Kenzo Flower in the Air ~ perfume review

Kenzo Flower in the Air, banner advert

Kenzo launched Flower in 2000, and it has staying power: it's been a best seller for the brand ever since, and it's still on the list of the top 10 selling fragrances in France.1 No surprise, then, that Kenzo releases flankers on a fairly regular basis. I wasn't a huge fan of the original Flower; as I said in 100 Fragrances Every Perfumista Should Try, Flower was both wildly popular and just off-kilter enough to be interesting, but it isn't really my sort of thing. Some of the flankers I've liked more than the original (Flower Oriental) and some of them I've found interesting but also not entirely me (Winter Flowers), and some of them I've skipped altogether (most of the spring and summer variations).

Flower in the Air is the latest. Like the original Kenzo Flower, it was developed by perfumer Alberto Morillas. Unlike previous flankers, it sports a brand new bottle, and the design is great fun (see below) — the (scentless) red poppy that was reportedly the inspiration for Flower floats above the bottle on a clear lucite cap, and although it's hard to tell in the picture, the bottle has a slight teardrop shape. 

As you might have guessed from the packaging, the scent is brand new as well. Instead of the stylized idea of a red poppy, we have Morillas' take on an "ideal rose"; he has described the composition also as an "exceptional ethereal flowery scent".2 And it is ethereal, at least, eventually. The start is sharp and loud, almost metallic, with very sweet berries and the usual pink pepper very much in evidence. I did not much care for it on paper. On skin, it settles quickly into a pretty floral blend of rose, gardenia and magnolia, a little lemon-y, a little green. It's all done in the modern style: think sheer and clean rather than deep and rich, all laid over a light woody musk base. 

Verdict: It's well done and easy to wear, at least, once it dries down. It's clean, but not too clean, and it smells young but not so young that anybody couldn't wear it. The emphasis is on the "ideal" as much as on the rose, that is, it does smell like rose, but it's clearly not geared towards lovers of traditional rose perfumes; likewise, women who find traditional rose perfumes stuffy should not have a problem with Flower in the Air. It probably isn't quirky enough to attract hard core perfumistas, and I found it less interesting than Flower Oriental or Winter Flowers, and arguably less interesting than the original Flower. Still, it's a decent enough outing and given the added attraction of the packaging, and the as-always perfect Kenzo advertising, it will no doubt find an audience.

The lasting power is fine but it's pretty darned close to the skin after an hour or so — it probably wears more like an Eau de Toilette than an Eau de Parfum.

Kenzo Flower in the Air, flacon

Kenzo Flower in the Air is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml Eau de Parfum.

1. See What French Women Love : Top 20 Best Selling Perfumes In France 2012 at Bois de Jasmin. Flower is #7.

2. See Kenzo flies high with new edp Flower In The Air at Cosmetics Business.

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18 Comments

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  1. Bejoux says:

    It’s such a weird name – the flankers are affecting my brain. When I heard this I assumed it was same frag in a bottle design just to be sold in airports.
    Tried it though and I agree, not bad but not good either. My fave is Oriental.

    • Robin says:

      It is a weird name, but I like it — sick of qualifiers like “Noir” and “Intense” and whatnot.

      Oriental really was a good one, wish they’d kept making it.

  2. eaudemale says:

    Why is Morillas always making an ideal something, an ideal flower, an ideal scent… (Kenzo Power?).

    • Robin says:

      I think that’s Kenzo rather than Morillas — they do the brief, after all.

  3. annemarie says:

    Does it have that Kenzo-ish off-kilter feel, ie deliberately artificial? Maybe in the metallic opening? Kenzo seems to do that in its perfumes maybe as a nod to the urban aesthetic of the brand. The original Flower has it, and Ca Sent Beau has it in spades.

    • Robin says:

      Yes on the deliberately artificial, but to my mind, not off-kilter in the way the original Flower was.

  4. Emily says:

    If that bottle were sold empty, I’d buy one.

    • Robin says:

      I really like that the cap isn’t likely to line up with the bottle when you put it back on. On the other hand, that will drive some people nuts :-)

  5. solanace says:

    I really liked the original tv ad, because the woman was enjoying the night (was she on acid?!), and not trying to seduce a man. But in this picture it looks like the Seine is tainted with blood. Scary.

    • Robin says:

      I am a huge fan of Kenzo’s advertising — it’s stunningly beautiful and yes, not just about seduction. Didn’t see the Seine that way in the ad, but now I do see what you mean!

      • solanace says:

        Like Tarantino once said, the problem is not the blood, it’s the red color. I wonder how the competent advertising people at Kenzo could let it pass.

  6. poodle says:

    I like the bottle. I have Flower and I went through a bottle of Winter Flower so I’ll give this a sniff. Neither of the two I’ve had have much lasting power but they were good bedtime scents for me.

    • Robin says:

      Winter Flowers was really well done, even though I didn’t adore it. I have a feeling it had better lasting power than this, but just guessing.

  7. eminere says:

    If it’s a new bottle and a new floral inspiration, why didn’t Kenzo just start a new collection family?

  8. irisfreak says:

    The ad is supposed to conjure the iconic image from THE RED BALLOON, a classic French film – except here the red poppies replace the balloons in the image. Such a wonderful movie.

  9. APassionateJourney says:

    Bottle looks a bit like Unbreakable Bond. Not sure if that bottle is entirely original. I do wish they had kept the original bottle and had just made it a different color as I do enjoy the Flower bottle but really dislike the scent. I really enjoyed this scent :)

  10. rena1 says:

    This is a beautiful scent, on a nice sunny day…its fresh, breezy and you get a break from all the candy reeking scents out to the least:)

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