else purely superficial. Moreover, a person's own scent plays such an important role in attraction and even reproduction (research has shown that if a member of the opposite sex smells pleasing to you, his or her genes are more likely to combine with yours in felicitous ways), and given how perfume mingles with one's own scent, it seems to me to afford a truer glimpse of the inner person.

Perhaps if someone already likes you, he or she will like your perfume, but I reserve the right to spurn anyone who doesn't smell nice!

10:20 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Мне нравится твой друг- у него отменный вкус. )
И подпишусь под предпоследним предложением.

10:21 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Natalie
I don't think even Cool Water would prevent me from liking a nice lookin' guy :-) I am not talking of BO. That is a turn off for sure...although, if, as you say, the genes are matching...I wonder if BO is still an issue then. A fascinating topic :-)

10:24 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Anonymous,
И ещё мой друг очень скромный :-)

10:25 PM EDT  
Blogger Hannah said...

Opium used to be my everyday perfume.
My male friends always told me that I smelled "like Christmas". They all seemed to like that I smelled like Christmas, but I don't know if they thought it was necessarily "hot"

12:03 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Marina,
I was sad to hear you are anosmic to the Flower family, they're a beautiful collection. Surely Oriental is an exception?? Its kyara incense and pepper notes are very strong indeed! Winter seems to me to fall between the original and Oriental in both strength and spiciness. I've never been able to smell Narciso or Jovan Musk oil, or Kenzo Tokyo, or Antimatter, the list goes on, so I know the frustration!
-Marla

1:58 AM EDT  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Ah, the question of what men like... I'm sure it must be much more individual than various studies seem to show.
But I would be cautious in wearing a classic when meeting a new man one hopes to seduce: it might remind him of his mother or an old boss, and even if it's not the exact same fragrance, it could be of the same family... So I tend to avoid Mitsouko, Jicky or N°5 in those cases.
As Natalie says, it's a very visceral reaction, ofter subconscious.

6:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Hannah
I think Opium is hot :-)

6:36 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Marla,
Oriental is a little stronger than Flower, but for some reason it is Winter Flowers that is truly smell-able for me. What am I anosmic to there, I wonder.

6:37 AM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Denyse,
Won't be fun sowing for the first date smelling of his mom's Shalimar. :-)

6:39 AM EDT  
Blogger Natalie said...

No, not BO, but when someone smells... off. Years ago I had a boyfriend who was a lovely person, but something always bothered me about his smell -- he didn't smell bad, just not right for me.

But yes, Johnny Depp could show up on my doorstep wearing Encens et Lavande (sorry, that stuff smells vile to me!) and cat pee, and I'd let him in.

10:58 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

I long ago decided I couldn't love a man who didn't adore canine or feline children and who wasn't anosmic enough to not care what scents I wear. Luckily, DH adores our canine child and is utterly indifferent to my perfumes (well, not exactly indifferent to the cost...). But, that said - I really am going to have to get to Sephora to check out Winter Flowers. I have trouble smelling the original as well, so this sounds intriguing.

12:59 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

Natalie
Johnny Depp for you, Adam Garcia for me...:-)

9:07 PM EDT  
Blogger Colombina (Marina) said...

L
I am so glad I am not the only who can't smell it!

9:07 PM EDT  
Blogger lovethescents said...

What a wonderful discussion. Natalie, I understand what you mean by not being attracted to someones' scent. I think that has a lot to do with pheromones. Regardless of perfumes, there is this inherent smell that everyone has, and that attracts us to one-another; not only sexually, but otherwise. Who knows, maybe Marina's friend likes Winter Flowers because it might subconsciously remind him of his mother (?); that smell of skin. Am I too Freudian here??

As for my husband, I make him smell everything I try on (and I try way too much). I wouldn't say he likes any specific note...he loooooves Armani Prive Bois d'Encens for this cooler time of year, Kama by Farmacia SS Annunziata,and Piment Brulant. All are very different.

9:27 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a nice review! I especially like last two sentences. Yesterday I sprayed my hands with CK One in a shop - I didn't try this scent for years, I only remember that I didn't like it at all. Two hours later I was told how seductive I smell. Two days ago I wore much more expensive and interesting perfume and nothing happened. :-)
Baudrillard - I read his book right now. I read it in my mother tongue and it is the translation or I don't know, but some of the sentences are so difficult, that I have to read them twice or three times to get it.:-)Oh well. But it is a great book.
lavinia

10:51 AM EDT  
Blogger Joy Rothke said...

I might be interested in what a [certain] man likes...but what "men like" doesn't motivate me.

12:31 PM EDT  
Blogger Hannah said...

One of my friends who said I smell Christmas-y was a boy that I had a little ~*crush*~ on. I also used to wear a shirt that he said his father wore a similar one when they went on vacation.
I must have reminded him of going on Christmas vacation with his dad.

But once I was drinking juice and was trying to figure out what that great smell was and asked if it was my perfume.
Men like Juicey Juice.

10:20 PM EDT  
Blogger Flora said...

Interesting question, and now I am sorry I did not try these - I went to our brand-new Sephora for the first time a few days ago, and I smelled a lot of things, but not the Kenzos, I will have to go back soon to try all the stuff I missed.

For my part, I never know what any given individual man will like, but there are a few perfumes that are almost guaranteed to work - Parfum Sacre, Rochas Absolu and Sublime come to mind,and all three have qualities in common - deep, rich ,sweet and complex with some spice in their composition.

11:49 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi I'm a perfume lover but new to this blog. I was really intrigued by the comments below b/c it's an interesting subject--what men like!

If we believe that women really dress for the approval/reaction of other women--not men--do we instead wear perfume for the approval/reaction of men? In my case, its very important that my husband likes the way I smell so I ask him what he thinks of the scents that I would like to purchase. But at the end of the day I am wearing the scent for me--not other women or men. I wonder how everyone else feels when it comes to the scents that they chose.

Funny, regarding the comment above, my husband also likes Piment Brulant. Recently he told me really liked the scent Amazing Grace which I tested out the other day. Again, another soft, clean scent. I was surprised b/c I thought that he would prefer more seductive scents such as Opium as discussed above. --Jen

1:04 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

При прочтении сего сайта плакал. Вот ведь бред...Девушки, Вам по скольку годиков? Скоро перед Богом... кхе, а Вы всё о цацках...

5:59 PM EST  
Anonymous mineral makeup said...

This is a general statement...some men like mild fragrances yes...some like it hard and macho...so there are various tasted according to individuals.

11:41 PM EST  
Anonymous estee lauder perfume said...

What a nice review! I especially like last two sentences. Yesterday I sprayed my hands with CK One in a shop - I didn't try this scent for years, I only remember that I didn't like it at all. Two hours later I was told how seductive I smell.

8:44 AM EDT  

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