Tuberose Series 10: Beyond Love

All right, already. I am chewing diligently on my earlier words about By Kilian being unworthy of my attention due to their exclusive attitude and fancy-pants packaging, with ridiculous pricing to match. I Wuz Wrong, at least about this one. On the other hand, it would never have touched my skin if I hadn’t found a slightly-used travel refill at a deep, deep discount.

Perfume Review: By Kilian Beyond Love (prohibited)
Date released: 2008
Perfumer: Calice Becker
Sample provenance: 7.5 ml bottle, bought second hand in 2009.

Subcategory: Tuberose soliflore – but both buttery AND green.

Once again, here’s the review from PTG, by Luca Turin (and boy, is he ever the Calice Becker fanboy, isn’t he?):

**** Tuberose tuberose… Not only is the smell of tuberose flowers wonderful, it isn’t even, properly speaking, floral in the clean, vegetal sense of floral fragrances. Tuberoses smell of butter, rubber, leather, blood, and heaven knows what else. Using fresh flowers as a reference, much as Roudnitska did with muguet for Diorissimo, Calice Becker has composed a straight-up tuberose using the best absolute from India, with touches of other notes (magnolia, iris) to narrow the gap between the extract and the fresh flower. The result is the best tuberose soliflore on earth.

Oh-kay, if he says so. I’m sad to say that I have never smelled fresh tuberoses. They’re a little upmarket for the rural area I live in, and I’m unwilling to spend big bucks at the florist. I did check around. The clerks at four of the five shops within fifteen miles of my house didn’t even know what tuberose was. The woman at the fifth shop – my favorite, naturally, a little hole-in-the-wall place on a side street, with a parking lot barely big enough for three cars – knew what they were, knew where to get them, said they were gorgeous, but warned me that there would be a minimum of $75 for special order flowers they didn’t normally carry, and did I want the shop to get them? Were these for a wedding or special occasion? I explained that I was just checking around, and thanked them. (Sometimes you have to love living in a small town. Sometimes it’s a pain – and sometimes it’s both at the same time.)

In any case, I do have a small bottle of tuberose essential oil on hand. I diluted it in grapeseed oil to the proper concentration (the shop said 2-4% in carrier oil was safe for skin, so I made it a 4% solution) and tried it on one wrist. You know what? It smells great. Seriously. Of course, you have all the oil issues – low sillage, sticky skin – but it truly smells lovely, if a bit simple. I liked it better than I liked Kai, as a matter of fact, which was another fragrance I called simple. Then, too, you have to love tuberose, which I do. The little 1-dram (4ml) bottle I bought cost something like $3, which probably means that you can buy it cheaper in larger quantities, and that it isn’t terribly expensive even in small bottles, and that even the cheap version is nice. How cheap must synthetic tuberose be, if perfume houses use that instead of the essential oil? Cheapskates.

The By Kilian website lists these notes for Beyond Love (prohibited), under the label “To discover the perfumer’s formula” – and what that “prohibited” thing is all about, I don’t know, although I assume it’s more marketing hoopla about forbidden flowers and carnal love and whatnot:

Fruity Note
     Coconut accord                 10g
Floral Notes
     Egyptian jasmine absolute   20g
     Tuberose concrete            250g
     Tuberose absolute            300g
     Green tuberose accord       50g
     Tuberose petals accord    480g
Amber Notes:
     Amber gris accord            10g
     Tonkin musk reconstituted 80g

Oh-kay again. I notice they don’t bother to say what’s actually in the stuff, although they make a big deal of listing the grams of each accord. (I do understand that there’s a difference between concrete and absolute, because they’re obtained by different methods of extraction. But puh-lease. Coconut accord contains something other than coconut? Green tuberose accord and tuberose petals accord are somehow different? This is supposed to make me want to buy the stuff?)

I’ll stop ragging on the By Kilian website now, I promise. Because, really, Beyond Love is very beautiful. I admit that it is miles more gorgeous than the simple tuberose essential oil (thank goodness, or I’d start wringing my hands over the State of Perfumery). I’m going to make assumptions that Beyond Love contains at least some coconut, some jasmine, some musk and synthetic ambergris, plus a honkin’ ton of real tuberose essence – and because LT says so, maybe some magnolia and iris too.

The first five minutes of Beyond Love are like a speeded-up, seen-at-a distance film of Tubereuse Criminelle: you get a hit of camphor-menthol, and a smaller one of rubber, and about half a second of undercooked chicken, and then it’s all gone and it’s tuberose, tuberose, tuberose. Less green and florist-fresh than Carnal Flower, less buttery-creamy than Fracas*, it smells both tropical-jungle green and seductively, headily floral. The coconut is very faint, adding a dreamy, milky quality without being too sweet or reminding me of suntan lotion. And I don’t smell any basenotes at all – just tuberose. Which shouldn’t surprise me, since tuberose does tend to take everything else hostage in composition. My guess is that the ambergris-musk base simply extends the length of time I continue to smell the tuberose, without adding much to the perceptible scent.

It has been several months since I wore *Fracas (review pending), so I’m going to get it out and test it in a Celebrity Death Match, but based on my memory of it, I’d say that I prefer Beyond Love as being a tad more wearable on any occasions not requiring full-length bias-cut satin gowns, opera gloves, and diamante. Not that I’d wear Beyond Love to work – it’s too dressy-feminine for that – but I would definitely wear a discreet dab of it on social occasions. Yes, even to the theater, but just a tiny dab on one wrist. So far, Carnal Flower is half a mile in front of everything else, with Beyond Love and Fracas close together in second and third position. But the race for My Favorite Tuberose Scent isn’t over.

Side note: I’ve worn BL solo three times, and twice now have had it on next to something vanilla and been impressed with the results. First time, it was the far drydown (14 hours after application) of Havana Vanille, when it’s all deep, rich vanilla liqueur. Second time, it was the drydown of BL (7 hours after application, with just a hint of tuberose left) with a spritz of Shalimar Light Blue Juice (which is more strongly simple vanilla than the original version, IMO). Both times I couldn’t keep my nose away from my wrist: Tuberose+Vanilla = Awesome.

The Bottom Line :
Quality       Definitely A. Beautiful, fresh-smelling, natural, and seamless.
Grab-scale score    8, maybe 8.5. (Still trailing Carnal Flower.)
Short description    Jungle tuberose.
Cost      $$$$   I’ll be honest, if I hadn’t found it used-n-cheap (my favorite!) I’d have been seriously annoyed by the pricing, and I doubt whether I’d like it as much. Unfair? Probably, but I gotta live with myself, you know.
Earns compliments:   Yes. Bookworm liked it, The CEO liked it, my girlfriends liked it. Gaze said “meh,” although usually he likes the same things I like, so that was the one demurral.
Scent presence   Moderately strong. Moderate to big sillage (be careful with the dosage, lest you asphyxiate people on the elevator). Lasts 6-8 hours. Like I said, I wouldn’t wear it to work.
Review Report: NST, PST, Perfume Posse

Top image is from the By Kilian website.  Lower image is Tuberose by dbfarrell2003 at flickr.


12 thoughts on “Tuberose Series 10: Beyond Love”

  1. This weekend I went on a perfume shopping bonanza around London and found some Kilian on sale for the first time. It was probably in Harvey Nichols. The packaging is intriguing and there's something about the name that makes it unusual too. After your review, I will definitely put this on my 'to sniff' list and give it a go soon.

  2. I found myself reading your post and involuntarily sucking my breath in and saying "oh no"!! You've never smelled fresh tuberose? Oh no!! I would think you could grow them there, perhaps. I grew them in New Mexico, and they have 6 months frost there. I had to tuck them in against a southwest wall, but still…Tuberose is everywhere, it seems– I haven't gotten around to "Beyond Love"– I'm so backed up in my sample pile– I think I have it here somewhere. have to wait for my head to clear to smell it.

  3. SS – Kilians on SALE!?! Wow.LCN, I may have to look into it. My zone is 7A (the cold half – we're in the mountains), and according to a bulb website I just checked, apparently I *could* grow them and just make sure to mulch them extra well in the winter. Would probably have to amend the soil a great deal, since they like sand, and we've got clay.

  4. I wanted to love this, but there is a special "house note" peculiar to all the By Kilians – even Prelude to Love, where it is more muted – that gives me a headache, sadly.SignatureScent – I got a full set of samples from Harvey Nichols – by ringing up, mind – I have never been offered even one in store!

  5. Mals86 – I didn't mean on sale, as in discounted. I just meant that it's the first place that I've ever seen it at all. Confusing? Sorry! Flittersniffer – it's never even crossed my mind to call up for samples…. Have you done that at other places? Interesting. Did you say it was for a blog review, or just for you as individual.(Sorry for the hijack Mals 86)

  6. SS – no prob, hijack all you want as long as you’re talking ‘fumes.

    Re the “on sale” phrase – wonder if that’s a US vs UK usage thing? To mean “offered for purchase,” we say “for sale,” and you say “on sale”? I usually use “on sale” to mean discounted. I had a really, really good friend when I was growing up whose parents were Brits, and I read a shocking number of British authors, so most of the time it doesn’t throw me. However, every now and then it does. (My friend grew up partly in the US, partly in the UK, and she and her mom went back to Manchester permanently when her parents split up. Now she’s married to an ex-footballer and living in the South of France. Hi, Sarah, if you’re reading!)

  7. Hi! I just discovered your blog and love it!
    Beyond love is my favorite tuberose (though I haven’t tried SL’s TC). It strikes the perfect balance between interesting beauty and wearability. I love Carnal Flower too, but though it is more interesting and complex, it sometimes is a bit difficult for me to pull off. When it works, it works wonders!

  8. I pulled my sample of this one out after reading your review the other day and ….

    Nope, still don’t like it. It never seems to get past that vaguely medicinal note for me and I left it on all night. So, fortunately for my wallet, Back to Black remains the only Kilian that I’m in love with.

  9. Zazie! Somehow I knew you’d be by to champion your Beyond Love! It really surprised me how much I liked it. I still think, though, that finding an inexpensive bottle made a difference, as biased as that is. Price does, unfortunately, have a huge bearing on my brain. Regarding CF – I think people either LOVE that greenness (I do) or they don’t. It’s fairly quiet on me, and that might matter in terms of wearability.

    Cynthia – you just never know, do you? Tube Crim nearly killed me, despite Robin’s glowing review. I think skin matters a great deal more than PTG thinks it does. You love PCTG, right? I didn’t. Oh well. I can’t love everything, it would bankrupt me. (Have you tried SSS Tabac Aurea, or not? I can’t remember.)

  10. I loved PCTG – but I love most of the Lauders. I know that for some people, there’s something in the base that ruins them. Most of the Bonds are that way for me – the rest are just flat-out gag inducing from the beginning. I always figure that it’s money saved – especially if I love something less expensive more.

  11. I think it’s a lovely fleshy coconut tuberose, with some green inside. I didn’t get any rubber or chicken or any of that. I love it because it’s simple and beautiful.

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