Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kanon Agarwood

You think you can only find real powerscents from the 70's and 80's back catalog?  Wrong.  Kanon Agarwood, along with One Man Show Gold, is a powerhouse for this decade.  I can't believe I'm saying this about an oud fragrance.  I'm not a fan of oud, and I have yet to smell (until now) a really bad ass fragrance where oud is a major player.  Sorry, but M7 is NOT a powerhouse fragrance.  A great scent, absolutely, but no powerhouse.  Though strong and powerful, oud fragrances are too refined to qualify, with their niche-y, artsy fartsy smell.

Let me start this review by saying this: if you are an oud fanatic, don't waste your time with Kanon Agarwood.  Obviously at $20 for a 100 ml. bottle, you're not going to get real agarwood in this.  Obviously the oud is synthetic.  You're not getting Montale-level quality here, so just move along and don't bother with this one.  You're going to hate it anyway.

I don't know who Kanon intended to market this fragrance for.  What I do know is that this is a true, bareknuckles powerhouse.  This juice is STRONG.  In fact, it's even heavier and more powerful than many of the great 80's muscle frags.  Even the color of the juice - a dark orangey red color - is retro, reminiscent of old 70's cheese fragrances like the original Bill Blass For Men.

Before I sprayed this on, I had a preconceived notion that it would not smell anything like agarwood.  I almost laughed out loud at its totally crude, overblown attempt at the smell of oud.  It's loudly medicinal, with no subtlely or complexity at all.  But you know what?  Who gives a shit?  I certainly don't, because this is a good fragrance regardless of its hack job on the oud accord.

The people who will be satisfied with Kanon Agarwood are guys who like their fragrances loud and aggressive.  It is bludgeoning and brash, and is one fragrance I can honestly say you do NOT want to overspray.  I wore five shots of this the other night, and my brain felt numb after an hour.  This is eye-wateringly powerful, and if you're not careful with the application, you'll feel like you've been poisoned.  This is in the One Man Show Gold/Lapidus Pour Homme realm of brutality.

What does it smell like?  It has the dense, thick texture of 80's heavyweights like Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui.  Please keep in mind that this fragrance is so dense and jam-packed, it may be hard for me to accurately identify the notes in it, so bear with me.  It starts off with a giant explosion of synthetic, medicinal oud, which is powerful in itself and smells good.  Pretty soon the oud is overpowered by almost toxic levels of rosewood.  The rosewood smell stays for about an hour or so.  The drydown is also a firestorm - labdanum, patchouli, amber, moss and cedar create an inferno of smell that never lets up until, oh I don't know, maybe eight hours later.  This juice kills.

One complaint I have is that after a few hours, the synthetic nature of its ingredients becomes blatantly obvious, and it develops an unpleasant, plasticine smell.  This is another reason you can't overdo this fragrance.  Just a couple of spritzes will give you more than enough power, and it will spare you from having to suffer through the plastic smell later on in the drydown. 

What I especially like about Kanon Agarwood is that it's very 80's in style.  That 80's smell comes on full force late in the drydown, when the labdanum, moss and patchouli is right out in the open.  In fact, Kanon Agarwood reminds me of some of the mean-ass powerhouse perfumes for women from that decade - Fendi Per Donna comes to mind immediately.  However, don't think this is a feminine smelling fragrance, even though a woman could pull it off well; a lot of 80's macho frags like Giorgio For Men and Sung Homme can be just as easily worn by women, for example.  Don't worry.  Kanon Agarwood has plenty of in-your-face swagger.

This is a niche fragrance snob's worst nightmare.

MY RATING:  7.5/10

Fragrance House:  Kanon

27 comments:

  1. Thank you for the interesting review. Am I right in thinking, the 'agarwood' accord does not linger on until the very final stages of the drydown? Regards, P

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  2. I couldn't really notice the fake oud smell lasting for a long time, but that may also be because there's so much else going on in this power packed scent that I didn't notice it after a while. Oud doesn't interest me much, so I think I pay more attention to all the other notes that become more prominent later on.

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  3. Thank you for having replied. A fan of powerhouse scents, can I ask, how long does it last and project please? (Great blog, by the way.) I hated One Man Show Gold Edition for - IMHO - it's a blob rather than a complex fragrance. Do you think it's the same as regards Kanon's Agarwood? Regards.

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  4. PS I need to apologise unreservedly as you may be an enthusiast of OMS Gold Edition.

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  5. No need to apologize at all. We like what we like and we hate what we hate. No big deal. Yes, I would say it's similar to OMN Gold in both its density and power. They're also both ultra spicy, and VERY heavy. If you don't like OMS Gold, you probably won't like Agarwood

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  6. Hello again, I'm sorry to bother, but -- could you pls tell me about Agarwood's longevity, Shamu? It seems from your review it's around 8 hours, or am I wrong? I'm asking 'cause my all-time favourite powrhouse scents, ie, Giorgio for Men or VC&A pH, are far more persistent on my skin. (Much obliged). Plus, I'm a bit bored with the sweetness in my colognes; is Agarwood's drydown sweet or more like semi-sweet/dry please? Kind regards.

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  7. The drydown isn't what I'd call dry, which would be if it was just about all wood. It's not sickeningly sweet either. If you're wondering if all you're left with is amber in the drydown, then no. It's such a dense, heavy scent, I really don't know how to describe what's in it in the drydown. All I know is that it's not ultra sweet, but not sawdust dry either.

    Longevity is more than 8 hours. After eight hours, I can still smell it, but it's subtle. Giorgio and VCA have more impressive longevity because they maintain their character throughout their duration. Agarwood, though dense in the drydown, is a lot less extreme in the drydown.

    If my description sounds interesting, I'd say it's safe doing a blind buy. It's very inexpensive scent.

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  8. Thank you ever so much, Shamu. Am I right in assuming the eight hours you mention equal a solid projection please? One last question, would you say it's cloying and/or headache/sneeze-inducing please? Best.

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  9. Eight hrs. of solid sillage. This is a beast.

    I've never sneezed or gotten an headache from a fragrance before, but if there's ever one that might do that to someone, it's this one.

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  10. Because it's so strong. There's really not much else I can say on this.

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  11. Thank you. I thought you meant some harsh/astringent accords, Shamu. You rule.

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  12. Hi Shamu,
    this is rather urgent. Pls tell me, how many sprays will give you the 8 solid hours?
    Much obliged, with regards.

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  13. Thank you very much. Contrarily to what you've said, longevity-wise, I've read on the web it's shoddy and wimpy, hence the concern. And I've just asked someone in the States to get it for me.

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    1. Wow, that's amazing to me. I find it brutally strong, both in terms of sillage AND longevity.

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    2. Thank you, again. I trust your views, is all I'm trying to say.

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    3. Please let us know what you think of this frag after you get your bottle.

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  14. I will if I get it. Fingers crossed!

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  15. Hi Shamu, this is just to say, I got my Agarwood -- and I disagree with your review 100%. It's a rather lovely musky skinscent without any powerhouse appeal whatsoever. In fact, I find its longevity and sillage dire. Your reviews have been an inspiration. In this case, however, it's like you and I got two entirely different fragrances, I'm sorry to say. Regards, as ever.

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    1. I just sprayed some on after reading your comment, and yep, it still smells like a power bomb to me. If I wore this more often than I do, I'd offer to buy your bottle!

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    3. Nah, I doubt there's anything wrong with your bottle. A lot of it comes down to personal perception. There are some frags that guys say are powerhouse, and I just think, "What are they talking about??". Also, maybe your skin just soaks up this particular frag like a sponge.

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  16. It is bizarre indeed, KA is the only 'powerhouse' in my collection that has absolutely no power whatsoever. A complete waste of money. Happy New Year.

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  19. Just piping in late in the game - but thought I'd add my experience. I'm finding this a loud, semi long-lived, musky-mossy scent. Not sure I'd have called it Agarwood, but it has got a strange woody accord, that if you squint just righ, might remind you of oud. Just. More like well-seasoned mulch to me.

    As an amateur perfumer, I can smell none of the conventional cheap agarwood/oud accords/blends - most typically Givaudan Black Agar, the Firmenich Oud Blend or Palisandrol. Not sure what was used here.

    Interestingly, it bears more than a passing resemblance to MPG's Parfum d'Habit - the musk, leathery labdanum and moss do a very good impression of recreating forest-damp saddle leather of the more expensive juice.

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