Delicious Desert – Parfumerie Générale PG22 Djhenné Perfume Review

PG22 Dhjenné

PG22 Dhjenné – Delicious Desert

Parfumerie Générale is a curious outfit. Perfumer Pierre Guillaume has a penchant for heavy, gourmand orientals that very often sit precariously on the divide between the delicious and the indigestible. Personally, whilst I respect the quality and artistry of the PG fragrances I must admit that I find this style somewhat difficult to stomach and as yet haven’t found any of M. Guillaume’s offerings tasty, loveable or bottle worthy.

Despite the fact that the brand is classified in my brain as ‘interesting but not for me’ I am always keen to see what PG is up to. Quality is quality right? And in this world where quality and innovation is often a second thought to the quick-buck marketing campaigns, true artistry is not to be scoffed at. Luckily for me my perseverance has paid off, as it is with his latest release Djhenné that Pierre Guillaume has won me over.

Djhenné was launched in 2012 to celebrate the brand’s 10th birthday. Taking its name from the North African oasis city, Djhenné is a warm, aromatic fragrance that strikes the right balance between dry woods and herbs and the delicious gourmand note of cocoa. I warn you dear reader, this is one is far too easy to digest…

Mmmm.... Lavender Chocolate

Mmmm…. Lavender Chocolate

“Surrendering to the sun. Lush oasis, Djhenné is a warm shadow. A leather sheath with gold Wheat and Myrrh, protecting from the burning sun’s shroud, the delicate spearmint leaves and the heady whiteness of Seringa Blossom…”

The Notes

Blond Leather, Myrrh, Grey Lavender, Mint Leaves, Seringa Blossom, Cocoa Beans, Blue Cedar and Wheat Absolute

How Does it Smell?

As usual with Parfumerie Générale scents, Djhenné is a puzzle. It’s a fragrance that doesn’t reveal itself fully and each of the individual facets are so played down and subtle that it takes a while to fathom out exactly what makes it tick. This is partly the reason why I’ve fallen for it so deeply, it just keeps you guessing and each time I wear it I discover something new.

Djhenné opens with subdued mint and lavender, both of which have a ‘blink and you’ll miss it vibe’ going on. I read somewhere that Pierre Guillaume doesn’t like lavender and wanted to create a lavender for his own tastes. Smelling Djhenné this is quite easy to believe as most of the herbaceous, mentholated nuances of the lavender are removed completely leaving behind only the caramelised, burned aspects that make it so delicious.

The central core appears to be the cocoa which adds a milky texture to soften the other, more angular materials. Thankfully PG has used a much more refined hand with the cocoa here than in other fragrances (I’m looking at you Musc Maori) and this restraint allows the note to act as a mahogany piece of silk that floats above the skin.

With time the leather and wood notes become much more pronounced and in harmony they rub off one another to amplify a healthy dose of velvety vanilla. Underneath this there is a subtle level of skank reminiscent of warm skin that burns like warm embers and adds to the overall depth of the fragrance. The whole thing then does a bit of a 360 degree spin, as if to keep you on your toes, by bringing out the herbal, aromatic notes of the opening once again for a final bow. It really is fabulous!

Djhenné is an unusual scent. It’s not conventionally aromatic or woody, nor is it conventionally gourmand. It seems to sit astride all three genres to create something new, exciting and so easy to wear that I am having to keep my credit card under lock and key for fear of spontaneous purchase. Not that I’d regret it…


Djhenné is available in 30ml, 50ml and 100ml Eau de Parfum. The 50ml and 100ml can be found at Les Senteurs in the UK with prices ranging from £81.50-£117.50.

Sample via Les Senteurs. Notes and quotes via Parfumerie Generale. Image 1 Image 2


38 thoughts on “Delicious Desert – Parfumerie Générale PG22 Djhenné Perfume Review

  1. I don’t know why, but I dismissed this one when it first came out. I looked at the notes and thought I probably wouldn’t like it, even though it seemed very different from the usual PG scents. From your description I may give it a try. I usually find PG scents too sweet and too gourmand for my taste, so maybe this will be the one for me.

  2. I’m yet to own a full bottle of a PG fragrance but Aomassai and Rose Brulure are faves from the line. Like you say, they are all of such high quality that a new release is a must-try. This one sounds really good but I’ll have to see what the level of mint and skank is like on my skin. Doesn’t sound too strong though.

    Glad you finally found a PG to love!

    • @Tara – The mint is one of the best subtle-uses of mint I’ve encountered in a frag. (I’m usually VERY weary of it.) It would not even register as ‘mint’ mint, if u were not looking for it. And I found the ‘animalic’ quality equally very subtle. (I would not even go as far as call it ‘skank’ really) – just a light warm musk/leather accord.
      Pierre calls it a mineralic fougère with a light leather accent, which I think is spot on. (It does have a ‘masculine/fougère’ facet.) …
      I think it would especially appeal to those who usually find PG’s scents a little too ‘rich’ & ‘dense’.

      • Thanks Jules, that’s really helpful. Obvious mint is a deal-breaker for me.

        I do find quite a few of his scents rather too rich and dense for my tastes, as much as I admire them.

    • Pleasure ! 🙂 – And yep it’s a deal-breaker for me too. Here it just somehow lifts it’s ‘freshness’ without coming across ‘minty’ at all. (I don’t know how he’s managed it so perfectly actually, as even the tiniest bit of mint tends to stomp over every other note usually.)
      Who knows, but it’s sounding like this could/might very well be your PG too then. 🙂

      • Nope, I think you might be thinking of Coze as the ‘coffee’ containing one. Aomassai is the spicy one with dark caramel, licorice and toasted hazelnuts. … (I think it’s gorgeous in the beginning, but somehow like it less and less as it dries down, as it becomes spicier. – And Coze I also like but unfortunately have noticed that it’s become a little too intensely dry & dusty for me lately.)

  3. Ok that’s it – it seems our ‘honeymoon’ is over -> I WANT A DIVORCE ! 😀 …

    This news greatly saddens me ! – As u might remember I’m a die-hard PG ‘fanboi’ – just LUV the stuff ! (To me Pierre does no wrong & practically ‘walks on perfume’.) 🙂 So easily one of my top fave houses. … So I must admit am well surprised, as id’ve thought ur appreciation for PG scents would be much (much !) greater. Knowing u tend to prefer them ‘bigger, blousier & punchier’, I’dv thought Pierre’s style would be just ur thing. – (Have u really tried ALL of them, & none really do nothing for u ??) 😦

    So it seems, sadly, when it comes to PG at very least, it’s become apparent we’re on complete opposite ends. It seems instead u’ve rather preferred his most subtle scent yet. Whilst I thought Djhenné was certainly pleasant enough (& even very easy to wear), it’s probably my least fave of his to date. IMO I think it’s his most boring & ‘commercial’ (even ‘conformist’) scent to date. (VERY ‘office friendly’ I thought.) – Tho’ I’m surprised I even liked it as much as I did, considering it’s large amounts of (& not just 1 but 3 !) different types of lavender. (*Shudders* !)
    It’s certainly the only FB of his I’ve regretted. So if you’re looking for a part-bottle or even large decant, then u need look no further. In fact, PLEASE take some off my hands … 🙂

    • … Did not even ‘Tubereuse Couture’ pass muster … ??

      I mean, I’d prefer it over Fracas or ‘Truth or Dare’ any day !! – (And that’s not even one of his I even much like … .) 🙂

      • Yes I too would have quite a few other tube’s I’d choose before No.17. (I stress it’s NOT one of my admired PG’s – Besides, when it comes to tube’s Tubereuse Criminelle is my poison – with maybe Carnal Flower a close 2nd) … Just thought that with your great luv for tube’s that just maybe it might be your PG. … (Oh well, we’ll just have to find u another. Or have u already tried the whole line & there’s just no hope ?) 🙂

    • I’m surprised too! I normally adore all that is brash and loud but there’s just something indigestible about most of his fragrances that I find intriguing but not compelling enough to wear. It’s a shame I must admit.

      • Ok I will admit one thing – you mentioned earlier : “not for me in terms of wearability”. And I will hate to admit that for me too there are quite a few of his that whilst I adore how they smell, yes I agree are a little difficult in terms of ‘wearability’. Djhenne IS very easy to wear absolutely. Another that I find easy in that respect, probably one of his easiest I believe, is Cadjmere. (Have u tried it yet ?)

  4. I adore Djhenné! I find it deliciously dry and wearable. I completely agree with you about the touch of skank too. There is something very human about Djhenné, but in the best way.

    I do have to just note that I wouldn’t consider Djhenné a North African oasis, but a West African one (alternative spelling aside). I know that this is nitpicky on my part, but I studied abroad in West Africa at university in the neighboring country to Mali. When I first read about Djhenné, I immediately wondered if it would smell like L’Artisan’s Timbuktu. I love Timbuktu too, but I find it a little *too* reminiscent of West Africa. I can literally smell the bodies, the spices, the sweat and the animals to the point that I don’t find it that wearable.

    Djhenné on the other hand is just enough to make me nostalgic. Thanks for the wonderful review CPB! Glad to see this fragrance get well-deserved London loving!

      • Oh definitely! Regardless of the play on the name, or whether Regardless of its play on words or if Pierre Guilaume had or had not visited Djenné itself, I’m not sure if it’s possible to name a perfume after a real location and not have it be evocative to some extent. If PG wanted to completely avoid any comparison to Mali, he very well could have chosen any other word, including “oasis,” and made a play on that as well.

        What I do find remarkable, especially given the additional information provided by Jules below, is that he managed to create a scent that very much reminds me of West Africa without ever having visited.

        Anyone who has been to the region would recognize its “funk” — I don’t mean this pejoratively — immediately. I found it in Djhenné, and so did another friend who knew nothing about the name or the perfumer.

    • You know, I don’t think Pierre expected the name to be taken quite so literally/seriously. I think he merely liked that while exploring the olfactory theme of an oasis, that it equally worked pun-wise with the French word for ‘henna’ (henné). Like he did with his previous one Myrrhiad and myrrh.
      This is what he said when asked if he meant the city in Mali – Djenné. And I quote : “No, no! I have never been there and I don’t want any comparisons with this Malian city. It’s just a metaphor. I meant a fresh accord surrounded by hot sand. ‘Oasis’, a lazy hot atmosphere, and a little bit of freshness in a hot desert.

      BUT I did like reading your thoughts on it anyway. 🙂

    • @baconbiscuit212 … That is indeed remarkable. And I’m pretty sure that regardless of what he said previously, I imagine he’d dig & be well chuffed to hear u say that. 🙂

  5. I like this one, and I don’t often go for the PG line; they usually wear too sweet or cloying on me. Djhenne’ has Timberol in it, I’m pretty sure, which gives it that “fire without smoke” dry-hot quality, so it’s not gourmand at all. It’s very aromatic and unusual. Great review!

    • @masha7 … Are u 100% certain that Djhenné does in fact contain Timberol as u’ve stated ? (Or are u just speculating ?) …
      I mean, I know for a fact that it contains the molecule Stemone together with Mint for it’s ‘green notes’. Then there’s Orange & Artemisia together with 3 different lavenders Lavande Pays, Lavande Barreme & Lavandine for the ‘fresh accord’. Then I know Pierre used Cocoa Absolute, Moroccan Cedar, Myrrh, Cumin, Caraway & a new Wheat Absolute from Robertet, which together with his favourite ‘White Leather’ accord achieved his ‘hot sand’ accord. … BUT I’ve never heard that it does indeed contain ‘Timberol’ – So sorry, but just needed to confirm if u knew this as fact ? (Or if without ‘in your opinion’ behind that statement, this is maybe how misinformation flourishes on the net.) 🙂

      • Well, I said, “Timberol, I’m pretty sure” so that pretty much means it’s my opinion. I keep both Timberol and Ambrocenide in my scent library and use them in my own perfumes. TImberol is a very distinctive olfactory experience, and I do believe I detect a little in Djhenne’- of course, I don’t actually know, I’m not an insider perfume chemist who’s seen the secret formula! (bwahaha…)

      • Sorry ‘masha’, my apologies ! 🙂 – Somehow I incorrectly read “I’m sure”, when the essential missed in-between “pretty” makes all the difference. – So I though u were in fact SURE sure, so just wondered how, and how certain. (And wether I could from now on take it as fact). … Also, I was just surprised, as whilst pretty familiar with Timberol myself, I did not pick up on it. – HOWEVER, that might very well change now that u’ve brought my attention to it.
        Whilst it certainly has a “dry” quality, I find Timberol usually also much woodier, powderier & more strongly sweaty/animalic than anything I sniffed in Djhenné. Plus with it’s high diffusiveness, if it HAS indeed been used, it must be in much tinier/diluted amounts than I’m used to. – (Certainly no way as obvious as in RL’s Polo Black for example.)
        But I’m really intrigued now, so might just have to beg Pierre to confirm next time I’m at one of his ‘talks’. 🙂

  6. I’m a big fan of Coze, and I have been interested in other PG offerings but I have not yet tried much of the time. If a sample at luckyscent is $3 (it might be $4 now), then how much will it cost to try the entire line? $186? I’ll be in Hamburg in 2 weeks and there’s a perfume store that sells the line so I will finally get to try some others.
    I often use PG as an example of affordable niche fragrances that are interesting. But a few weeks ago I saw a discussion about some hyper-expensive brand, By Kilian or Amouge I think, and someone said “if you have a problem with the prices, stick to the low quality fragrancess of Parfumerie Generale” (no one even mentioned PG, they brought it up on their own) or something along those lines. So then I went into a panic. “Do I smell…CHEAP?” then I looked at my Forever 21 dress that I bought 2 years ago, my Nokia flip phone and my refurbished 4 year old HP laptop. Then I realized that I may have been giving a perfume equivalent of a Forever21 dress as an example of quality, publicly on the internet where anyone can see. (To be fair, this Forever21 dress is actually just a plain black faux wrap dress)
    So I am very pleased to see that you didn’t write a review saying PG is for cheapos with no taste. This review really helped my self esteem.

    • I definitely wouldn’t say that the PG scents are cheap or feel as such.

      As much as some may be a bit too thick and gluttonous for me they are exceptionally well crafted and far from being cheap tat.

      Sometimes I think perfume people, especially those on the forums think that the correlation between price and quality/art is much stronger than it really is.

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