By Kilian Beyond Love : Perfume Review

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Whitepetals

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

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44 Comments

  • wfs: It’s fragrance is cool, it is called “calachuchi flower” in our country. April 28, 2011 at 5:35am Reply

  • Ann C: Wonderful review! I’m not a tuberose lover and even I am tempted by your description of this fragrance. April 28, 2011 at 6:24am Reply

  • Olfactoria: With my inimitably positive attitude today, upon reading the first sentences of your review I immediately thought – beyond love lies devastation. That it is a tuberose perfume is actually fitting perfectly then. 😉 However your review is so tempting, I will try this anyway… April 28, 2011 at 8:32am Reply

  • mals86: I lucked across a travel bottle of Beyond Love, after making several snarky comments about the expensive By Kilians and their fancy-pants packaging.

    It’s wonderful. I would think that you’d have to at least like tuberose in general to enjoy BL, but it’s so… clear. Although other ingredients are listed, Beyond Love seems unsullied by weird mildew notes, coconut, rotting meat, orange blossom, moss, or anything that would detract from, as you say, the radiant shining aspect of the bloom. It feels focused and yet relaxed.

    It doesn’t have the emotional pull for me that Carnal Flower does, or the old Chloe, which I wore for a decade in my teens, but it is, simply, beautiful. It doesn’t ask or offer anything more – or less. April 28, 2011 at 8:33am Reply

    • Felicity: I am hopelessly in love with Kilian Beyond Love. I have both Beyond Love and Carnal flower.
      When I wear these two fragrances I feel like flying. March 26, 2015 at 5:58pm Reply

  • Bee: Beyond love reminds me of an anecdote I once read about a group of men bragging about their fancy sports cars and there’s this guy listening quietly, when asked what he drives he just answers a rolls-royce. That is beyond love for the tuberoses.. (nothing against the racier cars or tuberoses..) April 28, 2011 at 10:40am Reply

  • Victoria: Interesting! I have never heard that name before. April 28, 2011 at 11:17am Reply

  • Victoria: I think that you might like it, if you do not heavy, creamy tuberose renditions. In the same line, there is a tuberose fragrance called Love, which is exactly that–a tuberose ganache! Beyond Love is luminous, very beautiful. April 28, 2011 at 11:19am Reply

  • Victoria: Birgit, you had me at your “inimitably positive attitude!”
    As I mentioned to Ann above, even if you dislike the heavy, heady tuberose fragrances, Beyond Love might prove to be a great discovery. It is not a light fragrance, but there is a radiant, airy quality about it that is simply gorgeous. April 28, 2011 at 11:23am Reply

  • Victoria: I know that Beyond Love did not get much affection on blogs, but I find it a spectacular tuberose. It is great to see a beautiful tribute to this material that explores the floral facets above all. After all, tuberose absolute does not smell floral per se. It is rubbery, dark, reminiscent of warm skin and coconut fudge. A beautiful raw material!

    Carnal Flower exists in its own universe for me! April 28, 2011 at 11:25am Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, what a fantastic comparison. Yes, I completely agree. For me, Beyond Love is just that. April 28, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Suzanna: Victoria, you possess the uncanny ability to describe a fragrance almost precisely as it smells. (I have even blind-bought from your reviews and have been delighted.)

    Here, you capture Beyond Love perfectly. I can smell it as I type, too lazy to get my decant to “whiff along.”

    BL is closest to Carnal Flower to my nose, and worlds away from the “prestige” fragrance tuberose that you describe so aptly. April 28, 2011 at 11:39am Reply

  • Victoria: Suzanna, thank you very much! I am delighted to hear it.
    Prestige perfume has been having its long run with tuberose (starting with the original Michael Kors,) and I am already very tired of these tuberose lollipops that are pretty much showing in every brand’s portfolio, from Mariah Carey to Juicy Couture.
    On the other hand, the niche’s insistence on dark and skanky can get tiresome too. So, Beyond Love and Carnal Flower are my current tuberose favorites. Well, and Fracas! April 28, 2011 at 11:49am Reply

  • dleep: Your review makes me want to try this fragrance. I love tuberose! I really need to try more of this brand. April 28, 2011 at 12:35pm Reply

  • Grusheczka: Tuberose – my favorite note of late! This coming from someone who prefers dark, moody, musky (and even skanky) compositions… but then again, white florals done the right way can fit nicely into this genre, can’t they? No wonder I love them. I’m hopelessly obsessed with Carnal Flower but have not found many other tuberose-based scents that had even a fraction of the hold that CF has on me. I’ve been quite impressed with By Killian’s white florals and I’m glad to hear that Beyond Love is another keeper. Thanks for the review April 28, 2011 at 12:53pm Reply

  • March: V, I don’t know what was wrong with me… okay, I admit I might have been put off a bit by their branding. And the one that smells like a really high-end Pink Sugar (Taste of Heaven?) But a few weeks ago I was re-sampling these at Saks and realised how gorgeous it was/is. I’m pretty much a Carnal Flower girl, but Beyond Love is a close second. The only other Kilian I’m wild for is the honey-tobacco one (Back to Black?) April 28, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Lavanya: I need to revisit this..I remember when I smelt it (a while ago) it smelt more like tuberose absolute than the flower (I usually crave for the scent of the flowers in tuberose perfumes) and so I didn’t pay too much attention it. However tuberose absolute is a very complex and beautiful raw material in its own right- so I need to revisit Beyond Love without preconceived notions about how I want it to smell..:). Also Carnal Flower.. April 28, 2011 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Victoria: I really like by Kilian fragrances, and if it were not for the cost, I would have own pretty much every single one. Beyond Love, Love & Tears, Rose Oud and Back to Black are my top favorites these days. April 28, 2011 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: I confess that I love tuberose in all of its guises (although I am tired of the sweet cotton candy renditions, as I mentioned above.) Beyond Love satisfies for my cravings for white florals at their most elegant. It is simply such a joyful fragrance. Whenever I wear it, I feel this wonderful sense of contentment. So, it must be love! 🙂 April 28, 2011 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: March, the first time I read about this line, I was not that thrilled. Somehow, it seemed overpriced and unnecessarily complicated based on its marketing positioning and names. Yet, one day at Aedes I spent some time testing the fragrance line, and by the time I finished, I was in love. The quality of these perfumes is spectacular, the presentation is beautiful, the olfactory ideas are very interesting. All in all, by Kilian includes several winners for me.
    Back to Black is fantastic! A 1920s heavy lidded oriental reinterpreted in a modern manner. Another love at first sniff for me. April 28, 2011 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: Carnal Flower and Beyond Love use some of the best tuberose absolutes I’ve encountered in commercial perfumery. And they truly offer a great tribute to this precious material.
    You know, I find Beyond Love smelling closer to the real flower than any other tuberose fragrance I’ve tried. Of course, competing with the real thing is impossible, but it comes close to me. April 28, 2011 at 2:17pm Reply

  • Olga Bodnar Talyn: A wonderful description! I cannot wait to try Beyond Love. As a tuberose lover I cannot live without Fracas. I also have Annick Gouta’s Tubereuse, L’Artisian’s, Creeds Indiana, and Michael Kors. By the way, Sonoma Scent Studio is coming out with a white floral9 tuberrose, jasmine, gardenia this summer. April 28, 2011 at 2:33pm Reply

  • Elisa: Beyond Love is one of the most beautiful things I have ever smelled. April 28, 2011 at 3:11pm Reply

  • Flora: I really love this one, it’s my favorite modern tubey scent after Carnal Flower. April 28, 2011 at 4:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are a true tuberose lover! Not sure if you’ve tried it, but Honoré des Près Vamp à NY is another very elegant tuberose. April 28, 2011 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is up there for me as well! April 28, 2011 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Victoria: Donna, for me also. Carnal Flower is richer and denser, a heavy satin to Beyond Love’s silk. April 28, 2011 at 4:22pm Reply

  • gautami: I cannot say that I love tuberose in all its forms; while I love Carnal Flower and L’artisan’s La Chasse, I cannot stand Fracas or Amarige.
    But, this one sounds right up my alley. I have been generally ignoring By Killians, however I will definitely sniff this one. April 28, 2011 at 4:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then I would say, you would like this one. It is miles away from Amarige (which I detest) and Fracas (which I love, but find challenging.) Definitely more like Carnal Flower and La Chasse in spirit. April 28, 2011 at 4:58pm Reply

  • Lavanya: Hmm- I definitely need to revisit..and also need make sure sure to try them on my skin- I don’t think I’ve tried Carnal Flower on my skin..Thanks for the review V. April 28, 2011 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: Carnal Flower is a must for anyone who loves white florals. I cannot think of any other word to describe it but splendid! Again, not a challenging fragrance, but simply ravishing.
    Do try them on the skin! I find that white floral notes are very fickle and can smell different on different skins. April 28, 2011 at 5:15pm Reply

  • axum: Thank you for this thoughtful review – I’m sending away for a sample! Does it also have a frangipani note? I only ask because of the picture…and because I love, love, love the scent of frangipani blossoms. April 28, 2011 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: I just liked this photo of luminous flowers, so no, I just took some creative liberties. 🙂
    Still, there is a certain tropical floral effect.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile April 28, 2011 at 8:50pm Reply

  • Suzanna: These are my favorites also, and Fracas is quite lovely when applied with discretion. I crave the parfum from time to time and it has its place in the summer wardrobe.

    The “tuberose lollipops” (great description!) turned me off the note for a long time. I thought I was not able to enjoy it any longer. It is as if they have cooked tuberose down to a sugar syrup.

    By the way, I bought Une Zeste de Rose based on your review. What an absolute delight it is! April 28, 2011 at 10:14pm Reply

  • k-amber: I like the creaminess of Beyond Love very much. I have just got a sample of Back to Black and love it. As far as I know, not trying everything, the line seems to be well-balanced classic and modern mixed. A Taste of Heaven reminds me one of my favorite summer drinks “Pernod with club soda” , I don’t drink much though 🙂

    Kaori April 29, 2011 at 12:43am Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that you liked Un Zeste de Rose! It is like a rose lemonade, so perfect on a hot day.

    The thing with Fracas is the correction application. Too much, and it is a disaster. I dab it, and it wears beautifully this way. April 29, 2011 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: Pernod is one of my favorite summer drinks too. I love all of the anise scented beverages, but Pernod has few rivals for me. 🙂 April 29, 2011 at 1:01pm Reply

  • Lavanya: ok- I went back and applied beyond love on my wrist and after a bit it really bloomed on my skin- very lush and radiant! I really liked it. At this point I feel more admiration than love for it, but I am already craving that luminous lushness..

    Also V, I went perfume sniffing with my mom and it turned out that her favorite was Mitsouko (along with Chanel Bois de Iles, Cuir de Russie and Bel Respiro)..I had my suspicion that she would love the classics from Guerlain and Chanel the best, but it was fun to have them confirmed..:) She tried the pure parfum on her skin and after a while the drydown smelled so much like the topnotes of Poivre to me..Am I crazy or is that possible? I’ve never actually ‘gotten’ Mitsouko, till I smelled the spicy drydown today..

    Also, her favorites in the past have been Guy Laroche Fidji and Nina Ricci l’air du temps- Do you know of any other perfumes she may like. [I think she might like PdNs too- they also seem to have the fresh elegant but heavy quality to them] April 30, 2011 at 2:07am Reply

  • Victoria: It is possible, because Mitsouko had that spicy cinnamon top, and now that the oakmoss is gone, the balance is different. Those notes may be more apparent straight away.

    She would love PdN Odalisque and Le Temps d’Une Fete, very much in the classical style. April 30, 2011 at 10:35am Reply

  • Lavanya: Thanks V-I did think of the Le Temps for her but have never sniffed Odalisque..will make her sniff both (the next time we drive upto LA)..Thanks!! May 1, 2011 at 5:40pm Reply

  • Grusheczka: I just tried BL thanks to your great review, and I adore it! It’s joining Carnal Flower and Fracas as my fave tuberose. I’m so glad By Killian offers the refill bottles, as I’m going to have to get this and Love and Tears really soon… Thanks for steering me towards this great tuberose fragrance 🙂 May 6, 2011 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm so happy to hear this! I find it hard to pick between Beyond Love, Carnal Flower and PCTG. As a white floral lover, I need them all. 🙂 Plus, Beyond Love is such an uplifting and happy fragrance. Wearing it makes me smile–what better reason than this to wear perfume!
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 6, 2011 at 5:35pm Reply

  • Carolynn: WFS, I never knew tuberose was calachuchi! I’m assuming your country is as mine, The Philippines. =) April 5, 2012 at 3:21am Reply

  • Christiano Sebastiano: Oh my God, I just finished reading your review and I am impressed about how we share a lot of same feelings about this charming and beautiful tuberose. I used the same words as you did, like the joy feeling, and questioning myself what’s beyond love and how this fragrance can help with this asnwer. You should totally read it, even if in my case is more a portrait of the wearer than a classic review, well, anyways, here you go 😉 http://www.scentedlife.it/giada-portrait-beyond-love-bykilian/
    Keep up the good job 😉 Ciao June 19, 2013 at 6:26pm Reply

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