I was at Sephora shopping for a birthday present for someone who was extremely difficult to shop for. While there, I hunted down a few of the Perfumes on my list that I’ve been dying to sniff (mostly Lancome). On a whim, I decided to check out some of the “private” and “exclusive” luxury fragrances (Tom Ford and Armani Prive and Maison Lancome and Geurlain and so on) and accidentally stumbled upon Kilian! I don’t know if an invisibility spell was cast on the display, but somehow I’ve never ever noticed it before! As per usual, there were no sales assistants designated to any of the displays and customers were just left to their own devices. I searched for Back to Black (because frag-heads on YouTube rave about it all the time) but couldn’t find it. I did however find my new favorite Perfume of life, but more on that towards the end of this post…
Voulez-vous coucher avec Moi (In the Garden of Good and Evil) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 105
Floral Woodsy Harmony
Inspiration: A question as request. Elusive, elegant, a scent that lasts well into the evening.
Fragrance Story: With its radiant gardenia headspace and ylang-ylang, blooming with tantalizing tuberose, bright neroli, orange blossom and mandarin essence beautifully balance an overdose of sensual sandalwood. A tender touch of vanilla softly impresses into memory.
So you can actually buy this from the official website (https://www.bykilian.com) for $295 (which converts to KD 90) which means our local Sephora tacked on an extra $50 (which converts to KD 15). Also, the name of Voulez-vous coucher avec Moi was changed to just Voulez-vous (because… Arabs). It comes with a black clutch inspired by a slim cigarette case. The case has two gold snakes on it while the refillable 50mL Perfume Bottle is engraved with a black fresco of the original sin (apple, grapevine, door, snake).
Vodka on the Rocks (Addictive State of Mind) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 114
Fresh Woodsy Harmony
Ice cracks beneath a stream of silky clear liquid, awakening deep curiosity for a taste comprised of cool spices like cardamom and coriander plus aldehydes at the opening, Vodka on the Rocks evokes the frozen steam rising from ice cubes in a clear crystal tumbler. Bitter rhubarb accord, a splash of clear rose and Lily of the Valley harmonize with an intoxicating leather undertone of sandalwood and oakmoss.
Intoxicated (Addictive State of Mind) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 105
Gourmand Coffee Harmony
Inexplicably addictive, Intoxicated curbs craving like a cup of rich Turkish coffee, laced with green cardamom–both in oil and absolute–doubling the addictive stronghold of this stimulating substance. Warmth rises like a stream with a spicy cinnamon and hallucinogenic nutmeg. At its base, like at the bottom of a delicate porcelain mug, floats the crystallized sweetness of caramelized sugar.
On the official website, they both retail for $295 (which converts to KD 90) and we’ve already established that our local Sephora has tacked on an additional KD 15 for a total of KD 105 (which converts to $345) per 50mL Perfume Bottle (refillable) with the accompanying case. However, in the case of Vodka On the Rocks, they seem to have tacked on an addition KD 25 (converts to $82) for no apparent reason, bumping up the total to a whopping KD 114 (converts to $375). Also, the name has been changed from Vodka On The Rocks to just On The Rocks (because… Arabs). Purely based on my previous experience with aldehydes (here), ‘imma have to say hard pass. In any case, both Vodka On the Rocks and Intoxicated come with a metallic bronze coffret (as shown in the photo) based on a vintage cigar case and both refillable 50mL Perfume Bottles are an opaque black with silver accents.
Gold Knight (From Dusk Till Dawn) Eau de Parfum retails for ? (price not shown)
Woodsy Vanilla Harmony
Inspiration: Elegant, daring, seductive, bold. Inspired by the dashing, golden-armored chevalier in Klimt’s 1902 Beethoven Frieze, perfumer Pascal Gaurin says, “Gold Knight blends finery and eroticism, a glistening quality of deep sensuality.”
Fragrance Story: Gold Knight contrasts the addictive dark sensuousness of patchouli with the effervescent brightness of bergamot, and warm golden shimmer of vanilla and anise.
Sorry to say but the coffret (not shown) for Gold Knight is just… hideous (gold on gold on gold) lol The actual bottle (as shown) is a much more palatable black, with gold accents here and there.
Musk Oud (Arabian Nights) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 132
Oud Woodsy Harmony
A contemporary, Western twist on classic Rose Oud, Musk Oud is a quiet expression of syrupy rose and geranium petals, silken musk and spices. A heady drydown of oud accord, patchouli and musk anchors an intoxicating rum-filled opening. Going down smooth, as sweet as it is seductive, a new page for ancient oud is written.
Oud and gold are synonymous in their worth and rarity. As such, both the 50ml glass flacon and the black coffret are detailed symbolic, gold-toned accents. A gold plaque is engraved to discern the fragrance name, while a black lacquered box shines like the gold arabic calligraphy meaning Arabian Nights for a coffret as luxurious as the fragrance it holds. With a black tasseled golden key, the box doubles as a keep safe for precious jewelry and other small items.
Oh, okaaay. I didn’t notice that the caligraphy on the coffret (shown in the photo) was actually in Arabic, until I read the excerpt above! It literally reads “Arabian Nights”. So Musk Oud actually retails for $395 on the official Kilian website (which converts to KD 120) meaning they’ve only tacked on an addition KD 12 ($40) for a total of a whopping KD 132 (which converts to $434). Yikes, the pricing of these niche fragrances are no joke!
Moonlight in Heaven Eau de Parfum retails for KD 105
Inspiration: A dazzling beam of pearlized light dances on the oceans belly, witnessed by two lovers who watch from a balcony draped in floating white opaque gauze that seems alive, responding to a warm wind that blows. The lovers, high above the world to almost touch the stars, with full hearts and bodies light as air.
Fragrance Story: Omnipresent, Moonlight in Heaven sparkles with a citrus-forward opening, driven by a duo of lemon and grapefruit, spiced with pink pepper berry. Coconut milk and rice–white as the moon’s face–rounds out creamy mango and powdery jasmine sambac, while a tonka bean drydown envelops delicate vetiver.
An object of desire, the black lacquered coffret is unlike any other. The pale gleam of the moon is mimicked with opalescent mother-of-pearl, its minerality changing from brown to yellow to violet, fashioned in the style of Art Deco. Each clutch will be truly one-of-a-kind. Inside, the 50ml glass flacon is colored Klein blue, embodying the KILIAN philosophy of perfume as art.
I wasn’t even interested in sniffing any of the Kilian fragrances (only Back to Black which I didn’t actually find) up until I saw this gorgeous blue bottle! The scent didn’t leave much of an impression on me honestly, but how pretty is the blue? Not to be deterred, I started picking random scents from the Kilian display and attempted to sniff them from the atomizer (my nose was already burnt out at this point from sniffing the more mainstream designer perfumes much earlier).
Straight to Heaven, White Cristal (Loeuvre Noire) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 95
Woodsy Animalic Harmony
Inspiration: Moments of ecstasy envelop the senses with Straight to Heaven, White Cristal.
Fragrance Story: Smoldering with addictive sensuality, a burning splash of rich dark rum defines the opening, its sweet gourmand chord is softened by creamy vanilla and dried fruit. Spicy patchouli pairs with the fresh, woodsy scent of cedarwood to finish, finding animalic harmony at long last.
Liaisons Dangereuses, Typical Me (Loeuvre Noire) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 95
Floral Fruity Harmony
Inspiration: A secret love affair begins innocently enough with jammy rose essence and juicy plum accord in Liaisons Dangereuses, Typical Me.
Fragrance Story: The connection intensifies as blackcurrant buds absolute mark love’s stain, its deep purple undercurrents tangling with hedonistic ambrette seed essence, cultivated in the heat of equatorial terrain, mirroring heated nights of passion. Vanilla absolute and moss keep the scent suspended just above the natural world, keeping the secret safe a little while longer.
Love, Don’t Be Shy (Loeuvre Noire) Eau de Parfum retails for KD 95
Gourmand Floral Harmony
Inspiration: Exhilarating, unforgettable, Love, Don’t Be Shy implores you at the opening with tender orange blossom absolute.
Fragrance Story: First love’s innocence makes itself known with juicy honeysuckle and plush rose softly caressed by the sweetness of luscious marshmallow sugar accord, satisfying the craving pang of new love. A warm amber base lends a pulsing touch of sensuality, hinting the possibility of soon knowing another soul, inside and out.
Straight to Heaven, White Cristal and Liaisons Dangereuses, Typical Me and Love, Don’t Be Shy all come in shiny and matte black 50ml flacons engraved with Achille’s Shield. Each of them also comes with a black lacquered wood box, with a protective tasseled key. You can partially see the Carafe in the display as well.
Playing with the Devil (In the Garden of Good and Evil) Eau de Parfum
Fruity Animalic Harmony
Fiery, flirtatiously fierce, Playing with the Devil is unforgettable. Tart blood orange essence and rose-tinged lychee fruit is set ablaze with peppery pimento berries essence. Creamy sandalwood on the drydown gives a smoldering quality, for a playful twist on a scandalizing encounter.
Forbidden Games (In the Garden of Good and Evil) Eau de Parfum
Fruity Floral Harmony
Forbidden Games is a tempting honey-drizzled peach sprinkled with cinnamon bark from Laos, that begs to be bitten. An irresistible floral nectar heart, comprised of Bulgarian rose orpur, geranium bourbon and midnight jasmine, is contained in a confection of sinfully delicious Madagascar vanilla, Laotian honey and spellbinding resinous oil of opoponax.
Both Playing with the Devil and Forbidden Games come in white with a matching white clutch inspired by a slim cigarette case. You can partially see the Carafe in the display as well.
Black Phantom – Memento Mori Eau de Parfum retails for KD 116
Gourmand Woodsy Harmony
Inspiration: On turbulent seas, an inescapably transient pirate ship braves black waters, leagues deep in mystery. Black Phantom “Memento Mori” reveals its hidden treasures to the curious nose in waves.
Fragrance Story: Rum accord from Martinique, akin to ‘pirates water’, spikes the scent of strong coffee at its heart, balanced by vetiver essence. A deadly bite of cyanide accord hides menacingly, like the smile from death itself. Smile back as sugar cane and dark, creamy sandalwood assures a trying journey holds a sweet reward.
Look at the box that it comes in! It legit has a skull! It also comes with a tasseled key so you can lock it! More importantly, the actual scent on Black Phantom was intoxicating! It was pure, unadulterated love at first whiff!
True luxury should last a lifetime, and as such, all by KILIAN fragrance flacons are designed to be refilled.
Kilian fragrances come in several sizes:
– Refillable Spray Bottle (1.7 fl.oz/50mL) regular size perfume bottle, comes with a matching box/clutch/coffret and cost around KD 100
– Refill (1.7 fl.oz/50mL) refill comes with refill and decanting tools, cost around KD 50
– Travel Set (1 fl.oz/30mL) comes with x4 little 0.25 fl oz vials and a travel size spray, cost ?
– Mini Carafe (8.5 fl.oz/250mL) large glass containers, cost around a kidney + your firstborn
So basically, there’s the fancy perfume bottle (50mL) that comes with the fancy box to store it in. Once that runs out, you buy the significantly cheaper refill (that comes with all the tools you’ll need) to fill up the fancy perfume bottle again. The way I see it, since Kilian prices are so dear, the best way to go, would be to purchase the Travel Set first, to see if you actually enjoy wearing the scent, before splurging on all the fancy packaging. Also, each of these fragrances has a fragrance story! Unlike the cliche ones from other brands, the ones from Kilian are refreshingly unique! Despite certain scents veering slightly more feminine and others leaning slightly more masculine, as with all niche and luxury fragrances, Kilian perfumes are meant to be unisex.
Tom Ford F*cking Fabulous Eau de Parfum
notes: bitter almond oil, tonka bean, orris root, leather, cashmerean and clary sage oil
Tom Ford F*cking Fabulous Eau de Parfum was changed to just Fabulous (for obvious reasons lol). I was tempted to buy it off nordstrom.com based on the naughty name alone, but since Tom Ford is kinda’ expensive, I figured I’d at least give the scent a sniff first. Despite the naughty name (they drop the F-bomb no less than a handful of times in the promo vid), the scent was quite… meh (underwhelming).
Each fragrance blend is interpreted with an illustration that has been reproduced on a golden plate on the back of the bottle, like the fingerprint of each raw material. The plate acts as the transparent window of the glass bottle, emotionally and gracefully expressing the reinvention of the Flower.
So I’ve checked the Maison Lancome display on and off for months now, just to sniff a specific scent, only to find the bottle completely empty! This visit was no different. I did find another fragrance that was equally obsession-worthy though, Santal Kardamon! Also, I just learned this, but apparently Cardamom can also be known as Cardamum or even Cardamon (wuuuuut).
Santal Kardamon is an ode to rich sandalwood, accented with spicy undertones. An assemblage of two delightful extractions, this woody fragrance combines balsamic inflexions with warm notes of green cardamon, housed in an engraved vessel with a gold-tone stopper.
Lancome Oud Bouquet Eau de Parfum retails for KD 79/750
A trio of bold wood essences blend together to create Oud Bouquet, an enchanting and mesmerising fragrance from Lancôme. Accompanied by a praline rose signature, twenty year old wood is paired with smoky accents of gaïac wood and contrasted by the soothing caress of copahu wood.
Oud Bouquet is the scent I’ve been lusting after but always find empty, and for whatever reason, the staff at Sephora refuse to fill it back up again, or open up a new one, or something. I refuse to buy it without at least sniffing it first, but as per usual, nobody is designated to the Maison Lancome display so it’s practically abandoned. Someone only pops up when I start taking pictures with my phone (“Ma’am. Ma’am! No pictures allowed, please.”) I’ll ask them if they could refill Oud Bouquet so I could give it a sniff and they’ll slowly back off apologetically stating that it’s not their station (super helpful). Anyways, after giving it a sniff, Santal Kardamon is actually quite lovely! Also, you can purchase these fragrances online at Harrods.com for anywhere ranging from KD 53/500 to KD 60, as opposed to purchasing them locally for almost KD 80, just sayin’.
I was pretty stoked to find the new “intense” version of my beloved Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue Eau de Toilette! I’ve written up a full review of the original (here) previously and repurchased it too (here) but have since run out. It’s another one of my forever favorites!
If you’re interested, I’d say wait until the upcoming Perfume & Makeup Exhibition (March 25 – April 6) at Mishref Fair Grounds where you’ll definitely get a few Kuwaiti Dinars shaved off the price, and possibly get a Gift With Purchase, or at the very least, some Samples.
Dolce & Gabbana The Only One Eau de Parfum retails for KD 49/000
Top Notes: The violet opens the fragrance, combining with subtle touches of bergamot to create a lively, surprizing and juicy bouquet
Heart Notes: At the heart, seductive notes of rich coffee are blended with charming iris
Base Notes: The warm base of vanilla and patchouli lends a tactile, comforting quality, enveloping the senses in an opulent embrace
They were stocking the shelves with this baby so I decided to give it a sniff and was both surprised and delighted by the gourmand scent! Oh and Khaleesi (well, Emilia Clarke but she’ll always be Khaleesi to me) is the face of the campaign! Speaking of which, only 1 more month to go before GOTs (which’ll be bittersweet really, on account of it being the last season and all).
Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose Eau de Parfum retails for KD 43/000
Charming. Mischievous. Desirable. A sexy-sweet blend of raspberry, rose, vanilla and sensual musk for mischievous femininity: Catch my heart if you can!
Top Notes: Raspberry, Black currant bud absolute
Middle Notes: Rose absolute, Jasmine
Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk
The only reason I was giving any of these fragrances a sniff, was because I was actually interested in purchasing Lancome La Nuit Tresor Eau de Parfum (again, YouTubers raved about it). However, once I started playing around with the Perfumes – except La Vie Est Belle (which for some reason, I refuse to touch) – I couldn’t stop (hence this post)! Out of all the Lancome fragrances that I sniffed (not Maison Lancome, the regular Lancome) this fragrance was the one that stood out to me the most, Tresor Midnight Rose!
So far, these YouTube and fragrantica.com recommendations have not been working out for me. That said, if it wasn’t for these recs, I totally wouldn’t have stumbled upon my newfound favorites! So, technically, these recs have been working out for me, just not in the way I expected lol For example, at Lancome, I wanted to test La Nuit Tresor but ended up liking Tresor Midnight Rose way more! At Maison Lancome, I wanted to test out Oud Bouquet but it’s always empty and I ended up really liking Santal Kardamon! At Kilian, I wanted to test out Back to Black but ended up falling in love with Black Phantom! I just don’t understand how people aren’t going crazy over Black Phantom! It’s exquisite!
I might’ve downplayed it just for the sake of moving this post along, but I was absolutely, wholeheartedly, completely, utterly and hopelessly in love with Kilian Black Phantom (Memento Mori) Eau de Parfum!!!! As far as I was concerned, Black Phantom totally deserved that risque name, way more than the Tom Ford Fragrance (mentioned earlier). Black Phantom was intoxicating! I
wanted needed it so badly, but I didn’t have the monies for it because I’d already blown through all my cash for the month because I don’t believe in saving lol
Regardless, I wasn’t leaving without a sample but oh my gosh, you’d think I’d asked them for a kidney, the way these sales assistants reacted when I’d asked them for a sample. “Oh, so sorry but we don’t have any containers” (meaning the tiny sample vials that can be filled up with perfume). I was supposed to believe that they didn’t have a single sample vial in the entire store? Sure, sure! These people clearly didn’t understand so it was up to me to enlighten them.
I called over the nearest sales assistant and asked her for a tiny vial-sized sample, but before I’d gotten my sentence out, she was already apologizing for not having any sample vials. Undeterred, I took her by the hand and led her over to the Kilian display, pointed at Black Phantom (Memento Mori) and told her to just try it. As soon as she smelled it, her eyes lit up! “Sexy!”, she declared as she proceeded to douse herself and then me, with the Perfume! “See? SEE? It’s amazing!”, I couldn’t help but gush like a proud parent (as if I had anything to do with the creation of the fragrance lol). Now that she understood where I was coming from, she was much more willing to help. She called out to another nearby Filipina sales assistant who tossed her a sample vial which she proceeded to fill up for me, all the while declaring how “lucky” I was that her co-worker had even found one. I told her I was a Sagittarius and we’re just born lucky, which made her laugh. I thanked her and left, but while waiting for them to gift-wrap erm… a gift, that I’d picked up for someone, I decided to push my luck and ask the nearby Lebanese sales assistant for a sample too!
She looked at me quizzically so once again, I took her by the hand and led her to exact same fragrance (making sure to stay hidden from the previous sales assistant’s direct line of vision lol) and asked her to give it a try. As soon as she sniffed it, she let out a deep sigh (awks!) before proceeding to drown herself, and then myself, in the Perfume! Once again, she gave me the same old spiel about how they didn’t have any sample vials in the entire store. Once again, I had to explain that I had to have a sample because the scent was absolutely gorgeous! In fact, I was so convincing that some dude (another customer) overheard our conversation, gave Black Phantom (Memento Mori) a sniff and purchased it on the spot! I made small talk with the sales assistant (to get her to view me as more of a human and less of an evil Kuwaiti), but that quickly got weird when out of the blue she confided in me that she liked dating married men (clearly the conversation had taken a wrong turn somewhere lol). I was trying to politely extract myself and leave, when she called out to another sales assistant and asked him for a sample vial (of which he had many!) and proceeded to fill it up for me! I thanked her and bounced.
Jeez, it was like pulling teeth, with these people! It’s not like I wasn’t going to purchase the scent. I just wanted to play around with it a little bit beforehand. Still, I ended up getting not one but two samples from two different sales assistants! Score! Black Phantom (Memento Mori) was everything!