Calice Becker: 16 posts

By Kilian Noir Aphrodisiaque : Perfume Review

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Tonka bean, ginger, vanilla, Sichuan pepper, coriander, rose, mint… The flavors Jacques Génin uses in his confections might as well be taken straight from a perfumer’s palette. The Parisian chocolatier is known for his daring combinations of flavors and his impeccable craftsmanship. His caramels are legendary. His millefeuille is a towering delight of cream and shards of pastry. His pâtes de fruits look like jewels. He pairs chocolate with spices, roots and herbs, but the result is rarely predictable. Even an ingredient as ubiquitous as cinnamon becomes a surprising note in his hands, as it reveals its floral and woody nuances.  Not for nothing, the epithets used to describe Génin include “wizard,” “madman,” and “genius.”

Génin’s most recent collaboration is with by Kilian, an artisanal fragrance house led by Kilian Hennessy, and perfumer Calice Becker.  As an inspiration for a perfume, chocolate is a complicated note. It tastes sweet, but it smells animalic and pungent. Part of the flavor in most commercial chocolates is given by vanilla, which softens the animalic tang but also rounds out and simplifies the scent. So instead, Becker looked to Génin’s favorite ingredients such as Ceylon cinnamon and Calabrian bergamot to craft her perfume.

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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.

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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.

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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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Latest Comments

  • Andy in The Memory of a Mulberry Tree: I love mulberries, and grew up with the trees around me, but didn’t realize what they were or how delicious I would find them until somewhat recently. They’re now one… July 17, 2018 at 12:51pm

  • Nina in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Thank you! I’ll sample those for sure, especially Santal Noir seems nice! Also thanks for the rec about the website you mentioned, it was great fun looking up fragrances! July 17, 2018 at 12:45pm

  • Devon Rubin in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: Thanks! I’ll give them a try. Devon July 17, 2018 at 12:42pm

  • limegreen in Recommend Me a Perfume : July 2018: An idea: Tom Ford has come out with a limited line of body sprays that are quite nice, muted versions of the eau de parfum. Makes it office friendly and… July 17, 2018 at 12:38pm

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