Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Rub a sprig of lavender with your fingertips and inhale. Initially, the impression is green, resinous, something between salty pine needles and spicy herbes de Provence. Yet, almost immediately, one can notice a warm, sweet note reminiscent of candied almonds and vanilla. The contrasted nature of lavender lends itself to many interesting combinations and effects. In by Kilian A Taste of Heaven, the lavender stars in a main role as seductive aromatic note that bridges the effervescence of the top notes with the velvety darkness of oakmoss and tonka bean.
Created in 2007 by perfumer Calice Becker, who is responsible for most of the fragrances in the by Kilian collection, A Taste of Heaven is a beautiful combination of classical oriental and fougère elements. It follows in the tradition of Guerlain Jicky and Caron Pour Un Homme in its gilded treatment of the lavender note. If one’s common lavender reference is the ubiquitous masculine sports fragrance, A Taste of Heaven should be smelled, if only to experience a beautiful lavender absolute note. It is rich, nuanced, with a delicious interplay of salty darkness and hay sweetness. Together, the effect borders on gourmand, with all of its teasing and beguiling sensations.
The first impression of A Taste of Heaven is of a modern day Jicky with its aromatic sparkle of peppery bergamot and green, camphorous herbs. The lavender accord, which is built on several different lavender notes, is a bold and vibrant presence. Sometimes, lavender attains a musky, salty effect, which I find seductive on men and slightly too pungent on my own skin. A Taste of Heaven goes through this phase, yet it lasts for a brief moment, before the voluptuous sweetness of the vanilla and tonka bean fills the luminous spaces of the composition. The earthy darkness of oakmoss and patchouli further deepen the timbre of A Taste of Heaven, offsetting its initial high pitched melody. Although described as being inspired by bitter absinthe, I find A Taste of Heaven to hint of Pernod drunk on an open veranda, with scents of thyme, wild fennel and the sea hanging in the warm evening air. If that is not a vision of heaven, I do not know what is.
By Kilian A Taste of Heaven: Absinthe Verte (L’Oeuvre Noire Collection) includes notes of bergamot, orange blossom, absinthe, geranium, lavender, rose, costus, patchouli, oakmoss, amber, tonka bean, and vanilla. 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
Image credit: MPernod & Fils by Charles Maire.