Calice Becker: 15 posts

By Kilian Imperial Tea : Perfume Review

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Our resident tea expert Andy explores Kilian’s Imperial Tea, as he is searching for a jasmine tea in a perfume bottle.

The unending lure of creating new tea-inspired perfumes never ceases to amaze me. I’m always convinced the tea fragrance trend is on the brink of disappearing, that perfume houses have labeled it entirely passé, until yet another tea scent is launched, much to my delight. In the past, I’ve found myself sometimes disappointed by tea perfumes, so when I found out about By Kilian’s new addition to the Asian Tales Collection, Imperial Tea, I sat up in attention.

imperialtea

Calice Becker, the nose behind the radiant, green tea-inflected Tommy Girl, clearly authored Imperial Tea with a different point of reference. Imperial Tea takes a decidedly photorealistic approach to conjuring tea, in comparison to the airy abstraction of Tommy Girl and its relatives. However, with my overall feelings on Imperial Tea split, I’ve come to question whether or not this realistic approach is any more effective at capturing the spirit of twisted leaves and steaming cups.

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Tom Ford Mandarino di Amalfi : Perfume Review

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Mandarins smell unlike any other citrus fruit. Cradled inside their zesty, bright aroma is a sweet orange blossom, and this nuance gives mandarin essence complexity and richness. (For fragrance nerds: this orange blossom note is given by methyl anthranilate, an aromatic compound also present in Concord grapes and wild strawberries.) Because of its sweetness and juicy effect, minus the strident sharpness, mandarin is used in many fragrances as a top note. It’s inviting and refreshing, and it works in many different contexts.

tom ford mandarino

By contrast, mandarin based colognes are less common, with bergamot, orange, and lemon forming the trifecta of favorite cologne citrus. Mandarin can be used generously, but I have often craved more than most colognes offer. And here comes Mandarino di Amalfi by Tom Ford.

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By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses : Fragrance Review

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Elisa on a surprising marriage of rose and coconut.

By Kilian, founded in 2007 by cognac heir Kilian Hennessey, is a luxury brand whose perfumes are organized into several concept collections: L’Oeuvre Noire, or Black Masterpiece, with 11 fragrances including gorgeous florals like Beyond Love and Sweet Redemption; Arabian Nights, with five variations on oud; Asian Tales, featuring lighter, more aquatic scents; and In the Garden of Good and Evil, a more feminine collection bottled in white flacons.

kilian

Both Victoria and I have found several scents to love in these collections. But for all its attractive qualities, By Kilian could perhaps be accused of playing it safe. Without exception, the line is thoughtfully composed (by perfumer Calice Becker) of high-quality materials. What they are not, for the most part, is weird. The goal of these fragrances is to provide a very beautiful, well-made rendition of a familiar idea – the rose oud, the lavender vanilla – not to shock or surprise. (See Etat Libre d’Orange for an example of a line that sometimes favors shock value over beauty.)

But Liaisons Dangereuses  (part of the L’Oeuvre Noire collection) breaks the pattern, and “dangerous liaison,” or dangerous affair, is a useful metaphor, as it combines two notes that in theory could be disastrous: rose and coconut. It’s surprising because it’s so unexpected, and even more surprising because it works.

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By Kilian Water Calligraphy : Perfume Review

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As much as I love complex fragrances that feel like an alternative universe in themselves, there are days when I feel that my own world more than suffices to keep me on my toes. At such times I simply want something beautiful: a perfume that feels like a comfortable second skin, or a soft melody that forms a perfect scented soundtrack to my day. The latest such discovery is by Kilian Water Calligraphy, a perfume from the Asian Tales Collection.

Water Calligraphy is immediately inviting—the sparkling citrus top notes are tart and bittersweet, while the lemony cardamom is deliciously piquant. Even when the luscious white floral notes begin to unfold, the perfume retains its initial airy impression. If you’ve ever floated gardenias in a bowl of water and returned to find a room full of their peach and jasmine cream perfume, you will find a similar experience with Water Calligraphy.

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By Kilian Amber Oud : Perfume Review

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Amberoudkilian

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

When I read about the niche perfume line by Kilian coming out with Amber Oud, a new fragrance for its Arabian Nights Collection, I did not feel at all excited. Another oud, another amber, another overplayed trendy note. So, when a helpful sales associate at Saks asked me if I wanted to try the new fragrance, I reluctantly reached for the blotter. I gingerly sniffed the white paper, and suddenly I was charmed. As I was drawn deeper into the spicy warmth of Amber Oud, I could not even hear the din of Saks’s beauty department, nor did I realize that I was blocking someone’s way. I was only conscious of the dark sweetness coming off the blotter, a mélange of spices, vanilla liqueur and smoky woods.

Sure enough, by Kilian’s prices brought me to the ground with a thud. Still I walked away with a sample, with which I have been living for the past couple of weeks. The beguiling moment of my first encounter with Amber Oud comes back whenever I wear it, which is a rare delight. There is nothing tired about this idea—the dense and rich oud is interspersed with the dry, crisp amber, which cuts through the richness and heft. The medicinal, “band aid” impression disliked by oud detractors is not obvious here. Like perfumer Calice Becker’s other ouds for by Kilian, Rose Oud and Pure Oud, it is similarly luminous. However, Amber Oud is the softest of her oud interpretations, a perfume with a suave, caressing character.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Oh my! I’ve wondered about this one for ages. I will get my hands on a small vial 🙂 August 17, 2017 at 5:55pm

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Thank you! I tried Ormonde Woman many years ago, when I was new to niche. I will be sure to try it again. And thanks for the Coty rec–Ma Griffe… August 17, 2017 at 5:52pm

  • Ninon in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Thank you so much! I actually just received a mini of vintage Niki Saint Phalle parfum this week and it is heavenly! I’ve been wondering about Zelda…I will be sure… August 17, 2017 at 5:50pm

  • rosarita in Recommend Me a Perfume : August 2017: Still relatively easy to find at discouters/eBay is Niki de St Phalle, a classic softer chypre. Estee Lauder Private Collection or Aliage also. For a more modern yet vintage feel,… August 17, 2017 at 4:23pm

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