By Kilian – Bamboo Harmony & Water Calligraphy (Asian Tales)

Bamboo Harmony opens with a rich bergamot which brings to mind the thoughtfully named Bergamote by The Different Company. The bergamot is paired with some citrus florals (neroli) and some more bitter acidic citrus fruits. It’s not quite harmonious at first, but still, a perfectly tame, smoothed out citrus combination.
The thing is, I actually like this opening – I normally can’t stand bergamot soliflore openings, or even many citrus openings at all! Bamboo Harmony is really slick in its initial presentation, and familiar in its scent. It has the depth that Bergamote lacks, and the solidity from generic but nicely chosen supporting notes.

Anyway. A light, almost unidentifiable floral joins in after a few moments as the citrus fruits calm down. Some subtle tea leaves creep in, making the heart a little herbal but still sleek and rounded. This combination pretty much makes up the entire Bamboo Harmony fragrance, until a little hint of anise joins in at the end. At first I sniff it and I think “Yep, I wouldn’t wear this, but it’s a very nice citrus”, and then I sit and think about it…
If this came in a sports bottle and cost £20, I’d sniff it and think “Urgh… generic sports crap”. The thing is, there is nothing original about Bamboo Harmony, in fact, there’s nothing really nice about it either. When you are presented with fancy packaging and familiarity with a niche brand – you naturally take it seriously (I’m not saying you force a positive review becuase I’m sure my readers know me well enough by now…). But, Bamboo Harmony is plain Jane, and to be honest, reminds me of Green Tea or even the ghastly Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden :’)

All in all – a quiet (but thankfully not transparent) green tea and citric floral fragrance that dries down to not much more :)


Water Calligraphy opens so thin and translucent it just smells like alcohol – but when that burns off, the opening turns out to be much nicer than Bamboo Harmony.

A lovely juicy grapefruit, not at all bitter – but mouthwateringly fresh, joins a delicate floral jasmine (with the merest hint of indole in the background). A little bouquet of magnolias join in quickly – sweet, green and lemon scented with a waxy texture. The indole in the jasmine comes in and out (and personally I find it a little out-of-place), but it adds a little substance to the otherwise very light leading notes.

The grapefruit unfortunately leaves a little early, and the florals start to dull slightly. There is a dewy freshness over the entire composition – but not at all like the gloriously synthetic covering over my recently reviewed Un Matin D’Orage – here it is much more ethereal and light.
And then, yet again, I realise exactly what I realised in Bamboo Harmony… this is rubbish!

From the start, Water Calligraphy smells identical to those scented tabs in magazines that advertise fragrances – you know the ones that all smell absolutely identical and nothing like the advertised perfume. I could imagine Water Calligraphy being a lovely air freshener, maybe even a fabric softener, heck – even a bleach fragrance.
What remains on the skin after the first ten minutes, is a very light, very cheaply floral, unappetizing fragrance that smells surprisingly familiar to Poundland’s rip-off of Kenzo’s Flower, which me and my boss had a good laugh at the other week…

However – the interesting aspect of Water Calligraphy returns about 3 or 4 hours later – when a potent semen note – in the same style as Secretions Magnifique, or even more so: Bosque by Humiecki and Graef, settles on the skin. It’s a wierd floral, with a salty note and a metallic thread running through it. It’s (in my sick mind) the best part of Water Calligraphy – but I’d still much rather go for Bosque which from start to finish is absolutely fantastic. Still – a lovely unexpected surprise :’)

Water Calligraphy By Kilian 50ml – $235 luckyscent
Bamboo Harmony By Kilian 50ml – $235 luckyscent

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13 thoughts on “By Kilian – Bamboo Harmony & Water Calligraphy (Asian Tales)

  1. lucasai says:

    Thanks for your impressions. I haven’t tried them but just as expected I would have no interest in Water Calligraphy. To me almost anything with “water” or “aqua” in it’s name is good for me

  2. Both are very underwhelming and for the price they should be anything but.

    • Ahhh you’ve tried them too? Not good at all ey!
      Just like the Xerjoff I tried recently. It’s obscene then can charge so much for so little.
      I have to try some of the goodun’s in the line! – I’ve yet to explore it properly and think there’s some I’d enjoy. I really enjoyed Beyond Love on first sniff <3

  3. Undina says:

    I liked Bamboo Harmony enough to want to wear it. I’m just not ready to pay that price for a nice summer cologne. I’m not saying it’s not worth it – it’s just not worth it for me. But a free bottle from the sky is totally welcome ;) – I’ll love it and enjoy wearing.

    • It’s pleasant enough uhuh – I sway more towards the Water Calligraphy though :) Still, there are better examples of both types of fragrance out there.
      If only bottles were free D:

      • Undina says:

        On my ratings scale going for a “bottle from the sky” is a high enough mark: there are many perfumes I wouldn’t wear free or not ;)

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