Back in 2007 I remember meeting Kilian Hennessy at a personal appearance. He had traveled to Boston to launch his new fragrance collection, By Kilian. In those days the price tag and presentation staked out new ground in the rapidly expanding niche perfume market. As he introduced us to his line, I kept thinking how good it was. These were perfumes which were taking the idea of artistic perfumery to new places. The brand has become one of the most recognizable luxury perfume brands in the world.
Out of that first collection one which has always been one of my favorites was A Taste of Heaven. Calice Becker spliced absinthe into a traditional fougere architecture. It was an abstraction of absinthe taken for a crew cut. Fourteen years later absinthe takes center stage again in By Kilian L’Heure Verte.
L’Heure Verte is the newest addition to “The Liquors” collection. So far, the previous releases have been focused on not creating an abstract of alcoholic ingredients. It is closer to assembling a realistic version. Working with perfumer Mathieu Nardin they create a flip side to that earlier fragrance.
I drink my fair share of absinthe. What I enjoy is the herbal licorice-like bite as it flows over my tongue. M. Nardin uses that as a place to begin. The wormwood accord to represent absinthe has a boozy quality without getting syrupy. It has its nose pointed towards those licorice aspects. He amplifies them by adding licorice. To those who think of this as Twizzlers it is the European version. What that means is an edgy herbal-based candy. It finds the absinthe and forms the fragrance version of the bite on my tongue. To make sure it doesn’t go all dark some violet leaf revives the green pieces of the top accord.
One of the most important ingredients to be fractionated is patchouli. It has provided perfumers a broader vision when they want to use it. M. Nardin chooses one which has the dirty earthy part accentuated. It made me think of clandestine evenings drinking absinthe to distraction. Vetiver acts as the green anchor to keep things from becoming too strident. A dry sandalwood provides the foundation for this bottle of absinthe to rest upon.
L’Heure Verte has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
If you also like A Taste of Heaven, L’Heure Verte adds a more focused experience than that. I will want both because sometimes the flip side is preferred.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Neiman-Marcus.