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French Montana’s Fragrance Collab Leans into Hip Hop Heritage

For perfumer Kilian Hennessy and Arab-American rapper, French Montana, music and fine fragrance are a match made in heaven. So when it came to a collaborative reimagining of Kilian’s cult-favorite Angels’ Share, the duo melded their two worlds with a special edition, refillable collector’s bottle. “Fragrance is just like music, it’s an unspoken language in that you hear it or smell it and it gives you a feeling that words can’t give you,” explains Montana. For Hennessy, his family’s iconic beverage business has both given and taken from the world of rap and hip-hop. “Within hip hop culture, the Hennessey name is tremendous,” shares Hennessy. “Ten years ago, I met Busta Rhymes for a drink, and Busta said ‘Killian, you don’t realize what your name means for our community. It’s huge.’ And when I asked French about what Hennessy means to him, he told me he would have never created his first album without it.” “Me and Kilian met during quarantine on a Zoom call, and really it was a match made in heaven,” adds Montana. “I always wore Kilian’s fragrances. So when my team approached me, I was very honored. I learned Killian and myself had a lot of commonalities, and are very passionate about our crafts. Being able to put my own twist on a Kilian meant we got a masterpiece.”

The final result of the Kilian feat. French Montana launch is a detailed glass flacon topped with a shining golden medallion, emblazoned with a disc and gold chains iconology. “I proposed the gold disc design, with French’s golden Cuban chains his usually wears around his name – we copied his chains exactly for this,” explains Hennessy. “I wanted to reach out to my own fans, and get them more into my culture and my world,” says Montana. “I added the gold and that whole vibe – the bottles look like a piece you can wear on your chain.”

Inside, Kilian’s unisex Angels’ Share has notes of cognac, hazelnut, oak wood, cinnamon, and tonka bean, with the cognac essence coloring the juice a rich caramel hue. While the name refers to the evaporating fumes exiting the oak barrels as the cognac ages – the ‘angels’ share’, or ‘la part des anges’ – the fragrance is not strictly a boozy scent. “The scent’s structure is built on the idea of cognac, where it takes hints from the concept but it doesn’t actually smell like you are wearing a liquor. It’s more centered and inspired by the Hennessy heritage,” explains Hennessy. “Everyone was surprised when I launched my brand 14 years ago that there was no cognac perfume. At the time, I thought it would be so expected, so I didn’t pursue. But along the way, thoughts about a cognac fragrance came to me, but I needed the right project. A few years ago when I redesigned and created the bar concept, I felt that if I have a bar, I need liquors in my bar. So I designed a new bottle, one that resembles a whisky glass, and I started working on my bar fragrances. While I don’t usually have a muse, this time my muse was the liquors.”

“Angels’ Share is my olfactory memory of the Hennessy cellars, so I wanted this collab to bridge the Hennessy heritage and the Kilian perfume. When I proposed working with French, he agreed straight away. And although he was wearing Straight To Heaven, he agreed that Angels’ Share was the perfect one to work on.” For Montana, his connection to the fragrance’s smoky notes is a throwback to his own heritage. “Growing up in Morocco, my uncles and aunts would all wear fragrances. The oud scents are very dominant in our culture, I still remember when I would walk into the room around family members, and the scents and fragrances they would wear. The Angels’ Share fragrance reminds me so much of my childhood, being around my family and the scents back home.” The music star is equally impressed by the fragrance’s hold. “I’m a ladies’ man, and if you don’t have a good fragrance on, you won’t get the ladies,” laughs Montana. “Everyone I’ve showed it to and who have tried it on are hypnotized by it, they love it.”

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