While recent collections from By Kilian have left me cold, I was still interested to try this set of addiction inspired scents because they seemed to mark a return to a darker mood.
The collection was released in October 2014 and comprises the following three fragrances which seem to be aimed at men.
Smoke for the Soul
Notes of eucalyptus, grapefruit, cardamom, mate tea, tagete, thyme, tobacco and birch.
Perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin seems like a good choice for a smoky composition considering he did the tobacco infused Volutes for Diptyque. Unfortunately I have trouble with fragrances like this which are inspired by cannabis. To my nose, it is a deeply unpleasant aroma.
I have to say I like the pine cone aspect of the opening to Smoke for the Soul. It’s the scent of the forest; aromatic and invigorating.
However the question is; does it also smell like weed? Sadly for me, the answer is yes. It’s that same dank, pungent, sour fug. I can’t get past that negative association so I don’t have anything more to add apart from the fact that I had an urge to scrub it. Maybe those without my antipathy would get on better.
Notes of cardamom, nutmeg, cinnamon, mocha coffee, tobacco, vanilla and patchouli.
This is the one out of the three that I would say has the broadest appeal. Intoxicated was created by perfumer Calice Becker, who has done the majority of the brand’s perfumes so far. The addiction here is caffeine and the fragrance takes its lead from the aroma of Turkish coffee.
Essentially it’s the scent of a rich, spiced coffee with heaps of sugar. Intoxicated has a strong coffee accord but it’s mellowed out by sweet spices and a backbone of vanilla. It has depth but feels relatively simple. It could be a good fragrance to warm you up on a cold day, just like that steaming hot cup of coffee.
By all accounts it bears a striking resemblance to the original A*Men by Mugler. So if you fall in love with Intoxicated it may be worth doing a comparison, given the huge price difference.
Light My Fire
Notes of cumin, hay, patchouli, vetiver, honey, vanilla and tobacco.
Sidonie Lancesseur has done a few fragrances for By Kilian including Incense Oud, Cruel Intentions and Straight to Heaven. Nicotine is the vice in question here, so Light My Fire has a core of tobacco.
It’s hard not to compare this to Kilian’s Back to Black. Light My Fire starts out with a soft honey note but instead of pairing it with cherry tobacco as in Back to Black, it’s paired with cumin – a lot of it. It’s much more spice than sweat and comes across as almost nutty. However, I doubt cumin will ever be a enjoyable note for me.
While the cumin stays the course, the honey quickly recedes, being overtaken by musty patchouli and a great hay note. It’s smooth and mildly funky. Light My Fire makes me think of a horse’s stable to start with but dries down to a nicely realistic tobacco. Putting my aversion to cumin to one side, I’d say it’s the most original and interesting of the three.
How you feel about By Kilian? Which collection or fragrance are you most fond of?