Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
By Kilian is a brand with a marketing stance that I should not like—uber-luxurious packaging and unnecessarily complicated names that border on romantic triteness. Yet, when I first discovered their fragrances, I was blissfully unaware of any of this. I simply saw the sleek black bottles on the shelf at Aedes perfume boutique, sprayed a few fragrances on blotters and then spent an entire hour smelling everything from the collection. By the time I was finished, I was very much impressed. I enjoyed the elegance of the compositions, their luminous, vivid quality and memorable character, whether the salty lavender of A Taste of Heaven or the luscious coconut laced tuberose of Love. Since few scents make me melt as readily as does jasmine, Love & Tears : Surrender went straight to my heart. A radiant jasmine, its appeal to me lies in its beautiful pairing with galbanum and oakmoss, a juxtaposition between white petals and green leaves.
Created by Calice Becker in 2010, Love & Tears is a great example of her ability to weave intricately balanced, radiant accords. Becker’s work appeals very much to me for its ability to retain the signature of its creator. Despite the fact that many of her signature accords have been widely copied (just think about how many Tommy Girl and J’Adore offspring there are in the perfumery world!), nothing improves upon the originals. While Love & Tears may not be the most unusual jasmine fragrance, its softness and petally opulence make this fragrance quite irresistible for me.
The initial impression of Love & Tears is that of sparkling, green brightness, the springtime sensation felt when one smells the new leaves, sticky buds and new grass. The lush jasmine note begins to unfold almost immediately, though it presents itself in layers. First, it is the apricot jam sweetness of jasmine absolute, then the jasmine takes on a soft, tender quality, and finally, a subtle leathery note peeks through the mass of white petals. At some stages, the composition reminds me of the feeling I love about Balmain Vent Vert, which was captured by Becker in her 1991 reorchestration of the 1940 original (the fragrance has since been reformulated again by another perfumer). The woody and mossy drydown of Love & Tears is an appealing counterpoint to the complexity of jasmine. It is quite refined and smooth, retaining the same radiance that set the top notes alight.
In comparison to my jasmine gold standard Serge Lutens À La Nuit, Love & Tears is much cleaner, brighter and fresher, which may be a negative aspect for those who love the animalic heft of classical floral notes. However, it still conveys the complexity of jasmine perfectly, presenting it as a finely polished gemstone. As much as I love animalic jasmines like À La Nuit, Sarrasins and Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse, they can feel too demanding, especially as daytime fragrances. While Love & Tears certainly lacks the dramatic intensity as suggested by the name, it is quite romantic, with an effervescent, lighthearted spirit. If your idea of a floral composition is one evoking a white petal shower, then Love & Tears will make that fantasy come true.
By Kilian Love and Tears : Surrender (from L’Oeuvre Noire collection) includes notes of bergamot, petitgrain, lavandin, galbanum, daffodil, Egyptian and Indian jasmines, lily of the valley, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine water, cedarwood, oakmoss, and styrax. Available from Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman, Luckyscent.
Photography via wiki commons, some rights reserved.
Sample: my own acquisition