Kenzo's original male fragrance. Captures a sense of the sea.

Kenzo pour Homme fragrance notes

  • Head

    • ozone, green leaves, bergamot, fennel
  • Heart

    • nutmeg, clove, sage, geranium
  • Base

    • oakmoss, vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood, rosewood, musk, iris, cedarwood

Latest Reviews of Kenzo pour Homme

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I was able to locate a vintage version of Kenzo Pour Homme for a song and it's true that it is an extraordinary manifestation of modern perfume in 1991, arguably smelling ahead of its time. It took the template of the dihydro-myrcenol heavy aquatics of Cool Water and such, rendering it more floral, woody, and dare I say, "arty." It was a harbinger of what would appear in niche perfumery at the turn of the following century.

This version (I can't speak for current or recent formulations) has dimensions to it. The citrus resonates and the pine is plangent and shadowy, the aquatic accord does not screech and feels almost meditative. Most notably, there are florals, spices, and herbs that add what I can only describe as "reverb" to the whole experience. A bit of lily of the valley, even a bit of carnation, awash with waves of ozonic freshness.

The dry down is nearly chypre-like, gradually warming into sandalwood, moss, and amber. There is so much texture overall, that it verges on vertiginous, much like standing on a cliff by the ocean. It is such a captivating wear, not to mention nostalgic, as there are moments where I recall having smelled this in the atmosphere of my youth.
27th September 2023
This fragrance is unique and evocative of the ocean, but it has an artificial feel to it, almost like a simulation. It's not a hyper-realistic or salty scent like Hermes' Epice Marine. Instead, it feels synthetic, like you're standing on an artificial pier while seagulls drop coniferous vegetation around you.

While the reviewer has sold their bottle and wasn't the biggest fan of the scent, they still appreciate the composition and creativity that went into creating it.
12th March 2022

This stuff was revolution in a bottle, anathema to the "old guard" tastemakers that needed everything to smell rich and redolent, but also a bizarre non-fragrance to more modern noses used to the synthetics that this one heaped on in globs, and that is the point of Kenzo pour Homme (1991). The "fresh revolution" as I like to nickname it was already ushered in by forebearers like Guy Laroche Drakkar Noir (1982), Creed Green Irish Tweed (1985), and the first recognized modern aquatic of Davidoff Cool Water (1988), but these fragrances tethered something natural to the core of their being to reign in the abstraction. Drakkar Noir set this precedent by countering the dihydromyrcenol and dimetol with a soapy lavender fougère structure evolved from Paco Rabanne pour Homme (1973), while Green Irish Tweed had a backdrop of verbena, iris, and violet leaf for it's exercise in vividness. Cool Water piggybacked off Green Irish Tweed and swapped the green florals for mint, lavender, and soft amber, so the modus operandi for many that followed was set. New West by Aramis (1988) balanced a calone mega-dose with a chypre structure, while Calvin Klein Eternity for Men (1989) sandwiched a fougère accord between aromachemical bread slices. Kenzo pour Homme throws caution to the wind however, saying screw sensibilities, pushing the "freshness" front and center, then building the rest of itself around that rather than trying to blend down aromachemicals. You'll either love or hate this scent, but it was a signifier of the future. Christian Mathieu makes paradoxically his most challenging yet widely celebrated work here with Kenzo pour Homme, and although the punishing dose of aromachemicals here wouldn't be repeated with this level of cynicism until 20+ years later, Kenzo pour Homme still set a new precedent for better or worse.

To say Kenzo pour Homme is an aquatic would be mostly fair, as it is based around the same "aquatic" elements of citral, dimetol, dihydromyrcenol, calone-1951, various floral ozonic melon elements jacked to 11 like floralzone, melonal, lyral (replaced by florhydral in newer batches), eugenol, and so forth. There is so little "real" about the opening it is almost jarring to the senses, like looking at an uncanny valley for your nose. Extremely crisp, metallic, and cold from what also smells like a bit of something camphoraceous, Kenzo pour Homme establishes its "sea notes" theme right away, sending in the robot flowers brigade into the heart, where a litany of things from rose and carnation to jasmine, muguet, and orris are listed but God so help me all I get is hedione high-cis powering a vague rosy wall of white noise similar to what MFK employs now. Somehow Kenzo pour Homme remains likeable, like a perfected smile on an unfeeling android face, then softens into a woody base that differs depending on vintage, since some naturals appear here in earlier bottles. If you have the capped "bamboo" bottle, you'll get something closer to a sandalwood base, with a bit of creaminess that is made green and dry by vetiver, cedar, and fir, then padded out with oakmoss for diffusion. Early testers with integrated sprayers that look like current bottles but missing the star pattern also have this formula. Once you move to the integrated sprayers that look like hilts to a Katana with the star, the base gets much drier and more woody, as the sandalwood is gone, the oakmoss dialed down (then replaced with evernyl), and the cedar/pine notes taking over. Both cases will have you swimming in late-stage iris ionones and patchouli terpenes in the drydown, lest you think the aromachemicals were done with you, but older versions wear a little sweeter from the sandalwood and oakmoss.

I don't have to talk about performance with this one, as we have a rare aquatic that's notorious for its "beastmode" performance despite being subtle in terms of compositional style. The kind of "aggressive beige" pleasantness of Kenzo pour Homme is best compared to a Taco Bell interior from the 1990's, with cheap materials and pastel colors set in cream colored plastics that individually look benign, but when combined create the interior design equivalent of Divine's stage makeup. Kenzo pour Homme lasts a day in vintage, and still probably a good 10 hours in newer forms. Kenzo pour Homme was meant to get louder with the application of heat, so even though you may think it's best in summer, Kenzo pour Homme can become a monster if not applied discretely. Unsurprisingly, this one has strong winter legs too since your body heat will crank up the woody base so it easily becomes a year-round signature if this is your bag. I'm lead to my final point with this realization of accidental versatility through potency: who is Kenzo pour Homme meant for from a marketing standpoint? The late Kenzo Takada (RIP) was a forward-thinking "avant-garde" figure similar to Japanese fashion peer Issey Miyake, so I think the real answer is "everyone, no one". Kenzo pour Homme predicted the obsession with extroversion and mass appeal men's designer fragrances would develop in coming decades, then parodies the thing it helped set in motion by just being so damned extra, yet somehow is still perfume high art like the old chypres vintage snobs stick out their pinkies when spraying. Kenzo pour Homme is an old shock rock singer a la King Diamond, with an outward appearance poised to offend until you realize they have an impressive set of pipes. If you need freshness like you need a kick to the face, this is for you. Thumbs up.
31st March 2021
It's impossible to write about Kenzo pour Homme without mentioning Cool Water.
Not that Kenzo pour Homme is a Cool Water clone, it isn't.

It Is an aquatic, but Kenzo pour Homme is lighter and more streamlined than Cool Water. And because the profile is thinner the chemical feel of the aquatics tends to come through more. Christian Mathieu gets around this by adding a gently sweet and rubbery accord that cushions the effect but still doesn't hide the theme. Which means that Kenzo pH is more discrete - and more benign than CW; an aquatic with a human face.

Because of this, Kenzo pour Homme was probably the first aquatic to break away from the Cool Water mould and present its own take on the theme; with its 'Zen' response to Cool Water, Kenzo moved the genre forward.

If Cool Water is New Wave, Kenzo was the Seventh Wave.

[I have two different types of sample, a tree bottle mini without box, and a vial housed in a slim wood-print box. Their profiles are close but not identical. The tree is a little sweeter and heavier. A difference in base notes like this can't be due to age degradation, the formulas must be different.]
10th July 2020
Just about a thumbs up from me.

I owned this back in the mid 90's. It was a great and very unique fragrance. Just recently bought the current version. It is 70% the same but something is missing. This is lighter. The original was much deeper and darker. This one lack a bit of body. There is also a slight hairspray thing going on! Still smells decent.

Original version - 8/10
Current version - 6/10
1st May 2018
Horrific perfume. I was really excited to try this out as I read so many great reviews about this smelling like a true oceanic/marine fragrance with lifelike oceanic seaweed notes as well as driftwood and Japanese aquatic florals.

However it smelled nothing of the sort. Upon spraying it on my skin, it was an extremely strong and almost pungent odour. It's the first time I have ever coughed when smelling a fragrance.

After that, I immediately smelled STRONG rubber along with some sort of florals in the background. No marine notes, not even an aquatic calone note. No vegetation and no seaweed.

Just extremely strong rubber along with some sort of sweet florals in the background. And this same scent lasted for hours and hours. The longevity and sillage were both incredible. But yes, rubber and florals for hours and hours is pretty horrid.

I returned my full bottle pretty much immediately. Don't understand the rave reviews this fragrance gets, and I'm not an aquatics-basher (in fact aquatics are my favourite genre and dominate my wardrobe).
7th February 2018
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