Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
What exists beyond love? Nirvana, fulfillment, restlessness? I confess that I am generally hard wired to ignore fragrance marketing and avoid connecting the perfume name with its olfactory character. Yet, in the case of By Kilian Beyond Love, I can say this–the first time I smelled it, I felt euphoric. A lush tuberose set into an exquisitely polished frame of woody amber and vanilla, Beyond Love proves that the only thing existing beyond love is joy.
Created by perfumer Calice Becker for the niche outfit run by Kilian Hennessy, Beyond Love is a beautiful example of a modern floral. Becker uses a particularly fine grade of tuberose absolute to build the composition, and she plays up facets of this unique raw material that are explored least often—the radiant, shimmering dimension. In the niche end of perfumery, tuberose is often treated as a dark, dense note that is closer to rubber and hot skin than it is to white petals (think Serge Lutens Tubéreuse Criminelle or L’Artisan Nuit de Tubéreuse.) Commercial (so-called prestige) perfumery, on the other hand, treats tuberose as a gourmand milky note by emphasizing its coconut richness (Juicy Couture, Michael Kors Very Hollywood.) With the exception of the stellar Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower, few tuberose fragrances pay homage to the dazzling, yet moody aspect of the raw material itself.
Beyond Love does just that. The tuberose is presented with all of its facets intact, from the delicious woody darkness to the opulent sensuality, yet the highlight is on the silky softness of white petals and the honeyed sweetness of nectar. The supporting cast of jasmine and orange blossom augments the languid quality of the tuberose heart. The whole comes to rest against a burnished backdrop of dry amber, musk and vanilla. While Beyond Love starts out as a radiant floral, it gains darkness as it dries down into an oriental inflected white floral bouquet. An easy fragrance to wear, Beyond Love will not challenge (try Robert Piguet Fracas for that!); however, it will prove to be a delightful companion for any exploits, romantic ones included.
By Kilian Beyond Love: Prohibited includes notes of gardenia, orange blossom, tuberose, coconut, jasmine, ambergris, and musk Tonkin complex. By Kilian fragrances are sold from Aedes, MiN, Bergdorf Goodman, Saks5thAvenue. $135, 4 x .25oz spray refills and portable flacon; $225, 50ml spray bottle.
Sample: my own acquisition