Even the most jaded perfumistas like myself are not immune from the occasional jerky motion or drool as we read about a new fragrance. I'm sometimes brought out of the glazed-eye/nodding-off stage when a new perfume is by a house I love and a perfumer I admire, has a great list of notes and a well-done backstory. Diptyque Kimonanthe, the newest fragrance in the La Collection 34 series, sparked desire (and hope) for all these reasons.
Diptyque provided me with some of my earliest (and greatest) niche perfume experiences: I've owned (or own) L'Eau Trois, L'Ombre dans L'Eau, Olène, Ofrésia, Oud Palao, Tam Dao, Philosykos, Oyédo, Eau d'Elide, Eau Lente, Jardin Clos, L'Autre, L'Eau and Virgilio. I won't even mention countless candles and gallons of Essence of John Galliano room spray. (And I thought Hermès was my go-to fragrance house!) Though perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin has created lots of perfumes that don't appeal to me, right now I have the aforementioned Oud Palao at home, am thinking of buying another Diptyque by him, Florabellio, and own Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Soul Vendemmia. Kimonanthe has listed notes of osmanthus, camphor, clove, sandalwood, leather and spices (love, love, love, love, love...love). And most enticing: Kimonanthe was inspired by Japanese powdered body incense: zu-koh.
Kimonanthe starts off medicinal, with a weird mix of sweet (and sepia-toned) osmanthus blossoms, fruity in the extreme, mixing with camphor and cloves. I love smelling this combination but would NOT want to swallow it. Next up is a soft leather note, that melds perfectly with the apricot-scented osmanthus; the leather becomes muskier as it fades (an interesting development). To me, the incense (zu-koh) aspect of Kimonanthe is hazy and in the background, becoming most noticeable in the base, where it smells quite a bit like Diptyque L'Eau's clove-cinnamon "antique" potpourri.
Kimonanthe is a lovely perfume with good sillage and lasting power; if I owned a bottle I'd use it often, year-round. But: Kimonanthe is in limited distribution and costs $200 for 100 ml of Eau de Parfum (that breaks my self-imposed price and size restrictions). What Kimonanthe has done is make me curious about Diptyque's other three La Collection 34 perfumes: Ôponé, Eau Mage and Benjoin Bohème. Do comment if you've tried any of those perfumes.
For buying information, see the listing for Diptyque under Perfume Houses.
Note: all images via Wikimedia Commons. Top left image is Japanese Woman in a Kimono by Baron von Raimund Stillfried-Rathenitz and H. Andersen: Views and Costumes of Japan ca. 1877; top right image is watercolor of osmanthus; and bottom left image [cropped] of Arhat Kawamura Jakushi.