Thirty five years ago, at its launch, this perfume was regarded as "unusual", in the sense of out of the ordinary, strange and intriguing; in a word: with character. At those times unusual creations were not only allowed but even welcomed, and companies tried their best to permeate all their products (fragrances, too) with their values and aesthetics. Kenzo's couture was unusual, characteristic, intriguing, and his King Kong had to be the same, of course. Today, designers license their brand's perfumes to other companies, and thus lose control over what is offered with their name on. In this way, perfumes are not ambassadors of the couturiers' style anymore, they only have to sell as expected. A perfume like this, today, would be regarded as an irresponsible choice, because is as unusual and out of ordinary as it gets: bitter, rough, intensely green, absolutely not a crowd pleaser. The mint note in the opening binds a bunch of cold spices (ginger and I'd say coriander) and aldehydes with a dry, metallic facet. The salty note of oakmoss comes up front from the base, linking cloves and adding a slightly leathery, rough undertone. I guess the banana note, with its tropical sweetness would have balanced all this cold/rough/bitter stuff, but I do not detect it at all. Although KK doesn't show the typical chypre structure, rose, patchouli and oakmoss take it to a chypre mood; shady and slightly disturbing. The dry down is all oak moss,birch tar and mint (strangely, because mint is a top note). It's a very long lasting edp, with little projection.
I have been a reader of this blog for sometime now but have never registered. Until today after reading your love story with King Kong!
Your love for this fragrance really moved me. I was still a child in the early 80's but I have always been fascinated by perfumes. I actually DO remember this short-lived fragrance. We lived in Paris back then and I sampled it.
The bottle is inspired by a SAKE bottle actually and the box is inspired by an INRO which is a box samourais used to store their opium bottle in.
There was also banana in King Kong! I wish they would re-issue it. But you know how large corporations run. They base every decision on market research. King Kong was not a mainstream fragrance. It was probably meant for the sophisticated nose!
As a token of appreciation to your beautiful posting, I am sending you a link to see a picture and read an article about your beloved King Kong:
Hi Kitty Kat, - (weird that's my husband's pet name!)Yes,King Kong was a wonderful fragrance sold in Europe from 1982 to 1985. I discovered it as a 16 year old when a fellow ballerina (I was studying ballet in a small provincial town in Northern Italy at that time)wafted in wearing it. I immediately associated it to "city living" and everything exciting, modern and "artsy". This girl, as well as being a few years older than myself and very trendy happened to come from Florence, so that did it really!. The scent (in my view) was extraordinary and although I have tried for years to find something similar, I never have. It was quite spicy (notes of clover) and minty (similar to toothpaste) and sensual and cool but hot at the same time (if that is possible) Not many people understood the "irony" of it, perhaps this is why it discontined. The bottle itself wasn't particularly notable : very solid looking to resemble king kong with a small top (the head?)but the box was a work of art. It was in the shape of a rectangle box with the lid whch opened from right to left and inside a hollow space for the bottle (it could have been made to resemble a museum box/caskett to transport King Kong?)It had a very intense colours on each side of the exterior and interior (bright red/fuscia/bright yellow/bright green?)
I was gutted when I could no longer find it and although, I was able to trace a few bottles up to 1988, that was the last time I ever smelt King Kong. As you can tell I had quite an affair with it! I would love to know if anyone has a photo or knows where to find it. Thanks again!
I've never heard about this fragrance. Are you sure that this Kenzo?