Saturday, December 03, 2011

By Kilian Liaisons Dangereuses

By Kilian's website describes it as "A fragrance inspired by Plum from Damascus, a delicate fruit with a smooth note redolent of an alcove inhabited by languid lovers". I don't know why it's taken me so long to come to this fragrance by By Kilian, because, as a Fruity perfume lover, you'd think this would be the first one in the collection I'd fall in love with. Maybe I don't care for the Australian sandalwood in it, as I find the wood note a bit on the harsh side compared to the Mysore I fell in love with. However, this is not a woods-focused scent at all. Juicy, plummy and rosy with an unexpected buttery underscoring in this seemingly simple orchestration, it's everything I want a plum perfume to be, albeit it's on the warm side, even with the fresh, dewy rose sharing the spotlight. I suppose what keeps me on guard is that it's an intense fragrance, fresh yet somewhat relentlessly plummy-sweet, so consistent until the dry down, one might think of it as being linear. However, it strikes me as a classical pyramid composition as the lighter notes fade and make way for the incensey, meditational sandalwood which leaves an impression of subtle smokiness on skin. What a delicious skin scent it makes, like rose petal kisses.

Plum is an intense fruit note to begin with, much more so than peach, berries, pineapple or just about any other fruit. Plum is a key player in Christian Dior Poison. Even the stewed prune note can be intense, as I find in the classic Rochas Femme. A ripe, juicy plum is actually among my favorite fruits to eat, but I cannot handle the taste of plum wine. So, maybe this perfume is a bit on the boozy side for me (it is by Kilian Hennessey, after all). However, if I want to smell like a voluptuous plum rose, there is none other that can stand next to By Kilian Liaison Dangereuses. It seems to smell both youthful (by which I mean vivacious, clean and simple, a bright fragrance suitable for any age) and luxurious (by which I mean with complexity, evolution and an excellent, soft-textured, well-rounded, brilliant quality) at once.

I find the dry down gets increasingly flowery, although this floralcy comes and goes like bursts of pink in the atmosphere. Through this Fruity Floral stage, I think I'm smelling Chanel Chance, Juicy Couture or Versace Woman, but then, I smell something dark and brooding going on, and change my mind. The ripe and redolent plum reigns until the end, when the buttery base notes have turned darker and slightly more mysterious, with spicy, musky afterthoughts wafting in like a vague fantasy of the Oriental world.

According to Fragrantica, Liaisons Dangereuses by By Kilian (2007) is a Fruity Chypre. I wouldn't have guessed it to be a Fruity Chypre, since it doesn't smell like a typical one, not even a juicy and somewhat hypersweet one like Cartier So Pretty (then again, I wouldn't guess Christian Dior Dolce Vita, Chanel Chance or Miss Dior Cherie to be Chypres, either). I think it smells more like a Fruity Floral, maybe Fruity Oriental because of the buttery base note, but the dry down stage reveals a bit of that dry, patchouli-like spicy woodsiness, and even though there is no bergamot, oakmoss is present. Back to Fragrantica: the top note is plum; middle notes are pelargonium and cinnamon; base notes are musk and sandalwood. You can see the full list of official notes at