A Willing Player – Review: By Kilian Playing With The Devil

When my friend Sandra asked me the other day whether I was excited about the new Kilian, I answered something to the effect of: No, definitely not. (I think my exact words were: It should be perfectly bad.)

While I am a lover of Kilian (I know how that sounds – Ha, I wish!), I mean, all things By Kilian, I had been terribly disappointed in his creations for some time since the L’Oeuvre Noir had been completed. The Asian Tales were an epic fail for me (Herbal Essences for very rich people), and I didn’t like the previous three releases from the In The Garden of Good and Evil Collection enough to justify the expense of springing for a bottle (or a refill even).

Experience should have taught me by now that as soon as I stop hoping for the next great thing, as soon as I have no expectations whatsoever, I end up loving the perfume in question.

So before my dear Catholic mom gets nervous, let see how much playtime the devil really gets in this fragrance…

by kilian playing with the devil

Playing With The Devil was created by Calice Becker in 2013 and includes notes of blood orange, black currant, white peach, lychee, pepper, pimento, cedar, sandalwood, patchouli, rose, jasmine, tonka, benzoin and vanilla.

Playing with the Devil is a peach scent through and through. A very delectable, sweet, drippy, ripe and gorgeous peach.

My favorite peach fragrance is Parfums MDCI Péché Cardinal, but this one is different enough to warrant my and your attention.

So Mom, relax, the devil won’t be much interested and this is as far from an olfactory carnal sin as I am from ever becoming Kilian’s lover. And to be fair, it is a hard name to live up to. But all that aside, Playing with the Devil is a perfume I want to wear.

It smells warm and comfy and has a lovely tension of sweet and spicy (peach and pepper) that keeps it from ending up as a bland foody scent, which it is definitly not. After the sprightly opening of peach and tart orange and blackcurrant, it softens over time, getting darker and warmer as the florals bloom and the woody-vanillic base gains strength, but above all this, the peach never wavers, it is with me until the end (about eight hours later, so great longevity and good sillage as well).

It is innocent enough for my children to love it, it even moved the husband to an only semi-lethargic “Hmmm” upon confrontation with this perfume, which translates as: “I adore it, but won’t ever say so out loud, because I am very aware of the costs involved here.”


Pssst: now with mom appeased and gone, I can tell you that Playing with the Devil is not as innocent as it might seem at first. The longer I wear it, the more I fall for its peachy charms, the more I experience the subtle undertow of excitement, the low thrum of anticipation, attraction… a shiver running through it, an invitation, a temptation.

Maybe this is where the devil comes in, because this perfume exerts a magnetic pull, a lure to let my mind wander to places yet unexplored, deeds yet undone. It is a temptation that I find myself unable to resist.

Unfortunately, I seem to be a willing player in the devil’s game.

Read my other Kilian reviews here.

About Olfactoria

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42 Responses to A Willing Player – Review: By Kilian Playing With The Devil

  1. Georgy says:

    Poor hubby, does not dare to adore it, ’cause he is aware of the costs, his nose is very well trained, financially at least…..gonna try this, just because of the very tempting name, I’m the ideal customer, I know…

  2. Sandra says:

    Wonderful review! Wonderful perfume! So glad you like it.

  3. Vanessa says:

    So much to savour here – it went beyond a review to a thriller with a twisty turny plot! As you can well imagine, my favourite line has to be: ‘this is as far from an olfactory carnal sin as I am from ever becoming Kilian’s lover’….

    I loved Dr O’s grudgingly favourable reaction and how you hid the perfume’s peek-a-boo carnal side from your mother. And I am always reminded of TS Elliot’s famous line in Prufrock: ‘Do I dare eat a peach?’ Sounds like at this price ticket this lovely scent should also be approached with caution.

  4. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I liked that line too, Vanessa !
    B., you know my opinion about Kilian (both opinions – the one about the man himself, and another one about his fragrances…) and I tried to approach his “Garden…” without any prejudice. While they’re the nearest to “LIKE” of any Kilian scent ever I cannot exactly remember Playing with the Devil. Which is not a particularly good sign. Peach is a bit scary for me anyway, Ouris is the one I really like and wear (sofar). So I might revisit the Devil again, one day, for education purposes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The Devil is brand-new, so I don’t think you’ve smelled it yet (and forgotten about it so quickly).

      I feel the same though about the three Garden of Good and Evil scents that came before, I just can’t tell them apart in my mind they are a blur. The new devil stands out for me though.

      • Lady Jane Grey says:

        Yeah, you’re right, of course, I only tried the first 3, and they’re a blur – a fairly nice one, but a blur nevertheless. Is the new one to be found in Vienna already, or should I sniff it when in London next week ?

  5. I think I remember just completely slagging this one off. I found it boring, illegible. I shall now have to retry it
    , you peachy temptress.

  6. Alice says:

    That’s a coincidence, two small vials of Playing with the Devil and Good Girl Gone Bad arrived yesterday from by Kilian. I already have City of Sin, a (mostly dried) fruit/wood perfume which I’ve been enjoying now the weather is cooler, slightly surprised this does not get more love on the perfume boards.

    So I tried PWTD first, and absolutely loved the opening and first half, but then is seem to dissolve into an irisy peachy powdery musky mixture which didn’t really grab me. I then tested GGGB (all the while working very hard at may laptop, of course). This had the reverse effect, ie I didn’t like the opening, strangely I could smell cigarette smoke, not listed. Towards the end it improved a lot and the drydown was much more appealing. Altogether I thought both were very interesting (much more than Asian tales, and for me more than most of the original series). Definitely worth re-testing.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, Alice, this series is definitely more interesting than Asian Tales.

      • Alice says:

        Just popping back in to say that after further testing, I am enjoying these more and more. Although I wasn’t too keen on the original series, I do rather like the Garden of Evil scents. Perhaps its simply that I enjoy fruit notes (especially apricot) so it’s encouraging to see someone exploring fruit dominated compositions. They seem more than standard ‘fruity florals’ to me. However i still find the ‘narrative’ and the snake boxes etc off-putting – all very much not my thing! A small sampler/travel set of the series would however be very appealing.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Thanks for letting me know how you are getting on with the Garden of Good and evil scents. I ebjyo the high quality fruit notes very much as well.
          I’m sure Kilian will offer a travel set sooner or later and I imagine that travel spray in white will look amazing. 🙂

  7. lucasai says:

    This perfume has nothing to do with the devil to me, it’s just a fruity floral juice which is below average in my opinion.
    I never really fancied Kilian, this new perfume is not going to change my verdict.

  8. By Kilian fragrances are either love it or leave it to me. Unlike you, I really love the Arabian Nights collection especially Incense Oud and Musk Oud, but the Asian Tales collection left me quite disappointed. I haven’t tried any of the latest collection, but you have my interest piqued with this. The packaging is incredible…but I guess that’s not really the point right?

  9. I’m so glad to hear some good news about this perfume. At least I’m now very eager to give it a try.

  10. Tatiana says:

    I had only smelled this on a card and was completely turned off by the succulent, juicy, mouth watering opening. I didn’t know whether I should eat it or drink it. Can you tell I don’t like foody perfumes very much. Sweet Josie at Saks in NY gave me a sample of this to pass on to my daughter. Maybe I’ll give it a spray before I hand over the sample. Your review makes it sound so much more tempting. Hmm, tempting, isn’t that what the devil does?
    By the way, my husband has a similar reaction to perfumes he likes on me, for the same reason of cost. It’s a rare bottle indeed that he tells me I ought to buy. (Mito was the last perfume that got the “You should buy a bottle” stamp of approval.

  11. Tara says:

    This review was a classic B. From The Husband’s “Hmmm” to your “Pssst” it was a lot fun.

    My sample arrived in the post yesterday so looking forward to wearing it tomorrow.

  12. Suzanne says:

    I’m hoping that either Asali or Ines chimes in, but I think this is the By Kilian pefume that we all fell in love with when the gorgeous sales assistant at Campomarzio 70 brought it out for us. (She had a keen way of discerning our individual tastes, yet this fragrance seemed to put all of us in a swoon. And I don’t say that lightly, as there are darn few By Kilian fragrances that I’ve actually cottoned to.)

    The scent of peaches seems to be the thing I’m craving this year. I’ve worn Ouris and Hedonist a lot, as well as some other fragrances with peachy facets.

    Btw, if you ever become Kilian’s lover, can you send some swag my way? The clutch with the gold snake, maybe? 😉

  13. Undina says:

    I’m very conflicted: I love this review (Birgit, when you really like the perfume you’re reviewing it shows) and I had very high hopes for this perfume (I liked two out of three initial perfumes but not enough to commit to the FB purchase yet since it would be mostly for the white clutch) but everything I read suggests I’ll hate it 😦 I really dislike peach note in most perfumes. I can stand a little of it but not the center of a perfume. But I will try Playing with the Devil as soon as I get a chance hoping for a miracle.

  14. Figuier says:

    I’m quite an admirer of By Kilian, but haven’t got to grips with the more recent offers (Asian Tales and Garden). Must do a sample order soon, the peach sounds gorgeous!

    Your DH sounds like mine – he’s perfected a non-committal tone indicating ‘I don’t hate it’ (in case it’s a FB I’ve just purchased) but also ‘I don’t love it’ (in case it’s a sample and I might be tempted to splurge on the FB)

  15. Kandice says:

    Thank you for this review. I might now actually seek out a sample of this. The first three scents in this series left me feeling rather blah, and I had pretty much written this one off without even smelling it. Now I’m intrigued and willing to give it s sniff 🙂 Maybe I’ll find a new Kilian to love. My favorite of his goes all the way back to Sweet Redemption.

  16. happyface313 says:

    Vielen Dank, dass Du gestern beim Flohmarkt bei mir vorbei geschaut hast! Es hat mich riesig gefreut, Dich kennenzulernen! 🙂
    Ich wünsche Dir an Deinem Tüchlein und auch Deiner Freundin an ihrem Twilly, ganz viel Freude!
    Schönen Sonntagabend noch und herzliche Grüße 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      Vielen Dank, liebe Happyface! Dein Stand was mit Abstand der tollste. Wie liebevoll alles hergerichtet war – sehr beeindruckend.
      Ich wünschte allerdings ich hätte mich budgetär besser auf dieses Event vorbereitet. 😉
      Es gab ja unglaubliche Schätze bei dir zu entdecken. Ich hoffe es war ein erfolgreicher Tag für Dich!
      Alles Liebe!

  17. Pingback: By Kilian Playing With the Devil EDP Perfume | EauMG

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