It is a testament to the ongoing deluge of new perfumes, niche and not niche, that Love and Tears (Surrender) launched last year and I promptly forgot all about it, even though it's a jasmine soliflore, a category of perfumes that I have some interest in, and even though I apparently got a sample shortly after it launched. Love and Tears is by perfumer Calice Becker, an obvious bonus, and it's from By Kilian, which might or might not be a bonus depending on your point of view (By Kilian makes me a little cranky, as I've mentioned before).1
The back story, according to Mr. Kilian Hennessy:
Only the jasmine flower, with its endless spectrum of facets -- citrus, green, floral and animalistic -- was able to express the profusion of emotions that I wanted to communicate with this scent: the beginning of love marked with excitement, the fear of the unknown, and, ultimately, the surrender to love!
Mostly, though, they left out the animalistic part, and arguably even the "surrender to love", and certainly the tears. Love and Tears is, perhaps, too richly floral to be the early, innocent days of love, but it's too easygoing to be anything like surrender. It's green and citrusy in the opening, and ever-so-slightly indolic, but not for long. The dry down is cleaner, and sweeter and fuller, and the ylang and orange blossom give it somewhat more of a tropical white floral character, but only somewhat: Love and Tears is a tale about jasmine, from beginning to end (other notes: bergamot, petit grain, daffodil, lily of the valley, cedar, styrax and oakmoss).
Love and Tears reminded me right away of Kilian's Beyond Love, as good an example of beauty without personality as you'll find in a bottle. Love and Tears isn't quite so beautiful, maybe, but it's beautiful, and it has just as little to say for itself. It just sits there smelling like an awfully pretty jasmine. That might be plenty if there weren't already so many interesting jasmine soliflores on the market, but hey, there are already many interesting jasmine soliflores on the market, and many of them cost less than Love and Tears.2
As always, if you think I'm insane and this stuff is the cat's pajamas, do comment.
Love and Tears is being advertised as a unisex, which is fine — everybody should wear what they like anyway — but by any conventional criteria it's a feminine fragrance. Or perhaps another way to put it is that if Love and Tears is unisex, everything is unisex.
By Kilian Love And Tears (Surrender) is available in 50 ml Eau de Parfum ($225, or $125 for a refill). A 30 ml Travel Spray is also sold ($155 for the silver atomizer, or $70 for a refill).
1. Per Mr. Hennessy, "The French have a socialist attitude about shopping -- they demand luxury for everyone. Americans understand the luxury market, and you don't have to explain to them why a finer product costs more. They get it". (via stylelist) Oh yes, I get it, no need to explain.
2. Turns out that while I was at the beach and then doing back to school chores last August, everybody else reviewed Love and Tears and said some variation on the above. Do see Patty at Perfume Posse, Denyse at Grain de Musc and Gaia at The Non-Blonde, all of whom said it long before I did.