Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
The first time I smelled Sweet Redemption, the newest fragrance from by Kilian, was on a hot August morning. It was a typical New York summer day, filled with the heavy smell of hot asphalt and roasted peanuts. As the fragrance was warming up on my skin, however, I found myself in an autumnal mood. Visions of burnished gold and crimson leaves, rain puddles and foggy afternoons swirled in my mind, somehow inspired by this wistful orange blossom composition. Sweet Redemption is warm and tender, serene and introspective. It has a wonderfully comforting aura, a perfect antidote to the cold reality of autumn which is soon to come.
Created this year by perfumer Calice Becker, Sweet Redemption marks the end of by Kilian’s L’Oeuvre Noire collection. While orange blossom tends to be associated with effervescent springtime fragrances, its dark indolic side lends itself perfectly to dusky and sensual compositions. Sweet Redemption does not explore the dark and sultry side the way Caron Narcisse Noir or Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin do. Superficially, Sweet Redemption might be compared to Love : Don’t Be Shy, another white floral composition from L’Oeuvre Noire Collection. While Love, a gourmand tuberose, is all about sweetness and sensuality, Sweet Redemption has a pronounced dark streak, and despite its strong accents on vanilla and sweet spices, it has enough moodiness to avoid an overly coquettish demeanor.
The orange blossom that opens up Sweet Redemption is radiant and bright, exhibiting the fingerprint of its creator, who is renowned for her crystalline floral accords. As I keep wearing the perfume, I realize that it evokes various tactile associations, making me think not of colors and shapes, the way I usually do about scents, but rather of various fabrics and textures. Thus, the silky touch of flower petals gives way to the delicate cashmere of sweet spices before unfolding into the heavy brocade of oriental resins and incense. It is a luscious, opulent composition, and while its richer elements are counterbalanced by the cool touches of citrus and wood, it nevertheless makes a statement. On the skin, it has great tenacity, while its sillage is particularly beautiful—full, warm, and inviting.
By Kilian Sweet Redemption: The End (L’Oeuvre Noire Collection) includes notes of bergamot, broom flower (or gênet, a flowering shrub that smells like hay, pineapple and orange flower,) orange blossom, orange leaves, cinnamon, myrrh, benzoin, opopanax, 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
Photo of Paris in the fall by Ryan S B via flickr.