Royal Leather, the latest fragrance from By Kilian, was a surprise. I thought it was actually interesting, and that’s not a word I think I’ve ever used for a Kilian fragrance. It’s a brand that, in all honesty, does little for me as a general rule because its signature seems to be mere smoothness and refinement rather than originality or bold character. But Royal Leather doesn’t follow the usual Kilian pattern of taking a typical, conventional bouquet and simply making it smoother than things from other brands. It’s bolder than many of its siblings and a little more interesting in its composition as well because it forgoes the usual Russian style of endlessly smoky, tarry birch leather and adds a few quirky twists, like juxtaposing hawthorn with heliotrope. Admittedly, the end result still resembles a smoother form of one or two fragrances from other perfume houses, but those scents are outliers from the typical leathers I encounter. And, I have to say, Royal Leather has a killer drydown.