By Kilian Sweet Redemption The End : Perfume Review



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.

Created this year by perfumer Calice Becker, Sweet Redemption marks the end of by Kilian’s L’Oeuvre Noire collection. While orange blossom tends to be associated with effervescent springtime fragrances, its dark indolic side lends itself perfectly to dusky and sensual compositions. Sweet Redemption does not explore the dark and sultry side the way Caron Narcisse Noir or Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin do. Superficially, Sweet Redemption might be compared to Love : Don’t Be Shy, another white floral composition from L’Oeuvre Noire Collection. While Love, a gourmand tuberose, is all about sweetness and sensuality, Sweet Redemption has a pronounced dark streak, and despite its strong accents on vanilla and sweet spices, it has enough moodiness to avoid an overly coquettish demeanor.

The orange blossom that opens up Sweet Redemption is radiant and bright, exhibiting the fingerprint of its creator, who is renowned for her crystalline floral accords. As I keep wearing the perfume, I realize that it evokes various tactile associations, making me think not of colors and shapes, the way I usually do about scents, but rather of various fabrics and textures. Thus, the silky touch of flower petals gives way to the delicate cashmere of sweet spices before unfolding into the heavy brocade of oriental resins and incense. It is a luscious, opulent composition, and while its richer elements are counterbalanced by the cool touches of citrus and wood, it nevertheless makes a statement. On the skin, it has great tenacity, while its sillage is particularly beautiful—full, warm, and inviting.

By Kilian Sweet Redemption: The End (L’Oeuvre Noire Collection) includes notes of bergamot, broom flower (or gênet, a flowering shrub that smells like hay, pineapple and orange flower,) orange blossom, orange leaves, cinnamon, myrrh, benzoin, opopanax, and vanilla. 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

Photo of Paris in the fall by Ryan S B via flickr.



  • violetnoir: Great review, V!

    Something about the fragrance bothered me, but it is beautifully done. I think I prefer Love, because of the fluffy marshmallow note!

    Hugs! August 17, 2011 at 11:19am Reply

  • dleep: Thank you for that beautiful review. I really need to try a sample of this. August 17, 2011 at 11:47am Reply

  • Kym: I received a sample of this in a swap. Immediately upon spraying, I thought it was very sweet, too sweet for me. But as I kept on checking back with it, although the sweetness did not abate, I found it compelling. It is the very odd (and probably unintentional) combination of repelling/compelling for me. I kept the sample and will re-visit in cooler weather. Interesting…very interesting… August 17, 2011 at 11:56am Reply

  • Andrea: Sounds beautiful! August 17, 2011 at 10:46am Reply

  • Victoria: It really is! I love orange blossom.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile August 17, 2011 at 11:21am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you! I was of the opposite opinion on Love, which I found to be too sweet. Still, both are very nicely done.
    Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile August 17, 2011 at 11:22am Reply

  • Lavanya: Oh- this sounds perfect! I must get myself a sample. The idea of a warm orange blossom is intriguing, I usually associate orange blossom with ‘cool’ and ‘fresh’ August 17, 2011 at 12:56pm Reply

  • Victoria: Please let me know what you think when you sample it. August 17, 2011 at 1:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: When I first tried it, I also assumed that it would be too sweet. But it was so haunting on the skin as it was drying down. I love the touch of incense in the background, which makes it very intriguing. August 17, 2011 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do too, although I realize that many of my favorite orange blossoms are quite dark–Narcisse Noir, Fleurs d’Oranger, 24 Faubourg (in later stages). August 17, 2011 at 1:49pm Reply

  • tara: Victoria,thanks for a lovely review. I found Love too sweet and Liaisons Dangereuses not jammy enough but have recently fallen in love with By Kilian thanks to Rose Oud and Sweet Redemption. I too thought it would perfect to switch to in the Autumn after wearing L’Artisan Fleurs d’Oranger over the Summer. August 18, 2011 at 7:09am Reply

  • Sherri: You describe it so perfectly! I liked Sweet Redemption, but didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. I would have preferred it to be a little more joyful and light, having a name like Sweet Redemption, but I see that is what alot of people like about it. I also unfortunately got the mothball note others have mentioned. Maybe it was just not a good match with my chemistry, but I admire the composition nonetheless. August 18, 2011 at 7:12am Reply

  • Victoria: L’Artisan Fleur d’Oranger has been in a heavy rotation this summer for me as well. I find myself obsessed with orange blossom lately. August 18, 2011 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Sherri. You are quite right to pick up that mothball note, which is the indole. Some people are very sensitive to it! August 18, 2011 at 2:13pm Reply

  • k-amber: Very tempting. It sounds a great fall fragrance. After a terrible heatwave, I need something soothing 🙂

    Kaori August 18, 2011 at 9:56pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: Victoria, as always, your writing is magical and evocative. I will give this a sniff the next time I cruise by Scent Bar; I love the scent of ornage blossoms, and since summer is drawing to a close, I am starting to feel the autumnal mood you conjured. Thanks for a great read. August 22, 2011 at 5:46pm Reply

  • Eudox: To me Sweet Redemption is nothing more then plagiarism. Kilian created new version of Love, just less sweet. I’m so disappointed, that he already lacks of ideas, and that he needs to copy perfumes from his own line. 🙁 August 31, 2011 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Fool: Nice, but very much like Lumiere Noir pour Homme. Does anyone else get this? December 23, 2011 at 1:09pm Reply

  • Diana: I just received a decant of this. You are absolutely right that it feels perfect for the autumn. The caramelized impression, in combination with the light smokiness of the incense, recalls somewhat the ashy sweetness of decaying deciduous leaves… But perhaps the New Englander in me jumps to this association too readily! September 9, 2014 at 8:58pm Reply

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