For most women, summertime fragrances resemble rich and fruity scents—notes of citrus, flora and clean air are popular this time of year, but to be perfectly honest following the crowd has never been our thing. Instead of spritzing on a body splash that reminds us vaguely of the Victoria Secret perfumes we had when Britney Spears was still reigning Queen of Pop, we prefer to connect with nature on a deeper level. Kilian’s The Asian Tales Collection houses two new fragrances—Sacred Wood and Imperial Tea that are perennial favorites. Light floral and woody scents, these fragrances connect with culture and nature in a very real way that captures the beauty of Asian culture and fragrances of the continent.
Imperial Tea is a clear nod toward the history of tea and was inspired by the folklore of The Big Red Toga Tea, in which a young man goes on a quest to find a remedy to save his ailing mother. Channeling this story of a spiritual and imperial journey (for the boy’s mother was one of the emperor’s courtesans), the fragrance is meant to show the meaning and symbolism within the culture both in fragrance and presentation. The bottle is housed in a black lacquer box fitted with a red cord and coin charm to represent loyalty, courage and righteousness. With top notes of jasmine, green tea and white musk it’s a deep fragrance that smells natural and fresh.
Sacred Wood seeks to emulate the authentic fragrance of Sandalwood from Mysore that is no longer allowed for use in perfumes due to its dwindling numbers. Using essential oils, steaming milk, hot spices and polished wood, Kilian attempts to recreate the scent and does so with great success. What is left are underlying tones of geranium, carrot and cumin with end notes of cedar wood, sandalwood and incense. The fragrance was inspired by the Indian tale of Savitri, a princess that was able to persuade the god of death to spare her husband with her beauty, innocence and loyalty.
Both perfumes, while rich in fragrance, are some of the longest lasting, full-bodied scents we’ve experienced—anything you pick up at Sephora won’t even come close. Lasting all day, the perfume takes a distinct journey on your skin starting with heavier top notes and ending in light underlying tones that linger long after the day is through. The Asian Tales Collection also includes Bamboo Harmony, Flower of Immortality and Water Calligraphy—which, aside from having cool names, are also inspired by Asian culture. However if heady, natural fragrances aren’t for you (or you’re not partial to oriental scents), Kilian does offer bespoke perfumes so that customers can work with the perfumery to create their own iconic scent.
Kilian Fragrances are available online and in fine department stores. Priced from $80-$245.