Independent perfumery is made up of memorable characters. The more memorable the character the more likely you are to try their perfume. In 2008 I was introduced to one of the best at employing this principle; Kilian Hennessy. M. Hennessy was debuting a deluxe luxury brand called By Kilian. He was a spectacular spokesman for his fragrance brand. He would use that to go from the original six fragrance collection to becoming one of the largest niche brands in the world. Two years ago, this kind of success was noticed by the large cosmetics companies and Estee Lauder acquired Kilian.
This kind of acquisition is met within fragrance circles with suspicion. We worry that the big company will perform all kind of depredations upon the beloved brand. The funny thing is what it has really brought to the brand is more visibility. When I get e-mails from readers who don’t live near big cities it is difficult to tell them where to go see if they appreciate the difference in fragrance between niche and mass-market. Estee Lauder has been taking different approaches at broadening the availability of their recent niche brand acquisitions. A new initiative is exemplified by the four fragrance Kilian My Kind of Love collection.
The concept is simple broaden the distribution by releasing a Sephora collection. Have M. Hennessy add his trademark double entendre names. Then instead of creating a full-on mutli-faceted Kilian style of perfume; create a single multi-layered accord. The collection is clever enough at doing that if someone was to tell me they liked one of these four I could easily point them to one in the main collection.
The names are where the flirtatious puns exist and each perfume in the collection is a sentence unto itself. For example, Bad Boys Are No Good But Good Boys Are No Fun which is shortened to Boys. I am going to use the shortened names, but you can see the longer names in the header picture if you’re interested. Also, despite my best efforts I was unable to track down the perfumers but most of the perfumes in the Kilian collection have been composed by Calice Becker or Sidonie Lancesseur I am betting one or both were involved. A reason I think that, is each of these perfumes feel like the heart accord of a larger Kilian perfume.
Boys is meant to provide a cola accord and it does; a Diet Coke with a lime. Boys opens as you squeeze the lime into your drink and then the scent of the cola mixes with it. The accord is made up of cinnamon, nutmeg, and caramel. It spends more time on the spicy citrus side than the gourmand sweet soda side.
Adults is a luxurious fig scent which starts with a ripe creamy version of that ingredient. Vanilla enhances the creaminess while cedar provides a clean woody contrast. All together it is a rich fig perfume.
Princess takes one of the most memorable pieces of one of the first By Kilian releases, Love, and weaves a simpler perfume around it. It starts with a springy duet of green tea and ginger before marshmallow rounds it out. The marshmallow is an example of bringing a niche style to a simpler construct which works well here.
Kissing is my favorite of these four because it is the most obviously gourmand. It starts with a green lily of the valley which is dropped upon a pool of sweet milk. The green floral threads of the lily of the valley cut through the vanilla and warm milk accord in a very pleasant way. This will find its way into my fall rotation when I want a nice milky gourmand.
All four perfumes have 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Those of us who have enjoyed Kilian perfumes for the past ten years know M. Hennessy’s persona very well. I am thinking when there are big pictures of his come-hither gaze and unbuttoned shirt you can almost hear him singing, “Please allow me to introduce myself; I’m a man of wealth and taste” We can call this Sympathy for The Kilian as it spreads out to every mall. I think the My Kind of Love collection is a good way to introduce the Kilian style to a wider audience.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples provided by Sephora.