Niche Fragrance Magazine

A Letter to Kilian Hennessy about Criminal of Love

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Dear Kilian Hennessy,


You are rich and you are beautiful. Your signature look of the white shirt unbuttoned to your navel somehow works for you. You have, I am guessing, unfettered access to all the free cognac you could ever drink. You are also charming, I hear.

But I am angry with you. I’ve just tried the best perfume you’ve made to date – Criminal of Love – and yet, I cannot buy it because you made it exclusive to the Russian market. What the hell, Kilian, what the hell?

But where are my manners? First of all, I should thank you for reaching inside my head and plucking out all the things I had on my private wish list for a rose perfume. I know you know what it smells like, so for those who don’t, I will try to describe it. Right at the opening, there is a slightly fruity rose spiked with cardamom and saffron. The more I wear this, though, I am unsure whether the fruitiness at the top is coming from the Turkish rose you used or if it’s one aspect of the tobacco leaves I am picking up. It is spicy and warm, but a little bit austere. It’s definitely a masculine-leaning rose. Then comes a warm, slightly rubbery incense and tons of damp, moldy patchouli. It kind of smells like the inside of an old church – gloomy, moldy, dusty, slightly smoky from burned incense, and yet at the same time, uplifting.

nd.23340The real wonder of the scent, though, is the tobacco. There is tons of it in this perfume – dry, fruity, papery, toasty, like sheaves of tobacco leaves laid out to dry in the sun, their enticing aroma filling the air for miles around. I live in the Balkans, where tobacco is grown, and I often smell it drying out in the fields, each long, leathery brown leaf hanging over a pole, almost like grapes from a vine. In Criminal of Love, I am astonished and touched to find one of the truest portraits of real tobacco I have smelled outside of Tabac Aurea, that wonderful scent by Sonoma Scent Studios. It is genius the way the dry, woody aspects of tobacco leaf are accentuated by the papery smell of the papyrus note.

I love almost everything about Criminal of Love. The way the rose, incense, tobacco, and spices play peekaboo with each other, so that you catch different notes at different times. The way you named this and the other perfumes in the Russian exclusives series after popular R n’ B songs. The way the perfume achieves dryness and woodiness without losing a certain balmy, creamy feel at the base. I even love the thoughtful way you made the bottle look like a sex egg, because if there’s one thing in the world I enjoy more than perfume, it’s embarrassing the hell out of my mother and I think seeing this on my shelf would do the job. I believe there are satin handcuffs included with the purchase? Thank you for that. Nice touch.

But Kilian – I can’t buy Criminal of Love. Not legally, anyway, and not without the bothersome step of using perfume mules. And you know, with the bottle looking like a sex egg, there’s no knowing how the perfume mules actually choose to smuggle it. So I’d rather not take the risk.

So, Kilian, I am writing to ask, no, beg you to bring Criminal of Love to the mass market and to stop hiding its splendor in the cold, Tundra wastelands of Russia. What did Russia ever do to deserve such exclusivity anyway? Ok, yes, so they may have produced a bit of literature and some damn fine vodka. And yes, it is true that they have a President who releases charming instagram photos of him wrestling with bears and riding mammoths in nothing more than leather chaps (the President, of course, not the bears or mammoths). And ok, technically, Russia may have stopped the scourge of Hitler in the East, sacrificing millions of her own citizens doing so. But other than that….oh….well, on second thoughts, maybe they do deserve to have exclusive rights to Criminal of Love.


But damn it, the fact that this fine perfume is not available for purchase anywhere outside Russia is just criminal.


Fragrantica notes for Criminal of Love: Cardamom, saffron, Somali incense, cedar, papyrus, Turkish rose, patchouli, tobacco, and immortelle.

Each fragrance comes with a sexy and provocative gift intended for “adult games”.

My name is Claire, I'm a 39-year old mother of two, and I am a freelance writer and consultant. I love perfume, any perfume, practically all of 'em. Other interests such as writing, reading, and painting fall tragically behind the perfume. It's a hobby that tends to be all-consuming (of both my time and my money).

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