By Kilian perfume review

$232 for a 50 ml bottle of By Kilian perfume. No, this is not the same perfume snipe hunt that Lee took you on last week. That price is for one bottle of By Kilian perfume.  But!  Once you buy a bottle, you can get it refilled for $95, which is a veritable bargain these days.  Yes, $200 is the new $100. Before we get started, let’s just make sure we all take a look at Kilian Hennessey. That’s him over there on the rightby kilian perfume founder.  Who doesn’t want to buy from that face?  Oh, y’all actually want to know what they smell like?  Oh, piffle.  Fine.


Cruel Intentions has notes of (I’m cutting out all the over the top ad copy) Oud, Bergamot, Centifolia Rose, woody heart notes, Papyrus, Vetiver, Guaiacum Wood, Styrax and Castoreum. Created by perfume Sidonie Lancesseur, this is probably my favorite of the six, and I just have a sample, and I fear this one needs to be spritzed. It starts off bright and sunny with the bergamot.  Then the oud peeps out, giving it some depth.  The vetiver grounds it with an earthiness, and the incense and wood notes keep it warm.  Now, it doesn’t exactly live up to its name. I was expecting some cruel bite to it, but perhaps it only had intentions and dropped the cruelty to a teensy love nip because it just couldn’t find it in it to be cruel, but the notes have all the intentions and potentiality to be that.  It’s easily one of or my favorite of the six.

Speaking of cruelty gone astray, did I tell y’all what Harry did for Halloween?  Oh, of course not, I wasn’t here. Every year, Halloween is a big production at our house — hanging things from the trees, bodies dropping off and heads dripping blood, sliding scary things. I think I’ve told y’all that before.  Mostly it’s done because Harry wants it that way and he does all the work and only requires that I pitch in some money here and there.  He has a $500 fog machine from a couple of Halloweens ago. Yes, I pitched in half, but he paid for the other half. He was the only 15-year-old I knew that had his own high-powered, “can fog the entire block in 30 seconds” fog machine. Anyway, this year he wanted a big production, wanted to scare the little kids so bad they wouldn’t even make it to the first step. Those that braved it would be the cool, fearless kids.

As time got closer to Halloween this year, he just couldn’t do it.  At 17, his empathy factor has kicked in that overrides what he thinks is cruel fun, and he just couldn’t scare the little kids – he said they’re so small and helpless, it just wasn’t right.  So what he did that night was got the fog machine out and had it running at full blast on the front porch, covering the front of our house, lawn, block in fog, and he sat behind it with his guitar and his

by kilian perfume

amp and special effects doodads cranked at full blast and serenaded the trick-or-treaters, the block and all of the neighborhood with some spooky music that he made up, some bluegrass, some blues, some rock, some jazz, for the whole night. They loved it.

Beyond Love was created by perfumer Calice Becker and is all about the tuberose. There’s something else in there, gardenia definitely and orange blossom maybe?  I wax hot and cold on tuberose, loving Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle and Estee Lauder’s Tuberose gardenia and Malle’s Carnal Flower, but hating Fracas (Yeah, I know!).  This one is firmly in the love camp. If you love tuberose, it’s definitely worth sniffing. To me, it’s a little bit of a cross between Shalini and Estee Lauder’s Tuberose scent.  Is it worth $232 for 50 ml to you?  Well, let’s see.

Can we talk about the box for a second?  If you are a box whore at all (and I know who you people are), the By Kilian perfume box is the perfume box to end all perfume boxes.  Done in black lacquer, it has a scrolly design on the sides.  Turn the silver key with a gorgeous black tassel on the end and open it up to black velvet where the perfume lives, breathes and looks stunning.  If you’re one of those people that don’t care about the boxes and presentation of a perfume, you can probably skip the whole By Kilian perfume line. You may or may not find something in here worth $232 for 50 ml.  If you love boxes, trust me, you will find at least ONE scent of the six that you love enough to buy for that box.  Find it, then beg, plead, stomp your feet until someone who loves you gets you it so you can have this box.  I’m sending the sample set to my sister to pick one so I can buy her a bottle for her birthday.  Because if I don’t, she will sigh and moan and salivate until I give in and give her my box.  Well, that, and because I love her and want her to have the box of her dreams. She’s the worst box whore I know, and this box will provide hours/days/years of orgasmic fondling pleasure. I’m shuddering thinking about what kind of hits we are going to get from that paragrph.  Listen, I’m here to help y’all find your Kilian, if you want, so you can have your own Absolutely Fabulous Kilian Box.  Enabler? Me?  You’ll thank me later.

Where were we?  Oh, yes,  Liaisons Dangereuses has notes of plum, Egyptian Geranium, Cinnamon, Sandalwood and musk notes. Created by Calice Becker, it goes on pretty sweet with the fruity notes, but is warmed with the cinnamon and geranium, the two other notes that are apparent early on, and rose.  Not sure why rose isn’t listed as a note, it’s definitely rose.  While I’m not in deep love with this, it is well made and lovely to wear. It reminds me a little of MDCI Rose de Siwa, the rose one that I love and maybe slightly of Rose d’Ete from Rosine. If you like your roses a little fruity and spicy, this could be the one that gets you into your own Kilian beautiful black lacquered box.

Love takes its “inspiration” from the Marshmallow, and it was also created by Calice Becker. Notes of Neroli, Sambac Jasmine, Rose, Iris, vanilla and musk.  If you like vanilla and sweeter perfumes, you should find love here.  It starts out with oodles of vanilla.  Not sure if there’s actually a marshmallow note or not, there could be, but I’m getting lots of vanilla, held up and filled out with the floral notes and musk, so it does not stay a flat, linear vanilla scent.  I find this one addictive like that Tihota thing from Indult is addictive. I don’t like vanilla perfumes, so what is wrong with me!?!?!?  This one does not stay as loud as long as Tihota or Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille. So if you like vanilla in limited, more understated doses, this one could definitely work for you.

Straight to Heaven  was created by Sidonie Lancesseur and has notes of rum, Patchouli, Nutmeg, Cedar and Brazilian Rosewood. Okay, I got nothing here, it’s got a note in there (maybe the rum) that makes me smell pure alcohol, which means that note is killing the others, so I can’t do a proper review at all.  What I do get is patchouli and, well, more patchouli, but Marina gets more booze, so go read her review on this one instead.

Last, but not least is A Taste of Heaven.  Notes of Absinthe, Orange Blossom, lavender, bourbon vanilla, Turkish Rose, Patchouli, Oak Moss, and Amber. Created also by Calice Becker, this one is pretty much working for me on the open, but I’m not sure why. It seems a little foody at first with lavendar roaming around in the composition. Lavender is not one of my favorite notes in a perfume, so making that work is tough for me personally, but it’s not hate, just don’t think it’s love either. If you are fond of lavender, this one may work for you…  it’s interesting in how the notes are combined, and I suspect this is one that depends very much on chemistry. I read Marina’s description of what it did on her skin, and it didn’t devolve that way on me, I’m just not a fan of some of the notes in this one, which keeps it off my fave list, but it stays an interesting contrast between the lavender and the foody aspect, almost gingerbread note, which I probably wouldn’t wear, but have had fun sniffing.

The names? You really have to just skip the names and how they apply to the perfumes on these.  They’re great names, but I don’t think they reflect the juice inside.  So getting past your expectations is the first step to appreciating these fragrances, which are all well made.  Now, are they overpriced?   When you factor in that gorgeous box for the intial bottle, I think no.  I’ve got a beautiful white porcelain box and bottle for some Nuit de Noel that I would have paid twice the price I did to get it. Sometimes the trappings around a perfume are worth it, and when you factor in that presentation, it’s not as bad. When you further factor in that you only have to pay $95 for a 50 ml refill after you buy the first one, the price point actually makes sense for the perfume.  My work is done here.


  • Sascha says:


    I am nuts, crazy inlove with Beyond Love, not crazy about the name or price but I have been looking for a perfume that’d knock my socks off and haunt me and this did the trick. I bought a sample from and this morning just ordered the bottle. Thank goodness the refill is $98.00, I still have a little stomch ache from forking so much money over. But you know smells, fragrances are so important to me that it is worth it… if any of you fork it over too I’ll support you whole heartedly!!!LOL

  • Vivek says:

    :)>- This review has drawn me into Perfume Posse! I bought Straight to Heaven blind with 15mls left in the box and bottle. I’m only 7/10 on the scent, I don’t just get alcohol though, but on my mom’s skin, its like turpentine! But, i’m keeping it because the box makes me happy 🙂 The same person is offering cruel intentions, and I feel myself reaching for my card xD

  • GGS says:

    I couldn’t decide between Love and A Taste of Heaven and bought both, at the fall Sniffa launch. Several weeks later, I’m finding that Love is sometimes too sweet for my taste, and I’m a vanilla fan! I’m going to try layering it with something spicy or incensey. As a comparison: Love is longer lasting, and creamier and sweeter than L by Lolita Lempicka, but not as linear as say DSH Vanille, or Santa Maria Novella Vaniglia, or as foodie as Il Profumo Vanilla Bourbon.
    (Note to the box lovers, the gorgeous enamel box also comes in a lovely velvet bag. I also quite like the bottle design, with the engraved silver labels, and interesting shield motif on the side.)
    My favorite is A Taste of Heaven. Lasts long on me, but not too overbearing re: sillage.

  • Flora says:

    Well, all these ‘fumes sound lovely but the heck with ’em – I just want to stare at Kilian Hennessey for the next few hours/days/weeks/whatever…I like my boys pretty and dark, just like that. I finally upgraded to IE7 and now I can see all the images on your site – there were a lot of blank spaces before. I guess I was just in time. 😡

  • Gina says:

    Thanks for the great reviews, Patty. I have to say, that box is downright SEXY. I love boxes. I troll thrift stores looking for interesting boxes.

  • chayaruchama says:

    Adding my hapenny.
    Late due to work …

    Yeah, Monsieur Killian’s more than a wee bit fey, but he is a nice guy- all boxes aside [ tee-hee !]

    Cruel Intentions is my favorite.
    VERY creamy, unctuous woods- ummmmm.

    Ubertreiben is still the old ‘ongepotschget’, LOL !

  • Catherine says:

    Dangerous Liasons and Cruel Intentions have been difficult to resist for a month now. On the one hand, they aren’t the most original–I feel as if I have smelled the core several times before. YET, these two are roses that I could wear nearly every day. As I long for rose, yet can handle only very few rose scents, Kilian impresses me very much. They are certainly well-made fragrances. And thank you, Elle–I was trying to remember the perfume that started my interest in geranium. It is Dangerous Liasons.

    I am utterly a box and packaging whore. Given the fact that a proper box protects the fragrance from light, I cannot understand why more companies do not pay more attention to them. (Once more, I bow to Mona di Orio and Ormonde Jayne.) I shall, in time, succumb. Wearable roses that are not thick and oriental PLUS a luscious box . . . okay, I’ll probably succumb soon.

  • Robin says:

    Most emphatically NOT a box whore (I toss ’em) and he doesn’t appeal to me at all. And, sick to death of multi-release, very expensive niche fragrance sets. And not a one of them sounds like an absolute must-try, something that would blow my socks off.

    I’m pretty sure I’ve stolen the grouch award away from Lee, no? But wish I’d been trick or treating at your house on Halloween 🙂

  • Divalano says:

    Oh my, Harry sounds great, lol. Good thing about Alex ditching the Shadow moniker. I just read American Gods & really, I think that name has some weird juju attached 😉

    The Kilians don’t sing to me. Yes the box is pretty but me, I’m not a packaging whore. I get more excited by content than the externals, er, with most things. Shoes & fancy stockings, & men in custom tailored suits & such are a different story. Beyond Love sounds worth a sniff for sure but not worth $232. And regardless of what I said to Lee about marshmallows I don’t want to smell like one. Love Un Bois Vanille, but Tihota was Toooooo Much. I’d sniff but not $232 worth of sniffingness.

    OK … time to investigate the leftovers. We had people over for dessert. Right now there are two kinds of cheesecake, cookies, sweet potato pie & key lime pie in the fridge …

    • tmp00 says:

      Oooooh, where do you live? >:d<

      • Divalano says:

        Did I mention the Italian butter cookies? Also, Ciao Bella blood orange sorbet, chocolate sorbet, pistachio & some pedestrian old Breyer’s vanilla (w the vanilla bean speckles). Oh, and I made th cranberry cheesecake (have I gloated about that on enough blogs yet?) & my bf made the sweet potato pie. The key lime is from the “famous key lime pie maker of Redhook”, whoever that is. My friend C brought it over, precariously wedged into her backpack on the back of her motorcycle.

    • Patty says:

      Was that one of the characters in American Gods? It’s been a while since I read that book, but that definitely rings a bell. Yeah, I think most everyone has finally stopped calling him that (his friends), I think it has bad juju too, and I don’t even believe in juju. 🙂

      Okay, I need your house and leftovers. Mine look a bit slim in comparison!

  • Camille says:

    Kilian himself is just a little too pretty to make my heart flutter, but I caved and bought Cruel Intentions: I very much like the juice, *love* the box. I’m still in that third phase of fragrance obsession, and shiny bottles and luxe presentation combined with a good scent get me every time.

    Your guys sound fabulous. The fog machine sounds cool. Wonder if we could figure out a way to scent the fog? Halloween, a fog machine, and Messe de Minuit…..

    • Patty says:

      What a cool idea! Okay, I’m handing that one over to Harry for next Halloween. I’m sure we can add scent to the fog juice, it’s just liquid. Not sure what effect, if any, it might have on the fog, but I’m thinking zero, but he’ll know the chemistry of the thing.

  • Kelly says:

    “addictive like that Tihota thing” Uh oh…

    Hugs to both of the boys, er, men-children… and we’re kicking ourselves for not begging for the fog machine the other night!

    • Patty says:

      Hahaha! Love that fog machine. It will always go down in my book as one of my top five favorite things I ever bought that is pretty much worthless except for fun.

      It’s not as strong as Tihota. The nice thing is the price point is about the same, and you get a much better box with the Kilian. That Indult box totally blew. I thought it was going to be this very cool box, and one of them fell apart. Yuck.

      • Kelly says:

        I’m really getting a lem here… I would probalby shell out the $$ for the box alone, I mean LOOK at it! But to get a fragrance fix too… purrrr. And what the hell would I do with the box? Why, store samples in it, of course!

  • marina says:

    Skip the price, skip the copy, skip the names…that’s a lot of allowances we are making for this line just because Kilian is so cute 🙂
    On a different, note, I want a fog machine!!

    • Patty says:

      Well, yeah! 🙂 No, he’s cute enough, but I really prefer the box over him. And most of the perfumes do smell good, it’s the price on them that makes it horrific.

      Now, the fog machine. YOu HAVE to have one. WE’re not sure how we lived without it. We scare the neighbors sometimes as they peak over the fence to see if we’re on fire over here. And don’t settle and get the cheap one, they just won’t put out enough fog to make you happy. Spring for the big one, it will give you years or pleasure.

      I’ll report in on the electric violin when it arrives. I think I’ve decided I want one too. It’s an instrument I always wanted to play, subbing in the trumpet and the piano and a little guitar, but that was the one!

    • Divina says:

      Oh, but this is SOME kind of cute!!! I’ll make allowances, and I haven’t even smelled the things. *fans herself*

  • Elle says:

    Am not a box whore yet (“yet” being the operative word), but that really is a damn gorgeous box. Don’t need full bottles of any of these, although am glad I tried Liaisons Dangereuses since it was another scent that made me realize I no longer despise geranium. Thought it was a fun, bright, sunny day scent, but on me it was too much like cinnamon coated Pez to be worth it. Cruel Intentions was my favorite. Still, I find it hasn’t been haunting me at all and scents have to haunt me mercilessly these days before I will agree to fork over for them.

    • Patty says:

      There’s still time. I used to not be a bottle whore, but now I drool profusely on some of those old vintage bottles.

      yeah, I think that while these are well made, and I’d be happy to wear about four of them, without that lust for the box, the 232 price tag is just not gonna work. I wish they’d make the refills available for those who don’t care about the cool box.

  • Lee says:

    I’m not a box person – take that how you like…. They’re nice, but I don’t need them. I’m more of a stationery geek. Paper, pens, pencils: I’m happy.

    And Kilian does NOTHING for me. I had a French, well, not exactly boyfriend, once, but you know what I mean. He had a pouty face like that one (not my type of face) and at least two lifetimes of neuroses. He didn’t wear enormous Byronic shirts though. Do you think those collars have little motors in them and he can jet off, like Nathan Petrelli, whenever the fancy takes him?

    Oh, and the fumes. I’ve tried three. Hated ‘Taste of Heaven’, thought ‘Straight to Heaven’ was good enough, and quite liked ‘Cruel Intentions’, but not enough to buy and the box, as I’ve already made clear, didn’t swing it for me. I’ve already got my nipple tassles to play with, if you remember.

    I’m worried I’m sounding grouchy so I want to add that I can’t get enough of your lovely asides about your family, and also, is the butt wiggling Santa reappearing this year?:x

    • Patty says:

      Ha! 🙂 I’m a total office supply geek too. I thought boxes/containers and office supplies went hand in hand? I have tons of notebooks around here that I write on for different things. I collect pencils (Mirado black warrior is the definitive pencil, there is none better) and pens and highliters. It’s really disgusting how much of this stuff I Have.

      The butt wiggling SAnta will return. I’m plotting something even more gross for the front lawn to annoy Warren and the neighbors. I’d go with the big blow-up snowmen, but they tend to deflate over the season, just can’t keep it up, you know.

      It’s only in my house that we have conversations like “Harry, the skeleton does NOT belong in the chair, and move that flippin’ fog machine from the foyer.”

      At his age and with his interests, Harry takes up some serious space in this house, and it is going to be so empty without him and his guitar and fiddle and amps and science experiments. Alex and I laugh ourselves silly whenever I tell him how normal he’s gotten. This is a kid that wore hats with 2-inch spikes all over it, all in black with chains hanging off his pants… oy, I can’t think about those days again. But he’s always been much quieter and more introspective… his nickname in high school was Shadow.

      • Lee says:

        Well, I’m not letting you know how many notebooks I have…

        Nice to hear that Alex has quelled his inner goth / death metal freak…:d

        • tmp00 says:

          well, we were all separated at birth weren’t we..

          Love pencils, papers, et al. I have notebooks all over the place and more pens than your average Office Depot.

          • Abigail says:

            Ooooh, pens! And mechanical pencils! The kiddoodles at work are always asking to borrow my little pencils because I can’t resist buying anything with advancing lead that looks cute.

            Also, graph paper notebooks – about half of my NaNoWriMo novel has been written by hand on graph paper, just because I love it. And, strangely, I have a fascination with using up ink in pens (and that’s why I tend to only use pens where I can monitor the ink level).

            Anyway, um, perfume! Yay!

  • Bryan says:

    I love the Beyond Love and while I loved the box, Aaron (my sweetie) loves boxes about as much as your sister. So I smell fabulous and he has a gorgeous box to lock up, well, who know.
    The ad copy of beyond love mentions animal notes…but I get mostly tuberose and florals. What do you think?

    • Patty says:

      Hey, wait, sweetie? Do I need an update here? 🙂

      Definitely mostly florals. No skank here, but I did find all of them well done, a couple of them I’d definitely have in my closet for that $95 for 50 ml price.

  • Rita says:

    Box whore here as well, but I am trying so hard to stay away from full bottles right now. I must keep reminding myself my son would probably enjoy having presents to open on Christmas day!

  • tmp00 says:

    Well, I am a box whore, and I love the act of unlocking something so perhaps I could justify the $232. And he is terribly cute…:d

    • Patty says:

      Did you ever get one of those diaries with the lock? Oh, how i loved those, but I always lost the darn key and had to jimmy the lock, which sort of defeated the privacy aspect of the diary.

      As cute as the box looks in the picture, it’s that much better in person.