Orange You Glad: By Kilian Sweet Redemption
My opinion of the By Kilian fragrances in the L’Oeuvre Noire collection is pretty evenly divided along style lines of those I have tried so far - I love the more “feminine” and sweeter ones like Love and Beyond Love, but Liaisons Dangereuses and Cruel Intentions left me cold. The latest launch, Sweet Redemption, said to be the last in this particular series, is aligned with the former group and for me it was instant affinity. It’s very well done and it pulls together several of my favorite perfume ingredients; the listed notes on Luckyscent are orange blossom, vanilla, myrrh, opopanax, benzoin and incense, so it may as well be a Christmas shopping list for my nose. It is immediately likable and downright friendly.
It’s not often that orange and myrrh make an appearance together, but it most certainly does work. The dominant note throughout is orange blossom in all its high-pitched sweetness with just a touch of leafy bitterness for balance, and it carries the melody even as the opening deepens into the heart and the opopanax and myrrh come into their own. Vanilla ties it all up in a gourmand bow, but this perfume has a solid base of resinous materials that keeps it from being a mere trifle, and the base is very tenacious. (It’s a good thing I am a fan of opopanax!) In fact, it reminded me a lot of two vintage classics that have not been around for a very long time, Robert Piguet’s Baghari and the marvelous L’Origan by Coty from 1905.
Some time ago I acquired a precious micro-mini bottle of vintage 1950 Baghari extrait de parfum, which was that rarest of beasts, an orange chypre, and magnificent it is. Rich and a bit powdery with a true chypre base, this is a gem from the past that has now been reformulated and brought back by the new owners of Piguet. The re-orchestrated Baghari introduced in 2006, although very good, lacks the narcotic depth of the original, while Sweet Redemption has an echo of that mesmerizing character in both the orange and the resins, although it is not a chypre. I also have a little sample of L’Origan extrait that was given to me by a perfume friend, and its powdery depth and heavenly orange blossom made me realize yet again what a great perfumer François Coty was and what a shame it is that his great old formulas have either fallen away completely or else reformulated ever more cheaply over the years until they can no longer be recognized. Sweet Redemption has some of that unforgettable beauty of the L’Origan of old, and for that alone I would like to own a bottle
Alas, buying a bottle of this could be problematic, as the By Kilian line is expensive; 50 ml of the Eau de Parfum goes for $225 USD on Luckyscent. Plain refill bottles are available for $125, but then you don’t get the special satin-lined box and the heavy, artsy bottle. Travel size sprays are available at the By Kilian Web site.
Image credit: “Chiyogami Orange Blossom” pattern Japanese paper from amazingpaper.com.au
Disclosure: My sample was obtained free from Luckyscent as part of a promotional giveaway when Sweet Redemption was released.