By Kilian Addictive State of Mind Review and Giveaway


Finally, y’all. After a few too many rounds of uninspiring releases from By Kilian (ahem, Asian Tales), the new Addictive State of Mind collection is a stronger, less commercial effort. I think the concept of perfumes based on addictive substances has a lot of potential; I can’t be the only one salivating at the prospect of a Kilian chocolate scent. The first three fragrances in the series, Intoxicated, Light My Fire, and Smoke for the Soul, focus on the vices of coffee, tobacco, and marijuana. Sadly unrepresented is the most potent intoxicant of all, Kilian himself. “Skinny Robert Downey Jr.!” I hissed at my Sniffapalooza seat mates.

Intoxicated is extremely sweet, with more cardamom and less coffee than I was hoping for. There’s a strong resemblance to Thierry Mugler A*Men and the dearly departed Rochas Man. I still prefer Bond No. 9 New Haarlem for my coffee fix, but I think Intoxicated will easily be the most popular of these first three.

Light My Fire is a dry tobacco fragrance, more masculine and easygoing than the voluptuous, honey-drenched Kilian Back to Black. Unlike most tobacco fragrances, the emphasis is on tobacco itself rather than the accompanying vanilla and spices. My personal favorite, although I’m not sure I would pay Kilian prices for it.

Smoke for the Soul combines a hilariously unsubtle cannabis note with harsh, billowing birch tar smokiness. Probably the most interesting and the least wearable of the trio. Curiously, even though Smoke for the Soul has a much stronger smell than the other two fragrances, it has the weakest staying power. Not a particularly lasting high.

I have an extra Addictive State of Mind sample set from Sniffapalooza, and I’d love to share it with you! If you’d like to enter the giveaway, please leave a comment telling us your favorite, non-depressing addiction. Perfume counts, of course. I will close the giveaway at noon on Friday, October 17th. This giveaway is open to U.S. and international readers. Good luck!

Sonia Rykiel Belle en Rykiel

I have a long-held, no-longer-very-secret desire to be the kind of whimsical gamine who could pull off the Sonia Rykiel look. You know the type: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Audrey Tatou, Michelle Williams. Alas, I have what the Monty Python boys termed “huge tracts of land”, so I rarely fare well with such gamine fare. I imagine that this is what the poor 1920’s gals who had to bind their chests to achieve the flapper look felt like.

The official notes for Belle en Rykiel, according to Fragantica, are: lavender, mandarin orange, red currant, coffee, incense, heliotrope, amber, patchouli, vanilla and mahogany. At first sniff, I was ready to write BeR off as a Lolita Lempicka clone. However, BeR has a delightful trick up its sleeve. The coffee note is quite prominent, and mingles beautifully with the lavender and patchouli. I would describe BeR as the missing link between Lolita Lempicka and Bond No 9 New Haarlem.

BeR is far more robust than I would have expected from a fashion house that I mainly associate with glamorous French waifs. While I will likely never achieve the look of the Sonia Rykiel ingenue, her fragrance suits me just fine. It’s also ridiculously cheap, $31 for 3.4 ounces on fragrancenet.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (EDP)

Although I prefer the term “artistically disheveled”, my roommate could tell you that my side of the room is disastrous. It looks like Tiger and Elin tried to work out their marital issues. In the midst of all this chaos, only one thing manages to stay consistently clean and organized: my perfume collection. They sit in neat little rows on my nightstand- at least, the pretty bottles do. The less aesthetically pleasing bottles (hellooo, Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Rochas, and M.A.C.) are hidden away out of vanity. I know, I know, don’t judge a book by it’s cover, inner beauty, etc etc. Let me tell you a story about a little cologne I like to call Rochas Man.

I used to own a bottle of Rochas Man that was one of my very favorite perfumes (it smells EXACTLY like Bond No 9 New Haarlem, for all you Maurice Roucel fans), but the bottle was rather… awkwardly shaped. And yes, gentle readers, by “awkwardly” I do indeed mean phallic. It was hideous. No matter how lovely it smelled, I could not bring myself to display it alongside the Lolita Lempickas, Chanels, and Pradas. God help me, I am a terrible person.

See??? Can you really blame me, y’all?

Anyway, my eye for a pretty bottle is how I ended up with a bottle of JPG Classique EDP. I had only the vaguest recollection of how it smelled, but who could resist those luscious curves? Not I, clearly. Fortunately, Classique is just as lovely on the inside as it is on the outside. Classique is a very sensual blend, starring the sweet warmth of orange blossom and also featuring rose, chocolate, and anise. Mr. Gaultier talked a big game with Classique (“Just to be modern, [we added] one part nail polish remover!), but truthfully Classique is nothing groundbreaking. It’s just another woody-floral, which will probably be a tad too sweet for more intense perfumistas. Still, Classique is highly pleasant, so much so that I often reject other orange blossom fragrances for not measuring up.

A word of caution: Classique comes in two formulations, EDT and EDP. The two are quite different- a fan of one may not necessarily like the other. A flanker, Classique X, was recently released. Classique is available at most department stores and at Sephora for $44 for 2/3 of an ounce (only at Sephora), $78 for 1.6 ounces, and $100 for 3.3 ounces.

Disclaimer: I purchased a bottle of Classique from Sephora.

Bond No 9 Chinatown

When I was in California for Christmas this winter, we saw the new Terry Gilliam movie, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. It was strange, and very good, but mostly sad, because as everyone knows it was the last movie in which Heath Ledger appeared. As I watched, I really felt the loss.

British supermodel Lily Cole had a big part in this movie, and I can’t lie: I was pretty skeptical going in. When was the last time you saw a model do so much as a half-decent job as an actress? They gave Giselle all of, what, one line in The Devil Wears Prada? But to her credit, Ms. Cole was just fantastic. And more relevantly to this review, her character, Valentina, looks just like I imagine Bond No 9 Chinatown would if it was a person and not a perfume.

Valentina is a gypsy of a girl- flaming red hair, colorful, patched-up rags for clothes, a face that grabs and holds your attention. In my mind, Chinatown would be far from a conventional beauty (Lily Cole is actually quite weird looking). But like Valentina, some wild and indefinable quality about her compells all of the boys, even Heath Ledger, to promptly fall in love.

Chinatown is a juicy combination of peaches, bergamot, incense and sandalwood. It immediately reminded me of the most delicious plum tea that I once had. Unlike more “difficult” niche perfumes, Chinatown just plain smells good. One word of caution is that this “fruity chypre” is both very sweet and very strong. Although I think that the free spirited Chinatown is fabulous, it is a little too “hippie” for me personally. I fancy myself a little more polished, more of a Marilyn than a Brigitte Bardot. Chinatown would be perfect on some of the “boho” celebrities, like Jade Jagger, Sienna Miller, Erykah Badu.

Chinatown is often called the masterpiece of the Bond No 9 house, a line famous for gorgeous bottles and obscene pricing. It is not my personal favorite (that would be New Haarlem, which is essentially a wearable frappachino), but when I wore it for the first time in a while for this review, I was surprised and delighted by just how good it is.