Apple Brandy is new from niche line By Kilian. It's exclusive to the brand's boutique in New York City (boo! hiss! we hate localized perfume exclusives!) and according to brand founder Kilian Hennessy, is meant as a "bit of a wink to the Big Apple and cognac".
And hey, that's just what it is, so much so that this will be a shorter review than usual. Apple Brandy opens as a fruity rum cocktail, liberally garnished with apple slices. It warms quickly, taking on heavier oak and amber notes. Within a few minutes, it's closer to something you might reasonably call brandy, and the apple garnish, meanwhile, evolves into something more like baked apple with a caramelized sugar topping. The sweet notes are lightly done, mind you, and much less assertive than the wood notes, so it never gets overwhelmingly gourmand. The longer it's on skin, the drier and oak-ier it gets, but it never quite reaches Serge Lutens Chêne levels of oak-ness, and it's mostly linear after about 45 minutes.
Verdict: great fun, and a nice concept for a boutique exclusive if you have to do such a thing (they're also doing vodka for Moscow). Since great fun is often exactly what I find lacking from the Kilian line, I was very happy to try it and I enjoyed wearing it immensely — it's a perfect for a snowy January. Do I need a bottle? Well, no. For one thing, I've already got a bottle of Chêne to cover my booze + oak barrel needs, for another, hey, it's $235. It's not that fun.
Do comment with your favorite boozy fragrance, if you have one!
By Kilian Apple Brandy is $235 for 50 ml Eau de Parfum, refillable, in the usual Kilian box with lock and key. Apple Brandy was developed by perfumer Sidonie Lancesseur; notes feature alcohol sugar, an apple, rum and plum accord, smoke and oak barrel accords, cedar, labdanum, ambroxan and vanilla. I am pretty sure it was available for sale on the Kilian website recently (anyone know?) but it currently shows there as "not available".
Note: top image shows decorated oak barrels at Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery and is via their website; they are the makers of Cornelius Applejack.