By Kilian Prelude to Love Invitation : Perfume Review


Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

As I continue to explore By Kilian’s fragrance collection, Prelude to Love remains the perfume about which I feel most ambivalent. On the one hand, I love the combination of iris and orange blossom and its delicate, breezy character. On the other, the price point for what is essentially an orange blossom cologne makes me pause. While the name promises something steamy and dramatic, Prelude to Love can be best described as well-behaved and sophisticated. The sparkling citrus accents are prominent, with the floral notes giving this fresh blend a richer character than one might find in a classical cologne.

Prelude to Love is a part of the L’Oeuvre Noire Collection, and it was composed in 2007 by perfumer Calice Becker, a perfumer who signed many fragrances in the by Kilian collection. I am a big fan of Becker’s crystalline style, especially her treatment of floral notes. Prelude to Love is likewise radiant, bright and full of sparkle, with a natural quality that calls to mind freshly cut flowers and green stems. From top to bottom, the fragrance retains its shimmering and uplifting character. An interplay of peppery citrus with orange blossom segues into the smooth heart of white petals and iris. The green woody drydown makes me think of salty and sun bleached slivers one finds on the beach, rather than dry and resinous freshly cut woods.

Like a similar iris-orange blossom etude, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile, Prelude to Love has a rich floral character, which is a pleasant counterpoint to the zesty freshness of citrus. Overall, it is a classical blend that smells quite refined. However, my relationship with it is a mere friendly acquaintance, rather than a head-over-heels romance as with Love & Tears and Sweet Redemption. If, however, you love fresh orange blossom colognes, Prelude to Love should not be missed as it is a high-quality take on this genre.

By Kilian Prelude to Love : Invitation (L’Oeuvre Noire Collection) includes notes of bergamot, citrus accord, lemon, bitter orange, neroli, orange blossom, pepper, ginger, and Florentine iris. 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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  • Lavanya: Not sure if I’ve tried this one-I get overwhelmed each time I visit the Saks Counter- soo many to sniff. Like you, I adore Love and Tears, and Sweet redemption. I also enjoy Incense Oud very much. I need to spend some time with Back to Black to see if I like it.. September 21, 2011 at 6:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: The line is now very big, so I myself work through it little by little. I love the packaging, but I do not like the prices that it entails. September 22, 2011 at 8:12am Reply

  • Amarie: I’m lying in bed, reading your post before my coffee (a compliment to your interesting writing!) and further examination of the picture has me craving a cappuccino and breakfast in bed. With rose petals. Ah, well, another day…

    I am new to the By Kilian line, having one sample of their fragrance, but this sounds like something I have to wear! I tend to love citrus top notes in a floral perfume. As long as there is no lily or patchouli (allergy), this sounds like a possible “love”… Is it very long-lasting? How is the sillage? Most perfumes I love in this category seem to fade before I am even out the door!
    Thank you for introducing us to this new one! Off to have that coffee… September 22, 2011 at 9:59am Reply

  • Victoria: That’s a great compliment, thank you! 🙂
    Sillage of Prelude to Love is decent, especially for such a light blend. I would not call it super long lasting, because it is essentially a cologne. It is meant to be light and unobtrusive. That being said, I can still smell it on me at the end of the day, if I apply generously. September 22, 2011 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Lisa BTB: It’s pretty but for a moment it goes powdery on me. I would probably wear Prelude to Love on those days I want something (to borrow your words) light and breezy. So far from this collection Beyond Love and Back to Black are my go to fragrances. October 18, 2011 at 12:49pm Reply

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