Kenzo Jungle L’Elephant : Perfume Review

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I love those moments when I catch a whiff of something beautiful and it turns out to be my own perfume. Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant doesn’t unroll like a neat scroll; it undulates like ripples on water. Suddenly you find yourself catching a wave of scent–cardamom stewed plums,  smoky woods and dried orange peel, and it feels so unexpected and delightful.

Those who know Kenzo from their latest tame releases–Amour, Madly, and the like, will be surprised by Jungle L’Éléphant. It smells like something that should be called “Noir,” “niche”, and “exclusive”. Instead, Jungle L’Éléphant is available at Sephora* and online discounters. In 1996 when Jungle L’Éléphant was launched, Kenzo wasn’t the dull mainstream house that it is today, and this perfume is a great example of their previously bold and exotic aesthetic.

Jungle L’Éléphant was created by perfumers who between the two of them are responsible for a dozen legendary creations. Dominique Ropion made a splash with Givenchy Ysatis and Amarige, while Jean-Louis Sieuzac‘s Yves Saint Laurent Opium still defines spicy oriental perfumes. Their Kenzo collaboration is bold, sensual, but also playful. At first, you will be whisked to a spice market where you will be dazzled by the scents of cardamom and cinnamon. Before long, you’re in a pastry shop admiring glazed fruits filled with marzipan and pistachio baklava. Thus satisfied, you end up in a hammam (bathhouse) scented with sandalwood and amber incense.

This sensory kaleidoscope makes Jungle L’Éléphant sound heavy and dense, but it’s far from it. It has plenty of radiance, and the opulent notes are contrasted with the tart mandarin zest and sheer jasmine.  The exotic, fairytale like aura that I find so enchanting about Jungle L’Éléphant doesn’t come at the expense of elegance and harmony.  I find it easier to wear than Serge Lutens Arabie or Estée Lauder Cinnabar and just as distinctive. Fans of Chanel Coco, Fendi Theorema, and of spicy woods in general, should give Jungle L’Éléphant a chance.

A year after Jungle was launched, Kenzo presented a new variation called Le Tigre. That’s why Jungle eventually became known as Jungle L’Éléphant to differentiate it from its feline companion.  Le Tigre was softer and milder than L’Éléphant, and it liberally garnished its milky sandalwood with notes of apricot and osmanthus. It was attractive, but it lacked the drama of L’Éléphant, and today it’s no longer produced.

*Kenzo Jungle L’Éléphant includes notes of mandarin, cardamom, cumin, ylang-ylang, clove, heliotrope, licorice, mango, cashmeran, patchouli, amber, and vanilla. It’s available at Sephora and similar perfume stores in Europe, while in the US, your best bet is to look for it on Ebay or online discounters. It’s worth a search.

Image: Kerala Backwaters at Dusk, India, photography by Bois de Jasmin

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118 Comments

  • Anne: I’m excited to see a review of Jungle. I used to wear it a lot the mid 1990s and I thought it smelled sophisticated and mysterious. LOL! Maybe that’s how I wanted to appear. 🙂 October 10, 2012 at 8:03am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s definitely sophisticated and mysterious, and I bet that you smelled great in it. I just love catching its sillage on one of my friends who wears Jungle L’Elephant. It smells so velvety and warm. October 10, 2012 at 8:46am Reply

  • Barbara: I need to smell it again. The bottle is so beautiful. October 10, 2012 at 8:18am Reply

    • Barbara: Adding… what’s up with Kenzo these days? I tried Madly once and thought that it smelled like a cheap shampoo. KenzoAmour was just boring. October 10, 2012 at 8:20am Reply

      • Jack Sullivan: Boring (I’d say “one-dimensional” instead) as it might be, I will always have fond memories associated with KenzoAmour. It’s the perfume I was wearing when I first met the man who became my husband. I have grown tired of it after 5 years (the perfume, not the husband of course!) but I might turn back to its enveloping milky/spicy/powdery comfort some day.
        As for Jungle L’Elephant, I can’t stand anise in either perfumes or food so I passed. October 10, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s a lovely association!

          I got a bottle of Amour as a gift, and I wear it time to time for the same warm, enveloping aura. I agree with you that it’s one-dimensional, but one doesn’t need drama every day. Just when you smell something like Jungle and King Kong and then turn to Amour, it’s hard to imagine that these perfumes came from the same house. October 10, 2012 at 11:56am Reply

      • Victoria: Barbara, they are a part of a big group (LVMH) and so they are trying to end up on the best seller lists. Hence, the safe launches. October 10, 2012 at 11:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, the bottle is a work of art with that heavy elephant top. October 10, 2012 at 8:47am Reply

  • Suzanna: One of my mid-nineties faves–and I had Le Tigre as well. Disappeared from shelves of my Sephora and now I wish I had some to wear today!

    The last great Oriental (from mainstream houses), in my opinion. October 10, 2012 at 8:21am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re probably right, Suzanna. I’m trying hard to think of any other (that’s still available as well). Fendi Theorema was my first choice, but it has been discontinued. Angel changed the face of orientals completely by making them sweet, sweet, sweet… October 10, 2012 at 8:48am Reply

      • Carla: I would add Hypnotic Poison. It’s not so so sweet. But it’s the only great mainstream oriental I can think of right now. October 11, 2012 at 5:49pm Reply

    • val: Fragrancenet has this perfume at an affordable price i was just checking it out. Hope its of some help October 18, 2013 at 8:42pm Reply

  • Mel: Sadly, I don’t think this would be available in my country 🙁 Especially since you mentioned fans of Chanel Coco would like this, I find Coco beautiful October 10, 2012 at 9:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not sure where you live, but I’ve seen Kenzo Jungle in stores from Russia to India. In the US, it’s sold mostly at the discounters, since Kenzo doesn’t distribute it there officially. October 10, 2012 at 11:58am Reply

      • Mel: I live in South Africa 🙂 I haven’t seen this perfume in any perfume or department stores yet. But if I do, I will give it a whiff October 11, 2012 at 3:27am Reply

    • Ann-Sofie: I bought mine from a web shop – many of them carry this. It was not expensive at all – 30 USD for 50 ml EDP. My bottle comes from a smaller Swedish web shop, but I would not be surprised if you find it in some of the UK based web shops that ships international. But as pointed out in the comments – do not buy this one unsniffed. (Oh yes – Coco is her royal highness The Georgeousness). October 10, 2012 at 4:08pm Reply

  • Ines: I still recognize this perfume when someone wears it. Once you smell, it seems to be stamped into your sense of smell forever – probably because it smells so great. 🙂
    So, it’s available at online discounters? Interesting… October 10, 2012 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, part of the grey market trickles onto the discounters, so you can find these perfumes there.

      Your description of Jungle is spot on–it’s memorable! October 10, 2012 at 12:00pm Reply

  • gio: Can’t believed I haven’t smelled this yet. It sounds just right up my alley. And the bottle is so beautiful too. October 10, 2012 at 10:21am Reply

    • Victoria: If you like woods and spices, it’s worth searching for Jungle. Whenever I pass up a store that carries Kenzo, I can’t resist spraying some on the blotter to carry around with me. October 10, 2012 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Jungle L’Élephant is wow – like a drama queen in a happy mood, entertaining herself as well as the bypassers in a spice bazaar. Love Élephant, but very strangely it wears different on me different days – sometimes beautiful, sometimes just disharmonious and totally wrong – too strong and almost suffocating.

    So glad that you revived it here, Victoria! It is such an interesting and special fragrance, and really deserves more attention. October 10, 2012 at 12:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oriental fragrances sometimes behave this way on me, which is why the only “wear anytime” orientals in my collection are the ones that are really dry. But Jungle (both L’Elephant and Tigre) are there for rainy days, bad mood, feeling under the weather, etc. Instant mood boosters! And L’Elephant is really such a gem.

      Glad to see that it has other fans! October 10, 2012 at 1:34pm Reply

      • Rachel: My favorite mood booster is Anna Pliska. It smells comforting and creamy. October 10, 2012 at 2:39pm Reply

        • Victoria: I haven’t smelled Anne Pliska in a while, but it sounds like something I would enjoy right now. Thank you for reminding me of it. October 10, 2012 at 3:18pm Reply

        • Julie: Omg, Anne Pliska is my HG, fragrance and your rite its comforting and creamy, BTW its on special sale at thefragrancefactory.com
          cheaper then anyone else, never seen it go on sale b4. January 29, 2013 at 6:46pm Reply

      • Isis: I just discovered this beautiful review (thank you! I love coco so will be sure to sniff this one too). I have the same problem with oriëntals: I really love them but I rarely find one that I can wear everytime without feeling suffocated. I would really lóve to know which are those ‘dry – wear-anytime orientals’ for you! My wear-anytime oriental (if it counts as an oriental) was Gucci eau de parfum, but off course they had to discontinue that one…. July 25, 2013 at 4:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: Kenzo is probably going to be smothering, because it’s a juggernaut of a perfume. It’s as sweet as Coco, but spicier, richer. But it’s stunning and worth sampling.

          Another idea is a perfume that was directly inspired by Kenzo–Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche. Except that Lumiere Blanche is gauzy and sheer. It’s still seductive though. July 25, 2013 at 5:58pm Reply

  • civava: I’m disappointed with the creations of Kenzo today. I have a box of six scents from Kenzo and both Elephant and Tiger are among them.
    Tiger is easy wearable, but Elephant is not for every day and for everyone. India’s Elephant on some festival full of flowers and spices. Arabie and Coco are mild perfumes against this. October 10, 2012 at 12:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also love KenzoAir, which is one of the better vetivers other there. Flower by Kenzo is a modern day Guerlain L’Heure Bleue.

      Interesting that you find Arabie milder than Jungle, because on my skin, it’s the opposite. As much as I love this Lutens on a blotter, I cannot wear it. To me it’s very sweet and heavy, while Jungle has more radiance. But I still have a decant of Arabie on hand, because it’s such a beautiful idea and so well-crafted. October 10, 2012 at 1:41pm Reply

  • Wendy: L’Elephant always reminded me exactly of Night Scented Stock…..by day a shabby little pale violet flower that one could easily mistake for a weed but magically transformed by dusk and night-time into a spicey flower extravaganza.
    I’ve always planted packets of it tucked in behind larger, showier blooms like Angel’s Trumpets, Datura and in pots of jasmine in Moon Gardens.
    The scent is pure Casbah…sensual and heady,
    intoxicating.
    I always thought that L’Elephant was Night Scented Stock and one whiff brings me back to a moonlit garden instantly.
    Funny though, while I adore the flower and I love the scent of L’Elephant in the bottle it never was something I’d reach for to wear… it never evolved on my skin, it always seemed to remain the same until, after a long while, it faded away. October 10, 2012 at 12:43pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love night scented stock, and I can see what you mean about that sweet spicy note in Jungle! October 10, 2012 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Alyssa: I wanted so much to love this one! It practically shouts my name. But there is something in there that just leaps out and strangles me. I can’t wear it at all.

    Ah well, I’ll just make due with the other two dozen gorgeous oriental perfumes in my collection. 🙂 October 10, 2012 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: This doesn’t surprise me, because as Civava says, Jungle is not the easier perfume to wear. I find the sandalwood rich drydown to be unusual; I love the rest of the perfume, but what lingers on my skin after an hour is my favorite part. I’m a sandalwood addict really. October 10, 2012 at 1:47pm Reply

  • Rachel: You had me at cardamom! I love that note and no perfume has enough of cardamom for me. 🙂 October 10, 2012 at 2:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: Rachel, have you tried Hermes Jardin Apres La Mousson? It has such a strong cardamom note in it. Also, Cartier Declaration. October 10, 2012 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Matt: Victoria,

    I just want to thank you for your wonderful blog. Your reviews are so beautiful, no matter what you are reviewing: I think you have the exact right balance between objectiveness and poetry. Your non-fragrance related posts are always a pleasure to read too.

    (I can’t talk about Kenzo Elephant, having never smelled it, but I thought it was the right moment to tell you about how I liked your website! And I’m actually gonna have to go to Sephora in a near future!)

    Looking forward to reading you very soon! Thank you 🙂

    Mathieu October 10, 2012 at 2:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mathieu, thank you very much for stopping by and for your nice words! It means a lot to me.

      I hope that you get to try Kenzo Jungle, and I would love to hear what you think. Whenever I smell it, I wonder why it’s not talked about more often. It certainly rivals many niche perfumes in the same oriental-woody genre for me. October 10, 2012 at 3:22pm Reply

  • silverdust: Wow! I was so curious about L’Elephant and devoid of even a mid-size Sephora in my area that I went online and found it here!

    I’m afraid to make a blind purchase, so hopefully I can get a sample or tester somewhere along the way!

    http://bit.ly/RxaOzT October 10, 2012 at 3:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, don’t buy it blindly, since it’s really a love-hate perfume (like the best of them!) But if you spot a mini on Ebay (those tend to be inexpensive) or see a sample at one of the decanting websites, I recommending going for it. If you like orientals and woods, you would enjoy discovering it. At any rate, it’s a perfume worth at least one sniff. October 10, 2012 at 3:24pm Reply

      • MB: I’m going to expose my ignorance here but I had never heard of this perfume before your review. I looked it up and it’s been around for DECADES! Egad. Anyway, it sounds very unusual, in same way that Etat Libre’s Tilda Swinton (which is the most unusual perfume I own) is strange but beautiful to me. But since you’ve brought up eBay and discounters, do you generally trust those sources? I’m afraid of buying imitations online. Is that a reasonable concern? October 10, 2012 at 11:57pm Reply

        • Victoria: It really depends, because the discounters usually sell the stock from the grey market, and the quality can vary. I usually buy on Ebay, because it’s easier to get a refund if the product has turned. If a seller has good feedback, I generally don’t hesitate. But I wouldn’t buy anything expensive from them. October 11, 2012 at 4:48am Reply

  • Daisy: It’s nice to see a review of Jungle! The bottle is so cute, and the commercial was so much fun as well.

    I wore this a lot in the freezing cold bowels of the library this summer! Definitely warming and wonderful!

    I would agree though: one should try it before buying it! October 10, 2012 at 3:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: That library must have smelled great! 🙂

      I don’t remember the commercial, so I’m off to check it out. October 11, 2012 at 4:49am Reply

      • Daisy: I thought it smelled great 🙂 I didn’t have any neighbors down there though . . .

        The commercial is wild — which is not meant to be a pun on the gold elephants charging around the model! October 11, 2012 at 12:23pm Reply

        • Nikki: Just watched the commercial….most unusual! Thanks! October 11, 2012 at 12:54pm Reply

        • Victoria: You’re right! This is a fun commercial. I didn’t expect the elephants on the run. 🙂 October 11, 2012 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I need to try this, I never have though I have worn some Kenzo’s over the years. The original Parfum d’Eté ( in the lovely petal shaped bottle) also their first fragrance which I think was just called Kenzo, which I think is now called Ça sent beau.
    Great review! October 10, 2012 at 4:07pm Reply

    • annemariec: Hi Austenfan, did you like Ca Sent Beau? I can never make up my mind. Tuberose, tangerine, plastic beach ball … October 10, 2012 at 6:22pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Only tried that once, and wasn’t smitten. Maybe the tester was off. Mainstream fragrance houses seem to think that cooking their perfume in all those lights is the way to go.
        I remember from 20 odd years ago that someone I was at university with wore the original Kenzo le Parfum, that was a wonderful and original smell.
        I just have to try Ça sent beau again. October 10, 2012 at 6:27pm Reply

        • annemariec: CSB is very original. Nowadays you’d swear it was niche! October 10, 2012 at 11:14pm Reply

        • Nikki: I really like CSB, and the bottle is adorable! I love how fresh and distinct it smells. It always reminds me of Kouros somehow…. I like Kenzo a lot, I bought L’Elephant twice but gave them away, great perfume but better smelled on others , then CSB, and I love Kashaya as well. Kashaya is so pretty for fall with its plum notes… October 11, 2012 at 10:35am Reply

          • Austenfan: Then the tester I tried was off, it smelled musty, and not at all like the crisp fragrance I remembered. October 11, 2012 at 2:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I went through two bottles of Parfum d’Ete when it first came out. I loved it, and the bottle was gorgeous. I need to revisit it again. October 11, 2012 at 4:49am Reply

  • rosarita: l’Elephant is one of my favorites and I wear it when nothing else will do. It’s that kind of a scent. I’m so glad to see it reviewed! It’s definitely 5 stars to me. 🙂 October 10, 2012 at 6:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m glad to see another fan! It’s a unique perfume, and wearing it makes me feel so good. October 11, 2012 at 4:51am Reply

  • Mj: Lovely review. I haven’t smelled this one, but am intrigued. Have always wanted to like Sira des Indes, but found it too sweet and not complicated enough. Sounds like Jungle L’Elephant might more than satisfy the “complicated” need. And 5 stars! October 10, 2012 at 6:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wanted to love Sira des Indes and tried very hard to get used to it, but the cloying drydown is a big letdown.

      Jungle is definitely more complicated! October 11, 2012 at 4:53am Reply

  • Jan Last: This is so exciting! As soon as I finished reading the “Reccomend a perfume” column, where you suggested trying this, I ordered it immediately. Now, I’m acting like the dog waiting at the window. It will be here any day. October 10, 2012 at 7:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you like it! It’s a distinctive perfume, and it might require several trials before you can completely figure it out. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it, Jan. October 11, 2012 at 4:54am Reply

  • Cyndi: I am so glad you reviewed this fragrance! I found it online a couple of years ago and purchased it. So glad I did. I love spicy perfumes and was a big fan of Opium and Chanel’s Coco. And the bottle is great, too. But I would like to try Kenzo Flower since it’s a modern L’Heure Bleue. October 10, 2012 at 8:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: I think that Opium and Coco fans are the best audience for Jungle. It has a similar level of drama and oomph. October 11, 2012 at 4:55am Reply

  • annemariec: I took a spritz of this on my way home this evening. Lovely! (I have passed that tester dozens of times and not tried it.) I can see the resemblance to Dioressence that you mention in your Dioressence review. But L’Elephant seemed to me to have a note that at first I interpreted as ‘milky’ but now wonder if it is reminding me of rice or tofu or something like that. There is nothing in the note list to suggest these ingredients, but to me L’Elephant a definite south east Asian feel, whereas Dioressence remains resolutely French. October 11, 2012 at 3:00am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re completely spot on, Anne-Marie! The milky-creamy notes are very pronounced here, and they wrap the spices and woods so well. What could have been an abrasive, sharp scent is instead velvety and warm.

      The notes are just a rough guide to this scent, I think. Some things I smell are not included either–plum, jasmine, rose, etc. October 11, 2012 at 4:57am Reply

  • Charlotte: Got this as a recommendation in the thread avcouple of days ago.. So need it, ordering immediatly! In my head it smells like a spray of coco on my spice rack 🙂 October 11, 2012 at 3:52am Reply

    • Victoria: If you can sample it before buying, it would be best, since Jungle is such a drama queen, as many pointed above. If you like Coco and you don’t mind the spicier, darker, bolder (and more animalic) version, it’s going to be a discovery! October 11, 2012 at 4:59am Reply

  • Céline Verleure: Dear Victoria,
    I am so happy that you are speaking of Kenzo Jungle which I created (with Jean-Louis & Dominique) back in 1996 as I was marketing director of Kenzo…

    It is true that it was a “Noir,” “niche”, and “exclusive” fragrance, the last fragrance that we were able to launch without showing the consumers tests results to LVMH!…

    I still love it and it was love at first sight when I first smelled it, but it is very bold, maybe too strong for me 16 years later, I was in my 30s at that time and now in my 40s, I prefer milder fragrances…

    When I created Lumière Blanche by Olfactive Studio this year, I had the cardamom and the sandalwood of Jungle in mind but I tried to create a milder version, a white cocoon, no more “Noir/Black” but a Blanche/White version, funny!

    Victoria, keep writing about old fragrances, it is a delight 😉

    Amitiés, Céline October 11, 2012 at 6:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Celine, for telling us the story behind Jungle! Do you remember (and if you can share, of course), what was the concept behind it? The ad, which I just saw thanks to Daisy’s prompt, is so much fun. October 11, 2012 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Anne of Green Gables: How interesting! I’m wearing Lumière Blanche today and it kept reminding me of Kenzo Jungle. And to find that the sandalwood and cardamom combination in LB was inspired by KJ and the same person was involved in the creation of both perfumes! Although I admire KJ and find it very original, I find it too bold to wear it as a day fragrance (maybe dabbing a small amount might work?) so the sheer, radiant LB is just perfect! October 25, 2013 at 6:54am Reply

  • olencja: Victoria, I am so happy that you finally reviewed this masterpiece! 5 stars – it well deserves this.

    Elephant was my first – and biggest so far – perfume love, my signature scent when I was twenty-something. Alas, it was very popular where I live, and women tended to overuse it. I think it’s best when used veeery moderately – sometimes one spritz is enough, especially in summer.

    I still love it and use it sometimes – it gives me enormous strenght and energy! October 11, 2012 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: I can see that, Olencja! It definitely gives me a tremendous boost when I wear it, but you’re right, if overapplied, it’s too much. October 11, 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

  • olencja: Oh, and one more thing. One of my perfume friends once said Elephant was the first Oriental aimed at young women. As you wrote – it was bold and sensual, but also playful. Would you agree? October 11, 2012 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: It makes sense to me, because unlike Opium or Coco, Jungle is more casual, less demanding. The playful aspect–the interplay between fruit, woods and spices, with a dash of orange peel–is what I enjoy very much. It’s a bit unpredictable, but fun. October 11, 2012 at 3:00pm Reply

  • Carla: You are so right, it is an easier-to-wear Arabie. Both Jungle and Arabie are former loves, but my tastes are changing perhaps. I bought Jungle on impulse at first sniff at a department store in Hamburg a few years ago. I have never tried Theorema, but I imagine it’s similar. But Jungle was just too heavy for me and I eventually gave it to my sister, along with Tocade, another beautiful concoction that was just too heavy. My sister is 13 years younger, you see, and she loves the “gourmands” and wears them well. October 11, 2012 at 5:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: Theorema is drier, so in feeling, it’s a bit different. I can’t believe that Fendi chose to discontinue it and launch something like Fan di Fendi instead. Well, no, scratch that, I can believe it!

      Jungle and Tocade are the bombshells for sure. October 12, 2012 at 7:06am Reply

      • Carla: Jungle was too juicy, so I’m off to order a sample of Theorema. Drier sounds perfect! October 12, 2012 at 2:33pm Reply

        • Victoria: I think that you will find it unusual, because most orientals tend to be sweet. This is completely different and yet it has the plush, luscious character. October 13, 2012 at 7:12am Reply

    • Delilah: I just got hold of a bottle of jungle and a bottle of tocade dirt cheap off of that ebay, so it is funny you mention them together.
      I had a tiny sample of Tocade when I was a child, it was given to me by a lady in the dept store where my Mum was buying some perfume and I loved it even though I recall my mother telling me it was horrible! Well I just had a spray and it smells exactly as I didn’t know I had remembered, if that makes sense!
      I had never come across Jungle before but all the reviews seemed to suggest it was a master piece, and it was so cheap on ebay so I threw caution to the wind. I don’t know if it just isn’t right for me, if I have an “off” bottle or what but I sprayed onto my arm and got an instant waft of what to me smells of “gone off spices” with a hint or rust and copper thrown in. Not pleasant.
      I don’t know if it is a duff bottle, it looks legit, was cellophane sealed intact in original packaging. I will give it another go on a different day but if I get the same response its either going in the bin or back onto ebay! November 14, 2013 at 5:07pm Reply

      • wefadetogray: Oh no, how sad! I actually adore it with all my heart. It is spicy certainly but in a sweet, yet strong, way. On me it is a veil of exotic cardamom and cumin with a sweet amber-y woody vanilla. I wonder if perhaps you got Tigre 😉 discontinued now to my dismay. It may be it is a bad bottle of L’elephant 🙁
        Perfumes though tend to wear differently. On my husband it just smells acrid. Give it a second or third try if you can!
        Thanks for writing 🙂 November 14, 2013 at 7:40pm Reply

  • TheOtherScent: I really do wish “Kenzo Lite” bids as adieu. Bring back the Airs, L’Elephants, even SummerbyKenzo! I do so miss their distinct personalities and wish Kenzo would’ve continued down that projectory. Elephant is surely as classic as they come and I’m so glad to see that you love it too! October 11, 2012 at 9:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: SummerbyKenzo is another beautiful perfume. It has such an interesting lilac note–fresh, green, not at all Glade like. The bottle was also striking. October 12, 2012 at 7:06am Reply

  • Dionne: For some reason I thought Jungle l’Elephant was discontinued and hard to find, and I’m glad to hear it’s still being made. This is going on my November sampling list, as it sounds like just my kind of thing. And just to double-check, Theorema IS discontinued, right? October 13, 2012 at 8:40pm Reply

  • Ariadne: Just rec’d a mini of Kenzo Jungle Elephant and am enjoying it no end! Lots of things going on in this perfume in addition to the very true to life jasmine. It is going to be my holiday party scent this winter. Wear this with a lofty & soft sweater and you are far more scrumptious than a baked pie! October 18, 2012 at 8:13pm Reply

  • MissKumi: Hello, Victoria!

    I love this fragrance. It was a leap for me when I first purchased it in San Francisco 11 years ago. Wore it every day, and I think I ended up giving my bottle away, but for the life of me can’t remember why! I found this again online a few years ago and hid it away in the cupboard until now. I’m wondering I you can tell me if anything has changed in the formulation since my first bottle…after some research this bottle seems to have been produced November 2010. It’s been so long since I first wore it that I don’t trust my olfactory memory…please help me clarify this!

    Thanks so much. 🙂 March 14, 2013 at 1:38pm Reply

  • Rose: Love your blog. I am an amateur when it comes to perfume. But your writing has inspired/helped me understand the nuances of what I am smelling!
    Lovely picture on this post. I am from Kerala. Hope you enjoyed our colorful, green state. April 16, 2013 at 2:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Rose! I loved Kerala, and I can’t wait to return again. It inspired me to write this piece:
      http://boisdejasmin.com/2012/01/fragrant-tapestry-of-south-india-travel-in-kerala.html
      I originally started it as a letter to a friend, describing my stay, and before I knew it, it turned into an article. 🙂 April 16, 2013 at 5:57pm Reply

      • Rose: Wow! Thanks for that beautiful description of all the sights and smells or my land. You have captured the olfactory essence of Kerala in a way I have never thought about. Your descriptions have made me home sick!(I live in US)
        There is a different world you might find interesting to explore on your next trip- a day to day life that is filled with an abundance of spices and smells that we take for granted. There are places called Homestays- kind of like the Agro tourism in Italy(Goes without saying that you should do your research well because of safety concerns). You get to stay in homes and eat homemade meals and even take part in local festivals. Even if I am a christian, one of my fav things to do is visit a Hindu temple. The smells and the chantings are magical.
        Most of us grow our own spices in our backyard. My mom has pepper and whole nutmeg that she diligently packages for me every time we visit. So I always have fresh pepper and nutmeg on hand.
        You are right about our cuisine leaning more towards Southeast Asia. We had a great trade route with China for 100s of yrs prior to Vasco de Gama landing in India. The Chinese fishing nets you saw in Cochin are part of that trade. So are the woks we use. They are even today called Chini chatti- Chini is chinese and chatti is vessel-Chinese vessel.
        We also have Portugese unfluence in our cusine and Christian rituals. There is a church about 30 mins from Cochin in a place called Piravom where the atlar looks like it was transplanted from Portugal!(I got married in this church)Great place to visit.
        Sorry for the long reply. But I was just happy you liked my home 🙂
        I am visiting in August and reading your site and my new interest in perfume has inspired me to study and experience all the natural wealth of smells we have there.So Thank You! April 17, 2013 at 12:19pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you so much, Rose! I would love to do something like this and explore the area better. Kerala left such an impression on me.

          The idea of fresh nutmeg and pepper sounds so appealing to me. I recently bought some pepper from Kerala (at a spice shop here), and it has such an interesting fruity, apricot like scent. I’ve never encountered anything like it previously. April 18, 2013 at 3:02pm Reply

  • Caroline: Hello and good day V,
    I had my first whiff of Jungle a few weeks ago and “mango” or rather ” ripe but unpeeled mango” was the first thing that hit my nose. I had been surrounded by mangoes (it’s mango season here in tropic). Ok, I think I’ll stop saying the m word. J’adore Jungle. Love the blog. June 20, 2013 at 3:52am Reply

    • Victoria: This is a vision that will stay with me now–biting into a ripe mango. Jungle is some gorgeous stuff! June 20, 2013 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Edward: Hi Victoria,

    I bought this unsniffed since there was only one sealed box (no tester available) sitting in a shelf in a store nearby. I know you will not recommend buying blindly, but I have no other way to experience most of the positive reviews I read about this. So I trusted my instinct instead based on the reviews alone. I also took the chance because I thought the 100 ml. for 250 Saudi Riyals or USD 66.66 was a bargain!

    Verdict? I LOVE IT! It is a unique smell and I think it is perfect to keep me warm and cozy in the coming cold months here in Riyadh.

    Thank you for the wonderful review! Honestly, your 5 star rating on this perfume is 75% why I took the chance. 😉

    Since I was in the mood to pamper myself today, I also bought a small 15 ml Calyx for 100 Riyals (26.66USD). I am a happy perfumista today and I cannot wait until tomorrow to wear my Jungle Elephant.

    Have a great day,
    Edward September 17, 2013 at 3:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Edward, I’m so happy to read this that I’m sitting here with a big smile on my face. Jungle is such a favorite and such a special perfume for me that whenever I learn that someone fell in love with it too, I’m pleased. My worry always is that LVMH decide to refurbish Kenzo and discontinue its older perfumes. Let’s hope that it won’t happen.

      And I love the tiny Calyx bottles. September 17, 2013 at 3:44pm Reply

  • wefadetogray: I adore, simply adore, Kenzo Elephant. My husband just bought for me TF’s Sahara Noir and on me they smell almost identical. Looking at the notes, there arent many similarities. I was wondering if you have some thoughts about this Victoria. Is it just my skin? I’d love to know since these kind of scents hit me at a very fundamental level. I feel happy and deeply lost at the same time yet this sense of loss is not alienating is enchanting, dreamy, cozy, powerful even romantic. I may not make any sense, really.
    Thanks! October 21, 2013 at 5:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: To be honest, they are very different to me. Sahara Noir is almost pure incense and amber, while Elephant has lots of sweet spices, plums, sandalwood, cardamom. But I agree, I very much enjoy both of them, and I look forward to wearing Sahara Noir this winter. October 22, 2013 at 9:38am Reply

      • wefadetogray: Thanks for getting back to me, Victoria. Have a wonderful week! October 22, 2013 at 8:13pm Reply

        • Victoria: Same to you! You’ve inspired me to wear L’Elephant. 🙂 October 23, 2013 at 7:12am Reply

          • wefadetogray: I am wearing it today myself! Thanks to you, my obsession has taken over my life, in the best possible way 🙂 October 23, 2013 at 12:34pm Reply

            • Victoria: I’m so happy to hear this! 🙂 The more perfume lovers, the better! October 23, 2013 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Delilah: I commented further up in a reply to someone else but then scrolled down and saw some more recent posts so thought I would comment.
    I know you recommend not buying this blind, but the reviews, the descriptions, well it sounded amazing.
    I came across a very cheap bottle on ebay for 100ml and decided, sod it, I will give it a try.
    I don’t know if I have been sold a duff, if it has turned, or if it just isn’t for me, because while people are waxing lyrical about rich, deep spices, plums, and conjuring images in my mind of souks and bazaars what I am smelling is kind of a potent mixture of sweat, gone off perfumey smells, cumin, rust and copper. Like, imagine a sweaty fat man – he washes he doesn’t have that unwashed smell but he is sweaty. For some unknown reason he has been storing old mucky pennies in a jar of old cumin, and inexplicably has now decided to place these pennies in his armpits, which are now hovering by my nostrils…I cannot think how else to describe it! Not good! My partner just commented that “something smells of headache”. I don’t think this is a winner for me, yet the descriptions and reviews above make me want this to work. Maybe if I try it on a different day it would be better? I shall give it a shot but if I get the same response I guess it will be going back on ebay.
    Just a couple of questions though:
    Does it sound like a duff, or just that it isn’t suiting me?
    And
    Do you find that different scents wear differently on your body and to your nose at different times of your cycle? I find that some perfumes smell so muvh better at “that” time of month and others really don’t – is that normal? If so, maybe I should give it another shot…. November 14, 2013 at 5:20pm Reply

    • Sexy Sadie: I do not get what they get either, because on me it smells sex. November 18, 2013 at 2:51pm Reply

  • Tim: Good evening. In the right dosage I think Jungle Elephant also makes a stunning masculine. I just received three vintage bottles in perfect quality and can`t help: Even if the recent stuff is very good, I prefer those boxes with the all purple package, neon letters and short ingredients list. There`s this slightly weird, earthy “barnyard”/concrete, even minty accord which seems to be more pronounced in the older ones. The differences are subtle and there`s not much noise on changes of this, so possibly my mind plays me a trick. Does anybody know more about reformulations of this one? Thanks! February 27, 2014 at 1:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Tim, my bottle is new, so that’s what I was reviewing. But if there are any changes, I’m not surprised. There is no perfume, apart from those made in the past couple of years, that still smells exactly the same. So, thank you for sharing your observations and noting the difference in packaging. February 27, 2014 at 1:46pm Reply

  • Tim: Thank you very much Victoria. My layman`s guess is that there might have been a better sandalwood in it and they might have lowered the cashmeran. My 90ies stuff is a little more weird, shimmering, in the top and middle notes. But it could also be the case that it matures a bit in a good way. What I can definitely state is that the vintage perfume has a slightly yellowish colour, while the recent juice has no colour at all. I bought Jungle in the new packaging some years ago and it also had this yellow colour. But I definitely can`t complain in any way about the very recent batches. They are brilliant. Not sure if Jungle will be possible in the near future, though … February 28, 2014 at 12:38am Reply

    • Victoria: As long as Kenzo doesn’t discontinue it, I’m happy. 🙂 February 28, 2014 at 12:41pm Reply

  • Natasa: What a beautiful review. The Kerala photo is gorgeous too. Jungle L’Elephant is one of my favourite perfumes, and has been for a long time. I started wearing it back in the late 90s when it was my going out, fun times perfume. I was young – in my mid 20s, life was good and full of possibilities, and the world was my oyster. These are still the associations I have with this perfume and it always puts me in a good mood. I wore it on my honeymoon to the Maldives a few years ago and it worked so perfectly in the tropical climate. I now live in SE Asia and it is still one of my favourites. It is absolutely perfect for my life here. The humidity works wonders for it, but I must be careful to not over-apply, because it can get suffocating and unpleasant in that case. I hope that my beloved L’Elephant doesn’t get discontinued because nothing will be able to replace it. (I better get a backup bottle or two!) June 19, 2014 at 10:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: All of those wonderful associations add so much to the enjoyment of perfume, and I also hope that L’Elephant won’t be discontinued. It’s definitely among the best dramatic perfumes out there, but worn in small quantities, it’s like a soft cocoon. June 20, 2014 at 7:21am Reply

  • Ariadne: I love this perfume. Not sure why because it is a huge departure from my aldehide norm. I just bought a very reasonably priced huge bottle of Jungle in EDP on line (not eBay) to wear this coming Fall and Winter after exhausting my mini.
    While my fb was new and sealed I believe it to be older stock and seems in perfect ‘shape’.
    It has marvelous longevity and softens as it wears. The cumin lends the ‘dirt and sex’ element I believe but I also get the licorice, clove and sandalwood in alternating waves.
    Per the recent post on cult frag’s I’d put this one in there. July 31, 2014 at 11:30am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it belongs on the cult perfume list! July 31, 2014 at 6:59pm Reply

  • Julie: Dear Victoria,
    Growing up in a home with my sister & mom I remember many perfumes we all had at one time. One of my teenager scents was Charlie. 🙂
    My memory of Opium & Halston would be on my mom’s dressing table. I adored both of those. I am a perfume lover! I can’t wait to try this L’Elephant…
    I have read a few other reviews about this perfume that mention Christmas scents, Feminite Du Bois, I have the one by SL and it is a favorite of mine.
    The only other scent I have tried by Kenzo is
    is Amour. It sounds so interesting!
    Thank you for the lovely review, Victoria.
    I love this website! November 2, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

    • Victoria: I love this story, Julie! 🙂 November 3, 2015 at 7:30am Reply

      • Julie: Thank you, Victoria…
        I just tried this today, it’s fantastic!
        Love at first sniff & a great addition to my fall/winter perfumes. 🙂
        Have a great weekend. November 6, 2015 at 11:52pm Reply

  • Cecilia: Dear Victoria,

    thank you for your beautifuls reviews, it’s always a pleasure read them.

    I love Kenzo Jungle LElephant, I had been using it since I start college at 18 to now, that i’m 34. Not exclusively.

    Here in Uruguay our summer is beginning and our temperatures rich 30 – 35°c and I find LElephant very pleasing (perhaps I’m crazy?) but I want some change , move on…

    I am in the haunt of a new fragrance with similar effect, so recently I “discovered ” Coco Chanel and had the chance to sample only the EdT.

    What do you think it’s the best option Coco Edt or edp? And could be that Coco has a more grown-up aura than LElephant?

    Thank you for sharing your exquisite point of view of fragrances ! December 14, 2015 at 11:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: Coco Eau de Parfum is my favorite of the two, since it has a more velvety finish. The EDT is sharper on top, which may or may be a good thing. Coco is different enough from L’Elephant, but it’s in the same enveloping, lush family, so it would be a good starting point from which to branch out. December 15, 2015 at 8:58am Reply

  • Kari: I know this is an old review, but I wanted to thank you for writing it. I’ve been browsing your beautifully written reviews and articles for a couple months after suddenly feeling inspired to expand and nature my scent collection this summer. This review jumped out at me (I think via an article on gourmand fragrances, which for some reason have been my thing lately) as a scent that I would like. However I had no idea how pretty it would smell, too. I was half afraid the woody, spicy notes would render it too harsh or even bitter for me, but it’s still a sweet fragrance-just an incredibly interesting, layered, and spicy one.
    I’m testing it out at home this weekend, but am totally sold. What an amazing fragrance, and thanks for inspiring me to try it out. January 10, 2016 at 12:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Kari, thank you very much for letting know that you tried it and your impressions. I’m such a big fan of this perfume, and it always make me happy to introduce it to others. I think that it’s one of the best spicy fragrances out there. Nothing compares! January 11, 2016 at 11:18am Reply

  • Lily: I will comment on the recommend thread where this was suggested to me multiple times – I got a sample and immediately got a reminder of Opium (new version) so that audience comment is spot-on. I found Opium too dissonant on my skin; L’elephant is merging with my chemistry much much better. I am not sure yet if it will make it into the wardrobe, but what a wonderful sensory experience for this evening. Is this a scent many men try? It could be stunning on a man. Hm. Maybe I will offer my dad a descant. It actually hints to me of his shaving cream (I assume, since I don’t believe he uses an aftershave?). I get very little fruit in it. On me it is all resins and the burning spices (cinnamon mostly, I think), just softened and in better balance than Opium. March 2, 2016 at 10:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I love your smelling notes, Lily. I can see exactly what you mean about Opium and Jungle being in the same ballpark. Jungle is less austere than the new version of Opium, and yes, I think it would smell terrific on a man. March 3, 2016 at 6:19am Reply

  • Aquapinka: Is Jungle L’ Elephant discontinued? Cannot find it online at any department stores, nor at the Kenzo Parfums website. Have found it online at Beauty Encounter, Walgreens, Walmart at prices ranging from $49.95 – $93.99
    Don’t know where to buy, but want the highest quality. Thank you all! November 25, 2016 at 8:17pm Reply

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