Brand Book

To break the rules,
you must first master them

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Heir to a long line of cognac-makers that were pioneers in luxury, Kilian Hennessy decided to continue his family tradition, launching his namesake luxury fragrance brand in 2007. To develop and design a new luxury brand was a challenge worthy of his predecessors—who had founded Maison Hennessy in 1765, the world leader in cognac. As a child, Kilian spent his early years at the family’s castle in the southwest of France, surrounded by the cellars of cognac barrels that were seeped in sugar, alcohol and wood. Kilian grew up enveloped in an extraordinary world of traditional, sublime French luxury. Years later, he would draw inspiration for his vibrant and intense scents from those vivid olfactive memories from childhood that included wood, vanilla, sugar and alcohol in the Hennessy cognac cellars.

The first day I started smelling raw materials, I was hooked. I knew immediately back then that perfume was going to become my world.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Before graduating from Paris Sorbonne University, Kilian wrote a thesis on the semantic of scents, searching for a language common to gods and mortals. Remembering the “Angel’s Share” as part of his heritage, he was led to the world of perfumery. The “Angel’s Share” is what the House of Hennessy calls the percentage that, inexplicably, evaporates from cognac barrels, like an offering to the gods.

Kilian was always enthralled by fragrance, by its lasting power and by its ability to evoke strong emotions in people. For years, Kilian trained with the greatest noses in perfumery, including Jacques Cavallier, Thierry Wasser, Alberto Morillas and Calice Becker. He was part of great fragrance Houses such as Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander McQueen and Giorgio Armani. During these years, Kilian developed an extraordinary nose for fragrance and catalogued a library of thousands of exceptional raw materials.

One fateful evening, while at the Baccarat restaurant in Paris, Kilian was delighted to come across a collection of extraordinary antique Baccarat perfume bottles with gorgeous attention to detail. He knew immediately that this sense of craftsmanship and luxury had been lost in modern perfumery. At that very moment, he made it his own personal mission to create a brand that would restore traditional, luxury perfumery to its apex but with a modern twist:

I wanted to put perfumery back on its pedestal by going back to the truth about perfume, back to the way perfume was made in the late19th and early 20th century, but adding a contemporary twist at the same time.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Today, KILIAN consists of 9 collections (38 fragrances) including: L’Oeuvre Noire, In the Garden of Good and Evil, Addictive State of Mind, Moonlight in Heaven, Black Phantom, From Dusk till Dawn, Arabian Nights, Asian Tales, and The Boutique Exclusives.

In 2007, Kilian Hennessy launched KILIAN with the ambition of reflecting his distinct personality as well as his passion for luxury perfumery—elegance with uncompromising attention to detail. The brand would redefine luxury fragrances in a uniquely KILIAN way. To achieve this goal, Kilian’s creative process begins with the promise: “Perfume as an Art.”

In 2016, The Estée Lauder Companies acquired KILIAN. KILIAN’s unique position and entrepreneurial roots made it an ideal brand for The Estée Lauder Companies.

I could not imagine a better home for my brand. The Estée Lauder Companies not only understands the philosophy behind KILIAN – which is to bring perfumery back to the level of luxury that it enjoyed in the early 20th century – but also has the resources and support to help KILIAN continue to strategically grow by category, region and distribution. The Company has an incredible track record of nurturing entrepreneurial brands, and I’m thrilled to be partnering with them.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Today, the brand is sold in nearly 400 doors worldwide, including department stores, alternative perfumeries, fashion stores, and Travel Retail. The brand has several boutiques “worldwide”, in New York, Paris, London, Doha, Lugano and soon Jeddah and Kiev.

KILIAN is a perfect complement to our portfolio of prestige fragrances. Kilian has built a beautiful and sumptuous brand that elevates the art of perfume creation with elegance and uncompromising luxury. This acquisition gives our Company a strategic opportunity to continue to build upon our leadership in ultra-luxury fragrances. We are very excited to work closely with Kilian Hennessy and the entire KILIAN team to continue building on the brand’s terrific success.”

Fabrizio Freda
President and Chief Executive Officer 
of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.


"Allow men and women to explore their sensual and forbidden desires
through fearless creations


"When I'm good, I'm very good but when I'm bad, I'm better."








Purpose and promise


"Allow men and women to explore their sensual and forbidden desires through fearless creations."

At the core of the KILIAN brand is a bold belief in individual self-expression, in exploring duality of human nature, good and evil, dark and light, and ultimately, the hidden, seductive dark side we all have. Kilian is a rule breaker and this allows the client to feel that the forbidden is secretly permitted. The purpose establishes an extraordinary, secret, intimate bond between Kilian and the client. The brand purpose also evokes the brand’s most salient values.

What we are











"When I'm good, I'm very good but when I'm bad, I'm better."

This promise reinforces the seductive positioning of the brand, always toeing the line between good and evil, right and wrong and enabling the consumer to live his/her own duality, as he/she chooses. Ultimately, the promise draws the consumer in with the prospect of a world where the forbidden becomes “allowed” because Kilian himself is a rule breaker. With KILIAN, the client has permission to break the rules. All the pleasure is in the “breaking the rules”. The emotional bond between Kilian and his customers is freedom, freedom to be someone we cannot be in everyday life. The freedom that comes from daring to accept the hidden dark side we all have. This leads to an exciting journey of selfdiscovery. In a way, KILIAN becomes a place free of judgements, where Kilian and the client explore and highlight the secret part of us we are hiding. It is clear what KILIAN is and is not as a brand.




Kilian Hennessy is the soul and foundation of the KILIAN brand. His voice, creativity, soul, and taste are present throughout the brand, from product formulation choices to package design and communication. Kilian’s childhood growing up in one of the world’s most famous families, heir to thet legacy of Hennessy cognac, plays a substantial role in who he is today. But his own passion for fragrance, his life-long dedication to exploring and expressing the depth and meaning of scent, is also a crucial piece of the brand today. Kilian draws upon his extraordinary heritage as well as his incredible fragrance expertise to develop the brand’s unique and differentiated point of view.

The KILIAN brand is a rule breaker. Everything from the creation of the collections, the design and reusability of the bottle, to the storytelling and obsession with making perfume visible, makes KILIAN truly one-of-a-kind. In many ways, KILIAN breaks the rules and does everything differently because the brand is so very expert and knowledgeable about fragrance as an industry. Kilian is an expert in luxury and fragrances, having spent his childhood surrounded by the craftsmanship of his family’s cognac cellars and most of his adult life working for some of the world’s most revered fragrance houses.
It is often said that Kilian is able to instantly discern the notes and ingredients in a particular scent. It is this very depth and expertise which enables his ability to create KILIAN collections that break all of the rules of traditional fragrances. Reusable bottles, $300 pricing, story-based (rather than ingredientbased) collections, and total creative freedom are some of the ways in which KILIAN breaks the rules.



The KILIAN sensuality stems directly from Kilian himself. The brand’s scents, packaging, stories, experience and communications are expressed by Kilian with a sense of the forbidden. The brand explores the duality of human nature, the contrast between being good and being bad and whatis forbidden. And this focus creates the brand’s unique sensuality:

The fact is that when you look at our top sellers, Good Girl Gone Bad, Straight to Heaven - white cristal, Intoxicated, Love - don’t be shy, they all express a form of sensuality and seduction. So obviously people come to me for that!

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director



KILIAN fragrances go beyond the scent and the packaging. The white clutch in Good girl gone Bad with the golden snake was Kilian’s way of making perfume visible. The wearer carrying the clutch is also probably wearing its unique scent. Additionally, Kilian is today developing an extraordinary scented jewelry collection, the first of its kind in the world. On a limited edition basis, Kilian is developing a unique, scented lingerie collection, further exploring the theme of making perfume visible.



Kilian believes that true luxury should never be disposable. Therefore, all KILIAN fragrances are refillable, a uniquely eco-luxe perspective. In addition, Kilian ensures that his creations always have elements of excess, something that really makes a product stand out in the category.

For me true luxury should last forever. That is why, I made all my bottles refillable and every box either reusable as a jewelry coffret or a clutch

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

At KILIAN, the bottle you purchase is the bottle that you keep forever. Refillable fragrances evoke the longevity of luxury but are also respectful of the environment, creating less waste for the planet. This core philosophy is true in every KILIAN product, home fragrances, jewelry and the upcoming bath and body line. Kilian has collaborated with “Cristallerie Saint Louis” for the conception of the fragrance carafe, evoking the philosophy of timeless French luxury.



Kilian draws inspiration from art, literature, music, culture and travel for his exquisite collections. Creativity and storytelling are at the center of everything the brand does. With the Arabian Nights Collection, for example, Kilian took inspiration from his travels to the Middle East inspired by the scent of the Bakhoor, the oud wood burning in the air. The collection is comprised of 5 scents built around essential oils with strong symbolic values from the East: oud, rose, incense, amber and musk. Each KILIAN collection is inspired first by a story that is then carefully unfolded by the creation of the scents. This creation process stands in stark contrast with fragrance players whose starting point is a single unique ingredient. As a result, Kilian’s fragrances and stories are deeper, more complex and feel a lot more robust and luxurious.

I like my creations to take their inspiration from something bigger, greater. It allows me to have a story to unfold

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Product, Voice, Experience



Kilian Hennessy is, above all, a true perfume designer. His obsession has always been to put perfumery back on its pedestal by writing extraordinary scented stories that give birth to unique fragrances housed in exquisite crafted cases.



KILIAN‘s voice emulates that of its founder. The brand’s voice is always intelligent and refined, but toes the line between that which is dangerous, forbidden, secret. The voice is bold, tremendously cultured and knowledgeable. Finally, the KILIAN voice expresses playfulness very skillfully: it is playful in a seductive, intimate way.


At the core of the KILIAN experience is entering the secret world of Kilian himself. Kilian is a curator of the perfect fragrance collection and the brand experience invites the client to immerse him/herself in an oasis of luxury. The art of personalization is at the core of KILIAN: he wants to help his consumers be whoever they want to be and feel whatever they would like to feel. They are invited into the world of the forbidden and are seduced because they can break the rules – they can be Good, Bad or both. KILIAN’s stores evoke extraordinary French luxury via the tassels, the Haussmannian moldings that give the feeling of a luxurious Paris apartment, the black lacquering and the contrast with white tones. The KILIAN selling ritual begins with the question “Who do you want to be today?” and truly explores his/her inner and forbidden desires. KILIAN store staff are recruited for their alignment to brand values: they must be passionate, theatrical, charismatic, playful – comfortable with the Art of Seduction.



KILIAN consumers are quite strong personalities who are open-minded, modern and creative both in their general style and approach to life. They often have artistic / creative profiles or aspirations (fashion, beauty, photography, lifestyle gurus etc.). KILIAN consumers are social butterflies who like to be ‘on the scene’. They are drawn to celebrity and ‘it’ crowds, like to feel ‘in the know’ and close to high profile people. They love performance and theatrical experiences, including art galleries, special exhibitions, trendy new places and always want to be ‘in the know’. They appreciate originality and self-expression.

They are marked by a certain appetite for life and a way of living it to the fullest: keen on traveling, experiencing, meeting people, socializing… Pleasure drives them – and the expression of it: at ease with words, they love to share their discoveries and often are good story tellers. KILIAN consumers are driven to brands that offer

status and performance: a more ‘classic’ articulation of luxury, though they are looking for originality, craftsmanship, exclusivity and uniqueness. They are drawn to luxury brands that give them a sense of belonging to a certain lifestyle or an elite group – they desire to be among the “select few and in–the-know” and search something refined that they can claim as their own.


Their attitudes towards fragrance are focused on the scent itself, they really want to find their own/unique fragrance that they will love on their skin, as if it were ‘made for them’. They are knowledgeable about scents and niche brands – they constantly seek to enhance their self-knowledge of the category.

Their relationship to the category is instinctive… and promiscuous, hence they are looking for fragrances that could be a better proxy for their emotional identity. They pick from the heart (new fragrance discovery is often marked by a change in relationship) and have a natural curiosity for the name and story behind a fragrance. They are also drawn to storytelling about success, outstanding power, seduction, transgression.

They are drawn to KILIAN, because of Kilian himself. Using the brand gives them a sense of being a part of Kilian’s elite world and also his universe as a creator. Hence they want more exclusive access to his personal life and his world through different touchpoints, especially via social media.

They are also drawn to the overtly sensual and dramatic side of KILIAN fragrances: their associations with relationships or memories. They feel KILIAN fragrances allow them to reflect their sensuality, their emotions (e.g., happiness, the need to feel different, a desire to party, etc.) and explore their hidden “dark” side. They strongly relate with KILIAN’s philosophy around true luxury lasting forever and hence are very much drawn to the packaging, as well as the concept of refills of the brand.They are very curious about KILIAN’s own creative process and the inspiration vision behind his fragrances, and want to know more about these aspects of the brand across multiple touchpoints (in-store, social media, online).

A perfume must first be a great story, long before being a beautiful olfactive harmony

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Like a movie director, Kilian always begins with a story, with a script he wishes to create. Each collection is built from a story that is beautiful, luxurious, and different. Unlike other perfume houses, Kilian’s starting point is not ingredients or sourcing of ingredients. Quite the contrary: Kilian begins with a story he wishes to explore, such as the sensuality of the story of Adam and Eve, and he builds the scents to deliver that story.


Product portfolio

KILIAN comprises 9 collections and 38 fragrances,
each with a unique story and positioning.

L'Oeuvre Noire

“I conceived L’Oeuvre Noire Collection with a quasi-Faustian ambiance in mind, like those that darkened Rimbaud’s spirit or conjured the witches in Macbeth. But it also recalls contemporary R&B lyrics like those of 50 cent, Snoop Dogg or Dr Dre, all about temptation in the face of urban violence, like Baudelaire before them, as expressed in his prose poetry.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

A collection built on love and its prohibitions.”

A collection of 10 unique fragrances composed with the highest quality raw materials, the rarest and most expensive essential oils, without any limit to the perfumer’s imagination. The Collection is comprised of 3 chapters: Love and Its Prohibitions, The Artificial Paradises, The Temptations. Scents are distinctive from a name and olfactive standpoint.

The iconic perfumes are Love, don't be shy and Straight to Heaven, white cristal.

In the garden of
Good and Evil

When I'm good, I'm very good but when I'm bad, I'm better.”

The world of perfumes enters into the Garden of Eden and shows us another side of the story, leading us away from the well-know representations and allowing us to understand it now by breathing its delights. We only have to close our eyes and all of the symbols of the original sin rush in, attacking our senses. One by one, the coiled serpent appears, the apple is revealed, the garden materializes before our eyes. The collection includes Forbidden Games (plum, rose, honey), Good girl gone Bad (osmanthus, jasmine, cedarwood, vetiver), Voulezvous coucher avec Moi (neroli, orange blossom, sandalwood).

The iconic perfume is Good girl gone Bad.

Addictive State of Mind

An olfactive dependence, an essential narcotic”

An olfactive dependence, an essential narcotic, a means of escape, a craving. An overwhelming desire aroused and gratified by this collection. An obsessive luxurious withdrawal into your own secret world of dreams and fantasy, an artificial paradise of heightened sensations, brilliant colors and untamed beauty. Dangerous thoughts, captivating scents, exquisite ingredients and oils. The collection includes: Light my Fire (cumin, honey, vanilla), Intoxicated (bergamot, patchouli, coffee), Smoke for the Soul (grapefruit, tobacco) and Vodka on the rocks (aldehydes, coriander, sandalwood).

The iconic perfumes are Intoxicated, and Vodka on the rocks.

Moonlight in Heaven

A sensual getaway in a secret paradise.”

A KILIAN honeymoon, full of passion and romance as the night is Kilian’s universe. Coconut, mango, grapefruit, vetiver combine to deliver a bright and exotic scent.

A little party never killed nobody”.”

Inspired by the moto of the pirates: “Memento Mori", the scent Black Phantom is a sensual and suprising twist on an Irish coffee created for those who live for pleasure. The jet black flacon reposes in a black lacquered coffret from which a smiling skull rises.

From Dusk till Dawn

All Art is Erotic.”

From Dusk till Dawn, a new collection inspired by the sensual glamour and sumptuous luxury of fin de siècle Vienna, and its most subversive artist, Gustav Klimt.

The two fragrances, Woman in Gold and Gold Knight, each of which play with dualities: darkness and light, femininity and masculinity, modernity and proud tradition, are distinguished by a bright opening laced with bergamot, and a deep, complex drydown of patchouli and vanilla. They magically conjure the notion of gold in scent, and, like Klimt’s work itself, are richly textured, sensual, mysterious, extravagant.

Arabian Nights

A sensual journey into the olfactive charms of the 1,001 nights”.”

The iconic perfume is Musk Oud.

Asian Tales

A moment of delicacy and spirituality.”

Asian Tales was first conceived as an olfactory voyage, yet soon transformed into a spiritual journey, as meanings behind symbols and words became increasingly significant and relevant. As the creation took shape, every detail was placed with careful attention and with intent to show respect for this great culture. Water Lily, Bamboo, Peach Flower, to offer meditation and spirituality in this fast paced life we are all living.

The iconic perfume is Bamboo Harmony.

Boutique Exclusives

Summer night and city light.
No sleep in the city

These scents are created by Kilian especially for his different boutiques around the world. Apple Brandy (New York), Noir Aphrodisiaque (Paris), Single Malt (London), Lemon in Zest (Lugano), Royal Leather (Mayfair), Pearl Oud (Doha).

Product and packaging philosophy


"A perfume must first be a great story, long before being a beautiful olfactive harmony. A film director first writes the script and then begins the production and this is exactly how I went about developing each collection. Contrary to many of my competitors who name their perfumes based on one ingredient, I chose to do something totally different. I chose to name each perfume with a title and subtitle, expressing the notion that each scent is the beginning of a real story, one that has yet to be told."

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director


I like composing with an overdose of natural ingredients.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

KILIAN fragrances are distinctive in all aspects. They are created from stories, they are unisex and they are developed with the utmost reverence, creativity and freedom. From a formulation standpoint, the central promise is the highest quality and the best formulation that delivers the unique story of that collection. Kilian’s creative process begins with a moodboard where he starts working on images and words to give birth to a new olfactive book. Then, based on the story he wishes to tell, he chooses from amongst 4 perfumers who are part of his repertoire.

When I started my brand, I wanted to go back to the old way of writing perfume, with 50, 60 or even 70% of the formula in dry down notes. In order to achieve that, I work with woods, resins, vanilla notes that really allow the perfume to stay longer on the skin. And this is what customers always tell me; when they wear one of my scent, they feel they have it on their skin even the next day. It doesn't come off. And this is exactly what I wanted to achieve.

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Kilian’s scents really are about enabling the utmost creativity from the perfumer.

My scents have often a feeling of something edible, or drinkable or coming from the tasting world..”
Intoxicated is a Turkish coffee accord. Love - don’t be shy is an orange blossom with a marshmallow accord. Straight to Heaven - white cristal is a woodsy composition with an overdose of rum.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Our perfumers are free to use the most expensive raw materials. We never ask them to work within a price range. We never do consumer testing. We focus on whether we love it and whether it expresses our story.”

Camille Tendrel
Global Product Development Director

I am using the highest quality of raw materials and always ask the perfumers to use their newest raw materials.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director



At KILIAN, packaging plays a crucial role in delivering the brand experience. KILIAN packaging is one of the most detailed, symbolic and complex in the world.


Black Lacquered Wood

Black lacquered wood gives the brand a modern feeling but also evokes craftsmanship. KILIAN's lacquered wood is done via an artisanal process that involves over 13 coats of lacquering.

Achille's Shield

This Greek Etruscan motif of the shield that belonged to Achilles is carved on the glass on the side of each KILIAN bottle, and evokes Kilian’s belief that perfume is also about protection:

I believe that perfume is as much about seduction as it is about protection. When you wear a perfume, you have to feel you are a better version of yourself, you have to feel protected from the outside world. That is why I wanted Achille's shield engraved on my products: so the wearer can feel protected by the shield of the greatest warrior of all times.

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

Fresco and Snake

Frescos that appear on the sides of the bottle evoke the story of the fragrance. In In The Garden of Good and Evil Collection, these frescos show the contrast between good and evil, the role of temptation and seduction. This fresco shows Adam and Eve, intermingled with the serpent, the door, the apple and the grapevine. All symbols of temptation, realized—the ultimate carnal sin. All KILIAN bottles are the same, but the frescos on the side are modified in each collection.


Clutches and Coffrets

Coffrets and clutches characterize the KILIAN brand. Clutches are a way to make perfume visible. They are also reusable. Black lacquering is often seen in the brand’s coffrets and clutches. Each coffret can be locked with a key attached to a tassel, as if it was one’s little secret box.

Glass bottle

The KILIAN bottle shows an incredible contrast between tradition and modernity. The front and back are shiny black lacquered, with a coat of varnish. In contrast, the sides are matte black.


The reason why I wanted this ancient motif to be matte black was to give the feeling as if you didn’t know where this bottle was coming from and when it was created. I like this contrast between tradition and modernity, between yesterday and today.”

Kilian Hennessy
Founder and Creative Director

K on top of the cap

This is an element that is iconic, indicating a key into a world where nothing is forbidden anymore.



Most of the names are in English because it is the language that most people can understand. English also allows for expression of emotion with fewer words. Finally, most often the names involve Kilian’s own perspective: what is his interpretation of the theme: e.g., Love, don’t be shy.



The KILIAN carafe is inspired by the traditional cognac carafe and made of a very special crystal, “Cristallerie de Saint Louis”, the ultimate icon of traditional French luxury. It evokes the utmost luxury and attention to detail. The pattern used on the bottle represents the K from Kilian.








The tassel expresses traditional French luxury. The tassel is present on most of our products.

The Calla Lily flowers are largely used in Kilian's world. They are known for being toxic, but also are the symbols of "burning deires."

The key adorned with the tassel is like a talisman that protexts the precious fragrance.

The Art deco influences the general aesthetic of the brand: boutique architecture, clutches, candle holder, K pattern on the bottle.

Simple Haussmanian moldings that can be seen in most of the boutiques, bring to life the French touch and a Parisian apartment feel. Books, literature and calligraphy, expressed through logos and perfume titles.



At KILIAN, we believe that we are all ambassadors and we all convey the passion we have for the world of perfumery and the brand.



At KILIAN, we believe respect is the key for an efficient and fulfilling working environment.


At KILIAN, we believe in people who dare to think out of the box, who explore the unconventional.



At KILIAN, we believe excellence is not a skill but an attitude.


At KILIAN, we believe in “play hard, work hard”. Creation is a game!



At KILIAN, we believe we should do what is right, and not what is easy.