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.)