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Monday, June 2, 2008

Kenzo Amour Indian Holi ~ fragrance review

Amour Indian Holi is Kenzo's new limited edition flanker for 2006's Kenzo Amour fragrance. It's named for the Indian Festival of Colors, and the original Amour juice has been reworked by perfumers Daphne Bugey and Olivier Cresp. Additions to the mix include rose, peony, and, wait for it......yep, pink pepper, the note du jour.

I liked the original Amour very much when I tried it in 2006, and I still do. I've been flirting with the idea of buying it and I may do so yet; wearing it today reminds me of what a perfect comfort scent it is for cool weather. Many people complain that it is too bland, but I find the vanilla-rice-pudding-blandness part of its charm, and the dark woods and incense in the base keep it from being dull (the original notes were cherry blossom, rice steam, white tea, frangipani, heliotrope, thanaka wood, incense, vanilla and musk).

I rather thought they'd do something more exotic with Amour Indian Holi. As much as I like Amour, it doesn't quite evoke the "couple's voyage through India, Japan and Vietnam" that it was meant to, and if it'd been up to me — and it never is, is it? — I'd have amped up the incense and thanaka wood and added a goodly dash of some spice or another.

Kenzo has gone in the opposite direction. You'll recognize strains of the original Amour in Amour Indian Holi, but the top notes are sweeter and fruitier, the woods and incense in the base are milder, and the peony-rose-pink pepper medley, while sheer, gives Indian Holi a more generic-mainstream-department-store-fragrance feel. It smells like it's been "pinked up".

I don't hate Amour Indian Holi, in fact, as pinked up fragrances go, it's rather nice. Still, we've plenty of pink on the fragrance counters already. I don't need it, but if you found the original Amour lacking, it might be worth a try. The bottle is adorable enough that I'd like to own it even though I wouldn't be likely to wear it.

Kenzo Amour Indian Holi is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum. You can find it now at Nordstrom; presumably it will be in wider distribution shortly.

Juicy Couture Dirty English for men ~ fragrance review

When I saw the list of ingredients for Juicy Couture’s new men’s fragrance, Dirty English — peppered mandarin, blue cypress, Calabrian bergamot, caraway, cardamom pods, marjoram, black leather, “Santal Fatal” accord (a mix of sandalwood, Atlas cedar and vetiver), agarwood, ebony wood, black moss absolute, and amber musk — my first thought was: “Why this dark, heavy scent now…so close to spring?” By late February, I’m yearning for crisp-bright scents, perfumes with lots of citrus, floral, fruit and ‘green’ accords. I needn’t have worried; though Dirty English’s mix of notes sounds hot’n’heavy, the cologne is light enough to be worn in spring, even summer.

Dirty English starts off with the aromas of smooth citrus-y leather and cypress, and mellow caraway and marjoram. I was hoping Dirty English would provide rude blasts of the promised black leather, black moss (surely this note would be weird and musty?) and agarwood, but Dirty English is a well-mannered, well-blended scent and I don’t smell anything out of the ordinary. (I’ve tried to detect the “Santal Fatal” accord but I smell only cedar, cedar, and more cedar.) Near the end of Dirty English’s development, agarwood does make an appearance, as does an overused fragrance note of late: satiny, vanillic ‘amber musk’. Dirty English is a mid-strength, sweet, wood scent and as I wore it I was reminded of (a milder) Yves Saint Laurent M7, (a sweeter) Gucci Pour Homme and (a cleaner) Tom Ford for Men.

I have no idea what the term ‘Dirty English’ denotes. I’ve looked at Juicy Couture products bearing the name (I like the Dirty English bulldog T-shirts) and assume the Dirty English clothing line is casual wear aimed at young men. I can say with assurance there is nothing “dirty” about Dirty English for Men Eau de Toilette. The cologne is described by Juicy Couture as “outrageously sexy”, “mysterious” and “magnetic.” I would describe it as “nice”…and tame. If you’re an old hand, or should I say an old nose, at perfumery, you’ve smelled many scents like Dirty English. Perhaps Dirty English is being marketed towards 20-something men who are moving away from the dated, rather simple-scented, ozonic perfumes of the past 10 years? (Starting last autumn, I’ve noticed that “fresh” ozonic men’s fragrances are not the norm anymore in new mainstream releases.) I do like Dirty English and would be happy to smell it on others or to wear it myself — but probably only if someone gave me a bottle; Dirty English has decent lasting power and non-annoying sillage.

Juicy Couture Dirty English was developed by perfumer Claude Dir. During its early release, scheduled for March, Dirty English will be a Bloomingdale’s exclusive. As of this posting, the scent has not been widely advertised and it is not for sale on the Bloomingdale’s retail website.
Update: Juicy Couture Dirty English will be available in 50 and 100 ml Eau de Toilette and in matching grooming products, including De-Funk Deodorant and Up With a Twist shower gel. (via Women's Wear Daily)