By Kilian's previous mini-collection, Asian Tales, was so magnificently disappointing that I had absolutely no expectations from Kilian's new releases, In The Garden Of Good And Evil trio of fragrances. Of course, the pompous ad copy didn't help any (some blurbs about seduction, original sin, forbidden pleasures and secret desires). Purple prose aside, In The City Of Sin turned out to be a rather delightful fragrance.
The opening of In The City Of Sin is a burst of citrus and pink pepper. Lots and lots of pink pepper. It's also juicy and fruity in a surprisingly realistic way, beautifully anchored by spices, mostly cardamom. On the husband's skin there's a warm cumin note that I can't detect on myself, though he says that he can, though it doesn't bother him (too much). The spicy-fruity warmth in this By Kilian fragrance makes me think of good quality black tea. Perhaps an Earl Grey-based drink with sliced peaches thrown in, cardamom pods and clove buds, served with spicy and not too sweet cookies.
It's lovely, really, if not truly original. You can think of In The City Of Sin as a lightened Serge Lutens-inspired perfume, and that's not a bad thing (until you consider the hype and the price tag). While I don't find anything truly sinister or dark-sideish in this fragrance, the late dry-down does offer a hint of naughtiness. The best way I can describe it as something leathery immersed and steeped in the tea I described above. Or perhaps said tea spilled on warmed skin and left for a while... In any case, In The City Of Sin does elevate itself into a more sensual realm, and the experience is pleasant and rather well-done.
Notes: bergamot, pink pepper, cardamom, apricot, plum, rose, incense, atlas cedar and patchouli.
By Kilian- In The City Of Sin from In The Garden Of Good And Evil collection ($245, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent and select department stores. A sample set was sent to me via By Kilian's Facebook fan page.
Photo by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italy.