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.