The deed is done. The tenth and last perfume of the L’Oeuvre Noire By Kilian, Sweet Redemption – The End, is standing in front of me. I love neroli and this is why I think it is – next to Beyond Love – the most beautiful scent of the whole collection. There is no better mood enhancer than neroli and therefore it fits perfectly to grey autumn days. The End is wonderfully soft and remarkable at the same time. Its longevity is brilliant! Last night I put it on, just a little bit, today my office smells of this wonderful sweetness. The orange blossom blends perfectly with the balsamic notes, especially with my favorite ingredient opoponax. If the end is so sweet, one must not have fear. But I would like to let the master himself tell us about his final oeuvre…
With Sweet Redemption – The End you have completed your first perfume collection. How do you feel?
I feel great! A little bit nostalgic of course, but this perfume is the right closure for L’Oeuvre Noire. Now I have to surprise everyone with a collection that has to be different yet keeping the spirit of the brand. I have gone through so many names and designs already – some days it feels like an impossible mission!
For this scent you have been inspired by the poetry of Charles Baudelaire and the lyrics of Jim Morrison. What is the common theme, how did you explain the plot of this perfume to Calice Becker?
I told Calice that this scent had to sum up in a way the entire collection! I told her I wanted to express, literally, the “Redemption” facet of the name. This is why we used the balsamic notes, these notes that exist since for thousands of years, notes that human beings used to burn as an offering to the Gods, incense, myrrh, opoponax, benzoin, but with a sweetness to it. I reminded her of the book Faust written by Goethe and the fact that the devil ALWAYS lures with sugar, never with stingers! And this why we used the vanilla.
The collection describes all the steps in a relationship, from the beginning until the end. Why did you choose a rather light formula for the finale, why is the end a Sweet Redemption?
I don’t think it is a light formula. I think it is a formula where we actually have used essential oils with a lot of character (such as incense and myrrh), essential oils that are rarely used today (such as opoponax), but we managed to intertwine them in an orange blossom accord that allows this comfort that you describe as “light formula”.
What will be the next step? An epilogue?
Not an Epilogue!!! Rather a return to the origins of temptation!
For L’Oeuvre Noire you have been working with two female perfumers – Calice Becker and Sidonie Lancesseur. If you ever choose a male perfumer, who could this be? Whose work do you admire?
So many… Alberto Morillas, Jacques Cavallier, Pierre Bourdon…
You told journalist Michelyn Camen a secret: you drive alone in Paris for hours, after midnight. What makes these hours so special for you?
I just love the city of Paris and at night, you have no traffic so you almost have it for yourself! Almost a selfish guilty pleasure!
Night, darkness and the color black seem to be a recurrent theme in your work. Do you have a dark soul?
I don’t think so. For me it’s about the sexiness attached to the darkness, the elegance attached to the black and the fact that at night all boundaries fell! Everything becomes so much more exciting!
What would a secret visitor hear if he observed you working? (i.e. soliloquies, music, which kind of music)
Oh no… he would witness silence in my office and energy when around my team!
What’s the name of your alter ego?
You tell me!
(maybe Vicomte de Valmont, Liaisons Dangereuses, editor’s note)
Last thought before you fall asleep at the end of the day?
When I fall asleep, usually late, I have no more thoughts about work… as I only turn off the light after people in my NY office have ended their day. But once the light is off, I just think about my partner who lives in NYC…