Stained with Darkness, Kilian Dark Lord

I don’t know how to explained it but I always had this sort of liking for bad characters in movies, books or games. Even though they basically always lose against main protagonists I wasn’t able to feel negative emotions towards these shady characters. Perhaps this is a reason why I decided to try a newest release from Kilian, whose name – Dark Lord, sounds like a title of a mischievous person dressed in black, wearing a cape and a mask. But does the fragrance match with this picture?


Dark Lord begins with a dash of vibrant piquancy coming from two kinds of pepper – Sichuan and Bourbon one. The perfume has a grainy texture, exuding an overall feeling of warm spiciness. There’s no pungency in there but I get an impression of a red hot metal underneath the top layer of spices. After a moment a few drops of bergamot oil are splashed on top of the peppercorns, introducing a nice zing to the scent. Its tanginess accentuates the spicy feeling even more. But… there’s a tad of zesty freshness because of it as well. It’s more masculine in style.

Heart of the composition hides a lot of davana which gives me the impression of something dry, peppery and at the same time it reminds me of immortelle accord. When rum appears in Kilian Dark Lord the perfume immediately becomes more liquory. It gains a boozy kind of sweetness that brings to mind a sugar cane syrup. Thanks to this alcoholic facet the perfume becomes more luminous and bright. Sambac jasmine is a contrasting ingredient here as floral vibe it diffuses is not very strong but it feels more nocturnal in perception. In this perfume jasmine is washed off it’s narcotic richness.

dark lord

In the core of this fragrance I discovered a leathery tone. It feels black and luxurious – at first like interior of a vintage care but after a few minutes it’s actually more like inside of an expensive bag. It’s infused with cypriol which adds more darkness and depth. Woody note of cedar along with vetiver of a more rooty variety together add a little bit more heft to Dark Lord but at any point the perfume doesn’t really feel heavy. Additional notes include patchouli, this one adds earthiness to the blend.

To be honest with you Dark Lord by Kilian doesn’t smell original to me. Actually it smells a lot like a niche cousin of Gucci Guilty Pour Homme Absolute which is not that much of a surprise once you know that both were composed by perfumer Alberto Morillas. But Gucci came one year before. Refering to its name, this Kilian offering is not overly dark and I could easily name a couple of fragrances that evoke noir feeling much better than this perfume here. Money saved I guess.

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Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Duet

Modern world of perfumery is a little bit like a sinusoid. One moment you embrace the femininity or worship the strength of a man. All this only to turn by 180° the next moment and go back to the talk that you can be anything you’d want to be & that gender doesn’t matter. Following that thought perfumer Francis Kurkdjian started working on two new fragrances that would have the same DNA, but would create different gender fluid scent portraits. Both fragrances share the same name and are to be differentiated by the way it has been written on the bottle. Let’s get to smelling them now.

Gentle fluidity (majuscule G, minuscule f, silver details flacon) starts with a cold-as-ice note of juniper berry. The perfume starts very aromatic and spacious but it has a very chilly effect to it. The way it smells immediately makes me think of a glass of gin with ice cubes clanging against glass walls. Just add an olive and you could almost drink this, as it smells almost like gin & tonic. Since it’s juniper there’s also a metallic facet that accentuates the frigid opening of Gentle fluidity even more.


Slowly and after some time the silver edition of Gentle fluidity (very accurate choice of silver for this cold impression) starts evolving. It doesn’t feel as cold as earlier but a juniper note is still present on skin. However the fragrance begins to develop a slightly balmy and gently spicy facet. Freshness of juniper gradually creates room for a vibrant and somewhat dry (think paper dry) note of nutmeg. Paired with coriander seed which creates slightly warmer, comfortable aura around the wearer. For me it’s a smart fragrance for a man in a suit.

This combination of dryness and spiciness, lined with continuously present juniper in the 2nd plan, lead to the base of Gentle fluidity. That particular part of new Maison Francis Kurkdjian creation highlights some woody accents – but they are quite lightweight, not hefty at all. There’s something ambery hiding deeper in the drydown, at different moments I could catch more balsamic or more sweet nuances floating around my wrists. This perfume is powerful and delicate at the same time. More smart and elegant than outgoing.

gentle Fluidity (minuscule g, majuscule F, golden details flacon) smells like a completely different perfume despite sharing the same notes with a silver version. Right after I spray it on my skin this fragrance offers me a delicious accord of vanilla. It’s very smooth & luxurious. It actually brings to mind a flavor of creme brulee coming from a workshop of famous patissier. It’s a very rich, mouth-watering & sensorial experience for the palate and, at the same time it doesn’t feel overpowering.


This vanilla, apart from being incredibly sensual and comforting also brings forward a delicate facet or caramelized sugar on top of this perfume-dessert. gentle Fluidity later develops a sort of a background floral note that to me smells like orchid. After some time a soft and embracing spiciness emerges, highlighting the presence of coriander seed in the new Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent. I find this vanillic goodness to be incredibly appealing, its ethereal and rich in its unique way. It’s like an invisible caress, lika a cocoon.

Deriving directly from a custardy vanilla is the abundance of musk, fragrancing the air around the wearer. With its soft & fuzzy character it feels very comforting and cozy. Right from the very beginning gentle Fluidity could be described as having incredible radiance – it’s full of luminosity. As hours go by the scent becomes even warmer, bringing up some ambery woods. Their oriental, woody aroma makes the perfume linger on skin for many hours. Golden color is so well-fitting to a perfume brimming with femininity.

To me a new Maison Francis Kurkdjian duet of Gentle fluidity and gentle Fluidity is a perfect example of creating a perfume is in fact a little bit of an… experiment. A small change of proportion, of a ratio between the ingredients can lead to a completely different composition. According to the brand both new scents comprise of the same 49 elements but Francis Kurkdjian highlights only 6. It’s a different way of accentuating those six that lead to two separate olfactive experiences. I think both versions are great but I’d choose golden version over the silver one. Mostly because it’s so cuddly.

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