“Pure, unadulterated love at first sniff.”
Like many others, I was lucky enough to receive a sample set of By Kilian’s entire L’Oeuvre Noire line through the By Kilian Facebook page. I have already tried a couple of the scents from the line, I’ve also reviewed two (Sweet Redemption and Back to Black) and my thoughts so far are generally very positive.
The L’Oeuvre Noire (The Black Masterpiece) collection consists of 10 fragrances and “evokes a Faustian atmosphere that casts an iniquitous alluring spell, pervading the spirit and senses, while transporting the soul to nirvana. Inspired by a search for perfection, the poetry of Rimbaud and Baudelaire, as well as the lyrics of modern day poets like Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dog. The Black Masterpiece ‘By Kilian’ is revolving around ingenues, artificial paradises and Parisian orgies.” 
This week I gave each sample a quick spritz to see which one I would review first and there was one that instantly stood out – A Taste of Heaven (Absinthe Verte). When I say it stood out, I mean that I literarily died and went to heaven, and if this is just ‘A Taste of Heaven’ I cannot wait to experience the whole thing.
Calabria Bergamot Oil, Geranium Bourbon Oil, Orange Flower Absolute, Turkish Rose Absolute, Green Absinthe Oil, Lavender Barreme Oil, Lavandin Abrialis Oil, Lavandin Green Absolute, Lavandin Green Concrete, Indonesian Patchouli Oil, Oak Moss Extract, Costus Oil, Ambrarome Absolute, Vanilla Bean Absolute and Tonka Bean 
How Does it Smell?
Lavender is a note that I’ve learned to love, it took a while for me to get over the obvious ‘Grandmotherly Connotations’. Unusually for me, it was two masculine perfumes that changed my opinion of lavender – Antiheros by Etat Libre d’Orange and Pour un Homme by Caron. Both are very different takes on the note, Antiheros is a casual, soapy and musky lavender and Pour un Homme is warm, chock full of vanilla and too cosy for words.
A Taste of Heaven (Absinthe Verte), hereafter referred to simply as ‘A Taste of Heaven’, is an absolutely awe-inspiring lavender. I’m tempted to just leave my review there and simply implore you all to go out and try it, but that would be a bit unfair on A Taste of Heaven, it needs to be talked about.
Looking at the above notes list you won’t be surprised to know that A Taste of Heaven opens with the beautiful smell of lavender. However, the lavender here isn’t overly fresh, nor is it spicy, it is warm, honeyed and like burned sugar. This caramel-like aspect is emphasised by the dark, anisic quality of absinthe. I’m starting to be quite fond of absinthe in perfume, it works really well with an array of notes, including; tuberose (A Travers le Miroir by Thierry Mugler), mint (Memoir Man by Amouage) and spice (Memoir Woman by Amouage).
The lavender and absinthe lay on top of a bed of warm, creamy vanilla and to my nose there is nothing more pleasant than this combination. The vanilla amplifies the gourmand aspects of the lavender and it is absolutely wrist-sniffingly good. The lavender/absinthe/vanilla combo continues to hold strong for a good couple of hours before making way for a surprising chypre base. Lavender works surprisingly well with the earthy/mossy notes of patchouli and oak moss and it prevents A Taste of Heaven from becoming too gourmand by adding a much need element of dry darkness.
The dark, mossy base along with the aniseed tones of the absinthe gives A Taste of Heaven an inherently masculine edge, and this is what Viktor & Rolf’s dreadful masculine ‘Antidote’ could have been if it hadn’t epically failed due to the over use of a super-strong synthetic, burned lavender note that smells truly atrocious. A Taste of Heaven is richer, darker and warmer than any other lavender fragrance I’ve tried and whilst there are lots of different notes within the composition, the lavender never gets lost, in fact each of the other notes plays on the many facets of lavender and allows it to very much stay the centre of attention.
You know that feeling when you try a scent and after about an a hour or so, despite the fact that you’re still in the ‘preliminary testing stage’ you are 100% sure that you absolutely must have it? That’s what A Taste of Heaven is to me, pure, unadulterated love at first sniff.
A Taste of Heaven is available in refillable 50ml Eau de Parfum and 30ml refillable travel sprays, refill kits are available for both sizes. Prices range from £41-£145.
This review is based on a sample of A Taste of Heaven from the L’Oeuvre Noire sample set obtained through the ‘Kilian Club’ on the By Kilian Facebook page.
Image 1 bykilian.com