Kilian Back to Black: Aphrodisiac

Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D

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A Sensual Scent-sation
You can't imagine how many fragrances cross my desk in the course of a week. I smell them all, sometimes with great trepidation; I once spilled a perfume sample on my knees, and all day long its keen stink drifted up toward my face, annoying as an intrusive stranger.

Recently, I popped the top off a bottle, tentatively sprayed a little something into the air, and collapsed into a delicious swoon. I came to, lusting for more. I sprayed my wrists, my elbows; then I ran out of my office and into creative director Adam Glassman's, next door. "Smell this," I said, holding out my arm. Adam is not a fragrance lover, but he took a cautious sniff. "Oh my God," he said. "Sexy."

Exactly. Back to Black: Aphrodisiac ($225 for 1.7 ounces; is a new fragrance by Kilian, a French perfumer (who happens to be the grandson of a founder of the luxury goods company LVMH Group). And I think it is the sexiest scent I have ever smelled. I can tell you some of what's in it—bergamot, nutmeg, cedar, the amber-y labdanum, and a powdery vanilla—but I can't tell you how it casts its spell. For that, you'll have to try it yourself.

Valerie Monroe