The first encounter I had with this unique ethereal green floral fragrance was with its predecessor in the misty glass and plastic bottle with the huge dew drop on the leaf that served as cap. The 1992 Parfum d’été.
It was an eventful summer for me, with lots of glorious escapades that marked my youth, and the company of this delicate green jasmine that sang on the verdant throes of lily of the valley was the perfect embodiment of that carefree summery disposition which remains a wonderful memory. Back then, all I knew about Kenzo was that he was a Far Eastern designer who resided in Paris. And the fragrance in my mind seemed to embody both ends of the spectrum, being light and cerebral, like I imagined the Japanese to be, judging by their elaborate tea ceremony, and at the same time insidiously sensuous and subtly sexy in a carefree way, in the way models on the French Elle magazine spreads used to sprawl under the sun in the French countryside; I used to devour those magazines. Alongside Kenzo Homme, a revolutionary aquatic for men with an algae-woody backdrop, for a long time these two represented the new fresh breath of air that the Far East blew into the perfume scene, for me.
Enter 10 years later and the 2002 edition of Parfum d’été substituted my lovely bottle with a more architectural, sparser design. At first, I was afraid that the repackaging was worse, and therefore the experience would be tarnished as well (though reformulations were not as big, nor as well known as nowadays, but the aesthetic was part of why the first edition had caught my eye in the first place). Thankfully I was soon proven wrong. The spicy green top note remains, as if a drop of galbanum had been dropped into a giant vat of lily of the valley materials with a side helping of my beloved hyacinth; cool, dewy, and sharp at first, delicate and whispering later on with musk remaining on the skin for a long time, though subtly perceptible.
As fresh as tomorrow! If only we could graft this mood onto ourselves as well, sometimes…