Men’s skincare company Zirh has just released Ikon, a fragrance developed by perfumer Frank Voelkl. After reading Ikon’s ingredients list (davana flower, lemon, ginger, cardamom, black cinnamon, clove, iris, frankincense, labdanum, cedar, amber, vetiver and patchouli), I felt I didn’t need my crystal ball to know which notes would dominate the composition: there would be some ‘lemon’ (generic citrus), cardamom, and lots of cedar and amber. I’ve given up on mainstream fragrances presenting a bold patchouli note, a vibrant, expensive-smelling frankincense aroma, or a gutsy dose of labdanum; davana blossom essence is pricey, so I didn’t expect to detect it (and didn’t) in a $50 Eau de Toilette.
But still, I’m happy to report Ikon is much better than I imagined it would be. Ikon starts with a light, fresh lemon-ginger note. There is a speedy transition from citrus freshness to notes of cardamom, cedar and decent-quality frankincense. You must pay close attention but cinnamon and clove are also detectable in Ikon. Ikon, in mid-development, reminds me of the Comme des Garçons Incense Series fragrances (but Ikon is lighter, softer, more reserved than those perfumes). The base notes of Ikon smell exactly as I thought they would: vanillic, amber-y and musky (Ikon verges on ‘powdery’ too at the end of its development). Overall, Ikon is an appealing, mid-strength, mainstream wood-incense fragrance. Since I could smell no iris in Ikon, I layered it with Prada Infusion d’Homme (one spray of Ikon for every three sprays of Infusion d’Homme) and the resulting mix smelled good. Ikon also layers well with rose and jasmine soliflores.
The Zirh website is amusing. Ikon is described as the fragrance for an ‘entrepreneur, leader, pioneer’…ICON. Judging from the company website, Zirh products seem aimed at youngish straight men who are a little self conscious and “unsure” (there’s a how-to section on applying perfume) about using skin care products; there is a “Locker” where online shoppers can store items they are interested in and two-thirds of the customer testimonials contain the words: “my wife” or “my girlfriend.” I took the Zirh “Warrior” quiz to see which of the Zirh Warrior bath gels suited me. Come to find out, I’m Cyrus, the Benevolent and Considerate! Of course, Cyrus is next to last in popularity with Zirh customers; Alexander the Great (determined and resilient) and Charlemagne (pragmatic and intelligent) are tied for the most-popular-warrior title. (I hope to review some of the Warrior bath gels when the rushing tide of new men’s fragrance releases subsides.)
Zirh Ikon is available in 125 ml Eau de Toilette ($50); 250 ml Eau de Toilette ($65); deodorant ($18); and 200 ml hair/body wash ($24).