Kylie Minogue Darling : Perfume Review


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

Kylie Minogue Darling, the debut fragrance from the Australian pop diva, is the latest entrant onto the celebrity perfume scene. Moreover, in the short time that it has been out, according to some sources, it has managed to become the top selling scent in the UK. In other words, Posh Spice beware! Although at one point I defended celebrity fragrances, I have grown bored of the numerous neon-pink, fruity and girly offerings that are lavished upon us by the celebrity fragrance market. Being quite pleasantly surprised by Hilary Duff’s With Love…, I decided to seek out Darling. After all, it was created by Thierry Wasser of Firmenich, the perfumer who is responsible for several interesting compositions such as Calvin Klein Truth and Christian Dior Addict. …

The first impression of Darling is the soft fruity accord, blending the mild citrus and the green floral notes. There is the tropical fruit freshness as well, which would be familiar to anyone who takes a whiff of any department store perfume counter. Nevertheless, the initial impression of Darling is much gentler than what one might expect. The floral heart is likewise tender, composed of white floral notes with a hint of violet fruitiness. The vanilla layered over the floral heart lends its characteristic creamy sweetness.

Eventually, the composition starts to deepen somewhat, ushering in a new oriental twist in the form of a woody-ambery accord. In fact, Darling’s musky, woody facets remind me of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely. Although Darling is described as chypre floriental, I find it hard to pinpoint what exactly about this fragrance is chypre. In general, both the chypre and the oriental accords are rather subtle, with the fruity and floral impressions dominating the composition. However, as the composition dries down, I am left with a feeling of disappointment once again. Darling is pretty, but it has nothing that catches one’s attention. It does not stand out in the sea of celebrity scents and fruity-floral confections. For someone who is as quirky, strong and interesting of a person as Kylie Minogue, Darling seems a bit too contrived.

Kylie Minogue Darling features notes of freesia, lychee, starfruit, boronia, lily, sandalwood, amber, vanilla. It is available in the Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum versions. Darling is used to scent Kylie Minogue’s figure at Madame Tussauds wax museum in London.



  • Anjali: The need to scent a wax figurine has me in fits of giggles 🙂 January 16, 2007 at 1:29am Reply

  • Madelyn E: Hi Victoria,
    This is my third attempt to post a comment.. here I go.Wanted to say that I made a wonderfulk new discovery at thr Caron boutique (Msdison Avenue). Diane showed me a new version of the beautiful Muguet Du Bonheur fragrance, Yes a gorgeous new Eau de Parfum spray !!1 It is more robust and ladting than its weaker eau de toilette sister. ($85.) I really was delighted with it . as /I bought a gift for a friend who likes it and one for myelf ! Hope the news is welcome for you and other devotees of Caron and lily of the vallry ! January 16, 2007 at 2:28am Reply

  • Elle: It’s a shame they didn’t reverse the balance there and have the chypre and oriental accords be dominant and the fruity-floral accords be subtle – very subtle.
    I’m w/ Anjali – the scenting of a wax figure is hilarious. 🙂 January 16, 2007 at 8:01am Reply

  • March: Actually, V, if they’d ADD the Tussaud wax notes to Darling, rather than the other way around, I’d be more interested in trying it. I’m trying to think of a great wax note in a fragrance…

    I wish Angeline Jolie would do a celeb scent. Maybe it wouldn’t be boring. January 16, 2007 at 8:14am Reply

  • newproducts: I am curious about Hillary Duff’s With Love since I have heard good things from several people, including you. Darling, on the other hand, sounds utterly forgettable. You’re reviews are always helpful. January 16, 2007 at 9:31am Reply

  • March: V — can’t help but adding here with a giggle that I felt all smug when I quit pronouncing it “KY-per”, but I swear, half the time in the fragrance dept. if I say “SHEEP-rh” they look at me baffled… January 16, 2007 at 12:10pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    Thank you for your succinct review of what constitutes a ” CHYPRE “,my FAVORITE fragrance category . How interesting to read of the breakdown of what elements actually constitute one. I also adore Floral aldehydes !
    Anyway, yes, I would say that Diorissimo is a treasured lily of tge valley scent for me ! I associate it more in the Springtime months , however . It is amazing that the same note i.e. lily of the valley could smell so differently from one scent to another ! Muguet Du Bonheur “is a “kinder, softer, gentler ” composition. In fact, I believe it is among the top sellers at Caron! January 16, 2007 at 1:03pm Reply

  • violetnoir: V, I’m yawning…

    Hugs! January 16, 2007 at 1:31pm Reply

  • Marina: Thank you so much for sampling it so I don’t have too 🙂 Darling sounds awfully boring. You review, on the other hand, is lovely, as always! January 16, 2007 at 9:19am Reply

  • The “chypre-ing” of Lovely is just ridiculous (where is the bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum?). It is built on Egyptian Musk, a street musk and post-Narciso Rodriguez, which amberizes that namesake fragrance. (By the way, this clothing designer is favored by Parker. Coincidence? Not. I guess you can steal inspiration from the hand that clothes you.)

    So now the chypre category is being diluted by the “industry” with the addition of gourmand ingredients. What will they dilute next? January 16, 2007 at 9:30am Reply

  • Robin: Must continue with the harping on the chypre issue. To my mind, if it has no “mossy element” whatsoever, I can’t see the point in calling it a chypre. A “tweaked mossy note”, fine, but no mossy note at all? Then why bother using the category, especially since as near as I can tell, it carries no special cachet with modern consumers? Bah humbug! I cannot imagine how it is helpful to call Miss Dior Cherie a chypre, or KM Darling. January 16, 2007 at 2:43pm Reply

  • aimtx: Sooooooo bored with the cutesy celebrity thing… Aaaaaaaaargh. Drowning in a sea of pink prettiness!!!!! January 16, 2007 at 10:39am Reply

  • Tigs: Like above, it baffles me how everything is suddenly labeled a ‘chypre’. Why? I am fully confident that the great majority of the public and a surprising number of SAs have no idea what a chypre smells like, regardless of whether it is a floral, fruity or classic chypre. I had one of my proudest moments recently when a writing friend actually came to me *seeking* perfume knowledge – what would it mean, he asked, if a male character in a 1930s novel was described as always wearing a chypre? (I took a guess and said it was probably because he was supposed to be fey. But hey, maybe he just had good taste.) I was wearing a chypre and let my friend smell it and he was very confused because he said he’d tried quite a few “chypres” at the department store and none of them smelled even remotely like each other or what I was wearing. Has the category been widened and nobody let me know? January 16, 2007 at 11:07am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Anjali, yes, that is just hilarious. I cannot imagine what that room must smell like, if the scent needs to be touched up twice a day. January 16, 2007 at 11:33am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, wonderful about Muguet du Bonheur! It is a really beautiful fragrance, although it loses for me in comparison with Diorissimo. Do you like Diorissimo? Somehow, I seem to recall that you did. January 16, 2007 at 11:49am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, I wish that this was the case. The dominant chypre and oriental accords with a touch of fruit. That would have been much more interesting. January 16, 2007 at 11:50am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, a wax note would indeed be something! I am not excited about any celebrity fragrances anymore. I fear that even Gwen Stefani’s fragrance will be another fruit punch. January 16, 2007 at 11:51am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marina, thank you! I do not think that you would enjoy any aspect of Darling, to be honest. January 16, 2007 at 11:52am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin:, I cannot agree more. The diluted categories hardly make any sense. Moreover, oriental nowadays seems to be anything with vanilla. January 16, 2007 at 11:55am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Newproducts, I am glad to help! With Love… is definitely interesting and worth trying. I wear it with pleasure from time to time. January 16, 2007 at 11:56am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Amy, I can completely understand that. Entering Sephora these days is like stepping inside a pink candy land. January 16, 2007 at 11:57am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tigs, “I am fully confident that the great majority of the public and a surprising number of SAs have no idea what a chypre smells like, regardless of whether it is a floral, fruity or classic chypre.” Exactly! However, I am confident that there is a way to stretch our concept of chypre without diluting its meaning completely. For instance, the new Soir de Lune is a chypre that smells like chypre, but it has a tweaked mossy note (very different from classical chypre).

    I think that two issues are at work: labeling of oakmoss as an allergen and the fact that chypre is a rather wide definition. It does not need to have bergamot and labdanum to be a chypre, like I always thought. A chypre needs to have 5 facets: citrus, floral, woody, mossy, amber and/or musk. That leaves lots of room for interpretation. January 16, 2007 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Allergans aside, creative perfumers who are not afraid of their clients can resort to other molecules or naturally occuring essential oils to create a chypre. For instance, seaweed absolute is a slightly saline interpretation of oakmoss (kind of the moss of the sea). One particular oil house has created sandalwood molecules as way to get around overharvesting issues in India (and let’s face it, Australian sandalwood doesn’t have the depth of a Mysore). The molecule (can’t remember the name, by Givaudan, I believe) is also very biodegradeable. I don’t dig the franken-ing of fragrance families. Perhaps the world really is flat afterall… January 16, 2007 at 9:56pm Reply

  • risa: such a pity. starfruit is a favorite smell of mine; not tropical at all. that said, i can’t say i’m suprised at what Kylie would put her name on… January 16, 2007 at 10:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, I have experienced this too. The worst one was Fracas. The lady could not understand at all what I was talking about. Then she said, “Oh, you mean FrA-kas!” January 17, 2007 at 12:22am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, it is one of my favourites too. Always elegant, always beautiful. Even the tweaked oakmoss notes in Soir de Lune are lovely. January 17, 2007 at 12:23am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, it is not that bad, but it is not particularly outstanding either. January 17, 2007 at 12:23am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, I am with you on this. There are materials that capture some facets of the oakmoss, but some of their are quite different in character. Lovely might contain a synthetic version, but it is so pale that it does not register with me as a mossy. Even the new oakmoss-free Chanel seems to be more of a chypre than 90% of so-called chypres. January 17, 2007 at 12:25am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin:, yes, you are right. Which is why I am optimistic that creative perfumers will find ways of creating chypres in a new and interesting manner. I am not against stretching the concept of chypre, but in many instances one simply loses the idea behind it. It is like calling tangerine a carrot, simply because both are orange.

    Do you mean Javanol by any chance? It is one of Givaudan’s most famous and most successful sandalwood aroma-materials. It is one of the most potent synthetics I have smelled. January 17, 2007 at 12:36am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Risa, I agree that starfruit is perhaps less tropical (which for me means less sulfurous) than fruit like mango or guava. Can you imagine durian in a perfume? 🙂 January 17, 2007 at 12:41am Reply

  • V,
    Yes on the Javanol. It’s a great example of chemistry and environmental responsibility on the part of Givaudan. Organic Chemistry gives allows scientists to use combinations of carbon,hydrogen and oxygen in interesting ways. When one understands this, that everything is a molecule, the whole argument for strictly natural products is seen for what it is. Not that natural ingredients don’t perform well. It’s just that wrangling over 200 molecules, lets say, in a rose, is different than using a damascone. More pigments to paint aromas in. On categorization of fragrance families, I agree wiht your last statement, however, I am much more interested in seeing new categories created that are truly new and innovative. January 17, 2007 at 10:17am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Yes, I agree. For a truly beautiful composition you need both the naturals and the synthetics. Unfortunately, none of sandalwood aroma-materials (Javanol included) can replace sandalwood all that easily. I have smelled so many recently, and none come even close. Of course, how can they, being only the individual facets of this amazing material. Now, it is up to the creator to work with them to do something beautiful and special. As for categories, I think that historically inovation took place within the categories too, but I would also like to see novel families arising. Recently we had gourmand. Now, what could be next…. January 17, 2007 at 11:44am Reply

  • Cathy: Kylie wants to give everyone cancer by selling a perfume full of unknown chemicals. I will not spend money on that crap to make kylie even more money. I will keep my hard earned pennies for something that’s good for me thank you very much. March 15, 2007 at 11:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: This is a very odd thing to say. March 16, 2007 at 11:02am Reply

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