The opening blast combines the blood orange with a spicy note with hints of black pepper. a bit later an orange blossom notes adds a bright and optimistic touch.
The drydown ads a somewhat subdued lavender, which after a while struggles to make itself smelt in the whole mix.
The base adds woodsy aromas, a bit like a mix of African whitewood and sandalwood. There is a hint of and ambery tonka hire too, with a soft mossy aroma in the background, but it is rather perfunctory on me.
I get strong sillage, excellent performance, and an very good ten hours of ten hours in my skin.
This autumnal creating lives on the top spice notes that are modified a bit by the lavender, and mainly by the woods and the tonka as the main players over time; the other ingredients are more accompaniments on me. At times it is a bit linear and lacks texture, but the performance is very good. 3/5
I'm not terribly into Kalan. The opening is immediately reminiscent of Baccarat Rouge, with some blood orange and a load of spices. To me that's not entirely a selling point as I'm not super keen on BR540 in the first place. And the scent further devolves from there, getting scratchier, muddled and synthetic as it goes. I'm not a huge fan of the house, it seems they take already popular scents, tweak them and people fall over themselves for it. Herod and Oajan are nice, but there's nothing for me here.
I think the most noticeable and significant smell that appears in Kalan shows up in the initial seconds that you apply it and then holds on for much of the fragrance's life. It's a very bitter, acerbic note approximating mastic oil, and whether's it's the blood orange absolute or orange blossom absolute, or perhaps the resulting combination of both, it colors the entire scent, giving it a fresh, bitterly aromatic slant, and not something that is necessarily immediately likable or mass-appealing. At the same time, this very smell is the charm of Kalan, and what makes it potentially a very addictive and peculiar scent. Behind this bitter smell (whatever it is exactly) is the resinous roasted sugar that's so often been compared to Baccarat Rouge 540. In my opinion, the comparison is warranted in regard to this particular accord, though overall when the other notes and smells are taken into account the two are very different fragrances. This sweet, roasted quality gradually amplifies, gaining in size and sweetness, as the bitter counterpart slowly begins to settle in and loses a good deal of its edgy, acerbic aroma. Still, a small amount remains and provides a fresh balance to the overall composition, keeping it from becoming completely dominated by the dark, roasted sugar below. The truth about this fresh aspect of Kalan, is that I don't really know what it is. It shows qualities of what could be interpreted as blood orange, but also is in line with aspects of orange blossom and to some extent oakmoss. But really it doesn't smell exactly like any of them. It's almost as if all of those notes are working together to create this larger accord that balances Kalan's sweet side, and it needs to be smelled to be fully understood. It's also what will probably make it or break it for you. And while you might recoil at first, don't be surprised if you find yourself coming back to experience it again, and eventually really enjoying this strange note.
Kalan is strong, and it holds on for a good while, projecting intensely for at least 3 or 4 hours before reeling itself in, but still remaining somewhat substantial and present for another 4. . It is not a weak scent at all, and 2 or 3 sprays should do you perfectly well for most situations. In relation to their other releases, I'd place Kalan in the top 25 percent--not my favorite, but among my top 5 for sure. I find it a pretty daring release too. The opening accord is so bizarre it's sure to scare away the faint of heart, but it's also where the payoff is, and those who like their fragrances unique and different may really enjoy it. In conclusion, I'd give Kalan a solid 8/10. It's a distinct fragrance that performs well, and despite sharing some similarity with BR540, it's really its own scent in the end. Recommended for sampling. Due to the very distinct bitter notes which drive it, I do not recommend this as a blind buy.
Final Note: Yeah I know some of you get really annoyed by the fact that people are always comparing your beloved PdM's to other fragrances, but the fact that this happens all the time should tell you something--Marly often takes popular accords or concepts and finds their own ways to freak them, often churning out something better and different enough in the process, but still reminiscent of some earlier releases from different houses. Just accept the fact that uniqueness doesn't account for everything, and that it's still okay to like PdM and tout the greatness of what they put out. With that in mind, I do think that Kalan is its own fragrance, but understand why 540 is frequently mentioned when describing it. It's a good reference point, and I think arguing that point is simply reactionary and obtuse, as there is indeed a clear connection between them. Having said that, here's my comparison of the two and where I think they're similar and different: Baccarat Rouge begins and stays much sweeter, woodier, and has those sweet, crystalline red notes which are altogether absent in Kalan. Baccarat Rouge seems to employ more ambroxan, which I find present in Kalan but not nearly to the same degree. Kalan has much more of a bitter, biting edge, and a freshness which 540 lacks. This is a huge difference between the two and really what makes them completely different fragrance. Kalan is also spicier, and more aromatic than 540, and it reaches into a higher register, but also into a lower register. I suppose it's more dynamic in that sense, reaching higher up in its freshness, but even lower in the roasted quality of the heart. In the end, they're only about 40% the same, and I own both and don't find them to be redundant. Personally, I prefer 540 as I find it more pleasant and a bit more interesting at its core.
EDIT: I have to update this review because otherwise I feel that what I'm leaving up here would be dishonest. I got really sick of Kalan very quickly. After a while I just found the opening so harsh and unpleasant, and it started to really hurt my nose every time I used it. Rather than this aspect becoming the addictive allure I thought it might be, instead it became very annoying. The opening is just too bitter and harsh and chemically aggressive. While I found that aspect interesting and addictive at first, it became very grating after a while. I ended up selling this. I would reduce my final rating to a 7/10 and say that I greatly prefer Baccarat Rouge.