The grandson of the founder of the world famous cognac house ‘Moet-Hennessy’ chose this motto for himself, and, nowadays, the founder of the known perfumery Kilian brand – Kilian Hennessy.
The successor of the empire Hennessy has witnessed great triumphs in his time and the emergence of this brand in the world of perfumery is certainly one of them.
Having graduated from the Institute of Perfumery and Cosmetics (ISIPCA),
Kilian was lucky to work with the best perfumers of the world, such as Alberto Morillas, Jacques Kavalyer and Kalis Becker; creating aromas for Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani.
Soon thereafter, he conceived of his own brand and, in 2007, his own perfumery House of Kilian realised its dream. The first released collection won instant fame among judges of exclusive perfumery for its uncompromising luxury. The greatest feature of this perfumery brand is the absolute originality of each aroma.
The spirits of Kilian are only made manually and use only the most expensive ingredients for their creations, reviving the ancient recipes of perfumery art. As a result, complex, deep and sensual aromas are expressed.
Kilian can work on a single aroma creation for more than one year, employing a palette of ingredients and their combinations; much like true artists working on their works.
Kilian Hennessey considers it inadvisable to throw out empty bottles of their aromas. Firstly, they are works of art and, secondly, this would cause harm to ecology. Therefore, if an aroma (perfume) is finished, it is possible to get purchase a refill of the container by visiting the Kilian shop and having it poured for you.
Hennessey created an original vessel for the perfumery, in the form of a black keg. It is an independent creation for any unique perfume they create by mixing different aromas. Having bought some perfumes from Kilian, it is also possible to mix them in this black vessel and to create a wonderfully unique perfume.
A Taste of Heaven
The perfumery Kilian offers one of the most fashionable smells representing the fine tastes of the owner and his individual style. The spirits of this brand urges consumers to wake up their feelings, to become fascinated and to excite their consciousness.
Why did you not follow the family tradition and create a cognac of equal distinction, instead choosing create perfumes? Why such a path in such a competitive industry when a path of least resistance was open to you in the cognac market?
I always knew I would never join the family business. I wanted to be able to look at myself in the mirror and know that everything I achieved in life was because of me, not because of the last name I carried.
When I was in my fifth year in College, I wrote a thesis on the semantics of scents. In order to understand what I would be writing about, I did a “nose” school. The first day, the first minute I started smelling essential oils I was hooked! I knew instantly that perfume would become my world.
When looking back, I think it was close enough to cognac to feel comfortable, but far enough from the family to keep them at distance and feel free.
What is your earliest memory of flavors and aromas?
My “madeleine” is the scent of Tuberose as all the women in my family used to wear Tuberose based scents!
But my most vivid scent memory is the perfume wore by my grandfather… EAU SAUVAGE…He used to wet his hair with it. The smell of EAU SAUVAGE mixed with his pipe…That was the scent of my childhood.
Tell us how it all began?
One night I was having dinner at the Baccarat restaurant in Paris and after dinner I stopped by the connecting museum. They were exhibiting a century’s worth of perfume bottles made by Baccarat. When I realized what was the perfume industry a century ago, I became suddenly very ashamed of what we, collectively, have done with what used to be an Art! I stayed two hours in this tiny museum but when I left, my passion for perfume was reborn. I knew that this kind of perfumery was exactly what I wanted to do, was exactly what I believed customers deserved, was exactly what I was meant for.
What would be your favorite perfume ingredients?
My favorite scent is and will always be Tuberose! All the women of my family wore Tuberose scents. When I launched KILIAN back in 2007, a Tuberose scent was part of my 1st collection L’OEUVRE NOIRE. It is called “BEYOND LOVE, PROHIBITED”. And I guess Tuberose will always be part of my life as my future wife is also a Tuberose addict. I created for her a bespoke Tuberose scent with hints of Jasmine and daffodil. I called it SCARLET as a reference to GONE WITH THE WIND!
Can you name five of your favorite smells – not necessarily perfume smells, but in life?
Vanilla for the sensuality it brings into a composition.
Woods (clear or darks) for the character it brings into a composition. Sandalwood. Cedar wood from Atlas. Patchouli from Indonesia.
Florals (Essence and Absolute, not synthetic) for the quality, the beauty and frankly today for the uniqueness it brings to a composition. Tuberose. Rose. Jasmine.
Woods smell of the cognac cellars.
There are two theories about the smell of women. One was particularly popular in my childhood and was based on the fact or idea that a beautiful woman must have her own unique aroma associated with her, primarily by men. The second theory says that the spirits and, thus, the aroma of a woman must change depending on mood, time of day, season and style of dress.
Do you believe these ideas are still valid? Is there some kind of modern «cultural code» instructing us on how to use scents?
I believe both theories are valid.
No instruction on how to use scent except to “know the diffusion of your own scent”. A perfume is created to be smelled. But a perfume that is too over powerful becomes a nuisance. Between one spray and ten sprays lies elegance.
As for your product lines, are there any rules for ‘wearing’ your perfume? Age, status or time of day?
I don’t like stereotypes. Personally, I have a wardrobe of scents: I use “A TASTE OF HEAVEN”, “ABSINTHE VERTE” or my latest scent “LIGHT MY FIRE” when I go to work…I use either “BACK TO BLACK, APHRODISIAC” or “AMBER OUD” when I go out at night…I use “BAMBOO HARMONY” or “LEMON IN ZEST” on weekends when I am more casual.
As the naming of your perfumes or fragrances, is the fragrance created first and then the name is designated or vice versa?
In other words, is it possible that you create or settle on a name and then fashion a fragrance that suits the name chosen?
I always start with the writing of the story because I believe that a great perfume is first a great story, long before being a beautiful olfactive harmony. I am a storyteller of universal emotions, such as love, temptation, pleasure of forbidden… My aim is to tell olfactive stories that speak to the sensitivity of men and women.
Each name of my perfumes is a chapter within a collection. You have to imagine each collection as an olfactive book where each name is a chapter of this book. “GOOD GIRL GONE BAD” for example is part of the collection called “IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”, which is an olfactive metaphor of the myth of the original sin. And “GOOD GIRL GONE BAD” is, obviously, a metaphor of EVE!
What ‘flavor’ by Kilian was the most difficult for you in the art of creation?
They are always difficult! Great creations don’t come easy you know…it is always at least one year of work!!
What motivates your creative process? As each perfumer is always different in terms of emotions, nature, art or raw materials, what is the inspiration for you?
I find inspiration in everything…of course and mainly in Arts…but also I realize that my scents are becoming more and more autobiographic! I guess one day you will know everything you have to know about me through my scents!
As a person who perceives the world through smells, what do you believe true seduction smells like?
True seduction always has the scent of the person you love at the moment.
Please offer some advice to women who are looking for their perfume. Are there any criteria that a woman must take into consideration when choosing an aroma for themselves?
They have to really endorse it! Like a skirt or a pair of pants, you must feel comfortable and sexy wearing your scent.
I offer 35 different scents…so my advice is to try to find the perfect harmony for you! I believe my customer doesn’t want to smell like 5 million other men or women. No one wants to arrive at a party wearing the same dress as another woman.
Is there a secret to a successful fragrance?
If only I knew.... (laughing)
Have you personalized fragrances? If yes, is the creative process different?
Today, I am offering to customers the opportunity to create their own scent, their own olfactive signature. Each creation is the result of a very intimate creation process between the client and I. It depends of each client. Each creation process is different.
If you could create a fragrance for a historical or fictional character, who would it be and why?
For Baudelaire…his poetry is still haunting me.
Finally, a few words about Cyprus? Do you plan to come to see us again?
Absolutely! I loved Cyprus!!!
Do you think that Cyprus has its own fragrance? What is it?
Cyprus definitively deserves its own fragrance. I imagine it as a blend of marine notes with a dry finish.