The thing about iris scents is that it's too easy to make them pale and boring. Unless the perfumer goes all the way with the weirder facets of iris and pairs it with elements that let it fully shine, what you get is too soapy and washed out. Prelude To Love, a Calice Becker composition for By Kilian, barely escapes this fate. It took me a while before I got more than soap and musk out of it, and I still don't feel a need for more than a decant, but there is enough Prelude To Love to make me enjoy the ride.
From the list of notes you'd expect this perfume to be a citrus bomb. The opening is actually a lot more subtle than that and doesn't choke you on vitamin C. I smell a dried rind of grapefruit and lemon, slightly bitter, and also a hint of bergamot. There's no juice and pulp here and very little direct sunlight. It's more like a reflection of light from a whitewashed wall. Then there's the iris, clean and well laundered of any earthiness. I usually prefer my iris to bite a little and have a well-worn leather jacket over its crisp white shirt. But eventually I've started to enjoy Prelude To Love on all its steam ironed cotton and semi-innocence.
There is actually a soft leather note in the dry-down. You need to pay attention and reach under the clean musk and washed skin, but it's there. There's something that feels very French countryside in the summer about Prelude To Love, or at least my imagined French movie scenery, considering all know of France is Paris. But it's a nice fantasy and a nice perfume, easy enough to wear and with just enough character as to not bore me out of my skull, at least on a hot July day.
Bottom Line: For those who felt cheated by Prada Infusion d'Iris.
Prelude To Love and the rest of the regular By Kilian perfumes can be purchased in either their full glory black boxes for the hard to swallow $225 (50ml) or as a $70 1oz/30ml travel refill set (4x0.25oz). Available at small boutiques such as Luckyscent and Aedes as well as from Saks and Bergdorf.
Art: Early Morning by Pino