Sunday, April 01, 2012

By Kilian Sweet Redemption (plus my ambitious Top 10!)


Just on a whim, I thought about compiling a perfume Top 10 again, a sort of all time best perfumes list, if you will (without giving away all my secrets, now). I thought about what "the best" would entail; for me, it would have to mean something indispensable from either my own wardrobe or the world of fragrance...a scent that has it all: class, beauty, sophistication and that thing that makes it memorable, or naturally likable.

This past month, I wore By Kilian Sweet Redemption: The End (L'Oeuvre Noire Collection), and feel I love it enough to replenish once my supply is completely down. The orange blossom note starts loud, sweet, spicy and sharp, like the offspring between Caron Narcisse Noir (or Blanc) and By Kilian Love, but with a piercing lime-citrus tone, before it settles into a rich, deeply honeyed, ambery, woody incense base. I love that it has none of that somewhat dusky labdanum base note found in Love by Kilian, and instead has an amber-vanillic dry down, much smoother to my senses, though in "The End", it's very sweet indeed, like fleur d'oranger candy. I appreciate that it isn't another perfumey orange blossom, as much as I've loved them over the years: Boucheron, 24, Faubourg, JPG Classique, APOM, etc. (OK, still need to test Fragile) I still like Ma Dame but I'm not always in the mood for its DKNY-esque, orange-vodka screwdriver minimalism. I could replace Narcisse Noir with Sweet Redemption, actually, maybe come holiday season.

How could I not love it, the final triumph of Kilian's masterful collection? Master perfumer Calice Becker's work is a sweet and brooding white floral, the best of both worlds, of purity and corruption, innocence and flesh. For more comparisons, it sometimes reminds me of Rich Hippie Psychedelic which reminded me of Pilar & Lucy The Exact Friction of Stars - but it's more like the new Narcisse Noir, seriously.

I tested Lorenzo Villoresi Iperborea earlier last month, and although I didn't care for it, it's the kind of soft floral I think many people prefer over the sweet ones I prefer. Iperborea is a white floral along the lines of Maître Parfumeur et Gantier Camélia Chinois. It's what I often call a "skin cream floral", like Nivea cream scent. Iperborea was named for Hyperborea, and is said to have been composed to smell like a non-tropical garden - I picture this mythical 'perfect' place in the arctic north where 'white spring flowers' grow under the sun shining 24 hours a day, even though the Hyperboreans are 'fair-haired'...and think, wow, Europeans have many myths pertaining to physical appearance and lineage, the crux of these narratives like a divining rod between north vs. south.

I also wondered a bit about Caron Parfum Sacré, and its spiritual implication, particularly in connection to Roman Catholicism, because of the Pope's recent trip to Cuba, and having heard about the Golden Rose he bestowed upon a church. Apparently, there is, or was, a musk-and-balsam perfume that a pope once filled one of those Golden Roses with. I thought about the little gold shavings that swirl inside Parfum Sacre parfum, and wondered if there was a connection between perfumery and metallurgy in the Catholic tradition, and if such a perfume culture was captured by the perfumer (Jean-Pierre Béthouard) in his modernized Or et Noir (Gold and Black - 1949 by Michel Morsetti). Btw, this is a gorgeous perfume, but a very perfumey one (as in not 'fresh'), one redolent of dusky rose, violet and earthy resins of myrrh and frankincense, like an ode to Catholic church incense. However, Parfum Sacre is among the more modern Caron creations, comparable to the "new" Fleur de Rocaille, Aimez Moi and Lady Caron, all Caron quality sans the notoriously "inky" Caron base, Mousse de Saxe, brought to life once upon a time by perfume alchemist Ernest Daltroff.

Here's a fun little Top 10 off the cuff Best Perfumes of All Time List!

1. Jean Patou JOY (wore this today...I finally get the roses in this - wow! There's more rose in JOY than Nahema)
2. Creed Spring Flower
3. Bond No.9 Saks Fifth Avenue for Her (it's better than Fracas for me...maybe even better than Carnal Flower)
4. Chanel No.19
5. Corday Toujour Moi (vintage textbook beauty; the new Dana version is very much improved, thanks to technology!)
6. Lanvin Arpege (best Aldehydic besides Chanel No.22 - strictly for the vintage mood - try Caleche or No.5 for less sweet)
7. Annick Goutal Songes
8. Guerlain L'Heure Bleue (figured out recently it makes me smell like a Stella d'Oro Margherite, or a biscotti, with a hint of dank foresty moss)
9. By Kilian Sweet Redemption
10. Cartier La Treizieme Heure XIII