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