Kilian, Kilian, Kilian. I try so hard to love you. I should love you. After all, I adore your fine-ass founder, Kilian Hennessy, and his insistence that “perfume is an art”. Yet you push me away with your perilous prices and your baffling naming scheme. (Literally four By Kilian perfumes contain the word “love” in their names. That is super confusing, y’all.) And your new “Asian Tales” line is making it even harder for me to support my imaginary boyfriend, Mr. Hennessy. It’s like you’re not even trying to save this relationship, Kilian.
First, let’s talk about the name. “Asian Tales”. I’m not offended, exactly, but I’m pretty exasperated. Asia has kind of a lot of countries, Kilian. Each of these countries have their own extremely distinct cultures, their own tales. Tea ceremonies and calligraphy don’t have any particular significance in Mongolia or the Koreas. Why say “Asian Tales” when what you really mean is “Chinese and Japanese Tales”? It’s intellectually lazy and fairly obnoxious.
That being said, the two new Asian Tales perfumes themselves are far more offensive than their concept. The first is Bamboo Harmony, which is allegedly “the olfactive impression of a subtle sip of white tea taken in the heart of a bamboo”. First of all: a bamboo what? A bamboo tree? A bamboo bathtub? A painstaking bamboo sculpture of Ryan Gosling? Don’t leave me hanging here, Kilian. For the record, I like Bamboo Harmony. It’s a perfectly nice white tea perfume with pale green notes, although I do find it a bit synthetic-smelling (in other words, it smells more like a White Tea Perfume than an actual cup of white tea). However, I liked it even better when it was called “Bath & Body Works White Tea & Ginger”. This is not hyperbole. The two fragrances really do smell freakishly similar. If any of y’all buy Bamboo Harmony instead of a $10.50 bottle of White Tea & Ginger, I will be forced to make a Very Disappointed Face.
Water Calligraphy is even less impressive. It’s an aquatic lily fragrance that seems better suited to an air freshener or a laundry detergent than a $225 perfume. I spent about 20 minutes trying to expand that description into a legitimate paragraph, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything more to say about Water Calligraphy.
Bamboo Harmony and Water Calligraphy are not bad perfumes. They certainly smell nice enough. But they are completely unoriginal, and neither perfume is enough of an improvement on their many smell-a-likes to justify the significantly higher price. No one should pay this much to smell this boring.