Kiki starts out as a dry, chilly lavender with a curious camphoraceous – almost mentholated – medicinal quality. In style it is reminiscent of Serge Lutens’s equally herbaceous Gris Clair, and worlds away from the warm, comfortable, vanilla-seasoned lavender of Caron Pour un Homme or Jicky. The fragrance pyramid for Kiki lists caramel, but I do not perceive this as a particularly sweet scent. Brisk, tart fruit and crisp green notes brighten Kiki as it wears, so while it retains its initial astringent character it becomes a sunny and uplifting fragrance, rather than the craggy monument to lavender that Gris Clair represents.
Kiki only begins to sweeten well into its development, and even then the pronounced fruit accord keeps it from both the soporific languor and the barbershop associations that attach to so many lavender perfumes. It’s only when the fruit and green herbaceous notes subside – which they inevitably do after three or four hours – that Kiki drifts into more traditional lavender territory. As with many scents based on lavender, Kiki offers conspicuous sillage and powerful projection, so that more than a moderate application can make the scent oppressive, especially in hot weather. On the whole I’d rate Kiki as one of the better lavenders I’ve tried, though I wish it would retain its distinctive crispy edge for longer.
Kiki extrait opens on a strongly aromatic, balmy and invigorating lavender note that slowly reveals fruity and woody facets, to end in a- slightly burnt- caramel and patchouli base that reminds me a bit of the drydown of Bornéo 1834. Although I admire the structure and the craft behind this fragrance, I can't avoid a certain annoyance due to my strong association between lavender and old barbershop products. I can get rid of this feeling during the whole, long time of wearing.
It's like the maturity that I usually recognize in Vero Kern's fragrances here is in danger of sliding towards old and stale...
The mentholated house note is present in all Vero Kern compositions. Here the sweet lavender comes out of the gate and is cloying and slightly disgusting straight away. The balance does not change through its moderate progression time. For a sweet gourmandish lavender, see Serge Lutens' Fourreau Noir, which is far better and again, more balanced. This is not terrible, but not enjoyable either.
Out of all the lavender fougeres I've tried so far I honestly like this one the most. There are a few others I haven't tried yet, but I honestly like Kiki so much that I can't imagine I'll like anything else more. I can smell the citron in this fragrance a lot, mixed about equally with the lavender and the overall effect is really pleasant. There is also something in this fragrance which smells kind of herbal and green to me which I suspect is probably the patchouli in the base. Apparently, I really like patchouli in fragrances. (I think I do anyway.)
I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a really good unisex lavender-citron fougere. In my humble opinion there really isn't anything to strongly dislike about this fragrance.
I was eager to sample this, as I read some really wonderful reviews in the perfume blogs. I also love lavender, so I was really looking forward to wearing this. The first minute of this perfume was lovely. I got the very strong, acerbic lavender I was looking for. But after that, the perfume went south on me. It turned very 1980s dirty old man cologne on me. Think, something that would come out of a cowboy hat shaped Avon bottle. I always try to note that my skin does weird things to perfumes when I review. So this might just be my chemistry.
The friendly, easy-going extrait of Kiki must surely be a serious contender for the Finest Lavender Of All Time award. Reminiscent of Provencal sirop de lavande - with its lip-smacking balance of sweetness and freshness - it brings out all the most languid, romantic aspects of the plant's unmistakable scent. The familiar smokiness, the hints of pine and the visions of open skies are all placed on a rich gourmand base with the faintest touch of what my nose detects as patchouli. The eau de parfum is equally smooth and breathtaking, but it tips the balance more heavily in favour of the citrus top notes, at the expense of the caramelised conclusion. As a result, it's much sharper and more alert, but still suffused with the sparkling beauty of the Côte d'Azur.