Monday, 27 April 2015

Beyond Hate: By Kilian Beyond Love, Prohibited, and my Love and Tears Janus moment!

Source: Hayley Armagost on Pinterest's a strong word. There are very few people in the world, if any, whom I would say I have ever hated. Oh, maybe the former colleague who slammed the door in my face after I had pulled an all-nighter at the office. I'd been editing a report that was chock full of someone else's typos, for which I took the rap, even though the person in question was knocking on thirty at the time and perfectly capable of proofing his own work. So yes, I probably wouldn't rush to meet her again.

As for my reaction to the By Kilian line, every blogger who has ever posted about their perfumes has probably had a comment from yours truly bemoaning the headache-inducing 'house fug acccord' that killed this range for me. Liaisons Dangereuses - which I would liken to Poison for the Noughties - was the worst offender, but I remember having 'fug issues' during my brief encounters with Love, Beyond Love and one or two others. Interestingly, I have experienced no such problem with later releases, such as Love and Tears or Sweet Redemption, to name but two, so I can only assume it is a stylistic hallmark of the early years. By a similar token, the early Mona di Orios were all kinds of wrong on  me - I still shudder at the memory of my Nuit Noire 'necklacing' incident - but I went on to love several of the Nombres d'Or collection.

The other slightly annoying thing about this brand - apart from the price and the preposterous promo shots of a snake-draped Kilian Hennessey - is the opaque packaging. Very unhelpful for anyone attempting to sell a partial bottle at a later date. Though props to the brand for its tassles. Yet overall I have largely tuned out to By Kilian, and though I was recently in Augsburg, where the niche perfumery Naegele has a whole wall devoted to the line, I didn't make any effort to go there this time - and didn't even point it out to Val, though we passed close by. 'Friends before perfume'...? Well, before By Kilian perfume, for sure.

NO, IT ISN'T!!!!

But two things happened recently to prompt me to revisit this brand. Firstly, not so long ago, Tara was sending me some bits and bobs, and enclosed a packet of my own By Kilian samples which I vaguely remembered having given to someone. Not to Tara, as it transpired, but to Holly Cranmer at the time of her visit in August, and now she was giving them back, having presumably also had a poor hit rate with the line. So for a while the little bag of vials, with their distinctive calligraphic script, sat on my desk, awaiting transferral to long term storage / purgatory. But before I got round to doing that, a chance reference to the tuberose note in Carnal Flower during the German tour - which was greeted by a chorus of 'Oh, tuberose, that's a nice scent' - made me think to tentatively retry the (to me, still) very scary tuberose perfume in the By Kilian stable, Beyond Love, Prohibited.


And guess what? It wasn't scary. There was no discernable fug. No headache ensued. But rather, I fell hard for this heady, coconut-tinged, almost gourmand tuberose soliflore, which Luca Turin dubbed 'tuberose tuberose' in Perfumes The Guide, citing it as the greatest example of the note.

"Calice Becker has composed a straight-up tuberose using the best absolute from India, with touches of other notes (magnolia iris) used only to narrow the gap between the extract and the fresh flower. The result is the best tuberose soliflore on earth."

Notes: coconut accord, Egyptian jasmine absolute, tuberose concrete, tuberose absolute, green tuberose, tuberose petals accord, ambergris, tonkin musk.

Um...would you like a side of tuberose with that? ;)


Yes, it was creamy, in an oozing patisserie kind of a way. I pictured a cream slice, but with white custard. To my mind's eye, this is a very white, yet warm and enveloping scent. Evocative of a tropical beach holiday, so arguably not the best fit for a rainswept night in Bristol, which is where I decided to give my sample its first ever public outing.

Then I remembered that Caryne had asked me to wear Love and Tears, its jasmine-foward counterpart, at a gig some time, so she could gauge whether that was the intensity of jasmine she was looking for on her own, vegan jasmine perfume quest. (Ongoing, and a bit of a tall order it seems.) So anyway, Janus-like, I decided to wear Love and Tears on the back of my neck, and Beyond Love everywhere else. I sense that there may be a piquant psychological metaphor in the near juxtaposition of these two scents, but I can't quite put my finger on it. It certainly made for some comedy moments in the pre-gig milling as I proffered both the front and nape of my neck for interested parties to sniff. Both perfumes got the thumbs up, with Beyond Love deemed more suitable for evening wear.

Mazzie and Simon

I resniffed the same fans who had attended one of the Berlin gigs wearing Chanel pour Monsieur and Aromatics Elixir respectively. This time Simon was in Clinique Chemistry - which I thought was a wind up, but it turns out to be its real name! - while Mazzie was in a peppery poppy perfume from the Body Shop, which smelt delightful on her. Caryne herself was wearing a sample of a patchouli scent from L'Erbolario, purchased at the same time as my bottle of Méharées.

The next day, on a whim, I morphed into a reverse Janus, wearing Beyond Love on the back of my neck and Love and Tears everywhere else. ;) Oh, after further reading on the Interwebs I have just realised that these two are part a collection of love themed perfumes, which comprises: Prelude to Love, Invitation, Love, Don't be shy, Beyond Love, Prohibited, and Love and Tears, Surrender. Me being me, I appear to have skipped the preamble and jumped into this series just as it gets interesting...;)

So yes, beyond hate lay a surprise love for this tuberose beauty. I don't anticipate that there will be a 'beyond Beyond Love' phase, but I will soon have finished my sample at this rate, so - given the prices and general hoo-hah surrounding this brand - there will imminently be a 'Beyond Wearing' phase.  And possibly a few tears about that...

Source: fragrantica

Bonus tassle pic specially for Tara!


Olfactoria's Travels said...

Your post had me running (really!) for my sample of Beyond Love and immediately applying it (not Janus style though) and it is gorgeous. Maybe it is the weather - glorious sunshine - that makes it so fitting, or it is just your convincing conversion, but such an urge had not come over me in years.
Now I'm waiting to see what the asthma has to say about Kilian, but for now my nose is happy. Thanks. :)

Vanessa said...

Hi Birgit,

I am so happy to read your comment! I did spot your and Victoria's reviews of Beyond Love along the way, and saw that you originally had your own reservations about tuberose, but that this worked for you as a sleep scent. It was beautifully sunny when I tried Beyond Love last week, and it just bypassed any hint of a fug stage and melded beautifully with my skin. All the best with this - I hope it is a case of 'Beyond Asthma' for you.

Tara said...

I think you should patent The Janus Method of perfume wearing V!
What a lovely conversion to what can be such a difficult note. I doubt I will ever get there.
Love that the handles of the cupboards of the Kilian display also have tassels. I shall have to check their Harrods boutique next time I'm there.
Very sorry that it's Beyond Budget but what a coup to get B running for her sample!

Unknown said...

Love the Janus wearing too. Tuberose is a no go area, at least on skin, so no Beyond Love for me, which is just as well, considering. I have a few things for you, btw...will email.

Poodle said...

I once sent Val some samples of this line. Thankfully she forgave me. In my defense I did warn her before sending them.

Asali said...

You make BL sound like a must (re-)try, which is a tall order coming from someone with quite a problematic relationship with tuberose.
As for beyond wearing, by kilian does have refill bottles at reasonable prices, and for your benefit, ;-) , these are clear glass, not opaque...
For me luckily no Kilian scent has yet made it to love, or FB wishes, only decants, which I rarely wear. I'm not sure whether that's to do with the fact that it's a decant, or the perfume inside.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Haha! I don't suppose I was the first person to do the Janus wearing trick, but it's a fun thought. I have an even better pic of the tassles which I will add to my post in a bit - currently firefighting a major printer meltdown.

Vanessa said...

PS You had me chuckling out loud over 'Beyond Budget'!

Vanessa said...

Hi Sabine,

There seem to be quite a few of us with tuberose issues. I have a couple of things for you too, and was going to send them with my settlement for your custom purchases for me!

Vanessa said...

Hi Poodle,

That was bold of you and the warning to Val a smart move. This is exactly why I gave her chocolate and soap in Augsburg. Or Vaseline, if the airport security staff are to be believed.

Vanessa said...

Hi Asali,

Another person who is a bit conflicted about tuberose. Maybe the Giorgio Beverly Hills of our youth cast a long shadow. I did know that about the refill bottles, but thanks for mentioning it. The thing is, a refill bottle still feels like a bit of a poor relation, which links in with your later point about possibly not loving decants precisely because of their format. It's a very interesting thought.

Tara said...

You're certainly the first person to name that method after a Roman God!

Thanks for the gratuitous tassle pic :)

Odiferess said...

Hi Vanessa, I too has a tough time loving this brand, except for your nemesis Liaisons Dangerueses (I'm a geranium junky)! I don't think I even have any samples left, but I'll root some out of Harvey Nichs and revisit soon.

I know what you mean by a 'fug' and I reckon it's caused by a lack of clear top notes, i.e. no sparkly quality in the opening. My fuggiest moment was a Byredo scent - 1996, which hit me with an instant sensation of being 'blanketed', as if everything was muffled.

Vanessa said...

Haha, now that may be true...;)

Ref the tassle pic, you are very welcome!

Vanessa said...

Hi Sarah,

I may yet psych myself up to retry Liaisons Dangereuses - after all, I got on quite well with Bogue MAAI, so who knows how far round my taste may have swivelled since LD first bothered me? If you can't readily get samples at Harvey Nichs, I can pass along some of mine, once I have established which are still the no gos, as before!

Good to hear your thoughts on 'fug' - it hadn't occurred to me that the lack of top notes might be responsible. Having read the reviews of 1996 - including yours I believe - I can well imagine it 'mugging by fugging', as it were. I like 'blanketed' too. Another corker in that regard is Parfums de Nicolai Sacrebleu Intense!

Blacknall Allen said...

Actually I liked the BK SA at Bergdorf's who insisted on giving me a sample of Back to Black, "Honey, you may need this." "I'm married for twenty five years." "Honey you didn't say it was an Emergency! You really need this!"
Needless to say, The Hub loved it.

Glad you may have found your tuberose. Everyone needs an inner tuberose :-)

Asali said...

No, nothing to do with GBH, I dare say ´81 is a biiiiit early for me ;-) If scared by fragrant notes, it would be more CKOne, Acqua di Gio and Tresor :-/

Vanessa said...

Hi Blacknall,

Oh dear, Blogger ate my comment that I thought I had managed to post the other day. I was basically saying how much I loved this story about Back to Black, and the SA's comment about it not being an emergency! I have a sample of that somewhere in the stash that came back to me, so I should give it another spin. LOL too at 'inner tuberose'. It is a fitting note for a woman who went a bit feral recently. ;)

Vanessa said...

Sorry, Asali, and I did think that the moment I had posted my comment. I really meant 'my youth and that of people who are of my generation' - like Val and Bloody Frida - rather than to include you. Of the perfumes you find scary, I hear you. I did own Tresor when it came out, but find it a bit 'Paris' nowadays, though nice in small doses.

Anonymous said...

This is a fabulous post Vanessa. Does it make me want to retry the brand? Over my dead and mangled body. Forsooth.

Vanessa said...

Hi Val,

Haha! Clearly not even the tassles can tempt you...;)

Undina said...


Undina said...

From 10 perfumes in the initial L'Oeuvre Noire collection I grew to like two - Prelude to Love and Love and Tears. I don't think I'll go for a bottle of either but do not mind wearing them sometimes from decants. Other perfumes in that collection do not work for me. And tuberose - being a real one, not even a synthetic rendition - is a definite no-go.

Over years I found a couple more perfumes from other collections to like and I wouldn't mind having bottles of those - but I like them in their presentation bottles, which are too expensive for how I feel about those perfumes, and refill bottles aren't nice enough. But one bottle - Amber Oud - I'm considering seriously: I enjoy it every time I wear it.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Another person who has trouble with tuberose. It does seem to be quite polarising. But we both like Love and Tears I see. I think that is the problem with By Kilian - the presentation is 'too expensive for how I feel about those perfumes'. And I agree about the refill bottles. I have not tried Amber Oud, but will check it out now you have drawn my attention to it.