Catch of the Day: By Kilian, Diptyque, Ineke and others…

Kilian Hennessy

Kilian Hennessy at SF Saks, 5/7/11

No-no, I didn’t catch Kilian Hennessy (the creator of Kilian Parfums) though I met him last Saturday at Saks Fifth Avenue during the join basenotes-NST San Francisco Spring Sniff event.

It was a private group presentation in the overcrowded by us small room on the second floor of Saks. We were strange visitors for that place but the service was very courteous (which I cannot say about the Hermes boutique we visited earlier that day where one of the SAs almost shoved us aside saying that she needed to make a sale!). Those of us who came earlier got chairs the rest had to stand (most didn’t mind). Champaign was served and then, after a short announcement by the very beautiful Marketing Director of the brand (I’m not sure I remembered her title correctly), there he was – Kilian himself.

What can I say? He’s a professional charmer. Artistic, handsome, well educated and not to the least extend snobbish or pompous. He has a charismatic smile (grin?) and he mastered the skill of making an eye contact with the auditory the way that you feel as if he’s talking and smiling to you personally. I have no idea how he is in a real life (and usually I do not care about that part with most celebrities) but I applaud his public social skills. He is very likable.

Mr. Hennessy told us couple of carefully chosen anecdotes: one about a friend who habitually wears Straight to Haven and the only occasion when he decided not to, was before going to the hospital for a surgery; and another one about an incident at a restaurant where, if I remember it correctly, somebody recognized one of his perfumes (which one escaped me now) that his friend was wearing and proceeded on licking it off that friend’s neck. He got a lot of laughs from us. We were a very responsive group.

Quick trivia:

  • When asked how he decides what his next perfume will be – is it a note/scent, an idea or anything else, Kilian replied that first he comes up with the name and everything else comes from that.
  • Mr. Hennessy wears mostly his own perfumes – Straight to Haven and Back to Black. The only exclusion from the rule is the original Féminité du Bois by Shiseido of which he still has half of the bottle.
  • He doesn’t color his perfumes. The green color of A Taste of Haven comes naturally from the lavender oil.
  • Tuberose in his perfume is real (unlike the one in Fracas’ perfumes) and oud is synthetic (he said something about not wanting to be seen as condoning the child labor that goes into collecting real oud).
  • In August (or September) Kilian Parfums will launch his next – and the last in The Temptations theme of the L’Oeuvre Noire collection – fragrance with the very fitting name: The Last Temptation (notes to include raisings, incense and vanilla). Unfortunately, there was no preview (pre-sniff?) for that new perfume. We asked.

After the presentation Kilian was signing bottles of perfumes that people bought. I wasn’t tempted to buy anything only because by the strange paths of destiny five months ago when I got some samples from Saks for this line they were out of those two that I think I might have liked enough to buy just for the purpose of getting an autograph. Now I got a sample of one of them (Love and Tears) so I’ll be prepared for the next time. But to describe the effect he had on me I should say that I decided not to give away two of the samples of his perfumes that I tried, didn’t like and brought with me to find better hands for them. I took them back home and decided to give them another try – that was how Killian’s passion to his perfumes affected me.

In my mind that was the best part of the Sniff event, but there were many other pleasant moments – meeting with interesting people, visiting different stores (Diptyque, Hermes and Chanel boutiques, Saks, Barney’s, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom perfume counters), meeting three perfumers (in addition to Kilian we met Delrae Roth and Ineke Ruhland).

Catch of the Day

Catch of the Day

I bought two bottles of perfumes – Tam Dao in Dyptique’s boutique (they were really great to us, so I decided to buy there the perfume I planned to buy for a while even without realizing that there was a very nice gift with the purchase) and the last bottle of Bronze Goddess at Bloomingdales (Dee, do you see what you’ve done?). The picture doesn’t show seven hand-made samples from Nordstrom but I have them (while everybody else was trying Ineke’s perfumes, all of which I’ve tried already from the discovery set I have, I could have made even more testers but I just couldn’t find anything else I wanted to try).


It was a long and eventful day which I enjoyed tremendously. I hope there will be more such events in my area in future.

As always, feel free to post a link to your blog’s post(s) related to the topic.

Images: my own (I wish I had a better camera with me at the event).


29 thoughts on “Catch of the Day: By Kilian, Diptyque, Ineke and others…

  1. Wow, sounds like you had a really great day! Mr. Hennessey is certainly adorable. I adore Tam Dao and really want a bottle of it. As far as Kilian’s creations go, I really love Pure Oud, which must be all synthetic based on what you mentioned about him not wanting to contribute to child labor (although I am certain there are ways of obtaining oud without contributing to child labor).


    • Yeah, I thought about “other ways” while listening to his explanation, but you should agree it’s a nice sentiment.
      BTW, I double checked in his press release: they spell his last name Hennessy. I didn’t know either.


  2. I was so happy you were able to attend, and I’m glad you had a good time. Nice article about Kilian!

    One of the things he mentioned about the oud is that it is not only potentially not sourced properly, it is also protected, and therefore very expensive and difficult to obtain. He uses well-made synthetics, for sure – that Incense Oud is amazing.


  3. Aaaaargh! I want to hear Killian speak live (and see him in person). :)
    It sounds like a perfect day to me and I’m glad another Bronze Goddess fan just unearthed herself. ;)

    It seems these days everyone is meeting perfume people – Krista attended a presentation by Mr. Malle, you heard all about By Kilian line, I wish someone would come to Zagreb and I could attend…


    • Not only I bought Bronze Goddess but I immediately shared it with one of the participants of the event (symbolical handing on Dee’s torch).

      One day either somebody will come to your city or you’ll go some place where that somebody has an appearance (you know, the mountain, Mohammed… ;) )


    • Unless you come across the brand in a store (one of 122 sales points around the world, if I’m not mistaken in the number) or get them in a friendly swap, do not pay for testing the whole range, start with those that appeal to you from the notes description. Had I paid for those that I tested first I would have been very disappointed. Now I’m just sad I didn’t get Kilian to sign one of those that I might end up liking and buying. Oh, well…


  4. It’s an incredible meet up!
    I thought about coming for this one, but it fell on the dates my Mom was visiting me from overseas and she didn’t feel like taking a full day drive. So I missed the meet-up… but I did not miss the Bronze Goddess — I bought a bottle on May 5th!! (yes, Dee, I am looking at you!)

    We can be a Bronze Goddess club!


  5. Sounds like a fun day, and I will be interested to hear how it goes as you revisit the By Killian samples you have. And, congrats on the Bronze Goddess. All this buzz about it! I need to track some down, obviously!


    • It’s been sold out at most places online. I found my bottle at SF Bloomingdales (and as of last Saturday they still had 1 in stock). And online you can still buy it from Ulta.


    • Again in SF. If I’m not mistaken, they organize it twice a year. Last year it was some time in October, if I’m not mistaken (I missed it). I saw your e-mail on the list so I figured out you were from around.


      • Oh, this sounds lovely! I am close enough to drive, but this would be a long drive. But it is closer, much closer than New Orleans — BN is working on that meeting now. Thanks for letting me know!


  6. Thanks very much for this report on the event, Undina. Really enjoyed it. Glad to hear Mr. H is as charming as he seems! I like Love and Tears the most out of the Kilians I’ve tried so far, but I do find Rose Oud intriguing (though I’m not generally an oud fan).

    What is it with the SAs at Hermes boutiques? I keep hearing bad reports about them. Too scared to try the one in London but working up to it!

    Ha ha, Dee strikes again! Enjoy your purchases.


    • Tara, glad to see you here.

      I want to test Love & Tears on skin, but keep postponing it for one reason or the other. I want to be fair towards both my current favorites and those great samples that found their way to me earlier… But I will test it!

      As to the SAs… Every time I come across that type of an attitude I’m astonished: not only being polite doesn’t cost you anything, but also you can never know for sure who you’re dealing with.
      Personally, I wasn’t just browsing: I wanted to try a couple of Hermessence and in the moment could go for a purchase. Well, another day, another place.


  7. Pingback: This Week « another perfume blog

  8. Потрясающе! Ах, если бы я могла к тебе присоединиться. Очень интересное мероприятие и описала ты его замечательно, очень живо :)


  9. Pingback: In the Search for the Perfect… By Kilian Perfume – Undina's Looking Glass

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