By Kilian Water Calligraphy EDP Perfume Review

By Kilian Water Calligraphy

I can’t let people forget their mistakes. It’s a fault of mine. This is why you shouldn’t marry me.

By Kilian Water Calligraphy smells so very familiar when I apply it. It reminds me, I hate to say it, of something more mainstream but I don’t know what. I do get water lily with a bit of sulfuric grapefruit peel. Water Calligraphy “wears down” on me really quickly. I’m left with dewy florals and white musk. The dry-down is a grassy vetiver with tons of white musk.

After a few wears, it hit me. I finally figured out what Water Calligraphy reminded me of – Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey. But, less woodsy and with less longevity. And it’s less abrasive. I mean Water Calligraphy is “nice” and all of that but it sure doesn’t seem original. Yeah, I wore it one day carrying a heap of groceries back from Uwayimaya on a hot day. It smelled great and was awesome on my overheated body; however, I can find other stuff, stuff launched in 1992 and sold at every department store in America that retails for much less and smells almost the same (well, to my nose). Here is where By Kilian made the mistake. Do your perfume research.

Hiroshage Yatsumi Bridge

Notes listed include grapefruit, raseda blossom, water lily, jasmine sambac, magnolia, cardamom, and vetiver. Launch date 2012. PERFUMER – Calice Becker

Give Water Calligraphy a try if you like watery florals. Or perfumes like Clinique Happy, Davidoff Cool Water for Women, Calvin Klein Eternity for Her, Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey, and/or Alfred Sung Shi. Water Calligraphy is a unisex fragrance but it does come across as feminine to me since it reminds me of so many popular designer perfumes marketed to women in the 1990’s.

Water Calligraphy has average projection and below average longevity. I get 3 hours max and about an hour on a warm day.

By Kilian Water Calligraphy retails for $260 at Saks.

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONInoffensive dewy floral. Now let me translate that – dull. A nice, wearable fragrance. But, it’s not worth the price in my opinion. You can get something like this for under $100. AND because of this, Water Calligraphy offends me. It takes some nerve to try to sell us something for about $250 in a pretty bottle that smells like something that has been on the market for over 20 years that retails for under $100. Stuff like this really “grinds my perfume gears”. – After that rant, if it sounds like something you’d like, try it.

Want more reviews? Try…

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*Sample provided by By Kilian since I’m a fan of their Facebook page. My opinions are my own. Product pic from Luckyscent. Hiroshage “Yatsumi no hashi” from Wikipedia. Post contains an affiliate link. Thanks!


12 thoughts on “By Kilian Water Calligraphy EDP Perfume Review

  1. Oh, I’m sure the Killian company did do their research. And they said “we can use our prestigious name to get people to pay big bucks for this watery soup anyway, muah ha ha!” Because people do.

    1. And people do.
      Oh, I just read an interview with Kilian and he said this is the fragrance that he wears. I’ll have to find it. Maybe that was the point! He felt bad wearing another brand’s fragrance 😉

    1. I agree. Not a fan of those that I’ve tried from GoGaE but they are more interesting than this collection.

  2. Hated this! And basically all of the fragrances that you list. Except Alfred Sung Shi, which I haven’t tried,and will not seek out.

    1. This style of perfume is soooo not for me.

      Funny though, I like Shi as well. It’s one of the few aquatic, “zen water garden” perfumes from that era that I wore. And the bottle was cool and it had that wooden stand.

  3. Issey Miyake L’eau d’Issey was one of the really popular perfumes from my pre-perfumista years that I strongly disliked. I couldn’t stand it though I couldn’t explain why. Today I would probably beable to find the explanation but with all the untested samples of great perfumes in my “to test” box I just don’t want to spend any time doing that test.

    I thought that Water Calligraphy was nice but for me it didn’t even come close to be worth the money. Not because it smells like something else but because of its own qualities. Inmy book watery perfumes/colognes should stay well under $150. And I’m not discriminating against By Kilian: I won’t pay for Guerlain’s Voyage collection even though I like several scents from it.
    Undina recently posted..The Perfume of Mystery: Black. Puredistance Black.

    1. d’Issey was one that I never liked; however, a friend wore it and I thought it was nice on her. It’s one that I could only tolerate from a distance.

      I agree with you regarding the Guerlains as well. Many luxury houses do have a “watery” perfume in their line-up and I don’t like those either.

      Value is up to the consumer. I mean if someone loves Water Calligraphy then it’s worth it to them. Personally, if I want to smell like something like this, I’ll go to Macy’s or Sephora and find something refreshing/watery for under $100.

  4. I can’t really smell much with this one at all. It’s like writing on water-not much to see. There are 4 from By Kilian that I like and this isn’t one of them. I like Back to Black. I have Chergui, which smells very similar to me, so I’m not buying this. I also like Rose Oud and Incense Oud. But they don’t really smell like oud and I have Montale’s Moon Aoud for my rose aoud. Tauer’s Incense Rose and Extreme Incense seem to fill the bill for me on these two also. My favorite is Liaisons Dangereuses. I was testing this side by side with both Cafe Rose and Noir de Noir. I thought I might like a largish decant of one. I thought it would be LD, which to me is one of BK that has a projection and sillage that is greater then 45 minutes. But the Tom Fords blew it away.

    I have the same rant about BK that you do. OMG-the price!! Almost $300 for BtoB and LD. Almost $400.00 for the Aouds. These make the Tom Fords look reasonable and the Tauers, Montales, and Serge look cheap. You can get refills for considerable less. But still..come on, they are nice, but not that nice. For that kind of money I rather buy a Hennessy XO (or better) Cognac. Now they have sillage and projection!

    1. I also like Back to Black but I feel I have that sort of thing already covered in my collection. Ditto with the Ouds. It’s so weird but when I wear Incense Oud, I get so many compliments. Yes, I like the fragrance but can’t stomach the price. Rose Oud is nice but I already have Juliette Has a Gun Midnight Oud which costs much less. I love LD too but I don’t know. Still need to spend more time with it.

      I know it’s a luxury line and the packaging is gorgeous, but I don’t feel comfortable buying a $400 bottle of perfume or $200 refill (that comes in ugly packaging!) I’m rather happy with every SL that I’ve ever purchased. I could get a SL bell jar for that price. But, yeah, that’s my taste. I tend to like Guerlain and SL and would rather buy full bottles of those. I guess I look it at go will this $400 bottle of perfume give me 4xs the enjoyment of this Guerlain that I love that retails for under $100? Probably not.

      Now that cognac sounds tempting…it could double as your perfume 😉

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