Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
How can roots be made soaring, their dark earthiness turned into the effervescence of champagne and their woodiness into the lightness of rice paper? If the roots are vetiver and the perfumer is Maurice Roucel, the result is KenzoAir (2003)—a transparent and crisp arrangement of vetiver resting on a sheer ambery base. …
Vetiver is a complex fragrance note that possesses a suave woody sweetness against an interesting bright element reminiscent of grapefruit. In KenzoAir, the main accord is based on the pairing of anise and vetiver, a combination that accentuates the sweetness and the vivid facets of the roots. While KenzoAir ranges from a cold sip of lemonade to a bracing touch of summer breeze, it always retains a certain serene aura that I find rather unexpected and for this reason alluring.
There is no doubt that vetiver has been explored widely as the dominant note, from the intense Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire to the elegant Terre d’Hermès. However, despite the profusion of vetiver fragrances, KenzoAir manages to captivate with its unusual juxtaposition of accords that allows one to experience a whole spectrum of sensations, from the sweet icy bite of anise to the velvety ambered woods. All the while, the contrasts are rendered in a harmonious manner that marks many of Maurice Roucel’s compositions. A study in vetiver, KenzoAir will prove to be a fascinating discovery for anyone with interest in this note, men and women alike.
KenzoAir includes notes of anise, bergamot, Haitian vetiver, amber and woods. The Eau de Parfum Intense version also includes angelica and cumin. It is widely available at Escentual and various European retailers. In the US, I have not had as much luck finding it at Kenzo counters, although Sephora carries some ancillary products. Various discounters such as Perfumart are likely to carry it as well.