Tag Archives: 2018 launch

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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Heart of the Void, Amouage Opus XI

If you give it a short philosophic thought you might realize that perfume and books have quite a lot in common. Both writer and perfumer need time to finish their work, and that should not be rushed. What’s probably most important is that both have a story to tell, each in their own, unique way. I like reading books and I love perfume but I have to admit that last year I didn’t dedicate enough time to that first activity. And because people’s tastes differ not every book is meant to be read, nor every perfume smelled. But the narrative presented in the latest Amouage creation is like a reading with couple of first chapters being scary but you’d be glad you didn’t give up and read it to the end.

The moment you apply it on your skin Opus XI leaves no doubt it’s a mighty perfume. Without any warning you get to experience its full potential right from the start. On my skin the opening is very dark and balsamic with oud accord stepping to the front. Its raw and dense aroma fills your nose with enigmatic and mysterious fragrance. The feeling it spreads around has an oily and viscous character and the smell itself is quite dirty, animalic and veering on the edge of something fecal and medicinal at the same time. What I’m also noticing is that there are moments when agarwood has a slightly synthetic, plastic-like vibe hiding somewhere deep, in the background of this composition.

Opus XI is like an inkwell that someone just knocked over on the table. Its perfumed juice emulates spilled ink in this metaphor. Puddle of the black liquid slowly spreads and becomes bigger but when you look closer it could as well be a shapeless creature, crawling towards its prey. That’s how I see this new Amouage at first. After some time the perfume becomes earthier, with a distinctive smell of damp soil. It’s kind of like the air after the storm, like petrichor but much more nocturnal. At some point styrax becomes more prominent, combining this earthiness with resinous, balmy facets that add some warmth to this fragrance. It smells like a mix of myrrh and benzoin on my skin.


As hours fly Opus XI doesn’t seem as beasty as it was before. It’s drying down to a woody element that feels very elegant on the skin. The wood has a darker color – this thing doesn’t change. It smells like untreated oud wood or like mahogany maybe. There’s quite a lot of dryness to this phase so it makes me think of an aged parchment (with ancient magic spells) with a lovely substantivity. It’s reminiscent of nutmeg as Opus XI develops some warm spiciness that makes the perfume more embracing, cuddly even. This dry oriental woody accord – stylish and sort of masculine, reminds me of Agar Ebene from Hermes. Amouage one is much more present compared to the other one.

After experiencing Amouage Opus XI for longer than a day I realized that it’s not as complex as an Amouage perfume can be. But that’s not a flaw! More like a praise for a perfumer to be able to create an intricate structure with not many ingredients. Although I’m certain it was made of more than 4 ingredients. In the drydown the scent becomes herbal and aromatic through a marjoram note. Isn’t it more popular for Mediterranean cuisine rather than fragrance? Opus XI features also a thing called leatherwood. It made me think that it’s probably another fancy and modern synthetic ingredient evoking smells of wood and leather. Turns out it’s actually a plant, Eucryphia lucida.

Eventually, after many hours you can smell a leathery aspect of Opus XI – more sour and acrid at first but then evolving into a softer and fuzzier suede with a hint of shoe wax. Inspired by a world of fake information, Amouage creative director Christopher Chong worked together with perfumer Pierre Negrin on a fragrance that would reflect the Orient in a sincere way through the use of real and fake (synthetic) materials. A majestic oud without compromise was born. Opus XI is housed in a signature flacon of Amouage Library Collection (50 or 100 ml), this time in a cobalt blue color. This initially intimidating scent becomes your good companion in the course of the day.

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