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Kenzo Jungle pour Homme – Travelling by nose – June 5, 2015

Image - - Zebra in Mikumi National Park, July 18, 2012 by Sajjad Fazel

Ah, the annual street sale. I had great plans to go through our boxes of junk and pass it on to new owners during this year’s sale which I thought was this Saturday, but I stupidly ignored the posters which were plastered around the neighbourhood. The sale happened last week, and I was totally unprepared. The neighbours tell me it was a stunning success, the best one in years. Super.

My penance has been to go through all the junk in our attic and basement this week so I can haul the saleable stuff to the local Goodwill tomorrow. Lots of the junk is books and magazines, and of course I have to stop and open them all to make certain I’ve read them. Especially the National Geographic magazines. National Geographic and I go waaay back. National Geographic was my visual passage to the wide world as a little kid, especially to distant continents like Africa and India. I would examine the images of jungle animals like elephants, lions, tigers, zebras, and crocodiles for hours on end.

Now I prefer to make those journeys with my nose, with perfumes such as Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant and Kenzo Jungle pour Homme.  Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant I wrote about a couple of years ago – it’s one of my most favourite big bold unusual frags, created in 1996 for the designer Kenzo Takada by the dream-team of Dominique Ropion, Jean-Louis Sieuzac, and  Celine Verleure. Jungle Jap was the name of Kenzo’s first Paris store, and his aesthetic was a mix of multi-cultural, minimalist, and natural elements – hence his focus on powerful animals such as the elephant and tiger as design themes.

The Kenzo website describes Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant EdP as “a journey into an imaginary and resolutely modern world”.  This isn’t a scent for those who like delicate, ethereal, wispy, pale, this frag is all heat, dust, colour, strength. At first, it’s a spice bomb, fireworks up the nose, which slowly unwinds through hazy heat of dried fruit and woods, finally becoming a mesmerizing gentle warmth with the addition of patchouli, vanilla and amber in the far dry-down. The golden elephant on top of the bottle, trunk raised in greeting, symbolizes power and matriarchy - Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, followed by Kenzo Jungle Tigre in 1997 (since discontinued), were designed for women.

In 1998, Jungle pour Homme was released, for which Kenzo chose the zebra as its motif. The website: “The zebra in KENZO JUNGLE is fast and untamable. He longs for freedom and wide open spaces. A symbol of pure masculinity…. A bottle cut for the jungle…sanded with zebra stripes. The metal stopper is intensely graphic, black and white.” …symbolic of the stiff mane that crowns the zebra's head and neck.

Kenzo Jungle pour Homme was created by Olivier Cresp, creator of the two iconic modern scents, Angel and Dune, and opens with the familiar spicy blast of Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, but this accord comes with a dash of aromatic green. Fresh zesty lime and bitter mate tea notes are woven through the peppery nutmeg and cardamom mix, giving it an unusual tart sweetness, with a honeyed vetiver aspect. It’s a wonderful, distinctive opening, and I wish it would last a little longer but after five minutes or so, it begins to change as it dries down into the heart, transforming into creamy spiced sandalwood with hints of dusty oudwood.

Kenzo Jungle pour Homme begins to feel warm and elegant as the wood notes expand – the leather note of the Atlas cedar, and the fresh forest note of the Lebanon blue cedar. Mixed with benzoin and vanilla, the woody dry-down becomes ultra-smooth and layered with vibrant warmth as the spice accord still works its magic, with hints of that lime citrus note.

Kenzo Jungle pour Homme has an intelligent yet exotic quality that takes it out of the predictable woody mens fragrance category. The contrast of tart green sweetness with spice in the opening is unexpected but so appealing, and then the wonderfully warm dry-down gives it depth and distinction that make this such an easy fragrance to wear. The sillage is controlled, and the lasting power is excellent.

Not as intimidating or majestic a fragrance as Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant, Kenzo Jungle pour Homme, has its own unique surprises. Built on brilliantly controlled contrasts of tart and sweet, spicy and green, creamy and dusty, resinous and smooth, it develops a sensuous elegance that sets it apart.

Just like the black and white striped zebra. There is nothing else like it.


Kenzo Jungle pour Homme is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.