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So What Does That New Kenzo Scent Smell Like?

Kenzo seems so cool that they’d be above a making a consumer good like a perfume. Even if they did make a perfume, they wouldn’t make a commercial for it, would they? They seem above that.

Yet, that’s what they’ve done: to get people hyped for their new Kenzo World scent, they enlisted director Spike Jonze, choreographer Ryan Heffington, and dancer-actress Margaret Qualley for a fantastically manic commercial. It’s funny and refreshing, a parody of what fragrance campaigns should be. It’s so extremely Kenzo.

The only question: what does World actually smell like? The commercial is lip synching and shaking around the frame, ending in the rocketing through the Kenzo eye: that barely qualifies as an olfactory explanation. Fun and great but not necessarily an explaining of how you would smell.

The brand’s description isn’t much better either.

KENZO entrusted the composition of its new fragrance to the exceptional perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. This avant-garde creator does not hesitate to mix… Genres, styles and materials. He takes perfume off the beaten path, shakes the classical dust off of flowers, and dares to go to extremes… This fragrance is an unprecedented blend of peony, jasmine and the sparkling crystals of ambroxan®. An unexpected, astonishing and addictive floral bouquet.

This is great but the “ambroxan®” leaves me hanging.

Let’s turn to Bloomingdale’s: how does it smell?

Playful and dynamic this floral scent combines peony, jasmine, and radiant Ambroxan crystals embodying the Kenzo spirit: a world that celebrates freedom of expression, diversity, and creativity. See the world your way. Introducing, Kenzo World.

Flower plus flower plus…a chemical? I’m intrigued but, still, confused.

According to Now Smell This’ perfume glossary, Ambroxan is a synthetic compound with a “musky-amber odor” which is best exemplified with Molecule 02 by Escentric Molecule. Lucky Scent describes that scent as “smooth, skin-like, we-can’t-put-our-finger-on-it fragrance” with a “slight mineral-like edge.”

You have a vague idea of how it smells, no? Same. So let’s stop and put it all together and imagine how these scents coalesce.

“Explain to me what Kenzo World smells like.”

• “It’s like walking through a Japanese garden in 2189, where the scent of aluminum trees cut through the florals.”
• “Imagine you are in a crisp blue bedroom with large white pillar candles surrounding a person’s recently molted skin.”
• “It’s a lot like selecting a bite from a bowl of pink olives and Valium™.”
• “The air between Gwendolyn and Amber Rose.”
• “If you had a Chanel No. 5 advertising campaign featuring Dot Matrix, you’d know the scent.”
• “It’s a lot like the findings of a group of Parisian scientists after investigating a field of albino grass.”
• “Maurizio Cattelan.
• “You, naked, slowly pouring a vial of warmed cloudy oil into a toaster.”
• “The frozen tears of David hardening before the Blue Fairy.”
• “Everything shimmery about this outfit.

It’s gotta be one of those.

I’m intrigued and want to smell this for myself, that awkward, robust, future-nature smell from Kenzo. It could be the scent of the season—if only we knew what that meant.

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