Get to Know the Luxury Fragrance Line Estée Lauder Just Acquired

By Kilian, launched by a Hennessy heir, includes pricy perfumes and scented jewelry.
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By Kilian, launched by a Hennessy heir, includes pricy perfumes and scented jewelry.
Kilian Hennessy at a Saks event. Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images

Kilian Hennessy at a Saks event. Photo: John Sciulli/Getty Images

Estée Lauder has added another fragrance brand to a sophisticated portfolio that includes Jo Malone, Tom Ford, Le Labo and Frédéric Malle: By Kilian, a nine-year-old perfume company that operates a small but very international handful of boutiques in locations ranging from Paris and Moscow to Doha, Qatar and Lugano, Switzerland, each decorated in shades of black and white.

With prices like $475 for 1.7 ounces of its "Pearl Oud" fragrance, $4,000 for a monstrously large (22-ounce) bottle of its iris-inflected "Prelude to Love, invitation" and that pulse-quickening "Price Upon Request" for a custom scent, By Kilian is definitely what you'd call a high-end perfume brand, sitting a step above Estée Lauder's other fragrance lines. At Frédéric Malle and Le Labo, a 1.7 oz fragrance goes for more like $160 or $185 to $200, respectively — though to be fair, some of By Kilian's scents do get down to $295. While that sort of pricing weeds out a good chunk of potential customers, it could do something to elevate Estée Lauder's overall positioning in the beauty business.

"Kilian’s heritage of sophistication and luxury is a terrific match for The Estée Lauder Companies," said William P. Lauder, the executive chairman of Estée Lauder Companies, in a statement. That would be family heritage: the brand's founder is Kilian Hennessy, as in the LVMH-owned Cognac brand.

Pieces in By Kilian's scented jewelry collection. Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Pieces in By Kilian's scented jewelry collection. Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Among By Kilian's more interesting elements is its scented jewelry range, which includes earrings, necklaces and bracelets into which you can place a little perfume-soaked ceramic disk — clever, and very pretty.

Estée Lauder did not disclose the terms of the acquisition. Hopefully we'll get some more information on it when the company announces its third quarter earnings in May.