By Kilian Love and Tears Surrender : Perfume Review



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

By Kilian is a brand with a marketing stance that I should not like—uber-luxurious packaging and unnecessarily complicated names that border on romantic triteness. Yet, when I first discovered their fragrances, I was blissfully unaware of any of this. I simply saw the sleek black bottles on the shelf at Aedes perfume boutique, sprayed a few fragrances on blotters and then spent an entire hour smelling everything from the collection. By the time I was finished, I was very much impressed. I enjoyed the elegance of the compositions, their luminous, vivid quality and memorable character, whether the salty lavender of A Taste of Heaven or the luscious coconut laced tuberose of Love. Since few scents make me melt as readily as does jasmine, Love & Tears : Surrender went straight to my heart. A radiant jasmine, its appeal to me lies in its beautiful pairing with galbanum and oakmoss, a juxtaposition between white petals and green leaves.

Created by Calice Becker in 2010, Love & Tears is a great example of her ability to weave intricately balanced, radiant accords. Becker’s work appeals very much to me for its ability to retain the signature of its creator. Despite the fact that many of her signature accords have been widely copied (just think about how many Tommy Girl and J’Adore offspring there are in the perfumery world!), nothing improves upon the originals. While Love & Tears may not be the most unusual jasmine fragrance, its softness and petally opulence make this fragrance quite irresistible for me.

The initial impression of Love & Tears is that of sparkling, green brightness, the springtime sensation felt when one smells the new leaves, sticky buds and new grass. The lush jasmine note begins to unfold almost immediately, though it presents itself in layers. First, it is the apricot jam sweetness of jasmine absolute, then the jasmine takes on a soft, tender quality, and finally, a subtle leathery note peeks through the mass of white petals. At some stages, the composition reminds me of the feeling I love about Balmain Vent Vert, which was captured by Becker in her 1991 reorchestration of the 1940 original (the fragrance has since been reformulated again by another perfumer). The woody and mossy drydown of Love & Tears is an appealing counterpoint to the complexity of jasmine. It is quite refined and smooth, retaining the same radiance that set the top notes alight.

In comparison to my jasmine gold standard Serge Lutens À La Nuit, Love & Tears is much cleaner, brighter and fresher, which may be a negative aspect for those who love the animalic heft of classical floral notes. However, it still conveys the complexity of jasmine perfectly, presenting it as a finely polished gemstone. As much as I love animalic jasmines like À La Nuit, Sarrasins and Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse, they can feel too demanding, especially as daytime fragrances. While Love & Tears certainly lacks the dramatic intensity as suggested by the name, it is quite romantic, with an effervescent, lighthearted spirit. If your idea of a floral composition is one evoking a white petal shower, then Love & Tears will make that fantasy come true.

By Kilian Love and Tears : Surrender (from L’Oeuvre Noire collection) includes notes of bergamot, petitgrain, lavandin, galbanum, daffodil, Egyptian and Indian jasmines, lily of the valley, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, jasmine water, cedarwood, oakmoss, and styrax. Available from Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman, Luckyscent.

Photography via wiki commons, some rights reserved.

Sample: my own acquisition



  • Zazie: Loved your review!
    I was struck by the simple elegance of Love and Tears!
    It felt happy, and lighthearted, and it filled my late jasmine craving.
    I might like the jasmine of A la Nuit better, but while the Serge Lutens rendition seems more like a smell than a real perfume (it lacks of a base, and of lasting power), Love and Tears smells like a polished and beautiful jasmine perfume.
    It’s on top of my “to buy” list.
    Lovely! March 8, 2011 at 3:48am Reply

  • Carla: Yes, Sarrasins can be too demanding, but it’s so beautiful. Jasmine and tuberose are difficult to wear sometimes. March 8, 2011 at 8:53am Reply

  • Olfactoria: I did not dare approach By Kilian since my Back To Black disappointment. Maybe this lovely review entices me back to try Love and Tears? I think so. 🙂 March 8, 2011 at 4:03am Reply

  • karin: Love Love and Tears – and my husband splurged on the black bottle of it for me on my birthday. 🙂 It reminds me a bit of the original Sung by Alfred Sung. Beautiful jasmine. I wore it to a Christmas party last December with a LBD. I wanted a lighter scent, not something dark. Worked perfectly. March 8, 2011 at 10:14am Reply

  • karin: Oh, and I also have the travel set of Liaisons Dangereuses, my first Kilian purchase. It’s a yummy scent! March 8, 2011 at 10:15am Reply

  • sweetlife: Am so glad to hear you say this, as I get a big horse note at the opening of Sarrasins that I never hear anyone talk about. I love it. Which may tell you how I feel about Love and Tears. 🙂 March 8, 2011 at 10:48am Reply

  • sweetlife: Liasons Dangereuses is the Kilian that melds with my skin, and I do love that plum-rose note in the heart. So pretty! March 8, 2011 at 10:51am Reply

  • sweetlife: I think I need some indoles in order for it to smell like jasmine to me. Love and Tears confuses me–I start thinking of lily of the valley even though I know it’s not there. But then, after the opening dies down, I find A La Nuit quite fresh enough. March 8, 2011 at 11:09am Reply

  • Olfacta: I have some from a split and love it, because I can wear it anywhere, day or night, and as long as I don’t overapply it’s right for anything. It’s not perfume strength, but behaves as though it is, with just enough sillage. I wear it to places I wouldn’t wear fragrance to normally, like a weekly life-drawing studio, as I know I won’t be offending anyone, and yet will smell wonderful to myself. March 8, 2011 at 8:18am Reply

  • karin: Well, TS in Perfumes: The Guide called the current formulation, “jasmine diaper.” She said it was horrible. I’ve stayed away cause I don’t want to ruin my memory of it! So, sounds like you’re recollection is right on. The new one ain’t what she used to be! March 8, 2011 at 1:23pm Reply

  • maggiecat: I’ve spent the last few months craving and collecting jasmine scents, yet hadn’t tried this one. Thanks for the lovely review! March 8, 2011 at 1:28pm Reply

  • kjanicki: I love this one. It’s such a beautiful green jasmine. I hate the overly long name and the high prices however. March 8, 2011 at 9:54am Reply

  • Victoria: I agree completely. Polished is the first word I thought of when I smelled Love & Tears. Everything about this composition is impeccable, smooth transition of accords, great balance of sensations. I find its character also strong enough to be distinctive. March 8, 2011 at 10:31am Reply

  • Victoria: I really liked Back to Black, I have to say. It reminded me of the 1920s-1930s decadent oriental perfumes.
    If you like jasmine effervescent, bright and slightly green, you will enjoy L&T. March 8, 2011 at 10:34am Reply

  • Victoria: I also find it very easy to wear, and it goes easily from morning to evening. Like you, I find that its sillage is strong, but not overly so that it projects too far. March 8, 2011 at 10:35am Reply

  • Victoria: Sarrasins is definitely the jasmine for those who love leathery notes. Smelling it, I am reminded of my friend who on a trip to Spain every evening insisted that something smells like horses. It turned out to be a large jasmine bush! Well, horse sweat and jasmine so share some molecules in common. 🙂 March 8, 2011 at 10:38am Reply

  • Marina: I liked this one a lot too, although it is perhaps just a tiniest tad too green for me. March 8, 2011 at 10:39am Reply

    • nordhaul: I find it a tad bit too green for me too! December 30, 2015 at 11:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: 100% with you on this one. Well, the price for a bottle is high, while the refill is much more reasonable. The name, however…. Talk about trite! March 8, 2011 at 10:39am Reply

    • nordhaul: Actually the name’s not trite at all.

      If you’ve familiarized yourself with the emotions of this one, “Love and Tears” is in fact right ON POINT! Starts off bright and cheerful, euphoric almost, HIGH even, but ends up melancholic and sad, depression inducing even. Love and Tears (although I hate the name) is extremely befitting of this composition, unfortunately. December 30, 2015 at 11:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: I can imagine that you looked beautiful at your party!
    The original Sung was a fantastic jasmine, although when I smelled it recently, I was surprised how different it seemed to me. Perhaps, I am just not remembering it well.

    Liaisons Dangereuses sample is sitting on my desk right. I like it very much too. March 8, 2011 at 10:41am Reply

  • Victoria: Lately, I find that I love green notes more and more. Or perhaps, it is because it is spring and I am tired of cold and I am craving more sun…. Of course, come June, and I will complaining that I want the snow back! March 8, 2011 at 10:42am Reply

  • Victoria: I take it that Love & Tears is too clean for you! I can definitely see that. March 8, 2011 at 11:01am Reply

  • Victoria: Hmm, I find it plenty indolic, just not leathery-horse like. It is probably not enough for you.
    Maitre Gantier et Parfumeur used to have a great indolic and green jasmine. I don't know if they still do and whether it still smells the same. March 8, 2011 at 11:20am Reply

  • sweetlife: Huh. I admit I did not let it develop on my skin for long, since I had an immediate reaction to it. Will try again and be more patient… March 8, 2011 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Elisa: Beyond Love is the one that haunts me from this line. I think it’s my favorite tuberose. Can’t bear to spend that much on a bottle though.

    I think I may be hyperosmic to indoles as I find Love & Tears quite animalic. I’m surprised everyone describes it as so clean. For me it’s a beautiful floral with a little bit of the monkey house in it. (I’m not complaining.) March 8, 2011 at 4:42pm Reply

  • dee: B., I got sample of Back to Black after your review of it… and I love it! (and so does Mr. H) and I’m thinking of buying it in the travel spray refill! Darling, I think we might be evil scent twins! 😉 March 8, 2011 at 5:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome! It is definitely worth trying for any jasmine lover! March 8, 2011 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: Beyond Love is another one I like very much. In general, there are maybe a couple of fragrances from the whole collection I am not crazy about, everything else is very interesting. March 8, 2011 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: That is my favorite part too! March 8, 2011 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hmmm, sounds like it has been changed. Yes, sometimes it is disheartening to revisit old favorites. March 8, 2011 at 6:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Do try it again! I really find it gorgeous and not too clean that it does not smell like jasmine. March 8, 2011 at 6:31pm Reply

  • RH: Your review makes me want to revisit this… I had a sample, and while it was enjoyable to wear it while it lasted, it didn’t leave such a lingering impression. I find most of the Killians are like that- they’re awful nice and I don’t mind them when I have them, but I don’t miss them wholeheartedly when I don’t have them anymore. Hmm.

    I’ve yet to find a jasmine fragrance I absolutely love… March 9, 2011 at 3:13am Reply

  • chrisb: ooh, I’ve just read my comment and it sounds a bit harsh – there are Goutal fragrances that I really like such as ninfeo mio (bought sniffed!) but I learnt that I should approach citrus fragrances with caution and not unsniffed! March 9, 2011 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, I would not call it an overly dramatic line (despite what it claims!) So maybe, on some level, that could a criticism. Yet, the perfumes themselves are so well-made, so polished, just such high-quality that it is really refreshing. March 9, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • Lavanya: I tried Love and Tears this weekend and thought it was very pretty..I am wearing my sample right now- and I am loving its fresh simplicity. It is such a dainty perfume (It feels like slightly wet jasmine petals dancing on their toes- excuse my inelegant metaphor..:))- very undemanding but not boring at all. It is 81F today so this seems perfect for the weather. May 2, 2011 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I love that metaphor, Lavanya! It actually captures the feeling of the fragrance really well.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile May 2, 2011 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Mrs Bok: Hi V!
    Love your blog. How do you find the jasmines you mentioned to compare against Nuda by Nasomatto? I wear Nuda and Kai but haven’t found any reviews/comparisons here. Would love to hear your views. Thanks! May 7, 2011 at 6:55am Reply

  • SusanS: I loved your jasmine tutorial and ordered samples of your top three jasmine perfumes. Later I was noodling around the internet and found a site that would decant 15 (I think) jasmine samples and send. I thought I had the site bookmarked but now can not find. Do you know of an online perfumery that will collect samples by scent? Was I dreaming this?
    Thanks November 19, 2011 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: I bet, it was the Perfume Court! They have these sets sold by the main note. November 19, 2011 at 1:22pm Reply

  • Ambystoma: Wow – you’ve just described my dream perfume! I love your reviews, as someone who is just learning about the art of perfumery they are so accessible and really conjure up a strong mental picture of the scent. Every single note in this one is on my “adore” list, except daffodil, but I can see how it would work in a composition. I’m a realistic flower perfume lover and lifelong jasmine addict (there was a huge plant growing all along the fence of my childhood home, so it evokes the nicest kind of long shadowed summer afternoons for me) so I’ll be grabbing a sample of this to try out on my skin. Thank you so much for all your hard work on this blog, I really appreciate it 🙂 April 27, 2012 at 7:08am Reply

  • nordhaul: I find that it’s very awkward coming out of a BLACK bottle (travel), it needs to be inside of a white bottle, maybe I’ll like it better.

    On the scent, horrifically lovely, but just a tad too green for me, too clean and too cool. Horrific because I just had to have it anyway.

    Just wish there was a tad bit of warmth in it… December 30, 2015 at 11:27pm Reply

  • Surbhi: I tried it on my skin today. Loved it for first 15 minutes. But then I can’t smell it. the first 15 minute almost felt like I am standing in the garden next to a jasmine bush. So, I will try it few more times. But the green just makes it perfect. June 19, 2016 at 5:51pm Reply

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