I've only recently begun exploring Kilian Hennessy's By Kilian line of fragrance and when I was first sniffing the whole collection earlier this year there was one that hit me just right. That scent was the 2007 release Cruel Intentions by Sidonie Lancesseur.
I think the thing that grabbed me is it is perhaps the most restrained use of oud in a fragrance I've found. Most oud based fragrances come out and at some point in the development use the oud like the bright blare of brass in an orchestra. I found Mme. Lancesseur's much more restrained use of oud to be much more interesting like placing a bell mute in the aforementioned brass section. This has the effect of making me feel like I'm always hearing the oud from a distance and while I expect it to pick up in intensity it never does and that makes this fragrance unique.
The top of Cruel Intentions starts with a pedestrian mix of bergamot and orange blossom it is light and fresh and a tad boring. Just after this the oud begins to appear and as I mentioned already it rises in intensity and then holds at that level for the rest of the development. This allows the notes that appear later to interact with the oud and not be overwhelmed by it. The next group of notes that appear are a floral bouquet led by violet. Violet is a good compatriot for oud as it has a sharpness to it that goes well with the medicinal quality oud brings to fragrance. The fragrance then settles into a base of gaiac and sandalwood along with a dollop of vetiver. As with the violet, the vetiver has its sharper edges on display to go along with the oud. Very late in the development on my skin I get a healthy bit of animalic castoreum and it seems a like a late-comer to the party but not an unwelcome guest, to be sure.
Cruel Intentions has above average longevity on me but it is a very close wearing skin scent with almost no sillage to speak of. Another oddity for an oud scent.
The thing I admire most about Cruel Intentions is the ability Mme. Lancesseur has with making one work to find the oud. It makes the journey that much more enjoyable when its done.