We review Love, Don’t Be Shy, a scrumptiously sweet, enticingly sexy, unapologetically feminine gourmand niche fragrance from house Kilian.
Founded in 2007 by Kilian Hennessy, heir to the Hennessy Cognac family and its traditions, Kilian is a contemporary fragrance house with a “wardrobe” of 35 perfumes to its name.
The house is known for its exquisite fragrances rooted in classic perfumery but with a modern twist. It also has a strong commitment to sustainability.
In February 2016, Estée Lauder acquired Kilian under undisclosed terms.
Love, Don’t Be Shy
|Fragrance||Love, Don’t Be Shy|
|Concentration||Eau de Parfum (EDP)|
|Character||Coy and sweet, and yet playfully sexy.|
|Sizes||0.24 fl oz (7.5 ml), 1.7 fl oz (50 ml)|
Denatured Alcohol, Fragrance, Water, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Citral, Cinnamal, Eugenol, Bht, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol
Source: Kilian, last retrieved December 23, 2021
One of Kilian’s early fragrances, Love, Don’t Be Shy was created by Calice Becker, French master perfumer and Director of the legendary Givaudan Perfumery School in Paris.
For readers who haven’t read about Givaudan Perfumery School yet (every now and then, you’ll see me praising their graduates’ work as you binge on the reviews we publish at Sterlish), this is an institution that has molded some of the fragrance world’s best noses throughout the course of time.
Becker is a recipient of The Fragrance Foundation’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Perfumer Award, and the nose behind well over a hundred scents by perfume houses in the likes of Balmain, Christian Dior, Esteé Lauder, and Marc Jacobs, to name a few.
Now, I’m not a “sugar, spice, and everything nice” kind of gal. And I’m skeptical toward overly sweet perfumes as a whole. Most of them smell cheap and shallow. They lack that certain je-ne-sais-quoi I so much like to look for.
But Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy won me over. And it’s not just me: by broad consensus within our editorial team, this is definitely one of house Kilian’s most excellent perfumes and nose Becker’s most exquisite formulations.
So let’s not waste a single second more; I have so much to tell you about it!
Love, Don’t Be Shy is an unabashedly feminine, demurely sweet, and tongue-in-cheekily flirty perfume. As you enter a busy bar or walk the street wearing it, it leaves a trail so alluring, it not only turns heads but makes the rest of the world mystified and inexplicably attracted to you.
The top notes are neroli, bergamot, pink pepper, and coriander. Middle notes are orange blossom, jasmine, honeysuckle, rose, and orris. Base notes are caramel, sugar, vanilla, white musk, and labdanum.
Love Don’t Be Shy has excellent longevity. It has a staying power of 9 to 12 hours on my skin (depending on how hot and humid it is outside), and it lingers in my hair the next morning despite having showered before heading to bed.
Initially, Love, Don’t Be Shy comes out intensely boozy. But that booziness quickly mellows out—unraveling the gifts of this perfume’s top notes—as the liquid begins to settle onto your skin.
It all starts with the sugary smell of fairy floss and marshmallows with well-pronounced floral, Damask rose, and C. Howard violet notes to it. It’s like a soft kiss that makes you feel like your sexiest, most delicious self shortly after you’ve sprayed it on.
As it matures, Love, Don’t Be Shy turns jasmine-ritzy and turns more and more complex as the dark-brown scent of caramel, white musk’s clean, just-got-out-of-the-shower invitingness, and labdanum’s powdery amberness kick in.
Wearing this fragrance is like traveling through time. First, it brings back memories of innocent and tender high-school love. Then, the warmth and sensuality of adulthood kick in. Finally, the gracious, all-encompassing wisdom of maturity reveals itself, to eventually fade into eternity.
Picture yourself getting chauffeured through sun-lit Monaco in a roof-down convertible on a late Saturday afternoon.
You’re chewing pink gum as you provocatively blow bubbles to your lover’s face, pretending that you haven’t got the slightest idea why they’re looking at you that way. The car’s engine roaring from turn to turn as the two of you head to the pier, fashionably late for a lavish yacht party.
You board the yacht, and a salted caramel Martini conveniently finds its way to your hand as a welcome drink. You find your way to the girls, chit-chatting on the deck about who overheard what since you last drank cocktails together and giving your lover the occasional stare.
Somehow, everyone at the party keeps looking for a reason to get physically close to you—they can’t help but gorge on the sweetened trail you leave behind wherever you walk. If you had a penny for every time that someone paid you a compliment for this perfume, you’d be rich… maybe you already are.
The party’s over (but hush-hush, the night is young), so the two of you head back home. It’s been a long day, and you feel intoxicated, maybe from those martinis or maybe from the scent of amber and musk on your neck, as Love, Don’t Be Shy unfolds its final notes before dawn.
My fascination with this fragrance aside, it’s certainly not for everyone.
You must have a sweet tooth to appreciate its cotton-candy sweetness, that’s for sure. If you enjoy coming off as dominant and provocative, yet you’re coy and blushing to your man (it’s called Love, Don’t Be Shy for a reason), this fragrance will fit you like a glove.
All of these, of course, are stereotypes. So take them with a hefty grain of salted caramel, try the fragrance out, and rewrite them to your own tastes and likes.
Love, Don’t Be Shy is Rihanna’s signature scent, which she somehow managed to keep secret from fellow celebrities and crowds of curious fans for years.
The Barbadian singer’s scent caused more than one celebrity to crown her as the best-smelling person at the Grammys and Oscars numerous ceremonies in a row, leaving thousands of fragheads trying to guess its name on forums all over the Internet.
In 2016, celebrity-gossip Instagram profile deuxmoi finally broke the news: Rihanna’s signature scent was, without a doubt, Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy!
A friend from the Caribbean Queen’s entourage had cheekily spilled the beans in an alcohol-laden Instagram video story from a party, with her furious with him in the background.
As you can imagine, the demand for the fragrance skyrocketed in the months that followed. It was virtually impossible to see a bottle of it on the shelves of Sephora and the likes, and it was nothing short of luck to find it in stock anywhere online.
Happily, ladies, that frenzy is long past us. I guess this makes Love, Don’t Be Shy a quasi-celebrity perfume?
Whether you’re a fangirl of Rihanna or you smash the “Next,” button whenever one of her songs shows up on Spotify, one thing’s for sure: Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy is a charmingly sweet, daringly complicated fragrance.
In yours truly’s humble opinion, few gourmand perfumes can live up to its charms.
Like all Kilian scents, Love, Don’t Be Shy is sold in a thick-glass refillable 1.69 fl oz (50 ml) bottle that’s meant to age as beautifully as its owner.
“A favorite perfume is bought only once and refiled for life,” the brand states on its website. “Hence, all our perfume bottles are infinitely refillable.”
At the time of publishing this review, a 1.69 fl oz (50 ml) refill of Love, Don’t Be Shy cost $195 at Kilian’s refill store, with complementary shipping and samples on all orders.
For those who move about frequently and prefer their toiletries travel-sized, it also comes in refillable travel sets of 1.01 fl oz (30 ml) and 0.5 fl oz (15 ml). Last but not least, there’s the miniature, non-refillable 0.25 fl oz (7.5 ml) perfume spray.
There’s a reason why this fragrance is offered in travel sizes: the 1.69 fl oz (50 ml) bottle is gorgeous, but it’s large and heavy, making it inconvenient to carry on a flight.
Unless, that is, you want to forgo most of your other toiletries and have it take up most of the tiny quart-sized liquids bag!
Is It Worth It?
If you like gourmand fragrances and love marshmallows, chances are high that Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy will quickly turn into one of your favorite scents. Sweet and sophisticated, this perfume leaves a delicious trail and has excellent staying power.
This is a perfume you can wear all year round. Though I do enjoy its companionship most in fall, winter, and spring. In the heat of summer, I find its potent sweetness a bit too cloying (or maybe you like having the subway car to yourself). Still, you could probably pull off wearing it on colder summer nights.