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Kenzo Homme EDT Intense Review: A Modern & Versatile Aquatic Scent

Is it hot, or is it just us? No wonder we’re reaching for one of the best aquatics in recent years: Kenzo Homme EDT Intense.

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This 2021 release from the Japanese fashion brand (part of the LVMH conglomerate since its acquisition in 1993) sees Kenzo back in the masculine fragrance game in a big way. 

Kenzo Homme Intense EDT

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In recent years, the house has focused on its female ranges – Flower and World – so good to see it investing in its male scents again and especially one as good as Kenzo Homme EDT Intense. 

Scent Notes (According to the Brand)

Pink peppercorn, Calypsone (top); vetiver, fig tree accord (heart); sandalwood, Akigalawood (base).

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Perfumer

Quentin Bisch is admirably focused on his job to be distracted by flattering descriptions such as “star perfumer”. 

The Strasbourg-born Givaudan Perfumery School graduate made his fine fragrance debut in 2010 with the relatively unknown Reminiscence Essence EDP. 

Quentin Bisch

And then Etat Libre d’Orange La Fin du Monde EDP (2013), Ex Nihilo Fleur Narcotique EDP (2014), Mugler A*Men Ultra Zest EDT (2015) and Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male Essence de Parfum EDP (2016) gave him the opportunity to show his creative versatility whether for designer or niche brands.   

He hasn’t stopped working, with creations such as Parfums de Marly Delina EDP (2017), L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarina Corsica EDP (2018), Azzaro Wanted by Night EDP (2018), Chloé Nomade EDP (2018), Carolina Herrera Bad Boy EDT (2019), Marc-Antoine Barrois Ganymede EDP (2019), Paco Rabanne 1 Million Parfum (2020), Essential Parfums Bois Impérial EDP (2020), Maison Crivelli Hibiscus Mahajád Extrait de Parfum (2021) and Van Cleef & Arpels 22 Vendôme EDP (2022) showing his passion and dedication to his craft. 

Inspiration

bamboo

In typically minimalist Japanese style, Kenzo Homme EDT Intense is “inspired by the intensity of bamboo and serenity of a sea breeze”, according to the brand website.

Who Would Like It

Looking for a contemporary aquatic without the 1990s clichés? Want to feel like you’re on holiday somewhere special? Here you go… 

Where To Wear It

The heat of summer brings out the nuances of this beauty. We love its versatility too: from pre-work gym to seductive date cocktails, it’s a winner. 

Packaging & Presentation

We’ve seen lots of eye-catching blue bottles in our time, but the one for Kenzo Homme EDT Intense must be among the best. 

The bamboo shape comes with a bevelled cap that echoes the precision of a cut made by a katana, the samurai sword. 

As with all luxury brands, there’s an eco-angle to the design and packaging too. According to the Kenzo website, the bottle is made of 10% recycled glass and its glass weight has been reduced by 23%. The cap has been designed to reduce plastic consumption by 34%.

The blue and white outer box is made from sustainably sourced paper printed with bio-based inks.

Personal Impressions

Welcome to the seaside, thanks to judicious use of Calypsone. The Givaudan captive molecule is known for its floral-salty properties and it’s beautifully on display here. The pink pepper note adds rosy spiciness to the mix. 

We checked with the perfumer if Calone is also in this EDT, and he confirmed it. But unlike the heavy-handedness of many 1990s aquatics, this fresh sea-breezy synthetic is used in a subtle way.

That understatement is also shown in the warm and powdery treatment of the fig tree accord. 

What stands out most in Kenzo Homme EDT Intense and the part we keep on coming back to is its sensual heat and lingering saltiness on the skin. 

This is achieved through a combination of earthy vetiver and another Givaudan captive molecule, Akigalawood (patchouli oil is fractionated to produce a woody, spicy, sometimes oud-y effect). We don’t understand the process completely either. What matters is that Quentin Bisch makes the most of this example of biotechnology.   

Kenzo Homme Intense EDT

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The sandalwood note – deliciously creamy, with a hint of coconut – concludes the scent with finesse.   

This is not your usual aquatic. It’s thoroughly modern and while minimalist, there’s plenty to hold the attention from start to finish.  Quentin Bisch has every reason to be proud of this creation. 

Similar Fragrances To Consider

All at sea… And we mean that in a good way, of course. This is one busy genre with a huge variety of choices and price points. 

There are the obvious designer classics such as Davidoff Cool Water EDT, Armani Acqua di Giò EDT, Bvlgari Aqua Pour Homme EDT, and Issey Miyake L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme EDT, which have aged well. 

Hermès Un Jardin En Méditerranée EDT is the epitome of sophistication and Diptyque Florabellio EDT has an unusual coffee-infused take on the theme. 

On the pricier side, Creed Erolfa EDP, Dior Eden-Roc EDP, and Nishane Ege Aigaio Extrait de Parfum are well worth considering. 

A Quick Guide to the Other Versions of Kenzo Homme

Kenzo Homme EDT

Kenzo Homme EDT (2022)

A repackaging of the classic from 1991 created by Christian Matthieu in the new bamboo bottle. Although it’s lost some of its complexity, this seaside walk along a tree-lined path still has enough going for it – a marine accord, pine, sandalwood, cedar – to warrant your attention. Somewhat confusingly, it was re-released after Kenzo Homme EDT Intense.

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Kenzo Homme EDP

Kenzo Homme EDP (2022)

Could the dark blue bamboo bottle signal a deeper interpretation? Absolutely. Quentin Bisch extends the salty seaside metaphor, but this time with pronounced accents of animalic leather and spicy patchouli. It’s a streamlined affair but highly effective. 

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Kenzo Homme EDT Intense
Writer

Richard Goller is a fragrance and grooming blogger. His blog is called Fragroom. A senior editor with 20 years' experience, his blog allows him to combine two of his passions: engaging content and the always-intriguing world of fragrances. When he isn't blogging, you'll find Richard indulging in his newly found passion for balcony gardening.