Unavailable in Australia (at the time of writing this) I resisted my curiosity for purchasing samples of By Kilian from Luckyscent for over a year. In Paris, I had my first encounter with the range at Printemps’ Beaute Maison. Kilian Hennessey, the brand’s creator is a descendant of the Hennessey family known for their expertise in cognac production. I suppose the two juices share some similarities in the way the raw materials are harvested and the way they are enjoyed by their consumers. Perfumers Calice Becker and Sidonie Lancesseur assisted Kilian weave together this cohesive line with its thick cognac-like references and decadent undertones. The L’oeuvre Noire (Black Masterpiece) collection is separated into three categories; the ingénues, Parisian orgies and artificial paradises. Launched in 2007 I had come to Paris with an interest in experiencing the brand’s seventh release, Prelude to Love (2008). For me, any mention of iris is like that one drop of blood in the ocean that has the power to attract a white pointer shark. Prelude to Love is a nice vegetal iris but lacks some of the powder I like my iris scents to contain. So moving through the remaining scents on the counter my nose stopped at Straight to Heaven, White Crystal. Sounds more like a designer drug than a designer fragrance. In reality it is a short olfactive shot of rum, spices, wood and resin.
The official By Kilian website has cleverly replaced the fragrance pyramid with the perfumer’s formula. Any promise of revealing the formula is dashed by a list of broad accords that give you some idea of what the bottle contains but not enough information to set up your own white crystal home lab. Straight to Heaven is a rich, woody, synthetic beast in the tune of turn of the century Gucci’s and the Dolce & Gabbanas that followed. This linear concoction is almost all wood and amber. A patchouli and cedar blend feels like fresh cut pine and antique wood. By Kilian’s perfume formula describes the base as 60 grams of ambergris. Blended with nutmeg and other spicy notes, synthetic notes of amber and wood is louder in this composition than any amount of natural ambergris. Hedione is the floral heart that does not try to disguise itself as jasmine, but simply adds a floral note to the lactones (think peaches and coconut) that are responsible for this smelling like an expensive Gucci Envy. With the addition of a Martinican rum absolute and vanilla, Straight to Heaven becomes a boozy cocktail. Imagine sitting in one of Sydney’s old Victorian pubs, surrounded by dado wood paneling and teak furniture. Knock back a Cuba Libre and go straight to heaven.
Straight to Heaven should have a wide audience appeal. The fragrance doesn’t stray too far from the male fragrance norm and has a chic masculinity I find very attractive. This wearer is a little vain and likes to be noticed. Silage lovers will enjoy. If your interest is for the perfume instead of the packaging, you can make your dollar go further by buying the travel refills.
Perfumer: Sidonie Lancesseur
Bottle designer: Franck Basset
Release date: 2007
Typology (via Fragrances of the World): Woods