Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review

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Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review
Kilian Black Phantom "Memento Mori" Perfume Review

Kilian Black Phantom “Memento Mori” Eau de Parfum was an elegant gourmand where rum was, in fact, the star through most of the life of the perfume. The rum started as richer, boozier, and more definable before it was sweetened with caramel and chocolate with a creamy, nutty quality brought on by almond and coffee. The sandalwood showed up late in the journey, near the drydown, which was accented by caramel sweetness and a touch of nuttiness.

Black Phantom Notes

It is described as having a “rum accord” with “strong coffee at its heart” that is “balanced by vetiver essence” and has a hidden “cyanide accord.” The notes are listed as: rum, sugar cane, dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, almond, heliotrope, sandalwood.

What does Black Phantom Smell Like?

It was rich, decadent rum drizzled with caramel with a roasted espresso on the side, just poured and piping hot. Black Phantom was dark, heady, and boozy with caramel-coated almonds–sweet, chewy, and nutty. The smooth, nutty almonds stretched out the rum and pulled back some of the sweetness of the caramel while a dash of cocoa darkened the concoction.

After a half hour, it felt milkier; the caramel was creamed, diffusing the richness subtly, while it the fragrance itself was not quite as heady as the rum weakened, buried under creamy caramel and almonds. There was a swirl of cappuccino that came through two hours in, which gave the milky caramel and nuttiness more body. It continued in this vein through the drydown, which saw the addition of soft sandalwood.


It lasted for 10 hours until it was a skin-scent and about 16 hours before it was quite difficult to detect on my skin. The sillage and projection were moderate and dropping closer to the body after three hours of wear.

Personal Notes

This is one of my favorites by Kilian thus far from what I’ve tried! I felt like the rum really came through, and I did get coffee undertones with a caramel swirl that turned nuttier and milkier over time. It was more gourmand but it wasn’t quite photorealistic, possibly the aid of heliotrope and sandalwood. This is definitely bottle-worthy, so I’m thankful that I have one already!

Testing Methodology

For testing, I used two sprays applied to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I used an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise. 

I received my bottle in February 2022; fragrances are known to be reformulated over their lifetime , so be mindful of when a review was made, e.g. a review from 2010 may not reflect what the same-named perfume smells like in 2022.


Black Phantom is available for $240/50ml.

If possible, I highly recommend trying a fragrance before purchasing a full bottle because fragrance can wear differently just because of skin chemistry. Skin chemistry can effect not just the longevity of a fragrance but also what notes are prominent or hidden.

Black Phantom Samples

We recommend the following retailers for purchasing decanted samples (typically 0.7ml to 2ml in size). This is a fuller list, so individual availability may depend on inventory.

Where to Buy


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Nancy T Avatar

Sounds… interesting. My only hope would be that I wouldn’t smell like someone dumped coffee on me the way that the OG YSL Black Opium did! And oddly enough, the Black Opium Nuit Blanche is beautiful on me? I still get the gourmand, but also something else that I cannot quite pinpoint.
I will likely get myself a sample of this before I commit to it.

Jess Avatar

The cyanide gave me a chuckle. Nothing better then breathing in rat poision haha. Now I know it’s not real cyanide but maybe the company should have left that reference out. I can see wording turning some people off

Genevieve Avatar

It sounds like a really complex perfume. I have tried lately to find some of the perfumes you have reviewed and most of them are not found here in my neck of the woods – most likely I would have to go into the city dept. stores where they have a wider selection of gourmet scents.

Donna Avatar

I was given samples of this one and was really surprise how smooth it was. Going by the name, I was really expecting something very dark and dangerous. The clutch box in came in had a skull on the top, which added to my thoughts before I had the chance to try it. I love heliotrope in perfume and perhaps that is what on my skin gave it a smooth slightly sweet smell.

Sadra Avatar

I happened to have a sample of this, so I dabbed a little on my wrist and sniffed while reading your review. Spot on review, and also made me appreciate a perfume that I’d set aside. How come I never smelled the caramel before? Now it’s front and center for me. I’m not much for boozy scents, but I love coffee/milky gourmands and now I want a full bottle of this stuff!

BrandiD Avatar

I LOVE this perfume. It’s probably my favorite so far of by Kilian’s line (there are a few I haven’t tried yet), and I have a difficult body chemistry with perfume. I tend to smell like bathroom cleaner or laundry detergent with lighter perfumes, while florals go rank on me quickly. Sweeter perfumes are generally better but by no means foolproof. This is an excellent, complex, not too sugary perfume for me. I’ve heard people describe it as unisex, and I think it might be but there is a sultry note that makes me think it would be a challenging scent for a man.

Z Avatar

I want to love this so bad. I just want a perfume in a cool ass bottle with a cool ass name that makes me smell like a cool ass person. I haven’t found Kilian fragrance to be…….so far they don’t work with my skin or scent preferences. I’m willing to grab a sample of this at some point for a second try, but…..I’m jealous of how much you liked it.

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