Perfume Reviews

Neutral Reviews of Back to Black by By Kilian

Total Reviews: 31
Heavy, sweet honey and tobacco for the first 4-6 hours and then dries down to a nice vanilla with the honey and tobacco still in the background for many hours afterward.

Big projection and longevity. Gets cloying fast if over-sprayed.

20th October, 2017
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
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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
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
I found this to be a whole lot of sweet, sweet tobacco, personally I find the fragrance a bit nauseating.

I wondered for hours what it was that was stopping me from enjoying the fragrance and I wasn't aware at the time, of the notes in this fragrance. It then clicked that it was tobacco, sure enough I looked it up and tobacco is prominent.

I can appreciate the quality craftsmanship behind Back to Black, aphrodisiac but I do not personally have an affection for it, therefore I've went neutral on this one.

As a side note, the performance of the fragrance was fantastic. Great projection and longevity. If tobacco and honey is your thing, I don't think you can go too wrong with this despite the hefty price tag.
14th June, 2016
I'm getting tobacco, vanilla, honey, smoke and something leatherish (I'm looking at you, 1 Million!) out of this. The composition is definitely balanced towards the sweeter side. This may be a cool clubbing-scent for goth-/rock-kids. Ridiculous price.
06th August, 2015

Several different notes come across in the opening… It’s a little citrusy and a bit spicier, and it has a definite raspberry aura. It is aromatic, and there’s a strong element of sweet in the opening too, mainly because of the heart accord’s honey note. A little later I get just a touch of a high quality castoreum (or leather or birch tar) that is not strong enough to annoy me, but it is strong enough to keep the sweetness (and almost everything else) from reaching me. I get lots of patchouli. I don’t get the tobacco, the amber, the labdanum, the vanilla, or even the cedar, my nose is overwhelmed by the castoreum.

And that’s what I’m left with for the almost interminable remainder of the fragrance. I can recognize Back to Black as an excellent and dramatic fragrance, but the castoreum (or leather or birch tar) has neutralized all the drama for me and left me with a very expensive, high-quality fragrance that I can confidently call… “not annoying.” Its performance on my skin certainly isn’t that of an aphrodisiac as it boasts on the bottle’s label.
17th February, 2015
A pleasant honey/tobacco scent that doesn't justify neither its price nor the rave reviews it gets.
Don't get my wrong, I do enjoy this fragrance, but there a tons of fragrances that I do enjoy more and that cost a lot less. I'll rather use my money on something else.
Sillage is moderate and longevity is better than average.
16th February, 2015
My first experience with By Kilian Fragrances and that was a good one.
A very pleasant fragrance which has a completely familiar vibe, but at the same time almost different.
The opening of this fragrance is a warm and sweet cherry smell with some dry herbal tobacco in the background.
The cherry note for the first time in my life doesn't smell synthetic and like cough syrup! usually they do but this time I'm getting a natural and pleasant one.
They cherry note doesn't smell tart and fresh fruity. even cherry jam has kid of tart and sweet taste but here it's completely sweet and that's because of strong honey note.
The honey note in this fragrance dominating in every step and all the notes are right behind it.
The tobacco note at the start isn't that strong, but strong enough to give the scent a bitter and dark aura.
In the mid I'm getting a little smoother cherry and stronger tobacco plus very heavy and sweet honey.
The mid is a strong warm and sweet honey note plus cherry and tobacco hand to hand following honey just a few steps back.
Both cherry and tobacco are strong and almost at the same level of power but I'm getting cherry a little more than tobacco.
The base is exactly the same smell but now honey note is softer and it's has vanilla vibe as well. it's like mix of one spoon of vanilla ice cream and 10 spoon of honey!
All other notes are almost impossible to detect (at least to my nose) because the prominent notes are honey, cherry and tobacco. nothing else can't even get close to these.
And one last thing I'm not getting any raspberry in this fragrance. it's just straight cherry to my nose.
Projection is strong (not heavy) and longevity is between 8-10 hours on my skin which is great.
A very pleasant and quality sweet and fruity tobacco which is more toward the feminine side but man can wear it as well.
Personally I prefer my tobacco based fragrances more toward masculine side. something like "TF Tobacco Vanille" or "Parfums de Marly Herod"
31st May, 2014
This is a photorealistic portrait of honey. The exact smell of honey - raw, vaguely animalic and heavy - is rendered in 3D. Yes, there are unlit cherry tobacco leaves (much better done than in Chergui I must admit) and some woods, but it is almost entirely honey. So just beware, if honey ain't your bag, don't even bother trying this.

I am not the biggest fan of honey, if you haven't already guessed. I find both the taste and the smell to be heavy, sickly and cloying in its own peculiar way. So this perfume definitely is not for me. However, I can admire the artistic and clean way this was put together, and I must say that this is expertly blended.
07th May, 2014
This honey and light cherry body sweat fragrance is not worth the price at all. A better and less expensive fragrance to purchase would be Serge Luten's Chergui. BTB is Chergui's little brother, but Chergui is better IMO. The longevity is horrible. I only get about three hours with BTB.
Not a bad fragrance overall, just not worth the price! 6.5/10
08th April, 2014
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Smells like baby powder and lavender. That's all I get. Nothing special.
19th February, 2014
I got leathery powdery cherry from the start, a pinch of honey in the middle and then some vanilla. In 3 hours "poof!" it was gone. It doesn't stink but I'm not a fan of leather notes masked by anything.
18th February, 2014
I don't normally go for sweet smelling fragrances so thought I'd give this one a try after being recommended it. Although I first thought it was very good despite the very strong honey notes, for me it doesn't develop into much else. Having worn it for a day, I still smell honey mixed with vanilla. It may be ok worn with something heavier but I won't be buying a bottle anytime soon.
11th February, 2014
bFlay Show all reviews
United States
Very warm vanilla opening that is moist, not smoky. Reminiscent of chamomile tea with milk and honey. Unfortunately, that honey comes to the fore after an hour or so of wear and overwhelms with cloying sweetness. Develops very feminine qualities then fades within 3 hours. Back to Black is pleasant enough and inoffensive for most company.
07th December, 2013
Back to Black review, RichNTacoma

I keep wanting to like this more than I actually do. Sometimes a variety of shifting notes feels like complexity, sometimes it just feels "mushy." This feels mushy, jumbled. An intense honey and Tobacco, not totally unlike Tom Ford for Men, but then there is a very powdery quality that others have described. I read the description of baby whipes, and I actually do get that.

I think the powdery quality comes from the vanilla; I can smell it clearly only if I really attend to it, as I said, it is jumbled to me. Is it a gourmand? Not sure.

When I want to shower directly after putting on a fragrance, and then an hour after, that is a sign it is not for me. Perhaps I will keep trying, but for now, I am not a fan.


Two hours in, the powdery quality begins to fade, and some it becomes more enjoyable, with vanilla and some winter spices. Still, a long time to wait!

21st September, 2013
Not enough tobacco for me.

Brought home samples of this after a Kilian's STH purchase. Opens very nice with honey, cedar, vanilla and cherry...maybe some amber and incense...not picking up much tobacco. Where I'm really left wanting is in the finale dry down. I agree with jsf252, it turns into amber/vanilla/cherry which ends up smelling like baby powder on me.

Dry down reminds me of powdery original Armani Black Code. Perhaps a bit more tobacco and boozy notes...less powder please.

Pros: Ingredients, presentation, inspiration
Cons: Stalls into a powdery dry down"

02nd September, 2013
Back to Black by Kilian

This fragrance has honey, tobacco, amber, vanilla and some berries, but so do all other heavier niche fragrances. Truth be told, it is decent, but nothing special. Your typical niche, somewhat creative and daring, but musty and hard to wear. It does remind me a little bit of Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, but more complex, heavier darker woodier and more involved, however I much prefer Tobacco Vanille.

Some collectors will try this and like it a lot, but for most people (whether you are into fragrance or not), paying $235 for 50ml of this is ridiculous and totally not worth it. If it were priced at $100 for 50ml, the case would be more compelling, but otherwise, there are plenty of better options out there.

Pass on this one.

29th May, 2013
I kind of waffle between believing that this would be worth purchasing & not believing it. Probably I lean towards no – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good fragrance. First, I think this fragrance is just overly complicated. But at the same time, it’s nice. I basically get a honey and tobacco accord with the slightest hint of raspberry. The honey/tobacco goes on and wears light. It’s not too cloying, but the notes aren’t weak in themselves. Later on I will get some spices, maybe some patchouli, amber drydown, but it’s hard for me to say. There are so many possibilities of what I actually do get. So, it’s a nice enough fragrance, but I can get a basic honey/tobacco scent with Pure Havane for a fraction of the price if that’s what I’m really looking for.
14th February, 2013
I got a sample of this after reading some of these reviews and hoped that I would smell the tobacco and other notes that the other reviews claimed. I wore this for several hours waiting for those other notes, but all I got was honey smeared over baby powder. Not really what I was hoping for. I will give it another shot just to see if I missed something the first time, but for now I can honestly say its not for me. You can tell its very good quality, but just not on my skin. My wife (not a fragrance person) commented that it just smelled like honey and didn't get it. So much for that aphrodisiac thing. Definitely one to sample before purchasing. I'll give it a neutral, because while it may not work on my skin others may be able to pull it off. Again, its very well made, I just don't get the overwhelming honey note?
24th November, 2012
Unfortunately, I do not get any tobacco in this. On me it's just honey and vanilla. A very nice gourmand, but not worth the price.
27th June, 2012
Port wine infused in lip balm.
18th June, 2012
Black licorice is all I can smell. I don't like black licorice. I won't give it a negative just because its a smell I don't like. You can tell this was blended well.
01st April, 2012
This is a bit like a relationship with a nice, sweet, moneyed, competent, fragrant person you never quite fall in love with. They offer comfort and reassurance but nothing that really draws you in, excites or stimulates you.

It's okay; it smells like sweetened vanilla and fruity tobacco and is obviously well crafted... but it's certainly not worth the jaw-dropping price they're asking for it IMO.
26th June, 2011
Back to Black smells like wax, pipe tobacco and honey, and is kind of a vintage one because of the decadent (background) vibe elicited by a bergamot-chamomile relevant chord. The juice appears vaguely leathery-animalic (reminding me barely the classic Arrogance Pour Homme in the dry down) but not brewing. This is almost a semi-gourmand concoction, it's a sort of syrupy honeyed blend of faint patchouli, barely whispered honey (wax?), vanilla and tobacco with an hint of closing vetiver and ethereal chamomile. The previous two ingredients, thank God, link this yummy cream to the real (structured) olfactory universe being this scent otherwise too mellow and tasty you to forbear of "drinking it" as an hot chocolate. The mellowness is not a sort of addle one, this must be stressed, nothing pungent or dissonant in the composition and the final decadent suede is linear and silky. This fragrance is in substance a slightly aromatized sort of honeyed cream with few nuances of liquor and pipe tobacco in a way I see the association with some Lutens creations as Fumerie Turque ( but as said without that level of smokiness) and Arabie ( but not in a so fruited way). Dramatically good but lacking that level of boldness, complexity, particularity and craftsmanship to be for real a favourite of mine. The longevity is not at level of the high price.
06th June, 2011 (last edited: 27th May, 2015)
There is no doubt that the finest fragrance materials were used in this formulation. The formula is quite good. It's a rich tobacco-like, sweet, honey-laden, slightly fruity scent that is somewhat linear, rather than pyramidal. I don't actually smell any tobacco essential oil or absolute, but instead smell a tobacco-like accord. Overall it's an exceptional fragrance that smells like a very expensive and luxurious version of Johnson and Johnson Baby Powder on my skin. This is not meant to be a dig. It's very pleasant, but not exactly my cup of tea. I can understand why this honeyed concoction has so many admirers, but for the price, I'd rather buy something that I absolutely love.
16th March, 2010 (last edited: 02nd January, 2012)
After reading a lot of affectionate reviews for Back to Black, I sampled it and put it up against Musc Ravageur by Frederic Malle, Fumerie Turque by Serge Lutens, and Tobacco Vanille by Tom Ford Private Blend.

Back to Black has a hypnotic opening that has me glued to my wrist to explore this olfactory delight. Its rich and warm with finely crafted top spices. The tobacco element is really mild and I don't consider this to be a big tobacco scent. It's much more balanced than that. It is a solid mix of notes. After the initial open of intrigue, it settles and has a feminine quality to it that I just don't embrace.

Compared to Tobacco Vanille, Back to Black is far better crafted, balanced, with a seductive complexity and is a clear winner of the two. Fumerie Turque is more intriguing than Back to Black to me - further beyond gender, less feminine, more tobacco, smokier, darker, more mysterious. Musc Ravageur is the closer competitor in the middle to dry down stages of Back to Black, but Musc is smoother, more focused, sensual, and wearable to me. I opted for Musc Ravageur in its mildness, and Fumerie Turque in it's darkness. Back to Black is somewhere in between and more feminine spicy/floral. A must-try.
04th March, 2010
I sniffed this first on a card and thought it was really nice, but on my skin the honey note really developed after about 10 minutes and continued to get stronger until I washed it off 30 mins later. It is a nice perfume but far too sweet for me and considering the price you should probably love it unconditionally to buy a FB.
21st February, 2010