In 2007 I stumbled across this compelling image of a £50 million diamond-encrusted skull exhibited by English artist, Damien Hirst. This profound artistic statement in celebration against death instantly reminded of ornamental El Dia de los Muerto skull depictions prevalent in Mexico; as well as rich pirate iconography common in Caribbean cultures. At the time, I was wowed by the way Hirst had transformed a human skull into an extravagant objet d'art. I'd long since filed this image away in the repository of my mind, however it skipped into my consciousness again just a few weeks ago, when a friend introduced me to a fragrance from the By Kilian perfume portfolio. The scent in question: Straight to Heaven: white crystal.
Straight to Heaven, is a scent inspired by Martinican Rum - the alcoholic life-blood of the Caribbean islands. Its opening is dark and fruity - thick with the semi-sweet aroma of fermenting sugarcane and dark molasses, distilled and stored in old wooden barrels. With it, there is a sense of a warmth... like the radiating sting of an aged rum as it slips down the oesophagus. Several accords drop anchor at the heart of this fragrance - most notably, cedar and Indonesian patchouli: each of which contribute a dense earthiness to the mix. But it is over a swelling tide of white musk that this composition stays afloat... the musk is sharp, crystal clear and well-refined.When experiencing the total sum of these accords, one can easily visualise the ghosts of marauding buccaneers patrolling the Spanish- American coastline with the jolly roger hoisted high above their heads. It is a scent that is nostalgic and in the here-and-now. It is a fragrance that is commanding and masculine, but also one executed with enormous care and delicacy.
The brand itself is the culmination of French cognac heir and perfume marketer/developer Kilian Hennessey's efforts, and furnishes men and women with exquisite fragrances of unrivalled elegance and uncompromising luxury. This is clearly evident in the quality of the materials used, and the treasure chest-like presentation of the flacon in a satin-lined box with a lock and key closure. I am also very taken with the 1 litre barrel-shaped fountain, that allows you to refill your bottle at home.
Such treasures I would also regard as objets d'art, and feel they would certainly take pride of place in any self-respecting pirate's plunder!