Killing Me Softly Part Two: Amber Oud By Kilian

As I’ve written before, I am rather resistant to By Kilian.  Kilian Hennessy is young, thin, broodingly handsome, talented and very wealthy.  This makes some of us who are rotund, poor and into the AARP years terribly jealous.  I’m sure that he’s most likely even a very nice person, which makes me even more wretched.  So, please forgive me G-d and Tonstant Weader that in my black little heart I want to hate Amber Oud.

I just can’t.

It’s bad enough that he took two of my favorite notes and mixed them so well.  But he had to add a dash of vanilla..

Amber is more the star here, hence the billing.  It’s a refined, rather dry amber with only a touch of the glottal heat that makes Lutens Ambre Sultan not only the reference amber scent for me but also one that’s difficult for me to wear when the temps are much above 50.  The oud in here is also of a refined sort.  It doesn’t jump out at you waving tentacles like some of the Montales that I have tried (and loved; I’m all about the big gesture) and isn’t as raspy as Le Labo.  But then we go into the kitchen and add in the vanilla: almost as plush as Guerlain Spiriteuse and with a bit of that boozy punch to it, but not as over-the-top.  I love my bottle of the Guerlain, but it’s another one that’s best when it’s cold out.  Really cold.  I would think on a hot summer day it would be like being smothered by a giant marshmallow.  I ran around doing errands involving walking and a poorly air-conditioned BH shuttle bus and I never felt I was importuning in anything other than perhaps the way too casual attire I’d chosen for a last-minute decision to sit in on a city planning commission meeting.  I was dressed down, but as my scent twin points out, this “smells like a million dollars” and so did I.  It’s a Perfect Manhattan Cocktail of a scent, a wonderful, intoxicating concoction blending sweet, smoky and dry.  I feel more elegant, more Fred Astaire holding one.  I feel more elegant and Fred Astaire wearing this.

Even if I look more Fred Flintstone..

By Kilian Amber Oud is $395 for 50ml EDP (sigh) and is available at Luckyscent, Aedes, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks 5th Avenue. I received the sample by registering on the company’s Facebook page.  Go see if you still can too.

Image: Wikipedia Commons

  • Tara C says:

    I want to love this and it’s pretty enough, but it’s so light and insubstantial on me I would have to bathe in it in order to smell it on myself, and it’s far too expensive for that. I will likely stick with my Montale Amber Oud…

  • mals86 says:

    Terrific review!

    I’m not a big amber fan nor am I a big oud fan (or a straight-up vanilla fan, for that matter), but I was impressed by the gentle smoothness of Amber Oud. I’ll enjoy my sample, though I will definitely not be angling for a bottle of it.

  • ClaudiaRae says:

    Okay, I laughed out loud at the Fred Flintstone reference, and at the office, no less. I mean, I’m at the office, not Fred.

    Love your reviews.

  • Musette says:


    just how casual was your attire? 😕 For a moment I had you wearing a Speedo, wifebeater and some flipflops.

    That’s probably not it, right?

    xo >-)

  • Musette says:

    You and Dorothy…I swear…/:) ;))

    I’ve only fallen deeply for one BK and that’s Incense Oud; as I’m not an amberLover, this one will probably not float my boat.

    Now watch me fall facedown in love and have to eat. my. words.

    xo >-)

    • Francesca says:

      I love the tuberose one whose name I can never remember. And Incense Oud. I guess I need to go over to Aedes and sniff Amber Oud.

      Great post, Tom. I, too loved “tonstant weader,” as well as “being smothered by a giant marshmallow.”

    • Tom says:

      we’ll expect a report when you do. or don’t for that matter..

  • Ann says:

    Hi, Tom. I desperately wanted to love this, as I like so much from the line, but one spritz and all I got was a very light hit of amber and that faint Band-Aid accord that oud sometimes has. Altogether, barely a whisper. And another spray didn’t help at all, so sadly, I must give it a pass. But glad it smells great on some of you, at least.

  • HemlockSillage says:

    Lovely review of a lovely fragrance. I’d love to own more than the tiny scrab that I have, but there’s a niggling question. What other scent does this scent remind me of? That’s what I sniff my wrist compulsively to determine. Vanille 44? No, too sweet. I know there’s something, but can’t quite recall.

    ‘Posse peeps, if you have ideas, less expensive ideas, let me know, and save my pocketbook! I love this scent, but don’t want to keep buying the same style fragrance. I’ll appreciate your insights.

    • Eldarwen 22 says:

      Maybe L’Artisian’s Havana Vanille would be the way to go, It’s $120 for 50ml and 100ml is $165.

      • HemlockSillage says:

        That’s a nice suggestion, and I like Havana Vanille. I like the L’Artisan Al Oudh even better. Those would be less expensive choices, but I want to figure out what the BK Amber Oud calls to mind. . .I’ll keep sniffing. . .

    • Tom says:

      It reminds me of something too but I can’t think of it..

    • HemlockSillage says:

      Could it be the distant dry-down of Le Labo Poivre 23? I’m wearing Amber Oud as SOTD, and that was my thought this morning. I’ll have to hunt down the LL Poivre and try them side by side. It is liek something, but I can’t recall it. Grrrrr :D

  • Louise says:

    This one took me by surprise, too, Tom. Me, needing another Amber, another Oud?

    But I somehow got 2 samples in the mail, and quietly fell in love. I then got a decant, and am so enjoying it. Others have said that they can’t smell oud in it, which I think means it doesn’t stink (I sometimes wear a drop of pure oud oil, I love it so), but I find the balance of dry amber and smooth oud to be so gorgeous. Amber Oud also layers beautifully with the Kilian Incense Oud, which is very quiet on me.

    As for price-you can find the “refills” for $175 at Bergdorf. Not cheap, but a better way to go.


  • reglisse says:

    People like Kilian make me a little cross, too. But not cross enough to avoid the rushing over to FB and seeing if I can get a squirt of this (I’m sorry, it’s wayyyy to spendy no matter how wonderful it may smell but I still want to smell it) juice.

    I love your black-hearted self, and your Dorothy Parker reference has made my day.