This year, Kiehl’s takes us on a scent journey with their Aromatic Blends collection whose ingredients are sourced from all over the world.
Available in 4 different fragrance variations, this laconic collection comprises an eau de toilette, a shower wash and a hand/body lotion in each scent.
Fig Leaf & Sage
Destination: The lush Provençal countryside
A stimulating fusion of Fig Leaf and Sage with underlying hints of bergamot, citron and thyme. The notes of fig conjure up images of the south of France with its lush countryside, where an unusually distinctive fig essence renowned for its uniquely fresh green, crisp aroma is found. This fig aroma was blended with the essence of herbaceous sage – an evergreen herb with a sweet, nutty scent, evocative of the northern Mediterranean coast.
If you love herbaceous scents, you should take a whiff of this. Designed to be reminiscent of the scent of the air beneath fig trees and the smell of nearby herb gardens, there is a clear green note to this fragrance. The fig from this region itself is of the green, pulpy variety and not the typical milky and sweet version.
Vanilla & Cedarwood
Destination: The dense Ugandan jungle
A seductive fusion of Ugandan Vanilla and Cedarwood, heightened with a hint of iris, which gives way to rich amber. The creamy vanilla in our blend owes its unique aromatic character to the exotic vanilla orchid grown on small, sustainable farms in Uganda. This warm and sensual aroma was fused with smoky Cedarwood to add a complex, balsamic character – reminiscent of tobacco farms in the southern United States.
With an unusual creamy smokey note, the Ugandan vanilla used in this fragrance is unlike the sweet and floral commercial vanilla we are used to.
‘The Vanilla & Cedarwood scent is a delicate balance of yin & yang, one part feminine from the Uganda Vanilla, smooth, smoky and just slightly sweet; one part masculine from the Virginia Cedarwood, raw and earthy. Together they blend to form a fragrance that is dynamically simple and irresistibly universal,’ according to the brand.
Distinctively woody, this scent is somewhat complex; the smokey, tobacco-like notes imbuing it with an exotic and mysterious character.
A plus point, this vanilla species is sourced from a Ugandan Fair Trade community that is under a sustainability program that provides social assistance for the vanilla farmers (this includes the installation of drinking water wells, education through cultivation and harvest techniques, as well as financial education).
Orange Flower & Lychee
Destination: A Morrocan desert oasis
An exotic fusion of Orange Flower and Lychee sweetened with a touch of honey and rounded out by Moroccan Rose. Our Orange Flower extract is derived from the Bitter Orange tree – a tree known for producing flowers with an especially distinctive orange scent. This unique scent was combined with a fruity-floral infusion of Lychee, found in the subtropical forests of Southeast Asia.
Formulated with three different parts of the Bitter Orange tree – the stem, leaf and flower – the purest orange scent expression is evident in this fragrance. It is lightly sweetened by the recreated lychee blend. Of the four, this scent smells the best on me. (Somehow, florals laced with fruity sweetness works beautifully on my body chemistry – these include Penhaligon’s Orange Blossom, Jo Malone Wild Bluebell and Lancôme Ô de l’Orangerie.)
Nashi Blossom & Pink Grapefruit
Destination: Tranquil Japanese gardens
A surprising blend of Nashi Blossom and Pink Grapefruit, accented by ginger and rounded out with soothing notes of soy milk and white musk. This harmonious aroma evokes imagery of the Kyoto Gardens in Japan – a peaceful place where dewy, white flowers of this pear often flourish. This fresh, floral aroma was mixed with the Brazilian-born Pink Grapefruit, which heightens the sensory experience with a rich sweet scent, imbued with hints of tropical Mandarin Orange.
Nashi blossoms are far too delicate for typical natural extraction and though the brand does not specify its method, I believe it employed Nature Print or head space technology (much like Penhaligon’s Peoneve) to recreate the scent of these blooms.
The fresh and floral pear blossom combined with the juicy and zesty grapefruit yields an uplifting scent. I wanted to love it but it doesn’t mesh well with my body chemistry and turns sour on me after a while. If such fragrances work on you, I urge you to give this a go; its lovely combination is remarkably joyful.
To deliver the purest scent expression of each aromatic blend, Kiehl’s utilizes a variety of responsible sourcing philosophies to craft aromas that represent each unique ingredient in their purest, most efficacious state. This approach to achieving ‘aromatic efficacy’ includes:
Natural Ingredient Extraction: An on-site extraction method using only steamed water to capture essential oils directly after harvesting the ingredients, while they deliver their freshest and strongest aromas.
Sustainable Sourcing: Harvesting naturals from sustainable farms that provide ongoing local community support.
Aromatic Reproduction: A technique that recreates ingredient scents without destroying the plants and allows the aromas specific to a locality to be faithfully captured.
Housed in minimalist glass bottles reminiscent of Le Labo scents, the eau de toilettes are elegant and modern-looking.
The richly-lathering foaming body washes are formulated with mild surfactants that have been clinically-proven to protect the skin’s natural moisture balance (not drying sulfate-based surfactants), as well as sucrose cocoate and a botanical oil blend of avocado, olive fruit, sweet almond, apricot kernel and sesame seed – the same blend in the brand’s best-selling Creme de Corps – to soften and condition the skin.
The silicone-free hand and body lotions also contain the same botanical oils. Together with glycerin, shea butter, squalane (a moisturising olive-derived oil that is extremely compatible with the skin’s natural oils and easily absorbed to keep the skin silky), they promise to nourish the skin.
In Singapore, the Fragrant Body Sprays are S$82, while the Liquid Body Cleansers are S$33 and the Hand & Body Lotions are S$43.
Some Kiehl’s scent trivia:
Kiehl’s history of original fragrances – When the original Kiehl’s Pharmacy was founded in 1851, it quickly developed a reputation for supplying New York’s citizenry with some of the most unique and eclectic fragrant blends, among them Money Drawing Oil, Attraction Oil and Purity Oil.
At the turn of the last century, Kiehl’s was concocting many different essences – 122 to be exact – that were blended by hand for its customers. The first fragrance essence Kiehl’s introduced was Kiehl’s Original Musk oil, in 1921. Its origin is shrouded in myths, but Kiehl’s lore has it that the fragrance oil was formulated by a relative of the Kiehl’s founding family – an actual Russian prince! Kiehl’s Original Musk Oil is believed to be the first incarnation of a musk scent ever to be offered to the public and has since become a ‘cult classic’.
Following this iconic scent, decades later Kiehl’s began formulating Coriander, Vanilla, Grapefruit, Amber, Gardenia, Cucumber, Pear, Chinese Flowers and Pour Homme fragrance essences. In 1979, many of the Kiehl’s fragrance essences were among over 100 formulations and artifacts entered into the Smithsonian Institution’s permanent collection on original pharmacies.
David Suffit, the nose behind the development of the Kiehl’s Aromatic Blends Collection, has an extensive list of fine fragrances under his belt including Armani Code Woman, Emporio Armani Diamonds and Armani Privé ‘Les Eaux’ Collection for Giorgio Armani; and Parisienne, La Nuit de L’Homme and the FiFi award-winning Belle d’Opium for Yves Saint Laurent.