Love, a.k.a. “Don’t be shy”, a.k.a. “The Marshmallow”, a.k.a. “The Meringue that ate Paris”, is apparently By Kilian’s best-seller. Is this why Kilian Hennessy asked Calice Becker to reprise its orange blossom and vanilla combo in Sweet Redemption, as a way of coming full circle for the tenth and last addition to L’Oeuvre Noire?
Sweet Redemption is Love’s Lolita grown up: still sweet, but with a touch of bitterness. Love’s “caramelized sugar” note (ethyl maltol or the likes of it) has been ditched in favour of classic oriental base of myrrh, opoponax and benzoin, the latter’s cinnamon facets underlined with cinnamic alcohol, which brings together the balsamic and green/floral effects of the fragrance.
Ironically, though Sweet Redemption is rich in naturals including Givaudan’s stellar Orpur™ quality broom absolute, myrrh resinoid and benzoin, it might give off oddly synthetic effects, especially to American noses. For instance, the Grape Kool-Aid note often mentioned about Poison, which is produced by methyl anthranilate, one of the main odorant molecules of the orange blossom and broom which form the floral heart of the scent -- it is also present in Concord grapes and is therefore used as an aroma in grape beverages, hence the Kool-Aid association. Myrrh adds its characteristic shot of root beer (possibly through its liquorice-like facet combined with vanilla), but also slightly bitter moss and mushroom facets.
It is this hint of bitterness – green-tinged petitgrain, tobacco-honeyed broom, earthy myrrh and opoponax – that sets Sweet Redemption apart from Love despite their common theme: they are actually quite different.
If anything, about one hour into its development, Sweet Redemption is more reminiscent of Olivia Giacobetti’s Vamp à NY. Both scents, as befits great-grand-nieces of Poison, explore overlapping areas of the olfactory map – white floral, powdery/balsamic, sweet spice -- though the Honoré des Prés, being a tuberose, rounds the bend towards exotic, banana/coconut territories. The Kilian is a little soapier, more pastel-toned, and a gorgeous alternative for those who were a bit put off by the Vamp’s vivid Bohemian hues or who, like me, found Love so gourmand they had to undo the top button of their jeans. Once I use up my samples, I might even spring for the refill: this beautifully built, delicately erotic floriental is one of the prettiest launches of the season.
Photo by Norman Parkinson
As always, wonderfully written and very informative!RépondreSupprimer
I enjoy sniffing the samples of By Kilians, but haven't found one that suits me yet. The only Calice Becker that works well with me is DK's Gold. Her works tend to be too floral and sweet for me, I turn into a candy factory when I wear them, so I just admire them on others.RépondreSupprimer
But the myrrh, opoponax, and cinnamon/benzoin base sounds wonderful, so I may try this one with a more hopeful countenance....
Tom, sometimes the geek takes over!RépondreSupprimer
Marla, this is really quite sweet so if you veer toward candy factory, I think you'd end up with grape-flavoured bubble gum. But then again, who knows? It's really very lovely.RépondreSupprimer
Yeek! Even bitter perfumes turn sweetish on me (Bas de Soie is VERY sweet on me, so is the original Cristalle), so I may have to pass on this one. Very sad.RépondreSupprimer
Marla, I am NOT going to cry on your dire fate -- you've got lots to play with already, young lady! ;-)RépondreSupprimer
No pity violins for me, OK.... ;-)RépondreSupprimer
Lovely review, Denyse. I completely agree with you about the Concord grape contributions of methyl anthranilate, which also seems to make an appearance in many purportedly tuberose-scented things. I've come to appreciate it as a component of orange blossom absolute. I was pleasantly surprised by Sweet Redemption, and think it quite pretty.RépondreSupprimer
I adore all the Calice Becker Kilians except Love, so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed this one and will give it a try.RépondreSupprimer
I'm also looking for an excuse to buy one of the gold travel atomizers that the ouds come in - that would be the perfect reward for some personal challenge, I think. ~~nozknoz
Jarvis, there is methyl anthranilate in tuberose, but probably it comes out strongly because an orange blossom accord is usually paired up with the tuberose...RépondreSupprimer
Nozknoz, aren't those atomizers something? Never seen anything so gorgeous. i've got a hankering for the black ones, and you're absolutely right, it *would* make a lovely self-gift for an accomplishment of some type.RépondreSupprimer
I've wondered about that "grape soda" note for quite awhile -- I've detected it in some vintage "First" EDT I have and some "Byzance" also. Good to have it explained so clearly, thanks! This sounds like something to add to my samples order.RépondreSupprimer
Intriguing review! Actually, one of the few positive ones I've read. This one got lambasted by nearly every reviewer on Basenotes for some reason.RépondreSupprimer
I'll withhold judgment until I sample this one. Though I'm not in love with every Kilian ( though for that matter, I've yet to sample Love ), Beyond Love and Love & Tears were excellent soliflores, so Calice has a good track record in my opinion. ( In fact I'd rather wish I bought some Love & Tears with me to Cairo instead of Serge's Sarrasins, which just sulks on my skin in hot weather. )
How strong is the grape note in Sweet Redemption? I don't know if you've tried Amouage's Memoir Woman, but for me the experience was ruined by a brobdingnagian grape crush note that overwhelmed its intriguing burnt jasmine accord. ( For the record, I love Poison, but Memoir was just too much. )
Thanks for the information on methyl anthranilate. I love learning more on the chemistry of perfume.
Definitely going to seek this one out for a sniff. I used to have Love, but swapped the bottle away, when I realized my tastes had changed and I wasn't wearing it -- just bit too much marshmallow. I had no idea that was their best-seller though! Interesting.RépondreSupprimer
I've finished off a decant of Back to Black, and am thinking a visit to the Kilian counter is in order.
My daughter has swiped my bottle of Vamp a NY, so I wonder if Sweet Redemption might catch her interest too.
Lots of perfumista griping about Kilian in its early days because of the over the top packaging and the price tag that went with it (fancy enamel box, velvet bags, keys..)remember? I've always liked the 50 ml bottles though: just checked out the one I still have on my shelf (Taste of Heaven) and they have such a nice heft to them. The gorgeous atomizers are on my lemming list too. Nice that they've launched the purse spray sizes, and loosened up and allow sales of just the refills. Sometimes our budget doesn't allow for the fancy bottles, Kilian, but we'll spend the $$$ on the perfume ;) thanks!
Olfacta, I find it kind of hilarious that something that comes from nature could conjure such synthetic products! Of course those connotations are very cultural: there's no such thing as grape Kool-Aid and root beer here in France.RépondreSupprimer
Sugandaraja, I haven't been over to Basenotes to check out the buzz. I think Kilian got bad blood for his initial press copy and price point, and some of that has remained in the mind of aficionados. But I know Tom praised the scent on the Perfume Posse, so I'm not the only one to like it.RépondreSupprimer
I must have a sample of Memoir Woman somewhere in the dreaded sample box, I'll try and do my Indiana Jones routine and have a sniff...
Ggs, I know what you mean about Love: I enjoy smelling it but I'm not sure I'd be able to live in it.RépondreSupprimer
I'm pretty sure if your daughter loves Vamp à NY she'd enjoy Sweet Redemption: it's worth getting a sample for her.
I did not find this at all interesting when I first read about it, but your review has piqued my interest. Thanks for another informative and lively review.RépondreSupprimer
Another Perfume Blog, I find that ultimately, all the perfumes put out by Kilian are worth investigating. In the end, lists of notes and ad copy can't really give a good idea of what the product actually smells like, so I tend to base myself on the level of quality usually found in a house or in a perfumer's work (otherwise, there's just not enough time or skin to deal with the onslaught).RépondreSupprimer
I'm behind on testing the Kilian's and this is a line that usually works well for me. This one sounds to die for - as an old Guerlie-girl, I'm a sucker for an oriental. Loved the review, D. Thanks!RépondreSupprimer
Rappleya, it's quite a bit gaudier than a classic Guerlain, mind you. But that balsamic resin base balances it out.RépondreSupprimer