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A Taste of Heaven – Just what I needed


Photo - Wikimedia Commons - Lavender Honey by Minette Layne, 2007

The Maritime provinces and North-eastern U.S. states just got hammered by another vicious winter storm, one of the worst of this long, record-breaking winter. When is this freezing torture ever going to end?

Today, it’s raining, and just above freezing here in Toronto, and I was so excited when I pulled up the blinds this morning that I couldn’t wait to get outside to breathe “warm” air again. “My god, what’s happening to me”, I thought, “I’m losing it!” The fact of the matter is that the past three months have surely been much more than the Winter of our Discontent, to use Shakespeare’s famous phrase, and much, much more like the Winter of our Disbelief, as local columnist, John Mazerolle, describes it (read his hilarious and extremely witty column here).

Inspired by this comparatively minor but hugely significant change in the weather, I decided I would leave cold, mordant thoughts behind, and go searching for a taste of heaven. Fortunately, I quickly found it upstairs on my perfume shelves – A Taste of Heaven, by Kilian.

Kilian Hennessy is the heir to a long line of cognac makers, the world-famous Hennessy brand, and the grandson of the founder of the LVMH Group, which now owns luxury labels Louis Vuitton, Dior, Kenzo, Fendi, Guerlain, Givenchy, Tag Hauer, Bulgari, De Beers, Moët et Chandon,  Veuve Cliquot, Dom Pérignon….to name a few. He grew up in the family business, graduated from the Sorbonne, where his graduating thesis was on the semantics of odours in search of a language common to gods and mortals. In search of the “angels share” – the percentage of a vintage that inexplicably evaporates from cognac cellars, like an offering to the gods – he encountered the world of perfumery, and fell in love with it.

He went on to train with great noses, working at Christian Dior, Paco Robanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani. In 2007, he launched his own brand, by Kilian, with a collection of ten scents named “L’Oeuvre Noire”.

“I conceived the "L'Oeuvre Noire" Collection with a quasi-Faustian ambiance in mind, 
those that darkened Rimbaud’s spirit or conjured the witches in MacBeth.
 But it also recalls contemporary R&B lyrics like those of 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg Lion or Pharell Williams, 
all about temptation in the face of urban violence, like Baudelaire
 before them, as expressed in his prose poetry.”

That's quite a cultured conception. The "L'Oeuvre Noire" collection is also, according to, composed with the highest quality raw materials, the rarest and most expensive essential oils without any limit to the perfumer’s imagination. And the perfumer for six of the ten scents is Calice Becker, creator of such hugely successful scents as J’Adore for Dior, Estee Lauder’s Beyond Paradise, as well as the 1991 re-formulation of the iconic green scent, Balmain Vent Vert. To put it succinctly, she has a way with florals - we list her fabulous tuberose soliflore, Kilian's Beyond Love.

So Heaven opens its doors, and I walk right into A Taste of Heaven. It was inspired by absinthe, the bittersweet nectar of poets, and the first thing I smell is lavender. It smells wild, pungent and pure, just like the lavender that Gwen experienced in Eau de Lavande. It’s so aromatic, with the sharp green resinous sweaty/salty note that is always there as soon as I roll the purple blooms between my fingers. It quickly becomes spicy, with a licorice/vanilla coating, which I love, because it marks the point at which the lavender note begins to sweeten and soften, and evolve into its divine self.

The true lavender scent arrives, but is soon accompanied by bergamot and sweet orange blossom, so it becomes deeper and fuller, and then changes again with the addition of absinthe, and its mouldy green-edged bitterness. The final opening accord reminds me of Guerlain Jicky – a lot – but this scent is warmer and sweeter.

The heart of A Taste of Heaven is Turkish roses in splendid full bloom, lolling on a bed of patchouli and oak moss – and lavender. Oh my, this is absolutely beautiful! It is so softly sweet and smooth, but bursting with rich vegetal aromas. And when the bourbon vanilla, sweet golden amber, and tonka bean with its chocolate facets slide into the mix in the base, the scent takes on a dark velvety sensation that can only be described as pure seduction.

There’s been an olfactory transformation taking place, from a traditional masculine aromatic, exhilarating in the opening notes, into a rich warm soothing scent that has an earthy voluptuousness in the dry-down, and which is much more feminine. And throughout is the lavender accord, built on three different kinds of lavender oils, allowing us to experience its nuanced beauty – the sharp–salty resins, the hay-like sweetness, the vanilla creaminess mixed with faint licorice, like frothy fennel. Who knew lavender was so complex, so other-worldly, so transporting?

I think I’ve died and gone to heaven.  Wait…I’m still here. I’m going to give myself a couple more spritzes of A Taste of Heaven, and go through this amazing dry-down again. I’m not in Heaven, but I have to tell you, it feels like heaven to just sit here and sniff this perfume.

A Taste of Heaven is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Categorized by Kilian as a Masculine, A Taste of Heaven is truly Unisex.