Someone made the assertion in the comments recently that flankers are never an improvement on the original fragrance*. I'm sure there are a few exceptions (although I can't think of one offhand; if you can, please comment!), but I'd agree with the rule in theory. Still, there are certainly flankers that I'd rather wear than the original, even if they aren't "better". Kenzo's Flower Oriental (2005) is one example. I wouldn't argue that it's "better" than Kenzo Flower (2000), but Kenzo Flower, brilliant though the composition may be, wears like a mess of sweet girl-powder on me. I'd just as soon admire it from afar. Flower Oriental added a dash of spice to the mix, and floated the whole thing over a darker, drier base, thereby rendering it wearable for those of us who found the original a tad too ironic for everyday use.
Winter Flowers is Kenzo's latest flanker for the Flower fragrance:
An ancient precious winter flower is the star of Kenzo’s new, limited edition eau de parfum, FLOWERBYKENZO WINTER FLOWERS. This powdery, floral scent is inspired by Hellebore rose, which is known for its startling blossoms and fragile beauty against the stark winter landscape. Unlike the original FLOWERBYKENZO, WINTER FLOWERS incorporates a sparkling top note of mandarin, floral middle note of hellebore rose, and powdery base note of absolute vanilla.
Native to the mountains of central Europe, Hellebore rose, also called Christmas rose, is a true winter flower that blooms in December. Despite its name and similarity in appearance to wild roses, hellebore rose is actually a member of buttercup family. In the wild, this sweetly scented flower has been treasured for millennia for its medicinal, magical powers. (via press release)
Can I just say, as an aside, that I've started to sit up and take notice when I read ad copy that doesn't make me roll my eyes and/or burst out laughing? Apparently it is possible to make a fragrance sound attractive to consumers without descending into absurdity.
In addition to the mandarin, hellebore and vanilla mentioned above, Winter Flowers also has notes of violet leaf, mimosa, camellia and patchouli. The opening is not radically different from that of the original Flower scent (they both smell equally citrus-y to me), but as it dries down, it does have a somewhat stronger floral character. I am not familiar with the scent of hellebore rose, but the mimosa is evident, and the base, while nowhere near as dark as that of Flower Oriental, is marginally warmer and darker than that of the original Flower. Likewise, the vanilla smells slightly warmer, almost caramelized, in the Winter Flowers.
If you loved Flower to begin with, Winter Flowers will make a nice alternative for cooler weather. If you didn't love Flower, I'm not sure Winter Flowers will sway you, but it's worth a try. For my part, this is nicely done but I'm sticking with Flower Oriental.
Kenzo Winter Flowers is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum, and the lasting power is very good. It is a limited edition, although do note that Kenzo Flower Oriental was also introduced as a limited edition, and it is still quite easily found.
*I'm sorry but I can't remember who said it, or even which post the comment appeared under. Please stand up and take credit if it was your comment!