Kilian Kologne Shield of Protection Review: A Day in a Mediterranean Citrus Grove
Kilian is a brand that I wasn’t super enthusiastic about before. It could have been my rookie nose (it probably still isn’t very advanced), or perhaps even my vain disposition toward the pricing. However, as we all grow and mature into the fragrances that fit us, we start to understand why some things are the way that they are. Kilian has won me over in the past year, and I guess you could officially call me a fanboy. Now, take that term loosely as I am not going to say everything the brand makes is spectacular, I still have to follow my heart, but the ones I don’t like certainly have adoring fanbases as well.
Kilian Kologne was one I skipped over because frankly, it didn’t sound exciting. I have always loved citruses, and the comparisons to John Varvatos’ Artisan Pure turned me off. I will touch more on that comparison later. But first, let’s picture what story this scent is telling us.
It’s a warm and sunny day near the Amalfi coast. You are driving to this classy little cafe that overlooks the sea for breakfast. As you approach, with your windows down, you get wafts of the fresh orange trees that are picked for orange juice that morning. You are dressed in a light blue button-up shirt or skirt. The sun is shining and it’s not too hot or too cold. The sheer splendor of such a beautiful day makes a smile come across your face as you sit in on the patio and take in the beauty of this place. Nothing can compare, it fits perfectly like a puzzle that is simple in design, but paints a joyfully complex portrait.
Kologne starts with a juicy green mandarin that is accented by bitter orange. I feel like there is more jubilant citrus in here, such as lime or bergamot, which gives off this sparkle to the composition. Fresh mint leaves are added for sweetness and to reinforce the coolness of the blend. It feels like a fresh fruit juice with springs of mint.
The heart reveals neroli, but this isn’t the neroli that you feel in most “cologne” style scents. This is a very palatable form that lacks the bitter, almost stringent soapiness that the cheaper alternatives have. This is vibrant, smooth, and a bit soapy, but without the rough edges. Camphoraceous rosemary adds texture to the mint with a slight lavender-fueled coolness.
There is a sap accord listed, and I assume that this is the almost stem-like texture. Have you ever taken flower stem and split it? That is the aroma that I am getting, and I believe this is the root of it. It’s just a nuance, but it adds so much character to it. There is a base of cedar in this scent, but it’s barely noticeable until you get into the dry down hours later, when the citrus notes become a bit more timid.
People have often compared this to John Varvatos’ Artisan Pure, and some have even called it a “clone”, but I vehemently disagree with this statement. While Kologne does share the bright orange-laden joy of Artisan Pure, it’s an almost completely different scent. Kilian Kologne is smoother, cleaner, and isn’t overly reliant on a musk base as the Varvatos. Kilian fragrances have this signature smoothness to them and that is something that more budget-friendly brands cannot accomplish with the materials that they use, and this is why people pay premiums for the Parisian brand. However, if you like Artisan Pure, Kologne is certainly something that would be in your wheelhouse.
One of Kologne’s strengths is that it performs very well for a citrus-based scent, and even better for a cologne-style perfume. I usually clock about 8-10 hours on skin for this one. The projection isn’t massive, and I guess that is why Mr. Kilian calls it “Shield of Protection”. It’s a personal bubble of perfumed goodness. Although, I do think I would have called it “Aura of Joy”, but that is just how the fragrance makes me feel.
I would be remiss to not speak about the bottle. As Kologne comes from The Fresh collection, it is housed in a dark blue bottle, and blue is my favorite color. With the signature plaque and classy minimalism that comes with Kilian bottles. They have a luxurious touch that doesn’t feel forced or over the top. It just feels right, and it’s executed with beautiful precision. The bottles are also refillable, of course.
Kilian Kologne is a scent that is more casual in nature, but it could be upgraded with a lighter colored suit as well. It is playful, yet classy at the same time. A perfectly executed modern cologne that is constructed like a tried-and-true classic for anyone to enjoy. This is the sort of scent that will never go out of style. Being clean will always be trending. If you love the fragrances of eras past, and you want a modern one that doesn’t smell like a soap on your grandmother’s sink, then this is certainly one to check out.