Back to Black by By Kilian is an Amber Woody fragrance for women and men launched in 2009 as an Eau de Parfum. The nose behind this fragrance is well-known perfumer Calice Becker.
Back to Black is part of By Kilian’s Smokes family. Ever since its launch in 2009 it’s always been a very popular fragrance.
The keynotes of this Amber Woody fragrance are Cedarwood, Incense and Honey.
A description by the brand:
Languid honey laced with sweet spices mingles with mysterious smoky incense essence and vanilla absolute, making Back to Black, aphrodisiac a nourishingly yet addictive substance. Blue camomile and cedarwood are veiled in smoke. A sandalwood note creates a gourmand tobacco harmony–a true titillation for the senses.
|Perfume Name||Back to Black|
|Concentration||Eau de Parfum|
|Scent Family||Amber Woody|
I’ve been interested in trying fragrances with a prominent honey note so I recently purchased a decant of Back to Black. This is what I had to think of the fragrance.
What does Back to Black By Kilian smell like?
Back to Black smells like it’s composed of aromas of honey, wood, tobacco, amber, and hints of bergamot and raspberry. The tobacco is part of the smooth amber, but it’s nothing like cigarettes or anything unpleasant.
This is a great fragrance, it’s like if you could mix Dior Hypnotic Poison EDT with Tom Ford’s Lost Cherry and then infuse it with the sweetest tobacco, so you make it dark, dreamy, and sensual.
I find it to be extremely smell-blended, and it smells luxurious and high quality. It’s very syrupy, thick, and sweet but with a mischievous, almost animalic undertone. It’s definitely a very unisex fragrance. It’s also quite reminiscent of Bee Zoologist as it’s heavy on honey and pollen.
|Top Notes||bergamot, saffron, nutmeg, cardamom, coriander, raspberry|
|Middle Notes||chamomile, olibanum, honey|
|Base Notes||cedar, oak, tobacco, patchouli|
The opening is absolutely beautiful and unusual with those warm spices peek-a-booing through the honey. I also get a rip yet slightly tart cherry note in the opening. However, this quickly gives way to rich tobacco and honey mixed in equal parts.
I’ve worn it a few times now, and sometimes I feel I get a distinct urine-y smell upon application. However, after a couple of minutes, that’s completely gone again. It doesn’t really bother me, as it dissipates very quickly.
The honey note is the absolute star of the show and never really fades from beginning to end. It’s a very realistic, clean honey with some fresh powderiness, some citrus, and the coriander-cardamom gives the scent a light spicy aspect. It’s the addition of these spices which balances out the sweetness of the honey perfectly.
This is a very well-rounded fragrance, and despite some sweetness, I wouldn’t classify it as a gourmand. It is also not overly spicy but abundant and full-flavored.
Sillage & Projection
The sillage is moderate to strong, it smells soft, but you’ll definitely be able to recognize it about 5 feet beyond the wearer. I’d rate the sillage a 6 out of 10. The projection is moderate – around 4 feet around the wearer. I’d score the projection a 5 out of 10.
Longevity & Versatility
In terms of longevity – I get around 5 hours with 2 hours of good projection. I’ll rate longevity a 5 out of 10.
Back to Black isn’t a very versatile scent, in my opinion, as it’s something to reserve for the winter and the cooler fall months. Even in winter, you need to go easy on the spraying, and it’s definitely not for the office or just casual everyday wear. This is something you reserve for dates or special occasions like a fancy black-tie wedding.
This is a great scent for those that love a honey and tobacco note, but even then, I’d caution against a blind buy. This is a super unique fragrance, in my opinion, so if you like it and you want something that stands out, this could definitely be something to fall in love with.
It is quite pricey, but it could be a great addition to your collection if you’re looking for something unique to wear on more special occasions in the winter. Personally, given that it could be overwhelming and it’s not super versatile, I think a sample is enough.