Monday, December 13, 2010

By Kilian- Back To Black

Back To Black from the luxurious By Kilian line belongs in the same group of very sweet tobacco perfumes like Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille and L'Artisan Havana Vanille. These are all rich, cuddly, snow day-friendly with several facets that appeal to  both men and women. Back To Black with its Amy Winehouse connotations and promises of darkness might be trying to be more than that, but despite the lacquered black packaging, don't expect Darth Vader to give Kilian Hennessy a call about an endorsement deal.

Back To Black starts and ends with sweetness. The opening is full of honeyed fruit- the note list mentions raspberry, but thankfully this is more of an abstract idea of fruit rather than your average Sephora juice. The tobacco is there almost from the very beginning- first mixed with a very nice spicy veil: saffron and cardamom- the best thing to balance the cheery fruit.  It doesn't become any less sweet, at least not on my skin, but the depth of the tobacco and its evolution from sweet hay to an almost smoky incense dry-down are setting this By Kilian perfume apart.

Back To Black is warm and cozy. I think of it as romantic night for an already-established couple on a winter getaway. Not that it wouldn't be perfect for a date of any kind- whoever chooses to wear the perfume will get his or her neck nuzzled. I admit that to make Back To Black a little darker and sexier I have layered it with a drop or two of Kilian's Pure Oud. They were meant for each other.

Back To Black and the rest of the By Kilian line ($135, 4x0.25ml travel case with refills. The refills alone are a very reasonable $70.  Then there's the $225, 50ml EDP for a full bottle in the black box) can be found at  Aedes, Luckyscent, Bergdorf and (very) select Saks locations.

Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1949,


  1. I'm glad you reviewed this. I love Back to Black and on my skin the smokier, darker facets do make themselves known. I hadn't thought of layering this with Pure Oud, so thanks for the tip!

  2. I'd be curious what you think about his "Liaisons Dangereuses" and "Cruel Intentions" - will you review them as well ?

  3. Darn you, Gaia! Darn you and your little cotton socks!

    I LOVE to LISTEN to Amy Winehouse, but not look at her, and now, I regret loaning out my copy of Back to Black. Youtube to the rescue, again.

    This sounds like a killer scent. Perhaps something James Bond might wear. Definitely not something Pee Wee Herman would wear, though.

    Lawrence in Ohio

  4. The patchouli in Back to Black gets really chocolately on me. WIth the honey it's a dark sweet treat.

  5. I love Back to Black! Yes, it wears sweet on me, but there is enough smokiness in it to add an "edge" and to keep it from being like all the o the other sweet perfumes I have.

  6. I love Back to Black -- oodles and oodles more than TF Tobacco Vanille, which turns sickly sweet. BtoB is sweet but not overpoweringly so. But then again, TF has always peeved me, even though I admit he has created some amazing perfumes (Nu comes to mind) but he's just such an egotistical misogynistic ass. There I said it. :)

  7. Back to Black didn't play nice with me so I gave my sample to a coworker that wears these scents better than I can. I liked Cruel Intentions more than this. I am also still saving up for that bottle of Rose Oud.

    Amd yes, the travel size option is a very smart buy and so happy I went that route!


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