Kenzo Vintage Edition ~ fragrance review

Kenzo Vintage Edition, perfume ad

Kenzo's latest is Vintage Edition, or more properly, by Kenzo Vintage Edition (that's a peace symbol, for those of you who don't have a browser capable of rendering one). It's a unisex fragrance, launched in honor of Kenzo's 20th anniversary as a perfume house:

The 1970's witnessed the arrival of Kenzo Takada on the Parisian fashion scene. To celebrate this era of exploration, life, and daring creativity, Kenzo reinvents the scent of the seventies with a limited edition unisex fragrance that captures the essence of freedom. (via kenzousa)

The essence of freedom — who doesn't need some of that? Vintage Edition was developed by perfumer Annick Menardo (who was also responsible for the 1999 limited edition Kenzo Time for Peace for Him), and features notes of musk, heliotrope, cedar, tonka bean, vanilla and mandarin. After brief citrusy-vanilla opening, heliotrope is pretty much the star of the show. The heart vaguely recalls cookie dough ice cream, but that makes it sound sweeter and heavier than it is — in keeping with the unisex target, the sweet notes are tempered by dark earthy woods in the base (with vague hints of something almost-but-not-quite-leather), and Vintage Edition, while not something I'd wear on the hottest days of summer, has a gauzy finish that doesn't overwhelm. Still, it's a creamy-woody comfort scent more than anything — it could be the masculine version of Kenzo Amour, or, for that matter, the cleaned-up (or dumbed-down, depending on your outlook), feminine version of Bvlgari Black.

Kenzo Vintage Edition perfume bottle

It's a fine scent, and while there's nothing daring about it, it's perfectly wearable. I'd wear it if I had some, but I can't say I'm moved to buy it — there are many more interesting creamy-woody comfort scents to be had. Which is too bad, because if, like me, you still retain some fondness for 1970s flower power design, the bottle is a keeper, and the outer packaging (there are four different box designs) is fun too. But what I like best of all is the ad (shown at top), and I kind of wish they'd done an equally wild bottle with more color.

The lasting power is very good (as with Monday's Bvlgari Jasmin Noir, I could still smell it the next morning), but it wears a bit close to the skin after a couple hours.

Kenzo Vintage Edition is available in 100 ml Eau de Toilette. For another opinion, see March's review at Perfume Posse.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I do need the essence of freedom. Freedom from heliotrope, for one :-) I have a feeling I will not enjoy this one.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I was looking forward to this release after I began reading all the editorial on it. Purple bottle (my fav color) peace sign, notes I love, had all the making of an “unsniffed” purchase, which all said and done I wound up doing. When I opened the package from Sephora, WOW…beautiful bottle…spray, sniff….Boring! I was let down, and returned it to my nearest sephora. Too mellow for my taste. I will say that co-workers (female) thought it was nice.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It isn't a favorite note of mine either, but that's partially because it's usually so darned sweet. Not so bad in this case. Still, might not be your thing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is true, there's nothing exciting about it, esp. in contrast to the fun packaging. Perhaps “mellow” is a good fit for a 1970s Peace & Love fragrance, though…

  5. Anonymous says:

    LOL…afted I re-read my post…I thought the same thing!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Ha! I already wear Kenzo Amour as the masculine version of Amour. (My tactic for wearing “feminines” is to under-apply even more than usual.)

    I am really suprised that there is no patchouli in this–does anything scream peace-sign sixties like the smell of patchouli and bongwater?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The base is much darker and earthier to my nose than is explained by cedar — it either has another dark wood, or some soft suede-ish leather or some very clean patch. But it has absolutely no “head shop” vibe at all, and there isn't anything about it (other than the packaging) that says 1970s to me.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I do not like this fragrance and this one reminds me too much of Kenzo Jungle Elephant as well.

    The color of the bottle is aubergine and could easily be a bottle from The Body Shop.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That's exactly what I thought the first time I saw the bottle; it's very Body Shop, kind of cheap-looking and not nearly as interesting as Kenzo bottles generally seem to be. Shame, really.

  10. Anonymous says:

    M & P — it is true, what money they spent went to getting the peace sign on there, not the shape. Still, I like the bottle ok — if the fragrance were a tad more interesting, I'd buy it.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It sounds like we're getting almost the same thing! I'm glad it wasn't as sweet as I feared, and considerably darker at the base. BTW I was interested to see no visible sign at Sephora that they were marketing this to men… I like it well enough, and would be happy to get it as a gift, but I don't like it nearly as much as either Amour or Flower Oriental, which is tenacious and surprisingly masculine (at least on me) and I think woefully underappreciated.

  12. Anonymous says:

    It is in the women's section at Sephora NY.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I hate the hippie-era visuals, and this doesn't sound particularly exciting.

    However, I AM excited about my recent sampling of my first Kenzo ever: Kenzo Air, which is terrific out of all proportion to what the name might lead you to believe. I'm thinking I really want a bottle, and it was a bigger winner for me than the somewhat similar LA Fou d'Absinthe.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Sephora doesn't ever seem to put unisex fragrances on both walls, do they? Seems silly, but then, I have a feeling this will appeal to women more than men. Agree on Flower Oriental, that might be my favorite thing Kenzo has ever done.

  15. Anonymous says:

    And I have not tried Kenzo Air — I'll have to look for it!

  16. Anonymous says:

    i bought it, because i immediately loved it. it's so much more appealling to me than other “unisex” scents….and it doesn't smell like many other things that i've encountered, and although i'm wearing it this summer, i can't wait to wear it in the fall to bonfires!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Seems perfect for a fall bonfire — lately it seems like half the stuff that comes out is launching in the wrong season.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I work for Sephora and at my store (which is not in a major city) we sometimes only get 4 to 6 pcs on a limited edition like this one. If we had to double face it, we would have to open two bottles for testers as well as Kenzo doesn't send testers. I was awaiting this one as well and when I smelled it, I wanted to place it on the masculine side. Any time you are at Sephora, just ask for a Fragrance Expert (look for the Fragrance Foundation Pin on the jacket) and they would be happy to show you the shared scents.

  19. Anonymous says:

    I usually don't have a problem with low-sillage/skin scents, but Kenzo is just a ghost of a perfume on me. The one hour I can get out of it is lovely burnt woods and nutty but airy almond, after which it just goes poof! :( I totally agree on the comparison w/ Bulgari Black, which I like much better and hey, that one at least sticks around. For ages.

    You haven't tried KenzoAir? Oh, but you must, it seems right up your alley (while you're at it, give the Intense a whirl as well). And – if you chance upon last year's Ferre for Man (Iris Alert), please smell that one too! :)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Dusan, that was Bvlgari Jasmin Noir on me (ghost of a scent) but VE, while not heavy, was what I think of as a “normal” EdT — so we had different experiences, I guess! But will certainly look for the Kenzo. Pretty sure I've tried the Ferre but need to go check my notes…

  21. Anonymous says:

    That makes sense, thanks!

  22. Anonymous says:

    I love the ad art to pieces; what a good looking blast from the past.

    And the scent itself sounds interesting; I'll have to give it a sniff next time I'm in Sephora.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear from another fan of the ad — I think it's great!

  24. i really like the colot of the bottle of Kenzo. since my favorite color is lavender that’s why i love it. and i think that i will love the smell of it too..

    • Robin says:

      It’s a pretty bottle.

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