By Kilian Musk Oud, Dark Knight, and In the Garden of Good and Evil- Voulez-Vous Couchez Avec Moi

Snow in the mountains north of LA, seen from Mulholland Drive in Bel-Air

First, let’s talk about the weather. If you are in the US you likely saw on the news that Los Angeles County had a blizzard watch, the first one in decades. Snow levels were expected to fall to under 2000 feet, which doesn’t sound like a big deal, but parts of the Hollywood hills are that high. So we actually got a dusting of (very brief) snow on the Hollywood sign. I had some brief, small hail fall, but mostly intermittent buckets of rain, another heaping helping of which is on the way for this evening (Tuesday into Wednesday.)

Now onto the By Kilians.

I am sort of predisposed to dislike this line because of the founder. Not that he has done anything except be talented, wealthy, handsome, thin, and successful while on a good day I can aspire to one of those at best. He apparently is also nice, which means I don’t even get the moral high ground. But that is entirely about me, and not about him. Some of his scents are glorious. Members of the Posse have written about Dark Knight so much that I needed to get onto Surrender to Chance and try it, and since I like things in threes, add in two others.

Musk Oud is a sly one. It starts out smoky and salty, very much with the oud at the fore. Almost immediately the cooling geranium pops in to tame things, making it a far more civilized affair. But there’s still that beating heart of oud and musk. If Connery’s Bond in a Tuxedo was bottled, this would be it.

If Musk Oud is Bond, then Voulez-Vous is the Bond girl who sadly doesn’t make it to the end of the movie. It starts out with a giggle-inducing simulacrum of milady’s make-up table: a riot of powders, lotions, potions, balms and salves, with an undertone of something that says that perhaps milady isn’t quite the lady she seems. I find this one almost calms down a little too much, but I am rarely about the subtlety in scent.

Dark Lord was, I am afraid, a disappointment. It started off well, with leather and cherries and a boozy darkness that made me think I could trot out the Bond villain trope to continue the mood. But on me this quickly just died. The lashing of leather faded and those boozy, wine-dark cherries sort of fell into vague play-doh territory on me. Then nothing. My skin ate it Like General Koskov ate caviar. (there! I got the Bond villain in somewhere!)

Of these the one I liked best was the one that I would likely not wear out of the house: Voulez-Vous. It’s a giant, pink powder puff of a scent and I love that, but it’s perhaps not the presentation I need to make. Musk Oud opens great, and is very nice throughout, but I already have ones that tread that ground. And no way around it, Dark Lord wimped out.

So my quest to find my By Kilian continues.

By Kilian is available at the usual suspects at $275 for a 50ML refillable bottle, refills for which are $225 (which I think is brilliant) My samples came from Surrender to Chance. Photos are mine and from Pexels

  • Musette says:

    Dark Lord. On me it’s fleeting…but oh,so glorious! Wish it worked for you.

  • cinnamon says:

    That snowy pic is beautiful. Yes, too many fragrances in the house. Just makes my brain scream, though I do truly love Dark Lord. Oh, and the opening of Love, Don’t Be Shy is very good.

    • Tom says:

      It’s strange to see the snow on those mountains. It’s strange to see those mountains period. Just goes to show you how much stuff there is in the air (natural and man-made) obscuring the view. Normally you can’t see them at all.

  • Kathleen says:

    Your Mountain View is stunning! As it should be, snow seen at a distance. The only By Kilian I own is the original Love in the black bottle, I found it unique at the time. Voulez-Vous sounds up my alley, I adore powder puff scents.

    • Tom says:

      Glad you liked it! I took one today from my side of the hill that I can’t attach, sadly. It’s kind of strange to be driving down Santa Monica Blvd. in Beverly Hills and see snow covered mountains looking like you could touch them. Only after a winter rain. What was weird is that is was snowing/hailing just a mile away in Westwood.

  • SpringPansy says:

    Adding to Dina C’s comment – I thoroughly enjoy your reviews, thanks, Tom. My favorite BK is Amber Oud, now discontinued I believe: a very tame oud that is mostly a quiet vanilla-amber, but gorgeous anyway.

    And to Maya’s comment – I’ve been a PG fan for a long time, nice to see him mentioned. I miss Bois Blond (also discontinued), my very favorite Parfumerie Generale.

    • Tom says:

      Thank you! I appreciate that. I do like that Kilian does somewhat “quieter” ouds. Sometime perfumers can kind of overdose on it, and while I like it 75% of the time, that 25% is like “whoaaaa”

  • Dina C. says:

    Great entertaining reviews, Tom! Thanks!

  • Maya says:

    SoCal with snow is incredible and weird!
    I tried some By Killian early on and didn’t like them, so that was it. Recently though, I decided I should try Voulez-Vous Couchez Avec Moi because I like the name. Idea cancelled. Thanks. Now I’m back to exploring Parfumerie Generale. I had forgotten how much I like Pierre Guillaume’s work. I already bought 1, have fallen in love with 3 more, and have 4 samples in my cart. I’m in trouble! And more money would come in handy too. LOL.

    • Tom says:

      I think a lot of people forget about PG. He has some really great stuff but in some ways it’s another one with a mind-boggling number of choices, and not a lot of places to try.

  • March says:

    It feels like decades ago but I remember seeing the Kilian at Saks and there were SO many bottles it was immediate overwhelm — sort of “what’s happened to the industry” in a nutshell. There have been several I’ve really liked, and I remember meeting Kilian at a Sniffa and finding him charming, but I still haven’t been moved to buy a bottle.

    • March says:

      Also, that snow shot is incredible! I hope you’re not getting too much rain damage though.

      • Tom says:

        It’s actually cropped, and taken with my crappy work iPhone. The LA Times published one that was taken professionally from Baldwin Hills that is stunning.

        I’d link to it but LAT wants you to pay to see it.

    • Tom says:

      That’s what I thought when I saw them as well. I did love the packaging and a couple of the scents, but I was heavy into Uncle Serge and didn’t find any of the Kilians killing enough to make be buy.

      I’ve never met him, but by all accounts he is a very nice man. Grrr…

  • Portia says:

    Hey Tom,
    I still only have a couple of Killian bottles in the collection. Sweet Redemption and Gold Knight. There were more I swooned for but the Amouages released at the same times invariable won my purchase $$$$,
    Portia xx

    • Tom says:

      I think that was my problem. There were ones that I really liked but were just not so different from ones I had that I needed to buy.