Temptation Calling – Review: By Kilian Cruel Intentions, Tempt Me

In this By Kilian release – part of the original six perfumes of the L’Oeuvre Noire collection – oud, also known as agarwood, is the star.

There is no real agarwood in Cruel Intentions, but rather an agarwood accord, meaning a “constructed” mixture of ingredients meant to imitate the smell of the real thing. I don’t mind that in the least, on the contrary, I really admire the fact that Kilian does not conceal or gloss over the fact that using real agarwood is mostly just not the truth. Real agarwood is enormously expensive and available in very limited quantities, so it is clear that it cannot be everywhere, but most lines make us believe it is there.

Not so Kilian, he is proud enough of his perfume to stand behind its actual formulation and that is admirable.

Created by Sidonie Lancasseur in 2007, Cruel Intentions includes notes of bergamot of Calabria oil, orange blossom oil, violet accord, centifolia rose absolute, agarwood, Indian papyrus oil, gaiacwood oil, Haiti vetiver oil, sandalwood, styrax absolute, castoreum absolute, vanilla absolute, musk.

Cruel Intentions opens with a rich bergamot that soon gives way to a beautiful violet-rose duet singing softly, before the heavy hitters from the base section develop fully.

To my nose, Cruel Intentions is a very interesting experience. On the one hand it is a rather masculine leaning, complex wood scent. Oud, vetiver and gaiac all add up to an almost stern wood note dominating the fragrance. The oud accord in Cruel Intentions is not domineering, which is very much to my liking.

At other times though I get a much softer version. Then the “lipstick” accord of rose and violet is on the forefront, lending the woody notes a much softer exterior, almost coating it with velvet, dark rose colored velvet.

Over time Cruel Intentions smooths out and gets softer and more vanillic and thereby fitting very well in the Kilian canon.

Cruel Intentions is certainly an interesting perfume, but it is neither cruel nor dangerous, as the inspiring book by Pierre-Ambroise Choderlos de Laclos, Dangerous Liaisons and a film loosely based on it, called Cruel Intentions, imply. The perfume’s sister scent Liaisons Dangereuses, will be reviewed here soon.

I love the complexity of Cruel Intentions, the multi-faceted richness it broadcasts. This is no simple and straightforward perfume, but reveals different nuances every time I wear it.

The subtitle of Cruel Intentions is “Tempt me!”. I am tempted to wear this indeed. (Although not yet tempted enough to want more than the travel sized bottle my discovery set holds.)

Image source: bykilian.com, biolandes.com

About Olfactoria

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30 Responses to Temptation Calling – Review: By Kilian Cruel Intentions, Tempt Me

  1. GeM says:

    I have a friend (male) who was looking for a dark agarwood/oud scent with a similar feel to YSL’s M7 and I think someone in a Forum suggested this to him. ¿?¿ so he was asking me as well, but I’ve never smelled it and I didn’t know what to say.

    • GeM says:

      … but I guess the “lipstick” accord… meh!
      he was looking for a very powerful masculine scent, specifically cruel and dangerous haha! XD Poor fellow…

      • Olfactoria says:

        I wouldn’t say Cruel Intentions was very brutal at all, I’m nit sure it is what your friend is after, but maybe he likes it anyway… 🙂

        • GeM says:

          okaay thanks, B!! it’s funny to see the comment below by The Candy Perfume Boy, it seems to have slightly connection with M7, after all.
          I couldn’t stop telling my friend that either M7 doesn’t help, or isn’t that brutal enough… and that I don’t find it particularly dangerous -as far as I can remember I found a similar ‘cherry’/lipstick accord as well-… but he didn’t wanted to aknowledge me, Ha!

  2. Tara says:

    You know this one has totally passed me by for some unknown reason. I must get it out of the sample set – soon! Thanks so much for highlighting it for me, B. A soft oud coated in “dark rose colored velvet” sounds good.

  3. andrea says:

    When I get home I will check to see if I got this in my sample set and have a sniff, for some strange reason I got as far as back to black and kind of got stuck there due to the fact I love it. (the petulant child wants it immediately) 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      It should be in there. The petulant child wants honey, no wonder… 😉

      • andrea says:

        The petulant child won and ordered honey today but on the bright side I get the four by Kilian samples that I have not tried coming with the order, this includes Cruel Intentions, that’s me easily pleased then. 🙂

        • Olfactoria says:

          Yay! Congratulations! Sometimes we have to let the child have its way. 🙂

          • andrea says:

            I received my sample of this yesterday and it has been elevated to my second favourite by Kilian perfume, after Back to Black. The trouble is, on me the dry down is very similar to Opus III which is probably why I love it so much, at least I will not have to add yet another FB to my list as I already have Opus III. 🙂

          • Olfactoria says:

            That is good news then. 🙂

  4. Cruel Intentions is an odd one, it’s like a diet M7. It has a weird bready vibe to it that I find strangely compelling.

    Like you say, it’s a very complex fragrance, I’m not entirely sure where I sit in terms of liking it but it’s definitely another example of how good the By Killian line is 😀

  5. Lavanya says:

    I tried my sample of cruel intentions after dee mentioned it on her killian post..i really really like it. It smells mostly woody and incensey on my skin..I don’t get any rose and violet but I’ll try it again and look for it..Liaisons is such a pretty rose – very innocent charming and completely ‘undangerous’ in my humble opinion..lol

  6. Cruel Intentions is one of my Holy Grail fragrances – discovered it in college, and never looked back! I love how it dances around the masculine/feminine dichotomy and manages to surprise its wearer every time. I smell something a little different with each wear, and I love that. Also, I am a huge fan of both the de Laclos book and the “so-terrible-it’s-good” movie that the perfume is named after =)

  7. vanessa says:

    Cruel Intentions is a funny one – I thought I liked it in store when I first tried it, and have never really got on with my sample since, even though I do agree that it mutates almost with each wearing. I may have even given it away in the end. Your review is lovely, but I think this one may require extra magic skin…. : – ( I think styrax and castoreum are not nice on me.

  8. Undina says:

    I plan to re-visit the complete line soon but from my previous testing of this perfume I remember that I was surprised it was considered masculine: to my nose it was a unisex scent at best.

  9. Juraj says:

    I simply love it. I get the cleaness from it, reminds me of a clean skin. One of the best from the line and after few hours I sense something feminine, very gentle. Interesting and tempting one!


  10. Pingback: The Hills Are Alive… – Review: By Kilian A Taste Of Heaven, Absinthe Verte | Olfactoria's Travels

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