In my review of Back To Black, I'd said that I wouldn't write another review of a By Kilian fragrance until I found one that I actually liked. Since then, I've had a chance to smell Straight To Heaven, and I like it, so I'm going to review it.
By Kilian, as well as most reviews of this fragrance that I've read, touts the heavy rum note that is supposedly in Straight To Heaven. I just don't smell a lot of rum in this. It's there, but I smell it mostly during the first fifteen minutes or so after spraying it on, where it gives the fragrance a rich, boozy smell for a short time period.
For me, Straight To Heaven smells like a very well made spicy wood scent. In fact, I could swear that I smell incense in this fragrance, but I don't see incense listed as a note. It could be the strong, assertive black pepper note in here, which darkens the woody smell and makes it aromatic and very dry. It may not be the most original approach to a wood fragrance, but it smells really good. The drydown is even better, because it develops a dusky, almost smoky smell, and it gives the whole fragrance a kind of charcoal gray, ashen smell. In fact, it's not too far from the smell of burning incense used at Catholic Church funerals.
I can't finish this review, however, without mentioning that Straight To Heaven smells almost exactly like Bang! by Marc Jacobs, which is also a great fragrance. I find the fragrances virtually identical for the first couple of hours. The only difference I can smell is in the drydown - Bang! manages to sustain the dry woody patchouli smell, while Straight To Heaven goes the burning incense route I described above. Also, Straight To Heaven has more powerful sillage and better staying power than Bang!.
I already have a bottle of Bang!, which cost me about twenty bucks, so would I spring $225 for a bottle (50 ml.) of Straight To Heaven? At that price, there's no way in hell I would. That price is absurd and an insult to our intelligence. It may be a better fragrance than Bang!, but it's not that much better. If it were more in line with the majority of niche fragrances, say in the $100 to $160 range, I might have considered a purchase, but as it stands right now, I'll just be an admirer rather than an owner.
MY RATING: 8.5/10
Fragrance House: By Kilian