Perfume Directory

Back to Black (2009)
by By Kilian


Back to Black information

Year of Launch2009
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 399 votes)

People and companies

HouseBy Kilian
PerfumerCalice Asancheyev-Becker

About Back to Black

Back to Black is a shared / unisex perfume by By Kilian. The scent was launched in 2009 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Calice Asancheyev-Becker

Back to Black fragrance notes

Reviews of Back to Black

You can smell the quality of a niche fragrance, but it's not to my taste. I much prefer Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, just my subjective opinion. I find this only okay, a little too subtle on the tobacco with too much of a sweet, almost fruity note of vanilla being completely drowned out by the honey.

Too many sprays could overpower people with the sweetness. Overall, nothing special for the price.

If you love this brand and tobacco based fragrances I recommend 'Light my fire' from the same house.
01st May, 2017
Back to Black smells attractive when sniffed periodically, but it remains unflinchingly dense, heavy and sweet, and doesn't display the kind of deft evolution required for this kind of scent to remain interesting and wearable for me.

As others have mentioned, what you smell on top - basically a big, wet pipe tobacco note with burnt sugar and honey - is what you get until the end. Minimal evolution. The accord is nice, but it quickly gets cloying, and I wish the scent would dry out a bit more. The strong honey note makes for a compelling experience in that it brings out a distinctly wet and animalic tone in the tobacco note. I think there's a great opportunity here to keep that animalism alive and tone down the mushy, wet sweetness. Performance is strong, but at this price point, I simply expect a more dynamic experience.
27th April, 2017
Back to Black is another one of those modern 'tobacco' fragrances inspired in one way or the other by Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille. The note of tobacco here smells very similar to that in the Tom Ford: spicy, hints of dried cherry, and more close to pipe tobacco than anything else. This is fused with a sweetness that comes from the honey. The initial burst is spicy with the tobacco dominating, but the sweetness emerges shortly thereafter. This accord doesn't change, and continues to persist till the dry-down. There's also a distinct lack of dynamics. The sweetness is very prominent but not overwhelming. Sillage on skin appears to be appreciable, and duration at least 5-6 hours.

While Back to Black is respectable, it comes across as too flat and one-dimensional. Even within that, the accord is neither ingenuous nor compelling. Santa Maria Novella's Acqua di Cuba offers a far more interesting, dynamic and satisfying composition among tobacco-honey concoctions, as does Pure Havane.

25th March, 2017
Sweet, longlasting, honey and tobacco - honey dries down after a few hours, at its finest after 4 hours. More or less linear, notwithstanding a slight fade on the honey which allows a little more tobacco through. Persistently powdery, just on the right side of being too much so. Nicer than it sounds - totally delicious, in fact. The first time I smelt this I thought it was too sweet, but now I crave it. If you're not fussed for presentation and the juice is your main concern, go straight for the refills. I'm not mad about Kilian presentation as it happens, certainly not mad enough to pay £100 just for a smart bottle which is going to stay in a dark cupboard anyway...
29th January, 2017 (last edited: 31st March, 2017)
This is a warm creamy honey fragrance on my skin. Honestly, I'd say a good 70% of this is honey. It is a soft blossom honey (white honey) rather than the overly sharp, heavily processed corn syrup some try to pass off as honey. I did get some fresh tobacco and gingerbread/cardamom on the opening, but now (30 minutes in) they're either really soft or almost gone. There is a creaminess that blends the whole thing together really well. I do like this fragrance, but I'm not sure if it's something that I would want to wear often. I'm not overly fond of honey as a dominant note. I enjoy it best in moderation.

Overall this is a beautiful fragrance that lays moderately close to the skin (within arms distance). It reminds me of a fragrance that loved sweet fragrances would upgrade to in order to build more dimension and depth to their palette and wardrobe.
05th December, 2016
Being number 6 in a series of 16 reviews on critically acclaimed and noteworthy scents.

I've come to understand that I'm not a big fan of blonde tobacco scents. I had the same reaction to Phaedon's Tabac Rouge, and, er, others than I can't recall but pull off the same trick of highly realistic shredded blonde tobacco, bolstered by a sweet honey note. The overall effect is common to these scents: highly linear, very sweet, and, to my nose, rather overbearing. The reaction of the FWF family on application was telling: "Are you wearing ... honey!?" (Mrs FWF, who also asked me to look out for swarms of bees); "I don't like that aftershave" (Master FWF, who gets the idea that some things will be better than others but whose taste is not yet sufficiently rarified to appreciate this kind of thing).

I have to admit, I see where they're coming from. B2BA? (so abbreviated because the "Aphrodisiac" part of the name seems to come and go as it pleases) is far from subtle. It's not by accident that I leave the testing of what I expect to be left-field, minority-taste items to the weekend. I would not want to wear this in a work situation if I had just applied it.

Of the two accords, tobacco I get. I love the rendition of it in D&G's "The One". I am naturally sympathetic to pipe tobacco style renditions, despite not being a smoker. The trouble, perhaps, with these blonder versions is that they are too redolent of those smokers who will ostentatiously roll their own cigarettes and expect to be noticed for it ("Lo, I am a smoker, but not of anything commercial"), but don't have the courage of their convictions enough to inhale anything that will actually damage their lungs. Honey, not so much.

Overall, I can't say it's bad. B2BA? is very smooth, lasts well, and has that perverse niche ability to smell great just before it disappears. The two main accords are harmonious. I just don't see myself wearing it. Oh, and that name. It has nothing to do with black, and it's not an aphrodisiac. Recommended only for those with a true affinity for the stated notes, but could be rewarding in those cases.
11th September, 2016

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