Iconic perfumer Kilian Hennessy, opens the doors on his scented world to reveal the process, inspiration and ethos behind By Kilian
It’s early morning at the By Kilian Appartement. Kilian’s team are putting the final touches to their new home in the 8th Arrondissement – a sought-after spot in the heart of Paris. Led upwards by an ornate antique staircase to a suite of spaces where the perfumer and his team create all aspects of the luxury fragrance brand, it is the perfect fusion of quintessential Parisian architecture, given a cool, contemporary edge.
Entering into the main salon with its sweeping French windows opening out onto a bustling Parisian cityscape, gleaming cabinets of decanters, flacons, clutch cases and fragrance jewellery adorn the scented space, precisely placed to reveal the key fragrances in the Kilian repertoire, individual, evocative, provocative and each with a story to tell. Upstairs in his office – the creative hub, unfurls a different perspective of the perfumer and his process.
Books upon books, works of art and installations, awards proudly displayed, moodboards, scent bottles and blotters, not to mention a selection of intriguing curios and ornaments, all serving as a snapshot of Kilian’s vision, an olfactic journey into his world.
Effortlessly relaxed and wickedly charismatic, Kilian is the consummate creative. With an iconic heritage, exploring and experimenting is, by his own admission, in his blood. “I think first and foremost I have been raised in a family with the importance of quality – that the Hennessy Cognac we were giving to customers had to stay absolutely unchanged throughout the years.
And at home, the quality of the product was a constant subject. The absolute need to travel was also something we talked about a lot when I was growing up, to go and discover cultures and traditions. There was always this culture of being adventurous. So, when I started my brand, I immediately travelled to far off places that were really passionate about perfume.”
“One of my earliest childhood memories is going in the Hennessy family cellars in Cognac. When you go there it has a very strong woodsy, alcoholic, vanilla smell that is a combination of the oak barrels but with the sugar of the alcohol. And very often I have the feeling that this smell is almost in all my scents.” More
Words by Tara Gardner harrods.com