When Kenzo's Parfum d'Été, or Summer Perfume, opens, a candied violet-like accord blasts out, edged with a very sharp greenness that keeps it from being cloying. That almost screeching green note becomes more herbaceous, less aritificial-smelling, giving Parfum d'Été's sweetness a touch of dried coriander or what Haarmann & Reimer call "leafy green."
Top notes: Leafy green, peach, hyacinth, rosewood
Heart notes: Lily of the valley, cyclamen, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris
Base notes: Sandalwood, musk, cedar, amber
Its fruity, violet-tinged top notes smell synthetic, but not in a bad way; it just has the kind of forwardness and intensity that means some synthetic olfactory steroid is giving it some oomph.(It almost packs the punch of Poison's tuberose-grape bubble gum accord. Almost.)
I emphatically don't like sweet scents, but although Parfum d'Été is quite sweet at the beginning, it's also pitched toward green, and floating in the direction of light, transparent florals — lily of the valley, cyclamen, rose. (Those flowers bloom as the perfume progresses, warmed up by amber.)
I use the word "float" because I'm looking at the beautiful ad to your left, with a melancholy fairy — or perhaps she's just hot from summer's heat? — sitting atop what looks like an origami version of Parfum d'Été's cute little leaf bottle. (Its bottle, as I've said before, is suspiciously similar to Fille d'Eve's Lalique bottle from the 50s.) You can't see the print to the right, but it says in French, "January, February, July, July, July, July...") meaning, I guess, that summer seems never-ending.
Is Parfum d'Été a good scent for l'été? Yes, if you want more than just "clean" and "fresh" from your summer perfume. Created in the early 90s, Parfum d'Été is on the cusp between the big fruit-bombs of the 80s and the minimalism and Cult of Clean to come, represented by CKOne, Bulgari Eau Parfumée Au Thé Vert, et al. (I'm spraining my wrist with the accents aigu today!)
I like the way that you can still distinguish the predominant notes even in the dry down — the fruit, the florals sweetened by hyacinth, and the leafiness which keeps it fresh and true to its intended season. It's a charming little green fruity-floral with a quirky personality and enough subtlety to work in the summer heat.
And you can't beat the cute little bottle and box. Even the color scheme tells you everything you need to know...
(Why not get yourself some from the Miniature Perfume Shoppe before summer's gone?)