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. 

50 thoughts on “Perfume Review: By Kilian Flower of Immortality

  1. The scent itself doesn’t sound bad, but that level of sheerness is not my thing. And I feel like the name of the perfume was not meant to be cheeky, which is unfortunate given that that longevity is positively laughable, even for an EDC or EDT, let alone an EDP. Yikes.

    • No, I definitely don’t think they meant to be quite as ironic! The funny thing is that I recently saw a number of people saying that they could barely smell anything after a very short period of time with Flower of Immortality. They wondered if they were somehow anosmic to the perfume, and now I’m wondering if that’s the issue, too. Well, not on my skin because it truly did die there and I’m not anosmic to musk, but perhaps for some?

      • I smelled this one at Saks the other day! I’m quite sure the SA gave me a sample (he gave me 8 or 9 Killian samples, I believe), so one of these days I will take the time to smell it on my skin. At any rate, it was nice enough. Not really my taste, but none of them seemed to be, at least on paper. I didn’t dislike any, but they all sort of ran together in my mind and they all had a sweetness that I am not typically drawn to. I’m looking forward to trying them on so I can get a real sense of how they smell when they interact with my skin, but I don’t necessarily expect to be blown away.

        • Honestly, I don’t see the majority of Kilian perfumes being your style or personal taste. I really don’t. So, your thought that you’re unlikely to be blown away will probably be the case. I’m mostly keen to see your reaction to the pink-juiced Love one. I just wish I could see your face as you put it on…. 😉

          • LOL! Yes, it will certainly be an interesting exercise to try some of these! I have to say, related to the Kilian packaging, I’ve been guilty of making fun of the lock and key packaging before (I know it’s optional, but it’s just so…extravagant), but it was sort of cool to see in person and a little less tacky than I envisioned. Now, I would never actually *pay* for that, and their refill program seemed pretty fair/affordable (although, honestly, I think given my collection by the time I was ready to refill a bottle there would be a good chance the perfume wouldn’t even be in production any longer!). The travel sizes were very nice though.

          • You were correct, this isn’t really my taste. I tried it this morning. It’s very sweet, and while I love the smell of peaches, it was a bit much on the sweetness quotient for me. I too, experience some longevity issues, although not nearly as severe. About 3 hours in, I think I can smell the most minor traces of it, but for all intents and purposes it has vanished. It’s not bad, but this one is easy come, easy go for me. I didn’t expect much, and didn’t get much in return, but from an olfactory experience and a longevity experience.

  2. Those watercolors are lovely. As for the perfume, a whole 20 minutes from start to finish? No thank you. I will pass on this one. It’s too bad because the notes on paper seem nice enough.

    • The cost does seem a little high for what it is but if one really loves peach perfumes, then….? The greater issue here seems to the longevity — something that definitely impacts price considerations. On a perfume group that I read, a number of people (just yesterday in fact) mentioned how they could barely smell anything after a short period of time. A few wondered if they were anosmic to the scent. That sort of thing makes Flower of Immortality a perfume one definitely needs to test out for oneself. Are you tempted to look for it in your neck of the woods, GinzaInTheRain? 🙂

    • Do you like carrot notes, too? As for Flower of Immortality, it would be interesting to see what you thought of it, given your love for very airy, light fragrances. 🙂

  3. The pictures are great dear!
    I have to admit that I’m not really interested in By Kilian fragrances. What I tried left me quite unimpressed and I don’t like how the brand (or the owner himself) categorizes people on Facebook (in terms of sending free samples to “kilian club” fb members). Also it made me angry to find out that Amber Oud got a Indie FiFi award which is a bullsh*t as Kilian is NOT an indie brand. Sheesh.

    • I was under the vague impression that Kilian would send to anyone on his Facebook Club list and that all you had to do to join it was to sign up via email? Is that completely incorrect? I’ve signed up but never received anything, so I don’t really know how it works. I got my sample of this perfume from a sweet Sales Assistant in Saks.

      Let’s not start on Amber Oud and the Indie FiFi award. I’m fully with you on that one, Lucas! Plus, even if —- by some very theoretical, nitpicky standard — By Kilian scraped by on the store number, etc., for “Indie” qualifications, I simply don’t think Amber Oud is a particularly fantastic fragrance. I really don’t. And, personally, I think it has about as much Oud in it as my bar of bathroom soap….

      • I thought it would work like this – you sign for the club and you eventually get a sample of something new, but now. When Kilian released his first Asian Tales scents in one of the posts I noticed something like “samples to UK, France and Russia are sent” looks like this “club” think the World is just those three countries.
        I thought you’d get your sample locally, you’ve got a good access to novelties.
        Good to hear your with me in Indie FiFi thing, wrrr.

        • Maybe they should have called the Kilian Club the “Tri-European Country Club” instead? LOL. I’ll be honest, it wouldn’t destroy me NOT to get samples of Kilian perfumes. What I’ve smelled thus far (and it’s been about 8 now) has left me feeling… 😉

          • Maybe it should. Or they should mark “become a member, samples only for countries: x,y,z”
            I’m not gonna cry after Kilian, I find their prices to high and fragrances too little interesting for me.

            BTW, did you try L’Artisan Caligna yet?

          • No, I haven’t. Have you? L’Artisan is another line that I haven’t … er… um…. found true love with, so I haven’t gone out of my way to get a sample of Caligna thus far. I pay for most of my samples and, frankly, I’m not in the mood to buy more from L’Artisan. I already have 3 other vials (older stuff) that I’m not inspired to try/review right away, so to spend money on yet another one that I probably won’t like….. *shrug*

          • You know I’m not a L’Artisan guy but I got a decanted sample from a boutique girl and what I can say…
            “L’Artisan is L’Artisan” which means it goes with nearly everything else, there’s no love for me.

  4. I tried the first two and there was no longevity so I am assuming this one would be the same. The notes do intrigue me, however.

    • No longevity on your skin for the other two? Oh dear. I’d be curious how this one compares in terms of brevity and if it’s even shorter in duration. In general, does your skin retain perfume well? I should clarify that I’m asking about modern scents, not essential oils or the great, old classics that were much better in terms of longevity and being powerhouses. 🙂

      • The only “modern” scents that truly last are the Sonoma Scent Studio (which to me really have a vintage vibe to them). Even some from the Ineke line (which I love) have limited longevity…but my skin is quite dry so sometimes I just add a dab of jojoba oil before application….wonder if that alters the scent?

        • Very interesting about the duration issue and your skin. As for the jojoba, I suspect it may change the scent a tiny, tiny bit as the oil does have some undertones, no? Probably not by very much, though, I know a lot of people with dry skin use unscented lotion to try to increase the longevity of perfume.

  5. I love the watercolors, Kafka!

    20 minutes — this must be a record for you, no? The notes sound very nice on this one; practically all the notes you listed are on my love/like list. I’ll do a Saks perfume floor circuit at some point to sniff this. Great review!

    • 20 minutes for someone else, but an hour for me. 🙂 I think my record is 10 minutes with a normal dosage of Safran Troublant (more with a triple to quadruple dose). Serge Lutens’ A La Nuit lasted exactly 20 minutes though, which is a shame as I adore that one. The odd thing about Flower of Immortality is that white musk usually lasts quite a while on me, so I expected at least that part to linger. Nope, non plus. Let me know what you think of the perfume if you try it and if your glue-like skin (lucky devil!) makes a difference.

  6. I sniffed this earlier today. While it was perfectly pleasant, it seemed very light right after it was sprayed. I can see how it would disappear to nothing in no time at all.

  7. Will I try it? Of course! Even though peach usually doesn’t work for me as a perfume note at all.

    If to judge from the first two perfumes, your illustrations are just perfect (and probably they are better than perfumes themselves – at least they won’t disappear in 20 minutes ;)).

    I liked Bamboo Harmony but I thought that its lightness and longevity (or rather the lack thereof – and my skin is very perfume-friendly!) was completely unexceptable for the price. Those two for me would make any sense only in the full presentation form (with the box and the key): they are too light and… inoffensive for me to go just for a refill bottle.

    • I’m a little ridiculously happy that everyone loves those dainty, delicate watercolours. Seriously, I am. 🙂

      I found it really interesting that even you didn’t have a huge amount of luck with the prior 2 perfumes in the series and not just in terms of duration either, judging by your last sentence. I think “inoffensive” is a good way to describe this one, along with “perfectly pleasant” but, alas, those aren’t terms one generally wants to hear for expensive perfumes of this price.

  8. My dear, you just haven’t been having any luck as of late have you? By Kilian fragrances run either hot or cold. This Asian Tales series has been such a disappointment. I haven’t found any of them to be worth a buy or even a consideration. Let’s hope the next “series” that debuts will be better. When I spoke to him he did say that he was going to launch a fragrance for men, but I have not seen any sign of that.

    • There seems to be a chorus of people disappointed in the prior two in the Asian series. I haven’t smelled them but, honestly, I’m not inspired to hunt them down, especially now.

  9. Pingback: Sunday Link Love, Volume #135 | FFBlogs

  10. Yay! I won a sample of this at The Posse…I can try it properly instead of doing a Saks “drive by” (I am looking at you, stingy SAs…..). I’ll share my thoughts down the road.

    • Yay for fun sample goodies! I’m happy for you. 🙂 BTW, you should try my Saks, they were quite generous. Or was that Neiman Marcus? I get my over-priced retailers mixed up…. 😉 lol

  11. I found this one to be charming, pretty, fleeting…and that’s it. I really liked it while it lasted, and I’m not a fan of peaches (except for Mitsouko, which couldn’t be more different from this one)! I got about 2 hours from it, but only about 15 minutes of “Pretty!”– then it was just a very soft peachy musk. I’d buy a bottle for the summer if it were half the price.

    • Hi Masha7, thank you for stopping by and sharing your experience! 🙂 It is a pretty scent, isn’t it? But I’m not surprised it was fleeting on you, though 2 hours seems to actually be pretty good for Flower of Immortality. LOL.

  12. I’m not a big fan of the Asian Tales line. My mom really digs it, and I told her she was a marketing sucker 🙂

    But in all honesty, I like Kilian’s fragrances quite a bit. It helps that the SA at Bergdorf’s is just about the sweetest, kindest, most enthusiastic person I have ever met. But I also like the juice. And the bottles. My current object of lust is In the City of Sin. Partly because I think the scent would be very work friendly (and those kinds of scents are important), but mostly because I WANT THAT CLUTCH SO BAD! I can’t tell you how many times I look in the mirror and just think that clutch would be the cherry on the cake.

    • LOL! You and that clutch. I remember now. 😀 😀 I’m glad you’ve found some Kilian perfumes that you’ve liked a lot. Unfortunately, I haven’t been so lucky but perhaps one day… 🙂

  13. On me, it smelled very much like peach shower gel with a pinch of carrot juice. It sticks around a bit longer on me, but I was soon washing it off so it didn’t matter much. For some people, rose goes sour or amber goes bitter on their skin… for me, fruity florals seem to inevitably turn to soap on my skin.

    Also, I wanted to thank you for your excellent reviews, we seem to have very similar scent preferences and I am forever grateful for your wonderful piece on Alahine, which caused me to find and fall in love with what is now one of my very favorite fragrances.

    • First, a huge welcome. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your experiences with Flower of Immortality. Is it terrible that I laughed enormously at “I was soon washing it off, so it didn’t matter much”? 😉 I find that hilarious and I sympathize. Soapy scents are one of my least-favorite things!

      Second, you cannot know how much you made my day with your comment on Alahine. I am SO happy you have fallen in love with it. It is one of those fragrances that just gets in my head and, some days, there is little else that I want to wear. It’s almost as if the more you wear it, the more it becomes a passion. I’m so, SOOOOOO very happy I could lead you to something you love. Truly, you have made my day! 🙂

      • The good thing is, if you like Peach shower gel, it’s SOOO much cheaper than Flower of Immortality! I just can’t deal with fresh, clean scents I think, they freak me out. I can wear the biggest, skankiest jasmine or the most overwhelming oriental (I love you, Opium) and feel right at home, but put most lilac or fruit perfumes on me and I feel like crawling out of my own skin.

        Alahine is exquisite, complex, and utterly addictive for me. I really couldn’t believe it the first time I tried it, I just stood there and stared into the distance while I smelled the wind blow my sillage back at me. And then I read other reviews online and couldn’t believe they were talking about the same perfume. Yours was the only one I read where I kept nodding and smiling at just how exactly right on you were and how much you understood the scent… I’m so glad I read yours first!

        Have you gotten your full bottle yet?

        Your reviews are so often a story in and of themselves… I’m a long time folklorist, and your writing often strikes a chord in me similar to old tales, which is about the highest compliment I can give.

        Anyhow, much gratitude to you, I’m still reading the archives, and so looking forward to each new post.

        • Opium? OPIUM??!!! Soul sister!!! 🙂 (Seriously!) As for Alahine, I’m wearing it now. I needed the soothing, relaxing, sexy comfort of its middle/final stages today so I snuck it on in-between testing. I got a great price on a bottle on eBay. Have you gotten a bottle yet? (BTW, I opened up a thread/post where people can talk about new things they have tried, loved or hated, so feel free to chat there too, especially if you’ve tried anything you’ve tested recently.)

          Given the things you’ve mentioned, I think you should give the review of Serge Lutens’ Cuir Mauresque a look. It’s edgier than Alahine at times, though the opening is much less boozy, spiced or dried fruit-ish. I don’t know enough yet about your tastes and how you do with occasionally animalic, skanky, and subtly raunchy notes (which is how Cuir Mauresque sometimes translates to a few people) but it has similarities with Alahine in the finish and ooooooooozes sex appeal. I think you may also love Neela Vermeire’s Trayee, very much like Dior’s Mitzah, and then perhaps Chanel’s Coromandel. Also, you may — depending on your feelings about slightly animalic notes — really love Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir. You sound like a hardcore Orientalist, like me, and Absolue Pour Le Soir is definitely a perfume in that category.

          I am so, so thrilled you found the site, and have decided to stay and chat. I seriously am. I am sooooooooooooooooooooooo hugely outnumbered by those who love gentle florals, powdery irises, soapy aldehydes and fruity notes. I desperately need another Orientalist to hang around! 😉 😀

          P.S. – Just reread your comment and you said you like skanky jasmine. You seriously have to read up on Cuir Mauresque and Absolue Pour Le Soir!! And don’t overlook Trayee (though that one is not actually skanky at all but stunningly spiced) or perhaps Jubilation 25 from Amouage which definitely veers a little into the raunchy at times!

          • Hah, I adore Cuir Mauresque, one of my absolute favorites! I rather like some amount of animalic notes in my perfumes, I’m a fan of Bal a Versailles and its civet note as well.

            Yes, I finally have my bottle of Alahine!

            Also, funny you should mention it, there’s a bottle of Absolue Pour le Soir on its way to me right this moment…. along with samples of Trayee and Puredistance M, both samples inspired by your reviews. I haven’t tried Mitzah, Jubilation 25 or Coromandel, so I’ll have to head over to StC and rectify that 🙂 – Thank you so much for the suggestions!

            I live in the wilderness of southern New Mexico, so there’s little chance for me to try perfumes in a store, so thank goodness for places like StC and wonderful people like you to make recommendations!

          • HA, Cuir Mauresque is one of your favorites! We’re definitely Scent Twins!! And the Absolue Pour Le Soir, too! Yay! I’m so, so glad you stumbled across the blog and that you’re here. 🙂

  14. Hello scent twin 🙂 – my fb of Absolue pour le Soir arrived today… I’m thinking of building a small altar to it lol. I also received samples of most of what you suggested to me, thanks so much for that, I’m really looking forward to them. Now, if only I could figure out which to try first…

    I went to some hot springs in the nearby desert today and wore Cuir Mauresque, such a perfect scent to have blown back by the dry wind, especially blended with the sweet and resinous smells of the sycamore and cottonwood by the springs.

    • An altar to Absolue Pour Le Soir… LOL! I’m so glad you like it. As for Cuir Mauresque, I’m going to have to get a full bottle of that soon. Ross alarmed me by asking if I’d heard or knew whether it was being discontinued from the US market! They just did that with Datura Noir and 5 0’Clock Au Gingembre, so they may very well decide Cuir Mauresque is not a big seller for the more gourmand-frenzied American market. I’m glad you have a full bottle. I just need to join you in getting one for myself now.

      Can’t wait to see what you think of Mitzah and Coromandel! There are some threads tying the two together, so I’ll be interested to see which one you prefer. I suspect it will be the Mitzah, so you may want to try that one first. xoxox

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