Regular readers of my blog might have gathered by now that I quite enjoy oud-based perfumes. Of course, with my limited experience, I haven't been fortunate enough to try the real thing yet (I think) and so my interpretation of oud is based very much on a Western oud-accord, which, some say, is nothing like the real thing. This in turn is a real simplification, as oud has many different facets and comes from different countries, each of which can differ remarkably, I've read. Anyway, having sampled Pure Oud, I thought I'd try an oud in the By Kilian line, Cruel Intentions. The listed notes include bergamot, orange blossom, violet accord, rose absolute, agarwood (oud) papyrus oil, gaiacwood, vetiver, sandalwood, styrax, castoreum, vanilla and musk. This is a serious list of notes, with some real powerhouse ingredients in there. Which begs the question why on my skin Cruel Intentions seems so tame, murky and indistinct. In fact, in a nutshell, Cruel Intentions smells like M7, by YSL. Don't get me wrong - I actually like M7 a lot. But why would I splash out an insane amount of cash for the Kilian when I can get M7 for probably a third or quarter of the price. Well, not for much longer - I think M7 is on the way out because it doesn't seem to be stocked much in the UK now. Cruel Intentions opens bright and citrusy, without any oud in sight. When I was writing notes for this, I wrote that I could detect cardamom, coriander and lavender, none of which is listed in the notes, so I must have been totally wrong. As the top fades I can detect a slightly muddy or murky oud note emerge that to my nose smells remarkably like M7. In fact, at this point I don't think I would be able to tell one from the other were I to wear them on each wrist. As the fragrance develops, it does become slightly more refined than M7 perhaps, quite woody, a bit smoky, but if I'm being honest, the host of notes listed above fail to make much impact to my nose. I'm obviously no expert, but styrax, castoreum, vetiver and musk were lost on my skin. It does become quite sweet later on, which I would think is the influence of the vanilla, gaiacwood and sandalwood, but this perfume is neither skanky nor particularly edgy to me, despite the name.
I'm sorry if this review seems slightly negative, but Cruel Intentions was a big let down for me, particularly as I enjoyed Back to Black and Pure Oud very much. I'm not sure I would recommend this. I would rather recommend you try M7, a groundbreaking mainstream perfume, very much ahead of its time in my opinion, and now, unfortunately, seemingly on the verge of being discontinued.
Image credit - Luckscent.com