By Kilian Single Malt

“Unnecessary” is the politest summation I can come up for to describe Single Malt, the new fragrance from By Kilian. “Derivative, regurgitated tripe” is a little closer to my true feelings. You can toss “monolithically singular,” “boring,” “unbalanced,” and over-priced” in there, too.

Single Malt via

Single Malt via

Single Malt is an eau de parfum that was created by Sidonie Lancesseur, ostensibly and officially as an exclusive for Harrod’s of London. Be that as it may, Kilian has it on all his websites for purchase, just as Apple Brandy is now widely available despite initially being exclusive to his New York boutique. (It’s the same story with Vodka on the Rocks which was once limited solely to Moscow.) Like its siblings, Single Malt seeks to pay homage to its chosen city via the liquor that Kilian thinks is most closely associated with it. I personally would choose port for London for historical reasons, and single malt for Edinburgh, but Kilian says on his website:

This exclusive scent, created for the Harrods Boutique, is an homage to London and its most emblematic liquor: WHISKY.

The heart balances between the golden reflection of wheat absolute and the sweet yet sophisticated character of plum. The woodsy dry down of SINGLE MALT composed of cedarwood essence from texas enriched by the vanilla absolute from Magadascar and tolu balm from Colombia gives to this fragrance an unconventional identity.

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Naomi Goodsir Or du Sérail: Harems, Hookahs & Gold

Sir Frank Dicksee, "Leila," 1892. Source:

Sir Frank Dicksee, “Leila,” 1892. Source:

An alcoholic harem master lies drunk in a pool of Calvados brandy in a seraglio made of amber, tobacco, and gold. A hookah lies next to a vat of booze, and wafts a fragrant fruitiness that mixes with the smell of musky cedar from the swamp which circles the harem like a moat and fortress barricade. Within the palace’s high walls is a small apple orchard dotted with bales of hay that are lightly coated with honey. In the lush gardens, exotic Indian davana flowers emit a tiny apricot scent, next to the custardy richness of ylang-ylang. At the palace’s heart is a courtyard where nubile concubines lounge on aromatic woody divans, dressed in thin silks made from vanilla. They dust their bodies with a light sprinkling of cocoa, as they nibble on toasted nuts and puff on a hookah. The sultan’s favorite, Leila, watches with a smile, glowing like a jewel in red and gold fabrics that match the stream of fruited liqueur pouring from a nearby fountain. The air is indolent, warm, musky, sweet, and filled with the smell of decadence, but darkness lies just around the corner. Slowly, shadows of tobacco and dry woods sweep over the ambered gold, covering it like an eclipse does the sun, until night finally falls over the harem. And, still, no-one bothers to help the drunken man collapsed in their midst. They all know what happens when you overindulge in the delights of the seraglio, or l’Or du Sérail.

John Frederick Lewis, "Reception," 1873. Source: Wikipedia

John Frederick Lewis, “Reception,” 1873. Source: Wikipedia

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