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    Somerville Metro Man's avatar

    United States United States

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    Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

    Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant

    Y'know how we say we want more movies that take risks or music that doesn't sound like anything else or perfume that is willing to take risks? Very often we say these things but it seems that these artistic efforts that live up to our desires never seem to stick around for long. Today's example is 1996's Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant. This was one of a pair of scents created by Dominique Ropion in this time period and both of them stand out from my impression of Kenzo as a standard designer of solid scents that don't necessarily push the envelope. At least back in the mid-90's the line took a chance and tried to do that and of course they both are discontinued. L'Elephant is full of the spices I love and while most scents would just stop there L'Elephant continues to accelerate seemingly adding every note in the perfumer's arsenal and somehow making it work for me. From the top this blows in on a stiff breeze laden with cardamom, cumin and clove. There is a hint of citrus but it is so fleeting it took my third sniff of this to convince myself it was there. No, the beginning of this is the cool lemon fresh of cardamom, the depth of cumin, and the heat of clove and it works wonderfully on me. If you are cumin or clove averse the beginning of this will be tough for you, let me ask you to be patient beacause as much as I like the top this one just gets better as it develops. The heart starts with a ripe floral mix of ylang-ylang and heliotrope; the contrapuntal beat is provided by anise and this is full-on licorice which in contrast to the sweet floral makes beautiful music. The note list again lists mango as a note but this time I can't convince myself that it's there. This heart smells like a chai tea as the spices are still there but way in the background. Just as I think things are on the verge of getting too busy in comes more in the form of vanilla and amber and these add to the richness of this scent. The development of this just kept piling on so much I was beginning to feel like the olfactory equivalent of M. Creosote and fearing the one thin mint note which would cause my nose to explode. Let me close this with a warning, this scent is not for everyone it has all of the subtlety of a jackhammer at times and then at other times it rewards you with subtle surprises as these notes interact and create different landscapes to explore with your nose. If you're not into trying weird things, stay away. On the other hand if you're a scent adventurer strap on your pith helmet and head into the Jungle and hunt up some L'Elephant.

    28 March, 2009