Water Calligraphy fragrance notes

    • grapefruit rind, reseda blossom, water lily, sambac jasmine, magnolia, cardamom, vetiver

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Latest Reviews of Water Calligraphy

I was shocked that this was so nondescript. Citrus with little sillage. Nothing special.
28th April 2015
Aquatic floral in the L'eau de Issey vein, though the latter is much louder, where a fug of the usual just-don't-stop synthetic signifiers of hydrofreshness in perfumery suggests an imaginary blossom. Doesn't blare as powerfully as some aquatics do, but anyone wanting to part with the money demanded should consider a head examination.
16th April 2014


I had thought that the inclusion of “water” in the title suggests that this would be either a light, watery fragrance or an aquatic… the former is the better description. Water Calligraphy has a floral character – the first two times I tested it, I got a sharpness to the accords, which I accepted because I related the sharpness to the ink used in calligraphy. Through subsequent trials, the sharpness has disappeared and the floral character has become floral with its subtle, mixed-flower notes.

The grapefruit rind opening is smooth, pleasant, and short lasting. After the grapefruit zest, I get the floral accord with a prominent water lily and a backgrounded jasmine. Later I think I might be experiencing the magnolia, but I'm not sure. As far as I'm concerned it's pretty much a water lily heart and water lily / vetiver base, and that is a problem because this particular water lily presentation is rather unspectacular … which is to say it smells like a good quality shampoo. I don't think of the water lily note as synthetic or juvenile or annoying or unpleasant. It is well-done and enjoyable… but it is not premium. This fragrance could well be a designer offering. I like its aroma, its subtlety, and its excellent longevity ... just not enough to pay niche prices for it.
11th March 2014
Faceless and forgettable fruity floral. At this price level I expect more than a facsimile of floral shampoo.
29th December 2013
Sorry to be a downer, but I really haven't enjoyed Water Calligraphy very much. It's a fruity floral based on that cheap strawberry shampoo note that Bond No 9 over-uses (you can call it "reseda blossom" all you want, but it's still the ubiquitous smell of 90's fruity shampoo). It's got some pleasant jasmine, but that strawberry dumbs it down enough that it doesn't really appeal to my inner jasmine-fiend. The most interesting aspect is a very wet-smelling leafy green element. It's similar to L'Ombre Dans L'Eau in that way that the greens make it somehow smell wet, but dark and not aquatic. But this isn't enough to save Water Calligraphy from smelling like just another forgettable Bond No 9 fruity floral, which is especially sad coming from a house like By Kilian, which has some fantastic, interesting, and unique perfumes in its line-up.
17th February 2013
Very fresh aquatic, and floral. I love the mix of citrus and floral in the opening. Reminds me of something from Penhaligon's. They make light watery fragrances. Seems to have decent sillage and longevity so far, which is rare with light water citrus fragrances. Citrus is a very fleeting note that disapears quickly in fragrances...that is why it is always a top note.
6th October 2012
And here's the official By Kilian description of this fragrance:
An olfactive impression of an aquatic flower sitting next to a pod of water lillies...a moment of delicacy.

Water Calligraphy is a harmonious duo of sparkling grapefruit zest and reseda blossom underlined by dewy warer lily to awaken the senses. In the heart, the majestic jasmine sambac enhances the evanescent magnolia giving an ipression of quiet water sliding over cardamom and vetiver, like chinese ink slides over rice paper.

Well Mr. Kilian, this one is indeed delicate, the flowery combination in the opening mixed with a prominent grapefruit note makes my senses tingle to a zen state in a beautiful way (like resting in one of those famous chinese lakes) but sadly the magic just stays in the opening, where in the heart we have a dull Avon's type of smell that makes me angry since the transition is so unexpected in a bad way. Neutral ratings since is does not smells bad but it is definitively not worth the money
29th April 2012
I really liked this one,i got the jasmine and a strong grapefruit right away and in hour later i believe i smelled the magnolia. 2 hours later it smelled so aquatic with the jasmine and magnolia mixed together. So good,so creative. By Kilian is my favorite fragrance company for a reason :).
27th April 2012
This is, absolutely, a "water" fragrance. Not an ozonic aqautic, but a quiet, dewy, beautifully blended fragrance. It opens with a slightly boozy grapefruit, and something that is fruity/floral which, according to the listed notes, is reseda blossom, a note with which I am unfamiliar. There is a water lily note for sure, and also a melon note (calone? not listed). The jasmine at it's heart is not raspy or indolic. It sits on a base that feels more masculine than the opening, with warm spices (cardomom) and vetiver, which gives the impression of paper. I was looking forward to the ink note alluded to in the title of the fragrance, but it is a bit elusive. I do get the magnolia after a rainstorm smell, which is also similar to the smell of rain on dry pavement, or the smell of newly poured cement, which is reminiscent of ink now that I think about it, a smell which Ineke so beautifully rendered in Derring Do. That fragrance has a sparkling, effervescent quality that Water Calligraphy does not.

Over all, this is a lovely, well constructed watery floral in the style of JCE's Jardin line for Hermes, but richer, more floral, and very satisfying. Excellent longevity and sillage.
20th April 2012