Shiseido Zen by Françoise Caron and Francis Kurkdjian for Men 2009


Guest Post by Margeaux


Shiseido Zen for Men 2009

“Infinite passion. Endless possibilities.” goes the tagline on this wonderful fragrance from Shiseido, one of Japans leading cosmetic and beauty houses. As with a lot of my smells, I bought this one on a whim as well. I was a huge, HUGE fan of a previous Shiseido men’s fragrance, Basala for Men, which has been discontinued for so long now it is but a distant fragrant memory for me. Developed in 2009 by Françoise Caron and Francis Kurkdjian, Shiseido’s guide tells me that this is a spicy woody frag layered with exotic fruits and masculine musk, and I reckon they are pretty much bang on with how this one plays out.

ZenforMen FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords::
Top: Nashi Pear, Bergamot, Kumquat
Middle: Nutmeg, Violet, Rhododendron
Base: Patchouli, Leather, Musk

So still being a bit new to reviewing perfumes, forgive me if my terms aren’t always right or clear but I am learning as I go.

Lets start with the bottle – a hefty chunk of clear glass housing a lovely translucent sea green/blue liquid. Topped with a mirrored cube that picks up every tiny fingerprint, but when polished looks amazing sitting on your dresser, very masculine, contemporary and smart bottle that I love to pick up. Very similar to another favourite bottle design – Gucci’s original Men’s Gucci Pour Homme EDT.

I spray with abandon to get a full dose of Zen onto my skin, and the opening is very fresh, very clean and maybe just a little sharp for my nose. It’s possible that I put too much on, but I like to get that full hit with anything I spray. Call me greedy – I don’t care! Once its settled in a few minutes, the fruits really start to come through and it becomes a whole lot more pleasant. I find it to be refreshing and not at all too sweet either.

The opening notes don’t seem to linger too long before it grows into the middle, the lovely violet and Rhododendron beginning to steal the show. This stage is altogether lovely, and each chance waft is a delight, calming and caressing, never impatient.
The highlight for me though is much later when the nutmeg, leather and musk begin to (slow) dance together. This is when the real masculinity of this fragrance comes to the fore and stays right where it can be enjoyed. I also get a hint of tobacco or cigar smoke in my nose, although it’s clearly not mentioned anywhere so I may just be adding that in from my own experiences or desires. One minor disappointment for me is that the patchouli seems to have gone missing. If you read my last review of Boss Elements Aqua [LINK], I mentioned how much I love patchouli and although it’s included in Zen for Men, I can’t really find it.

Zen_stone ChangeDesktpPhoto Stolen ChangeDesktop

Zen for Men lasts well on me, I get a good 6-8 hours of smell and as other reviewers mention, it stays much longer on clothing so I will often spray this when I am throwing on a jumper (sweater for you north americans!) in the cooler autumn months and let the fragrance taint my jumper, so that until washing it becomes the Zen jumper.

Shiseido’s marketing suggests that this fragrance provides freedom when you find enlightenment, with dynamic essences, and internal passion intensified by an endless energy. Umm, ok, lol. It’s a bit much for me. But lets cut to the chase – it smells bloody good. So ignore the mumbo-jumbo marketing stuff and get your hands on this one.

has 50ml/$47

See you soon,

Here is the movie

11 comments on “Shiseido Zen by Françoise Caron and Francis Kurkdjian for Men 2009

  1. susan says:

    My husband has a mini of this – he got it in a Shiseido men’s skincare gift I got him. It’s not bad, really, for a mainstream masculine.

    • David Watson says:

      Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by! I’ve come to realise that I’m stuck in mainstream fragrance world right now, but with Portia’s gentle tuition and encouragement, I’m starting to smell further afield. Bear with me while I work through the scents I have and then we can really start to have some fun. I do like Zen though 🙂
      – Margeaux

  2. Dear Margeaux
    Oh how The Dandy mourns the passing of Bassala too – though he has the best part of one flacon remaining (hurrah!).
    Zen does come in some of the most beautifully minimalist packaging ever, but I have never really been able to get beyond the adorable violet accord and into the heart of the fragrance, unfortunately it seems to die on The Dandy’s skin.
    Perhaps all of this is a question of climate and I need to try at another time of year – certainly your words have persuaded me this is so!
    Thank you to you and your estimable hosts.
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • David Watson says:

      Damn!! I was greedy and used up the last bottle so long ago I can only remember how much I liked those spicy warm notes, and how sexy I felt wearing it. Anyhoo, glad to hear I have a kindred spirit with my Basala love and I love seeing your comments here on APJ, as I know the rest of the team do as well. Zen for me is perfect in early autumn (fall) when the days start to crisp, or when I need a quiet day indoors any time of year 🙂 Let me know if you give it another spritz and whether you’re able to get more from it.
      – Margeaux

  3. poodle says:

    Rhododendron has a smell? Really? When mine bloom I’m going to have to stick my nose in them and find out. I’ve never smelled Zen for men so I’m going to have to look for it because now I’m curious.

    • David Watson says:

      Hi Poodle 🙂 I had to go looking to be sure again as I wrote that review a few weeks back, but Fragrantica says that Rhododendron smells like honey and pollen, with a soft focus nuance ( I definitely can get that top note of rich honey smell coming through. I have worn Zen so much though that perhaps some of the more subtle notes are a bit easier to spot for me. I’d love to hear what you think of both Zen and your lovely rhododendrons when you have a chance to sniff! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      – Margeaux

  4. hajusuuri says:

    Your review makes me want to seek this out! On the anemic patchouli, perhaps this would make a good layering scent for one of your stronger patchouli perfumes?

    • David Watson says:

      Ah-ha – great idea Hajussri! Love that thank you. I’m blasting some old Like A Prayer Madonna while I type replies so getting a big patchouli rush just thinking about it! Would love to know what you think after you’ve tracked Zen down too.
      – Margeaux

  5. ladyjicky says:

    Oh , if you are as old as me …. Zen was a wonderful perfume for women in the 70’s !!!

    • David Watson says:

      Well I entered this world in the mid 70’s but alas I can’t recall any scents like that one but I shall ask my mum if she remembers it.One of these days I should ask her what she wore back then and what she’s wearing now too. Thanks for your lovely comments and for stopping by APJ!
      – Margeaux

  6. saffyishere says:

    OHHHHH Bassala…..Oh how I miss you.Moreso I miss the man who wore it!!!! Next trip to Melbourne I shall seek out some Zen.

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