Jungle L'Éléphant 
Kenzo (1996)

Average Rating:  62 User Reviews

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Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

Fragrance Overview Where to Buy Reviews Community Ownership

About Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

People & Companies

Fragrance House
Joel Desgrippes
Packaging / Bottle Design

A distinctive spicy oriental fragrance. The first of Kenzo's Jungle range.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo

There are 62 reviews of Jungle L'Éléphant by Kenzo.

A fabulously big, generous perfume that is difficult to imagine being worn by anyone other than the zaftig, kaftan-wearing woman with the reputation of being the neighborhood 'hugger'. It's funny how tastes change. I remember smelling this in a mall in Podgorica, Montenegro, before heading up to my kickboxing class and recoiling from the sharp but sweet pungency of the spice overload (I had applied enough to one knuckle to gas the entire class out). Now, though the prunol-enhanced spicy plum mass is still as intensely spiced and as dense as two bricks glued together, I am better able to duck and weave my way around it to locate the banana-ish ylang and balmy vanilla lurking in the background. I have been chasing my spice dream up and down the disappointing halls of niche for some time now, and though I have found firm favorites, is it possible I missed the OG?

This elephant comes crashing & trumpeting through the jungle, with a cacophonous fanfare of sweet, powdery spices: cardamom, cumin, caraway & clove, all of which l can pick out. Heliotrope just about keeps them from being too curry-like, but it's a very fine balance. A few minutes in the ylang ylang appears with its characteristic whiff of bananas, distracting the elephant into searching out & munching on the delicious fruit. This appears to have a calming effect, & slowly the elephant's mood changes to one of calm contentment as it all smooths out into a creamy-spicy base, with warm vanillic-ambery tones & a faint patchouli. Twelve hours in, the elephant finally wanders off & finds a place to sleep.

The reviews of this one led me to expect something challenging, & many seem to find it too much. While l agree that that room-filling opening is certainly not for the faint-hearted, l find the drydown very pleasant indeed. lt strikes me initially as a perfume for cosying up with in winter, but l think it could be spectacular on a sultry summer's evening, judiciously applied of course! Dear Mr Ropion, he rarely disappoints.

Ahh, the iconic kitchen sink spice of epic proportions which is Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant. Now, this is a statement fragrance, making milquetoasts blush, and driving certain sensitive souls to glower. "What a STRONG PERFUME (scoff scoff)." Do not overspray. I repeat: do not. One need not fumigate to make an impression.

Be that as it may, a judiciously applied L'Elephant is a thrill to wear, a delight for the senses as it were, and the more recent formulation I have is certainly no slouch, so I can't even imagine what this was like when it was first released to the market. The detonation of 4C (cloves, caraway, cumin, and cardamom) is arresting, like the first lines of a novel that have you transfixed and reading pages upon pages into the night. There is an almost phenolic, medicinal quality, which, while it makes me reel with pleasure, could be a bit overwhelming to noses accustomed to more contemporary gourmands.

No, L'Elephant is not quite gourmand. Not quite at all, even though we sense suggestions of mandarin and mango, they serve more to quench the spices than to render the scent sweet. This is more sweet and savory, and the headier notes of ylang ylang and gardenia add a carnal tenor into the heart. A stirring stage as lactones and hedione promenade with the spices, and one can almost mistake this for a floral heart, but surely it can't be that straightforward, as it is L'Elephant after all. No, instead we are reminded that a do-si-so will work up a sweat, if you catch my drift.

It dries down after several hours, with traces written in your personal bubble, a sillage that haunts, and a creamy, earthy, lived-in base, attributed to a synergy between an amber accord and patchouli. The wear may be a thrill ride, but the coda is one that is restful and intimate.

L'Elephant has well-earned its cult status.

I have a sample of Jungle L'Elephant and decided to dab a bit on my arm. I have now washed my arm four times with soap and water, the last time scrubbing with a baiden mitten. It's still there. I can still smell it wafting up at me, overripe fruit and cloves and cinnamon.

It's not an unpleasant scent. I think it might smell gorgeous on someone else. It's a bit too much for my own skin, but I can appreciate what Kenzo was trying to do with this one.

Jungle L'Elephant goes on with a very brief dash of nose burning sharp mandarin orange and cinnamon-like cardamom spice before quickly transitioning to its heart. As the composition enters its early heart the cardamom spice remains as significant support, as a slightly sharp green mango, warm clove and powerful almond-vanilla-like heliotrope floral accord takes the fore with soft semisweet amber rising from the base, joining the supporting cardamom. During the late dry-down the composition eschews most of its heart notes and sweetness, unveiling a soft, slightly powdery, creamy vanilla joining remnants of the smooth amber, with just a hint of patchouli through the finish. Projection is very good and longevity outstanding at over 18 hours on skin.

Jungle L'Elephant is posing quite the quandary to this writer. It has moments where it is difficult to wear, even nauseating, with its overdose of almond-vanilla heliotrope and weird green cardamom infused spiced mango, but others, during its late dry-down where it softens and smells rather pleasant. I have worn the perfume many times and even blind-bought a bottle, but in the end, while I still don't completely know what to make of it and despite its superb pedigree (being composed by the great Dominique Ropion) my gut tells me the negatives outweigh the positives and ultimately Jungle L'Elephant collapses under the weight of its overpowering green, warm-spice and heliotrope laden heart that just is too much to bear. The bottom line is the $50 per 100ml bottle at discounters Jungle L'Elephant shows flashes of near-brilliance late, but the perfume ultimately collapses under the weight of its nauseatingly powerful heart, earning it an "average" 2.5 stars out of 5 rating and an avoid recommendation to all except potent cardamom-laced heliotrope lovers.

Lots of lovely spices! I get lots of cinnamon, some cardamom, also something resinous and boozy. There is some rich and sticky sweetness underneath - but not too much sweetness. Quite mature, but in a very very good and sensual way. It's not for little girls - it's for a woman grown, strong, confident, a bit wild, a bit fiery, and, why, smelling delicious.

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