Kenzo KenzoAir : Perfume Review



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.



  • Rafael: When I first came across Kenzo Air, I thought to myself «this will be just another blockbuster fragrance». However, after the firt sniff I swallowed my words and had the feeling that was one of the most beautiful and original things I had smelled in years.
    I guess Kenzo is one of those houses which, though mass retailed, have great, strong concepts behind the fragrances and superb compositions outside the bounaries of commonness.
    In particular, Kenzo Air is one of my absolute fabs. By the way, I found Terre d’Hermès very in the same style. Do you think it’s just the vetiver?

    Regards, R. July 3, 2006 at 9:57am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, yes, it is definitely something you would love. Very crisp, beautiful vetiver. July 3, 2006 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Rafael, I admire Kenzo and like you say, the fragrances always have interesting concepts behind them as well as quality and character. I also noticed a similarity with Terre d’Hermes, the same crisp, sheer quality. Terre is sharper and more mineral, while KenzoAir always retains the gentle character. I would have loved to smell the vetiver they both use in isolation. July 3, 2006 at 11:56am Reply

  • Marina: This review has everything: vetiver, Roucel…Ah, bliss! 🙂 I am off to ebay to find me some kenzoAir. Thank you so much for the article. July 3, 2006 at 8:33am Reply

  • Luccia: They have been doing wonderful and accessible things lately.
    Love the description of dark earthiness with a tang, something I am very attracted to… July 3, 2006 at 12:57pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Luccia, you are right about Kenzo–the fragrances are accessible, but very interesting. I also liked Flower and even the variations on its theme. Very excited about KenzoAmour that should be out later this year. July 3, 2006 at 5:13pm Reply

  • Judith: Well, I seem to be on a vetiver kick lately, so I must try this! Sounds wonderful. . . . July 4, 2006 at 8:56am Reply

  • Robert: You captured KenzoAir really well. It is one of my favorite summer fragrances, although the now classic Kenzo Pour Homme is also great. If I could humbly suggest a review topic, I would love to see Pour Homme.

    Robert July 4, 2006 at 12:16pm Reply

  • Diane: What a pity that it’s a rare sight in the States. It sounds lovely and I would love to try it. Thank you for the great review, dear. July 4, 2006 at 1:55pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, it is wonderful! Who would have thought that the vetiver-anise accord can be so amazing. July 5, 2006 at 1:14am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Robert, thank you. I shall try to review Kenzo Pour Homme one of these days. It is certainly an excellent fragrance. July 5, 2006 at 1:14am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Diane, my pleasure! I hope that you can locate it. I should hope that Sephora might carry the EDT, if they already have the ancillary products. Unfortunately, I have not had good luck there. July 5, 2006 at 1:16am Reply

  • Laura: Umm, this one sounds really nice, V. Maybe I can cadge a sniff from your bottle sometime? I’ve been wearing my Eau de Jade (apropos of nothing) lately and find it heavenly on these hot days. July 5, 2006 at 7:13am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Laura, you are more than welcome! To continue apropos of nothing, I am very much enjoying Eau de Jade as well. It is made for this weather. July 5, 2006 at 3:04pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, it is wonderful! I cannot believe I have not discovered till this year. July 6, 2006 at 11:51pm Reply

  • Katie: *must track down tester of Air now* Thanks, V. Vetiver, amber, and woods? Ahhhhhh, yessssss. Sounds all good. July 6, 2006 at 8:15pm Reply

  • Bill: Air Kenzo has become my favourite fragance for everyday. I have very oriental fragances, spiced, like armani black, lolitalempicka, dinhill desire, and i was fed up of strong smellings, and in summer is horrible.
    Air kenzo doesnt make me sick like other parfums, is so fresh that i’d smell it all my life, it remembers the smell of the forest when its raining. September 23, 2007 at 11:42am Reply

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