I’m a fan of lavender (especially for summer), so I was pleased to discover that Djhenné opens with this note. However, this lavender is not of the bracing, sharp variety. This is a suave, herbal lavender that introduces the fragrance with a cool elegance. The mint and seringa blossom enhance the herbaceous aspect, and lend an almost soapy feel to this opening.
But Pierre Guillaume ensures that Djhenné never tips over into the “clean” category. The concept of Djhenné is constructed around dualities. Monsieur Guillaume imagines this fragrance as an oasis in the middle of the desert, or, in his own words, as a “warm shadow.” The cool/warm and dry/wet contrasts are obvious in his language here, but they play out in a bit more of a subtle way in the fragrance itself.
Djhenné goes very quiet after the initial opening. My advice is: just wait. The first time I tried this, I had to force myself to stop sniffing my wrist every thirty seconds and just let it settle in. If you’re patient enough, you’ll eventually notice hints of cedar wafting around you. It’s very arid at this stage, and you can begin to see the desert of Guillaume’s vision taking shape around the oasis of cool lavender.
But just when you think this is settling down into a dry woody accord, a taste of gourmand sneaks in. The cocoa here doesn’t add up to a dessert-like chocolate for me. I think the wheat note helps to soften it out, and the gourmand aspect takes on the feel of chocolate milk paired with a shortbread biscuit. It’s nothing hugely decadent, but rather like a small sweet treat. Moreover it adds some much-needed depth to the heart of this composition.
The blond leather accord of the base comes off as more musky to me than anything else. Still, it’s nice, and there is a touch of dirtiness about it that acts as a clever counterbalance to the soapiness of the opening. This stage lasts forever, too. It fades so slowly, I can still detect hints of it while getting ready for bed.
I’ve already used the word quiet in this write-up to describe Djhenné, but it’s apt. This fragrance really has a pensive, reserved feel. It’s not that Djhenné doesn’t have a lot to say, the multiple developments it goes through during wear time are fascinating. It simply refuses to be rushed or loud about the story it has to tell.
I’ve worn Djhenné a few times on days when I wanted something peaceful and restful, and it fits the mood perfectly. Although there’s an elegance here, I wouldn’t wear this for a night out, maybe only for a dinner with one or two other people. There is something undeniably intimate about this perfume, and it remains predominately a skin scent on me. Between this and Taormine, I’m coming to appreciate the allure of soft, warm fragrances for hotter weather. We all need comfort scents, even during summer. And perhaps the ultimate duality of Djhenné is that its strangely compelling nature ends up being comforting.
Samples and full bottles of Djhenné are available from Luckyscent, which is where I obtained my sample.
Image and info about notes is taken from Luckyscent.