by Kilian: 9 posts

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.

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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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By Kilian Prelude to Love Invitation : Perfume Review

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Prelude
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.

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By Kilian Sweet Redemption The End : Perfume Review

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Paris

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.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Karen A in Cherry Blossom Haiku: Mine too! They are such wonderful shrubs/small trees. Yes, except the Burkwoodi is a pale pink, but the others are all native to this region. April 27, 2017 at 4:04pm

  • ana in Recommend Me a Perfume April 2017: Oh, thank you, the vetivers sound very, very good — I’m going to have to find myself a better-paying job soon! 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 4:00pm

  • Aurora in Cherry Blossom Haiku: I enjoyed this mix of poetry and humour, Victoria, and well done on the gardening, but take good care of your back! Lilacs across the street are in bloom, purple… April 27, 2017 at 3:03pm

  • Maria in Three Ultimate Iris Perfumes: It really is a nice iris!! I also like the Absolue and Iris-cedre versions, but the on and off effect is better done,for me, in the original Infusion d’iris 🙂 April 27, 2017 at 1:27pm

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