Perfume Review: By Kilian Flower of Immortality

The daintiest of Chinese watercolours with sheer, minimalistic and translucent brush strokes. That is what comes to mind when I wear Flower of Immortality, the new fragrance from the luxury perfume house, By Kilian.

Chinese watercolour. Source: Xiami.com

Chinese watercolour. Source: Xiami.com

Flower of Immortality is an eau de parfum which will be released next week, in early April 2013, as the third in Kilian’s Asian Tales series of perfumes which first launched in 2012. It is a simple, uncomplicated, fruity-floral scent which is pretty but alarmingly evanescent — and not just for my skin.

Source: Tumblr.

Source: Tumblr.

Flower of Immortality celebrates white peaches, the flower of which represents immortality in ancient Chinese folklore. The perfume was inspired by “A Tale of the Fountain of the Peach Blossom Spring” where a fisherman follows the scent of peach blossoms and ends up in Utopia. Luckyscent has the full details on the scent which it describes as follows:

For Kilian, Flower of Immortality is, above all, an olfactory homage to the peach blossom and its very strong symbolism in China. This blossom, whose pink petals are unveiled only in the middle of the winter, is believed to have the power to bewitch the human soul and to make it immortal. It is the set of symbols and myths that surround the flower that Kilian wanted to recreate in this new fragrance.

peach blossomFlower of Immortality was composed as the memory of the utopian paradise, where the fragrance of peach blossoms brings a promise of hospitality and immortality. The smooth and juicy scent of White Peach, interweaved by the sweet and powdery notes of Carrot and Iris. A dazzling breeze of Blackcurrant Bud absolute refreshes while the exquisite Rose Crystal is softened by the Tonka Bean and the scent of Vanilla beans drying in the sun.

By Kilian FOI 50 ml Bottle.JPGThe perfume was created by Calice Becker and the full list of its notes, as compiled from both Fragrantica and LuckyScent, is as follows:

White peach, carrot seeds, blackcurrant bud, freesia, iris, rose, vanilla, tonka bean, and white musk.

Flower of Immortality opens on my skin with the very sweetest of white peaches. There is nothing heavy or ripe in the note which blossoms like an airy cloud on the skin. Seconds later, there is a fleeting touch of black currant (or cassis) with a touch of tart juiciness – but it doesn’t last very long. Soon, it is replaced by notes of fresh carrots and light roses on a white musk base. I happen to like the sweet touch that carrots can bring and think it adds a little depth to the very predominant fruity aspects of the perfume. There are also some very quiet, subtle floral hints from the freesia; like the black currant, that doesn’t last long, either. I don’t detect any iris at all in the perfume.

Source: TheCleverCarrot.com

Source: TheCleverCarrot.com

A few minutes in, Flower of Immortality turns predominantly into a white peach scent. It’s almost like a watery nectar in its airy, shimmery, gauzy feel. There is the muted hint of white musk and, like a ghost popping up every now and then, some extremely subtle touches of carrot. None of these notes change the simpleness of the basic scent: it feels as though I have the lightest veil of actual white peach juice on my skin, and not much else. It’s very pleasant for what it is, but this is a not a complex fragrance by any stretch of the imagination.

The perfume continues as a white peach and musk scent for another hour. And then it dies. Completely. One doesn’t aim for “immortality” in perfumes, but this is too bloody short! If I sniff my arm with intense determination to find it — somewhere, anywhere — I tell myself that I can detect some lingering traces in tiny, random patches for another twenty minutes. Honestly, I think it’s the mere power of suggestion.

The frightening thing is that I — with my perfume-consuming skin — was actually luckier than one poor woman (“raw umber“) on Fragrantica whose entire experience lasted just 20 minutes. Her frustration is quite telling:

Flower of Immortality opens with sugar-covered yellow & pink Haribo peach gummy candies in a cut crystal dish with zingy black currants and a powdery floral note. Mmhm… not bad at all.

[¶] … Only 15 minutes after application, I am holding my nose to my skin in disbelief. Did I spray perfume here once? I swear it smells like peaches, but it must be my imagination. Or maybe… It was a ghost!!!

Perhaps there is an intentional inverse relationship between the Immortal in the name, and the life-span of this scent? 20 minutes in, I’m smelling basenotes as if the perfume had been applied three days ago and this is all that remains. 

I want to put the paddles on this fragrance and shock it back to life. Alas, before I can reach for my cell phone charger, my flame thrower, or my sample vial for a refresher, ANYTHING that might in some way help… Flower of Immortality is already going… going… 

gone.

By Kilian fragrances are not cheap, though thankfully there are a few more affordable options in terms of travel-sizes and refill bottles. Flower of Immortality costs $235 (or €175) for 1.7 oz/50 ml in the traditional lock-box version, but $135 if you want to purchase the refill bottle instead. Either way, that’s expensive for a linear, uncomplicated peach scent which disappears after 20 minutes or, if you’re lucky, an hour. And this is an eau de parfum, so it’s not as if you can try to buy it in a more concentrated, lasting form!

Chinese Peach blossom paintings from FengSuej com

To be frank, I thought the Chinese watercolours I found while writing up my post were a lot prettier and more interesting than the perfume. Don’t get me wrong, Flower of Immortality is perfectly pleasant, even if it’s a little boring. If you like airy, sheer, minimalistic, peach nectars, you may truly enjoy the scent. But I would highly recommend testing it out on your skin before buying it blindly. For those who aren’t a fan of the peach note, you may want to stay away entirely.

DETAILS:
Cost & Availability: Flower of Immortality is an eau de parfum that costs $135, $145 or $235 (depending on the form in which you buy it). It is available on By Kilian’s international website where it costs €175 for a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle. The site also has the more affordable options. In the U.S., Flower of Immortality is available for pre-order now on Luckyscent with the perfume to be shipped out on April 4, 2013. The site also offers samples for $4 for a 0.7 ounce vial. Samples are also available at Surrender to Chance and cost $3.99 for a 1/2 ml vial. I obtained my sample from Saks Fifth Avenue, thanks to the generosity of a sales assistant. Saks also carries the scent, though it won’t be available for purchase in the actual stores until April 4th. I was going to give you the link to the Saks website but, somehow, between the time that I got the sample and saw it online, and the time of writing this post, the perfume is no longer shown online.