Thursday, September 25, 2008

Power by Kenzo: fragrance review

by guest writer Mike Perez

The new men’s fragrance, Power by Kenzo, is ‘on paper’ a fragrance that easily entices my curiosity: The perfumer is Olivier Polge (Dior Homme, The One for Men, Flowerbomb) It’s a floral fragrance marketed to men. The shiny, stainless steel ‘sake inspired’ bottle is modern, sleek and just gorgeous.

What struck me at first, when I carefully read the box was Kenzo released this scent as an Eau de Toilette Fraiche. Most men’s fragrances are usually released as an Eau de Toilette first, and then if the scent is popular they’ll roll out a flanker product (Light, Summer Version, etc.) With Power, they released the ‘lighter’ version first. Which got me wondering: Has anyone ever done this before, in a men’s release?

The top notes, immediately upon impact with my skin, smell fruity, powdery and creamy. If you know me, you’ll know that I find this mixture oddly uncomfortable. Perhaps the only way I could describe it is: powdered cherry soy milk. If there was such a thing. Once my skin warmed up, the fruit became more subdued and the creamy powdery aspect of the scent transitioned into a much more floral scent. Let’s talk about those ‘florals’. Like Flower by Kenzo (their woman’s scent) Power attempts to recreate an ‘imaginary’ flower smell. So, what does this imaginary flower (for a man) smell like? A few things: sweet, sugar sprinkled iris; a little violet, but extremely light violet notes; powdery floral notes – reminiscent of something slightly edible (remember those purple and yellow flowers made out of icing that you see on wedding cakes – that smell).

A man uncomfortable wearing iris (as I mentioned in my review of Infusion d’ Homme) or other flower prominent scents (Fleur de Male by Gaultier, Insense by Givenchy, and Saville Row by Richard James – to name a few) will probably not enjoy Power. Having said that, I think men and women who love subdued floral fragrances will adore this scent. I am amazed that Kenzo chose this as a masculine (rather than releasing it as a unisex) scent.

Once the fragrance has warmed on my skin, the florals pull a ‘Houdini act’ and poof (!), they’re gone. Replaced by a very hushed woody base with a touch of powder. There is a drop of something aquatic also in the base, but I can’t put my finger on it. I’m reminded of the watery woody He Wood by DSquared₂ - whitewashed woods floating on sweet, cool, lightly floral water.

Which leads me back to my first statement – yes, this scent has enticed my curiosity and my nose but I can’t imagine wanting to own a bottle. I’m reminded of a few scents that I’ve tried over the years, fragrances that the guys and gals over at Basenotes go bananas over. I hunt down a sample, try it, sample it a second time, put it away, re-try it a third time…you know the story.

I find it extremely admirable that a designer house is marching into the masculine fragrance world with an extremely flower prominent scent. Big thumbs up! But still…

Power is a scent I want to love. But I don’t.

Visit the Kenzo Power website here.

Clip originally uploaded by antonpan1201 on Youtube (song: Tom MacRae "You cut her hair"). Pic from film "Secretary" via, pic of Jasos Statham chosen and uploaded by Mike


  1. Very interesting review - thank you Mike!

  2. Anonymous16:37

    Nice review. On my hand it is an indefinable scent and very lackluster. The bottle is better than the scent.

  3. Anonymous17:03

    Thanks Dimitri - I know you love this one more than I. Which is why I kept trying to like it so much...but in the end, I wasn't 'getting' it. :(

  4. Anonymous17:08

    Thanks lavinia.

    Indefinable is a great description of Power.

    This can, of course, be a good thing when one likes the actual scent (like Dzing! by L'Artisan, for example) and annoying when one doesn't like the actual scent (Ouarzazate by CdG springs to mind).

    Agree on the bottle. I just want to hold it in my hand and pour it out. :)

  5. Mike, "love" might be too strong a word, but I am impressed with Power, and do feel its one of the better men's mainstream releases this year. :) I think it marks a new direction for them.
    I did not notice the mention of "EDT fraiche" - I kinda wish Id kept my box now... the bottle itself reads EDT.

  6. Anonymous19:32


    Yes, I'm guessing Kenzo is going to be releasing 'Power Extreme' as the flanker.

    Which sounds like a Sony Playstation game. Or the title of a Jason Statham movie.


  7. Anonymous14:54

    I think that Power is an inadequate name for the scent, it is not very powerful, is it? :-)

  8. Anonymous17:43



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