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Ultimate Gift Guide 2014: Scents of Identity


  • A bespoke perfume created by Kilian Hennessy and delivered in a 650 mL hand-engraved Saint-Louis crystal carafe. 

  • A set of four bespoke By Kilian scented pendant necklaces infused with the personal fragrance

  • Dinner in Paris with Kilian Hennessy at Caviar Kaspia on the place de la Madeleine.


As a member of the legendary Cognac-producing Hennessy family’s eighth generation, Kilian Hennessy grew up with an appreciation for the finer things in life. His unique experiences and surroundings shaped his penchant for fine fragrances and, ultimately, his boutique scent business. More than perfume, Hennessy’s creations are personal expressions of his sophisticated nose captured in arresting combinations of notes that gently stimulate the senses. Examples of his aromatic art include orange blossom mixed with powdered sugar, tobacco, and honey, and an interpretation of the smoke of bakhoor made from agarwood, or oud. Each bottle is impeccably showcased in a handmade wooden box, with a lock, tasseled key, and satin interior, that has been lacquered 14 times to achieve a special sheen. 

Before establishing By Kilian, Hennessy honed his olfactory skills while studying under France’s great noses—Jacques Cavallier among them—and spent a decade developing perfumes for the likes of Christian Dior, Giorgio Armani, and Alexander McQueen. Inspired by a Baccarat exhibition in Paris that displayed a century of perfume bottles, Hennessy struck out on his own in 2007 with the aim of furnishing clients with the kind of luxury experience he felt the perfume industry lacked. 

For this gift, Hennessy will apply his unique expertise to create a bespoke, never-to-be-replicated fragrance that encapsulates intimate aspects of the recipient’s identity. The process begins with a meeting at his Paris atelier, where Hennessy will discuss not only the recipient’s tastes and preferences in a fragrance but also that individual’s olfactory memories. “I try to understand what clients want—what they have been wearing in the past, and what is missing,” he says. Using his singular approach to formulating scents, over several weeks he will map out plans for a fragrance that reflects the recipient’s personality, as well as his own standards of excellence. 

After a day of exploring possibilities, Hennessy will invite the recipient and a guest to relax with him over a private dinner at his favorite Parisian restaurant, Caviar Kaspia on the place de la Madeleine. A historic location renowned for its selections of caviars and Champagnes, this venue provides the perfect setting in which to savor the finer things with a man well practiced in the art of living well.

A few weeks after the consultation in Paris, Hennessy will send the recipient a sample of the bespoke fragrance for approval or modification. (The recipient can modify the fragrance up to three times.) Once the recipient has endorsed the scent, a crystal carafe from Saint-Louis, the oldest crystal-glass manufacturer in Europe, will be filled with 650 mL of the perfume. This receptacle will be housed in a wooden coffer along with a variety of other items: a glass funnel; six By Kilian bottles in black, white, or a combination of both, with metal plaques engraved according to the recipient’s wishes; and three travel sprayers. Hennessy will also furnish four signature pendant necklaces, each containing a ceramic disk that releases the scent as the jewelry is worn, enabling the recipient to carry this personal fragrance everywhere.  

Kilian, 212.600.1406, bykilian.com


Offer valid for one year ending Dec­ember 2015.

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