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Saving the best for last. My 11-day quest with By Kilian has come to an end. My relationship with this perfume house though, no… never. J’adore. The black, the creation without compromise, the elegance, the dance between sweetness and darkness. In my ideal olfactory world everyone would one a Kilian fragrance and they are so diverse, even if with a clear concept, that I really think anyone could find a favorite here.

So for my grand finale I chose my first love. Liaisons Dangereuses – typical me. This fragrance was my first encounter with this brand and I almost missed a flight from Amsterdam because of it. It would have been worth it. I love this fragrance. When I experienced it for the first time about a year and a half ago I was infatuated. It is sweet but with integrity, easy bit sophisticated. It is like a floral but so fierce. I never wear florals, to me this is one even though if you look at the notes..it’s really not. And it so very very romantic in the word’s most dignified, playful and urban sense. To the formula.

I am in awe of this creation by Calice Becker. This is one of the most beautiful fragrances I know of. And I have seen it blend perfectly with different people that normally would not choose the same perfume. So I recommend it to anyone. I have never experienced it on a man though, so that thought makes me curious. I have a notion that the musk would create something interesting when blended with a man’s body odour.

My conclusion after these 11 days is that I have found two new fragrance loves. I have also found in two other ones very nice scents for people that I love. And if possible my admiration for Kilian creations is even bigger.

Try it. Kilian’s olfactory world is a great way to travel.

Being a copywriter I give more than a little attention to the names of fragrances and I have a profound allergy to clichés or arbitrariness. So this…baam. I would buy it just for the name maybe. You have to agree with me that the name is outstanding. So let’s not perform a semantic dissection on it. Let’s just embrace it. Sweet Redemption – The End.

For obvious reasons I should have taken this one as the last fragrance of my Kilian-process, right? But I am also allergic to over-ordering things so, no. I have one left now. Over to the fragrance. It is very unusual. Definitely a very sweet very dark. For some reason unfortunately you cannot find the formula on Kilians web as with the other fragrances so I have searched for other sources of information. According to Basenotes, the top notes are bergamot and bitter-orange leaf, middle notes are orange blossom, myrrh and frankincense and base notes are opoponax, benzoin and vanilla. 
My feeling wearing the fragrance is that the orange and frankincense are dominating. It is very sweet even if a dark kind of sweet and also a bit powdery, like the perfumes from the 1920’s. The sillage is very strong so you can’t really wear it on a low key day…
When this fragranced was recently launched it was indeed the last (10th) fragrance of the L’Oeuvre Noir line. In this article Kilian Hennessy describes the inspiration for Sweet Redemption – The End, “What came to mind was Goethe’s Faust. He already has a great deal, but he wants more. He accepts the Devil’s deal. The Devil attracts you with honey and sugar. Sweet Redemption, the top notes, had to present this battle of good and evil.”

The nose behind the fragrance is Calice Becker, who has created the majority of the fragrances of L’Oeuvre Noir. She describes the creation as “love without sexual tension“.

Fragrance no 7 is described with these words by Kilian, “An inspiration from the Marshmallow. A pure sensual treat.” I didn’t read it however until today (I wore the fragrance yesterday), and it makes me smile. The description feels more than adequate as I felt a bit like this the entire day. Or no, I did not feel like this, but I felt like I smelled like this.

Holy Sweet, Stockholm
The roses, honeysuckle and the caramel are like a romantic embrace. There is something about the feeling that this fragrance creates that makes you think of women like in the old movies. Of blushing cheeks, soft skin, light red anticipating lips, blossoming cherry trees, skirts that swoosh on a summer’s day and crushes. Total utter impeccable sweetness. And… as much as I love seeing it and it makes me smile and fills my heart with marshmallows…it’s just not me. Well, ok, it is a part of me… Yes. But not enough parts to define me in a way that I am comfortable with so not a fragrance that I can “stay” in.

However…there is a person that is the embodiment of all the things mentioned above. Also she of course has many many other sides and is a more complex person. But. She has that very very very special kind of romantic sweetness that you find in so few people these days. You have met her before on this blog, Karin. Karin can carry blush, blossom, swoosh, caramel and rose with a credibility and contemporary touch that no one else that I know can master. So, my Love. don’t be shy-sample now belongs to her, it’s  a really lovely match. Perfumes like this are made for women and womanisciousness like Karin.

There is no other way to describe spring’s arrival in the Swedish capital than… shy. From an olfactory perspective you can feel it approaching as the air gets softer and sweeter. In the evening though it smells of Baltic winds and gravel. Hard and cold. But there is a scented cure for everything. Some time ago I received a collection of samples from Kilian and they have been waiting for their occasion ever since. The occasion is now. My plan is to go through them, one per day, and share my reflections with you. By the time I reach the eleventh one maybe spring will be here.

Kilian Hennessy, for those of you who are not familiar with this brand and man, is a perfume creator who is also the grandson of the founder of the LVMH group. This of course is not irrelevant, he was brought up in a family dedicated to cognac and early in life encountered the phrase ”angels’ share”, a term used to describe the percentage that for unknown reasons evaporates from cognac cellars. This was one of the things that led Kilian towards perfumery.

After writing a thesis on the semantics of odours he trained alongside the noses of Dior, Paco Rabanne, Armani and Alexander McQueen before eventually (2007) creating his own brand. I am an admirer. The fragrances are exquisite and the perfume house takes much more devoted care of its brand and fans than most competitors. Just look at the website, it is pure dedicated seduction.

So, back to my 11 Days With Kilian. Fragrance number one.


I have been wearing it for a couple of hours now and it is an adventure of the mind. It is sophisticated but has that dark side twist that all Kilian fragrances have. All kinds of associations come to mind… ceremonies or rituals. Druids? Yes, it sounds crazy I know but try hearing an aria from Norma in the back of your head. It is ceremonial in a very sensual carnal way, a mix of incense and leather. Some moments I can’t feel it on my skin anymore and I wonder where it went, then I make a slight movement and there it is. But like the scent of someone standing behind me rather than my own.  Spiritual. It is the scent of a temple. Perhaps not a physical one out of stone with pillars, but rather the one inside of you. 
Unfortunately, I am not sure this is a fragrance for me. It seduces me but it is not ”mine”. Fortunately… I had an instant association with someone else. And I think this could be a scent for that person. We will see.

Some time ago I received a selection samples from Kilian, one of my absolute perfume houses/creators. Each fragrance that wears this name is exquisite. But apart from that this is also a very exciting perfume house from brand perspective.

So what better way to welcome spring, I am thinking, than to enter it with these fragrances that were sent to me, one for each day. Today I will start with…

To quote Kilian: “A fragrance inspired by Rum, a life-giving alcohol blending the heat of Carribean islands.” Perfumer: Sidonie Lancesseur. This is what I will be wearing this weather-wise shy Saturday.

A few words on Mr Kilian himself for those of you who are not familiar with this brand and man yet. He is the grandson of the founder of LVMH Group and part of a family of cognac-makers. The House of Hennessy uses a term, “angels’ share” to describe the percentage that for unknown reasons evaporates from cognac cellars, an environment that was a natural part of Kilians growing up. This phenomenon led Kilian to the world of perfumes, and to writing a thesis on the semantics of odours and studies in communication. His career in perfumery began with training alongside the noses of Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Armani. Today he has his unique own brand and many devoted fans. I am one of them.
So. Time to get my rum and ambergris and go. I will share my reflections about the experience with you later. Have a fragrant Saturday.

I am starting to run out of strange animal parts so I will continue on the resin-incense-path tonight with frankincense, also known as olibanum. Also known as the incense of incenses.

And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh” (Matthew 2:11)

Frankincence is an aromatic resin used in incense and perfumes. It comes from Boswellia trees. Four types species of Boswellia are used and each of them give a resin with variation depending on tree-type, soil, climate and time of harvesting. Boswellia thrive in arid, cool areas of the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa and India. The finest type is Boswellia sacra, which grows in Somalia, Oman and Yemen. To obtain the resin you cut the bark of the tree which then starts to bleed a fluid that hardens. The hardened resin is called tears.

Frankincense trees are true survivors. They can grow in very demanding conditions, sometimes directly on solid rock in stormy areas. The rougher the conditions, the stronger the aroma. The trees have to be 8-10 years old to produce resin. It seems that there is a declining amount of frankincense trees, partly because of over-exploitation but also as a consequence of beetle attacks. The predictions are quite sad unfortunately so it might be a good idea to stock up on essential oils.

Frankincense is the incense of incenses, and appears in both Bible and Talmud. According to the gospel of Matthew 2:11, gold, frankincense, and myrrh were among the gifts to Jesus from the wise men. It has been used for a very long time, for example it is known that frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula and in North Africa for more than 5000 years. At that time it was known as olibanum. This name is likely to be derived from the Arabic al-lubān which is a reference to the resin being “milked” from the tree. 

Henry Siddons Mowbray
If you should have the fortune to visit Oman, you can go to the excavation of Ubar, a trade center along the “Incense Road“, that was rediscovered in the early 1990s.

Frankincense has a sweet, warm, balsamic aroma that is stimulating to the mind. The scent uplifts, calms and comforts and is therefore a natural choice for religious and spiritual ceremonies and for meditation. The tree itself is a symbol of life and carries cultural and historical significance. In Ayurvedic medicine Indian frankincense (Boswellia serrata), also known as “dhoop,” has been used for hundreds of years for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system, and purifying the atmosphere from undesirable germs. In Indian culture, it is suggested that burning frankincense daily in the house brings good health.

I think frankincense is a good example of our olfactory memories and identities, not as individuals, but as humans. We have used the same olfactory symbols for thousands of years, and we use them to worship in different religions. Scent is cultural, but also trans-cultural. Scents repel, and connect. Scents, like you, like me, are not arbitrary. Being aware of this makes the search for fragrances even more special and full of mysteries, symbols and stories, does it not?

If you are interested in going on a frankincense perfume exploration, here are some suggestions.