You're really in for a treat with Kenzo L'Elephant, if prunes and clove make your socks roll up and down. You might just need garters to avoid motion sickness. Sure, the pyramid lists far less pungent ingredients, like mango, heliotrope, and mandarin, but we're talking clove here, and prunes, so anything lighter registers subliminally at best.
Also in the mix: ylang ylang, cardamom, cumin, patchouli, amber, and cashmere.
A friend who went through menopause once told me that her hot flashes were like walking around in a wool unitard. Kenzo L'Elephant is a wool unitard of a fragrance. There's no zipper on it, so you better settle in for the long haul.
Nothing light and airy about this thing. Which makes perfect sense of the commercial, an otherwise odd little piece of cinema. Something about a stampede of thundering elephants covered in Goldfinger paint resonates with the experience of the fragrance, however bizarrely incongruous the westernized Asian model seems, walking as serenely through this setting as a bored valley girl wandering down Melrose.
Me, I love it. I have a soft spot for the fragrance that chokes, the aroma which stifles. It's my notion of heady. I don't really feel I'm feeling it unless the lights are dimming and I know I'm about to pass out. I don't feel like I'm reaching anyone if my fragrance has no spread. I suppose I'm one of those people who wears fragrance at least in part to communicate. L'Elephant is a shrieker. It says: "Hey, I'm stinking over here!"
I like it strong and emphatic. L'Elephant stocks up on the exclamation points. I like what I'm saying (i.e wearing) to be explicitly conveyed. Smother me in Youth Dew, please. Suffocate me with Poison. If my fragrance is telling a story I want that story to have the epic sweep of a Russian novel with the heft of a phone book and a series of characters who connect and intersect in a complicated cross-hatching of intrigues and sub-plots.
L'Elephant falls into a category which includes Aziyade by Parfum d'Empire and Shiseido's Feminite du Bois. All three are characterized by a dried prune note which is practically tactile. L'Elephant has a candied wood aspect I also recognize from Dolce Vita, and could have been created by the same perfumer. But the warm fuzziness of L'Elephant is uniquely its own. I've not seen it or felt it in any other fragrance. It takes a lot of wool to knit a four-legged unitard for an elephant, and I'm appreciative that someone spent the time and effort required.
I've read that some find this a challenge in "tight quarters". I personally don't mind clearing out a room once in a while. I've seen L'Elephant described as an oriental spicy, which I do get, and as a spicy floral, which is...a stretch. It's a fairly masculine fragrance as far as alleged feminines go. I do get floral by way of the ylang ylang, the fuzzy slash gummy aspects of which sit very nicely with the prune and clove. Ylang ylang is really the perfect floral for L'Elephant, mainly because it doesn't register as one. The ylang ylang in this reminds me a bit of another favorite ylang carrier of mine, Histoire d'Amour by Aubussin.
The longevity and projection are off the charts. L'Elephant was created in 1996. It seems like it would have to have been reformulated since then, but I never smelled the original. I did smell original Jungle Tiger, which smells similar to my L'Elephant, so maybe nothing much has changed.