By Kilian Rose Oud

When I was in Paris, I fell in love with the paintings of James Ensor.    I don’t like this style of painting at all, the technique doesn’t speak to me, but as I was walking through the exhibit, thinking, um, no, I entered a room that brought tears to my eyes.  Art doesn’t make me weep.  Not much makes me weep.  Ensor was an impressionist painter, but then basically flipped the painting brush bird at the art establishment and started incorporating all sorts of techniques into his paintings that they tut-tutted about.

As I looked at his religious paintings, with the knowledge that he was an atheist, and how he captured light and expressed how he viewd God’s relationship with man, that’s when tears formed in my eyes.  His style was strange, harsh in some ways, so very soft in others, complex, not quite right, egotistical, full of pain much of the time, and it shifted throughout his life, until he entered his period where he hated people, then went into his self-portrait period, and eventually seems to have found some peace.  I still don’t like his style, but the painter himself and how he expressed transparently what was inside of him on canvas was breathtaking.  I love his work.

Many of the Kilian scents that were first released didn’t really capture my attention, but their entries in the ouds with Pure Oud have turned me around in much the same way as the Ensor paintings, though I’m not exactly weepy about it.  Pure Oud was the first Kilian that I truly loved.  Luckyscent mailed me a sample of their upcoming Rose Oud scent.  Rose and oud have been put together forever, so this combination is traditional and has been around the fragrance block more than a couple of times.  Notes are Turkish rose, oud, saffron, cardamom, of course.  It’s got a fairly good medicinal smell of the oud on the open, but not overly so, plenty of rose.  Nice use of saffron, little spiciness that reminds me a little of the Amouage Lyric Woman perfume, but I like Lyric Woman a lot more.  There’s a vagueness about 30 minutes in that bothers me.  It’s not a bad thing, it just seems a little directionless up close, though the sillage is still nice.  It’s not a heavy oud, and I think it will find some fans of those who like the rose/oud combo, but don’t like Montale’s treatment of them.

I’m sticking with Pure Oud, though I certainly would not turn down a bottle of this scent.  I’m looking at my sample vial from LS and think I can squeeze out one or two samples of it for a couple of commenters.  And the good news is that the Arabian collection is going to be available in the 100 ml refills the first part of March from Luckyscent for $350 a bottle, which is much better than $400 for 50 mls!

  • MAURINE says:

    Thanks.. Yet a typical remarkable article, definitely precisely why My spouse and I come back for your blog site quite often!!

  • LeBeau says:

    By Kilian is on my list to research and try. I am new-ish to parfum and my list has grown exceptionally long-and longer yet after reading blogs 😮 . I’d love to be entered in the drawing, thanks.

  • Tara C says:

    I wore my Rose Oud sample the other day and liked it more than I expected it to. I’m not a big rose fan, as most tend to go sour on me, but this one was more soft and fruity. It lasted a good 8 hours on me, and I enjoyed the whole ride. I probably wouldn’t buy a whole bottle of it, but a decant would be fun. No need to enter me in the drawing.

  • zeram1 says:

    Gotta love the oud (and rose). Even though many are saying that oud is the “in” in (in)gredient these days, I’ll never lose my fancy for it. Please enter me in the drawing as well.

  • k-scott says:

    Love the beautiful painting you’ve posted Patty! Thank you for teaching me about a new artist I was not previously familiar with, I love art- and love learning something new everyday! 🙂

    I have not yet had the chance to try any of the By Kilians. I have several listed on my “decants to buy” list, but none have risen to the top of the carefully prioritized list yet- you know how it is. So many perfumes to sample, so little time and/or expendable income! Feels like I have been waiting to try Back to Black for forever.I quite look forward to when I finally do sample a few Kilians, as he has so many ardent fans.

    Anywho, the rose oud sounds lovely. Please enter me in the drawing? Thanks for the great (as usual) review and have a great weekend!

  • helenviolette says:

    Beautiful painting, Patty. Hope to winna sniffa that oud!

  • anthony says:

    It seems as though now that fragrance lovers are exploring the world of oud and all the ingredient has to offer, the Montale love is waning a bit, the oud in their fragrances considered somehow sub-par, loud, and too harsh. I actually enjoy this aspect of Black Aoud, and I almost find Pure Oud too smooth and refined, though I do love the fragrance. I’m very excited to get to try Rose Oud… so please put my name in 🙂

    • Patty says:

      You know, I like Montale okay. I think it’s either the aging or how they hold it up or who knows. I just prefer the more refined ouds. 🙂

  • mariekel says:

    I had no idea there were other Ensor admirers in my midst! Like Musettte, Ensor has long been one of my favourite painters. His breadth of style of subject matter is awe-inspiring: alternately grotesque, satirical, painful, excoriating, elated and serene. there was an astonishing exhibition of his work oat MOMA last summer.

    Oh yes, and I like ouds very much, too. I think the association of oud and Ensor is strangely apt. Oud as a note in perfumery has a jolie-laide quality that I think fits well with Ensor’s world view. I am curious about this new Killian, so count me in!

    • Patty says:

      I’m new to the Ensor game, but enthusiastic!

      I wonder if the MOMA was the collection that the d’Orsay had? I’m guessing it’s a traveling exhibit right now. It is stunning, no? And it was just so human with all the sublimeness that simply being human encompasses. That he did not turn away from the grotesque, but he wasn’t idealizing it either, nor the ugly, just gave me was like a warm hug of letting it just be. I have all sorts of sayings I use personally that fit what Ensor did with his art. It’s the art of just being.

  • Melissa says:

    I love the post Patty. I had to think about the concept of disliking an artist’s style while still loving his/her work.

    As for Rose Oud, I would love a sample. As traditional as that combination may be, I still love it and I liked Pure Oud quite a bit. So I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to try the rest of the Arabian collection.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, thanks. I had to think this through myself before I could figure out how I could love something that I didn’t think I liked.

      overall, except for price, I think Kilian is doing a nice job on the Arabian collection. I am eager for the whole line to be out.

  • maidenbliss says:

    I would love to try a sample, wish the painting was going with it:) I could gaze at that painting for hours….

  • Masha says:

    I do like Montale’s Black Aoud, and Lyric Woman is one of my favorites. I wonder where they sourced the oud for this one, and what portion is natural? It’s such a weird area these days. It sounds very sniffable, so count me in!

    • Patty says:

      boy, no idea. I suspect they all have their supplier. But when I was sniffing in Arabian Oud and Al Quarashi, pretty much oud smells the same – it is the aging that changes it. I think I’m remembering it correctly, but some age brings it up to a much “harsher” level – that’s probably the wrong word. Stronger. More age makes it more potent but starts smoothing out some of those edges.

      if you ever get a chance, jump into one of those shops and sniff just the aged ouds.

  • london says:

    I haven’t even tried the Pure Oud so it might be an interesting perspective to try this one first and compare from that way round. So often you love the first one you tried the most. So please enter me in the drawing. Thank you

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for introducing James Ensor. To me, that painting looks as if it could have been influenced by J.M.W Turner, the English painter of a century before Ensor. Take a look at this, if interested: I would love a sample of the Rose Oud!

    • maidenbliss says:

      You’re absolutely right about the similarity.

    • Patty says:

      gorgeous painting. I’m not sure if it was, but it sure has some similar qualities. Now I need to look up Turner. Do you know where he’s on display?

      • Elizabeth says:

        I was lucky enough to see a big show of his late seascapes at the Clark Institute of Art in Williamstown, Massachusetts–oh, about 5 years ago. Your best bet for seeing many of his paintings now are in London: the Tate, the National Gallery, the Royal Academy and the British Museum. I did find a gallery selling reproductions of quite a few of his paintings at: Lots of thumbnail images there to give you a sense of what he did. The Wiki page is pretty good and has lots of references. Best, E

  • Teger says:

    I did not enjoy this from my first wearing. Rose Oud is far too light (not speaking of sillage & longevity), the fragrance smells so lifeless for a great part of the development. The rose in Homage is worlds apart from the one of Rose Oud. This lacks the ¡¡BUY ME!! quality of Pure Oud 🙂

    Hoping the bK Incense, Musk, and Amber Oud’s will impress.

    • Patty says:

      That’s strange. It lasted okay on me, but not nearly as long as Pure Oud, which will basically stay between showers. 🙂

      Agree on the next in the series, I’m anxious to sniff them!

  • dleep says:

    I don’t know Ensor’s work but after reading your review I am going to Google him. I am an oud fan and would love to be included in the drawing.

  • Louise says:

    I’d love to try the Rose Oud:d

    Patty-I’m confused-and atheist who did “religious” paintings?

    • Patty says:

      Yeah, exactly. He was an atheist, but he has a whole series of religious-themed paintings – Jesus, angels, fallen angels, adam and eve (that’s the one depicted). some are nice and light and beautiful, and some are how he thinks God (if he existed I guess?) would feel about people. It was just interesting to see.

      He has one self-portrait of him up on the cross with Ensor written on the cross where INRI should be.

      I’m generally not one that likes sacreligious art. I don’t dislike it, just don’t care about it. but that one of him on the cross made me laugh out loud. What kind of egotistical sense of humor does one have to possess to paint something like that for public display. it’s priceless and it seemed so honest. Everything written about him says he had a huge ego, and all the criticism heaped on him never deterred him a bit, he just got more bizarre sometimes, but creative, always believing in his art. All of his self-portraits said so much about him – Ensor with the devils, Ensor in with the masks, ensor being crucified by, I guess, the critics.

  • Lora says:

    Would love to try this – as a still-fairly-newbie, I haven’t yet smelled any ouds (or any By Kilians, for that matter).

    • Patty says:

      Ouds may or may not be good for a newbie, but I think they should be smelled, only so you can go back and re-smell them in 3 years and go “Wow, that does smell good, why did I think that was awful before.” 🙂

  • Natalie says:

    This is what I get for never having taken an art history course — I’m ashamed to say I’d never even heard of Ensor before this post. Sounds like it’s time to fill in yet another hole in my knowledge…

    As for Kilian, I adore Pure Oud — although not the price — and would love to be entered in the drawing for the Rose Oud. Any word on whether Luckyscent is letting us hoi polloi (i.e. people who don’t already own the fancy-pants little box) buy the BK refills?

    • maidenbliss says:

      Natalie, if you want some samples call Bergdorf Goodman in NY-the SA for Killian is wonderful-shed she sent me 7 free spray samples. I was quite surprised by her generosity–Cruel Intentions is my favorite!

  • elizablue says:

    Oooh, yes! Please put my name in for a sample. Sounds intoxicating!

  • T-Rex says:

    I would love a sample! I don’t think I’ve ever smelled oud.

  • janh says:

    I missed those painting in Paris, they look beautiful. I’ve been wordering about that rose oud….

  • Jemimagold says:

    I enjoyed your post and as well, haven’t been overly impressed with Kilian’s fragrances before so I would like to try a sample of this.

  • nozknoz says:

    Somehow I, too, had never focused on Ensor – thank you for this addition to my “to see” list! I had a similar experience with Kokoschka at an exhibit in Vienna. In books, his paintings had never attracted me, but here were these huge canvases, wonderful colors and works from a period less reproduced – and they were wonderful to experience. With some painters, the depth and size of actual paintings is more moving – I wonder if that was part of your experience, too. (The difference between dabbing and spritzing with abandon, I guess ; -)

    I am curious about how you would compare this BK with Amouage Homage Attar.

    • Patty says:

      It is seeing a painting in scale. Had I looked at these in a book, the ones I really loved the most or that captured me and made me look deeper, wouldn’t have leaped out. Seeing them 3 feet by 6 or whatever on a wall makes you *really* see it. Art is meant to be seen in person in full size. Once you’ve seen it, then you can appreciate that artist in books, it just brings back the memory.

      there’s a lot more rose in this than in any of the Amouage attars I’ve smelled. They both seem to have high quality materials, which is always good! the Homage is smoother, less rosy and spice. I’m doing this by memory. I’d tie the Homage more to the Pure Oud in terms of feel. This one I’d tie more to the Montale rose/oud blends, though I don’t find Kilian’s use of oud quite as harsh. Not that that’s bad. It’s just how they present it, and everyone’s taste is different on how they like their oud served.

      • nozknoz says:

        Thanks so much for your perspective, Patty – this is a very useful comparison. I need to try more oudhs since I’ve decided that Homage is not The One.

        Some painters I actually appreciate well in books and prints, such as Vermeer. Some, like Monet, are beautiful in books but even better in person. In addition to the size, the layering of color is a different experience, so wonderful. Gives me shivers – as do the large Georgia O’Keefes. But the Kokosckas were the first time that I loved something that I hadn’t even liked in books.

  • Debbie says:

    Kilian is some of my favorite scents, most recently, the Pure Oud!
    Would love to sample the Rose Oud:))

    • Patty says:

      another fan! I wish I knew what it was about that scent.

      rose oud doesn’t rise for me to that level of love, but I think it’s just that the combo seemed a lot like others in that genre – well done, but nothing that curled my toes.

  • Fernando says:

    Well, I’m another of the oud fans, so count me in. Though I must say Kilian’s prices are just ridiculous.

    • Patty says:

      they are ridiculous, but at least the 100 ml bottle refil makes it not as ridiculous! find 3-7 friends and hav ea ball. A drop of it is more than enough.

  • Cheryl says:

    I have loved Amouage…and I enjoy some on the Montals… and I got nowhere with a couple of M.Micallefs…there’s something within oud that I crave and wish to roll around in. Throw my name in for a sample.

  • Shelley says:

    Thanks for my “learn about it” of the day. Ensor…shall seek. Was just chatting with somebody last night and reflecting on how grateful I am I still am interested and (hopefully) absorb things…somehow, I never had Robert Frank on my radar until I went to an exhibit of his work last summer, which I wouldn’t have done had I not been in that city at that time. Completely affected me–wove in with previous experience, and inspired new thoughts.

    It’s fun when a perfume does that, too. I also like how sometimes, like with you and Ensor’s technique, you can have been exposed previously, but out of “nowhere” have a completely wonderful “a-ha!” moment with something. With or without the weepy.

    • Patty says:

      It is fun, and it does make you look at things in a new way. Ensor and Satay merged for me recently – having an honesty about your life and what serves you. Ensor showed me what I need to do, though I sure can’t paint it! 🙂 Must be in that phase of my life now.

      It is good to finally “get” something. If it doesn’t happen, you don’t know what you’re missing. but that moment when you get what you weren’t before is pretty special

  • Fiordiligi says:

    You know Patty, I’m ashamed to say that I don’t know Ensor’s work so I must see if I can find some here in London. The painting you show is lovely.

    I’m not really on the oud bandwagon but this new one does seem to have amassed some fans….so maybe I will take a sniff!

    • Patty says:

      I read somewhere that Ensor has not been exhibited much outside of Belgium. They had a large exhibit at the d’Orsay, which is how I found it. I think there’s very few pieces of his on permanent display anywhere else, though an exhibit does seem to be traveling around a bit now!

      if there was an oud you were ever going to like, it would be the Pure Oud. I’m not sure how you are on roses? Not much of that, if any in pure oud. If you like roses, then the rose oud would be the one to aim for.

  • Francesca says:

    I really love BK Pure Oud (where is my little decant, dammit?)and I love Amouage Lyric Woman, so I’m curious about Rose Oud.

    Will have to find some more Ensor reproductions to look at. Have always found the few I’ve seen to be somewhat frightening, or at least unsettling.

    • Patty says:

      ensor is unsettling and frightening in some of his phases, certainly not an artist that you can look at his work and not feel one way or the other about it. 🙂

      It’s weird, I’ve not really been an art person for most of my life – appreciating some things, but mostly thinking, yeah, nice, good. It’s taken a few art museum sessions to move my mind, and seeing things that kind of blow up my head to change that.

  • Silviafunkly says:

    I see a bottle split of that Pure Oud refill in my future, partner in crime, are you reading this ?

    I actually like the Montale Rose Ouds, especially Oud Queen Rose and am satisfied in that department, but that Pure Oud…

    • Patty says:

      I know. I’m not a big Oud person at all. It’s okay, but just a few get to me. When they do, though, it’s a major love.

  • Six' says:

    Oh, goodness, I’m game. Loved the Pure Oud, curious about this new one!

    (I wonder what the next one will be in this series, though… oud solinote is done, oud+rose was the next, logical step, what could be next? I’d say an oud+leather done by Calice Becker would be to die for…)

  • Elizabeth says:

    I’ll never turn down a chance to try a new oud. I am hoarding my stash of Pure Oud, I adore it so.

    • Patty says:

      Pure Oud is amazing. This new one won’t take its place, but I still do like it quite a lot, it’s just a lot less me than the Pure Oud is.

  • Eric says:

    I loves me some Oud, and would love to try this!

  • carter says:

    Nice post, Patty. And I would love to smell this one @};-

  • Musette says:


    Ensor’s Expressionist work is way weird and wonderful – he’s one of my favorite painters! A beautiful Ensor monograph is by Paul Haesaerts (Harry N. Abrams) – it’s older than dirt but you can find it on Abebooks or at used/rare bookshops that carry monographs.

    Do you know? I don’t think I’ve ever sniffed a By Kilian. This one sounds sublime.

    xo >-)

    • Musette says:

      Btw – no need to enter me in the draw. I do not want to exceed my ‘win quotient’ :)>-

      xo >-)

    • Patty says:

      It is way weird and wonderful. all of his mask series freaks me out completely in a great way. I picked up a book with a lot of his work in it in the museum, they had them on sale since it was a special exhibit. I can’t find a lot of my favorites in there online, but I just flip through it and am transported into someone else’s psyche. Modigliani gets to me too.

      I think you’d like this kilian.

    • Layla Scott says:

      When I first discovered Oud I seached every corner of the Internet to learn more. After reading many reviews and finally purchasing my own sample set I can highly recommend Oriscent for Pure Oud Oils. They were actually recommended to me on a well known Perfume Forum – I was hesitant at first, but after receiving their samples I was more than impressed.

      As a woman I found a lot of Ouds to be male-friendly only. I totally love Oriscen’t Blue Brunei and am taking a real liking to Assam Kinam – the write up on their site sums it up pretty well.

      They do really offer Pure Oud Oil. It took a lot of searching but they are highly recommended 🙂