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New Scents From Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Lumiere Noir Pour Femme

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris APOM Pour Femme

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Cologne Pour Le Matin

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Cologne Pour Le Soir

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m completely fascinated by perfumers — how they come to develop their exquisite sense of smell, how their career paths unfold, and how they can instinctively cream up different fragrance blends (and more importantly, conceive of the exact formulation of components) in order to pull off a masterpiece of a perfume. I’m even more intrigued when a renowned perfumer didn’t simply inherit his career path but, rather, carved his/her own path through sheer determination and talent. Francis Kurkdjian definitely fits this description. The Parisian perfumer’s family had no foothold in the couture or fragrance industries, so Kurkdjian’s artistic interests were of his own making. At age 15, he decided he’d become a perfumer — and there was no looking back after that point. By age 26, he created Sephora.com. In 2001, he opened his very own atelier, where he created custom fragrances for a elite private clientele. He has also continued creating landmark perfumes and colognes such as F by Ferragamo, Guerlain’s Rose Barbare, and Sephora.com.

In the fall, Francis Kurkdjian introduced a new series of perfumes and colognes at Bergdorf Goodman. The fragrances include APOM Pour Femme, APOM Pour Homme, Aqua Universalis, Cologne Pour Le Soir, Cologne Pour Le Matin, Lumiere Noire Pour Femme, and Lumiere Noire Pour Homme. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to focus on four scents: APOM Pour Femme, Lumiere Noire Pour Femme, Cologne Pour Le Matin, and Cologne Pour Le Soir.

APOM Pour Femme is a spicy floral scent, with notes of orange flower, cedar wood, and ylang-ylang flower — the scent was inspired by the bright colors and potent flavors of the Middle East, and it does have tangy zest to it, but it still manages to retain some of its sweetness. Lumiere Noire Pour Femme, meanwhile, is perhaps a more familiar scent, with the dominant notes being spiced rose, patchouli and narcissus. When creating the fragrance, the driving idea was to juxtapose seemingly opposing scents (rose and patchouli) and create a balanced fragrance. Unfortunately, because these scents have been fused together in the past, the eau de toilette doesn’t seem quite as revolutionary as it might have in the past. The main difference here is that the rose is a bit spicier: mass market perfumes utilize Bulgarian rose absolute, whereas this rose extract incorporates cumin and hot pepper. But, of course, the quality of the ingredients  makes the final result all the more exquisite. Even if, in essence, the ingredients seem the same, their quality can make the final product differ by light years. It’s the same principles that apply to cuisine — if you utilize frozen or canned vegetables, you can’t expect the same sensory pleasure you’d derive from a meal made with fresh greens.

As for Cologne Pour Le Matin and Cologne Pour Le Soir, both try to capture the feel of a time of day (with Matin going for the perky, hopeful, sunny feel of morning and Soir trying to capture the seductiveness and carnality of evening). Cologne Pour Le Matin features bergamot from Calabria, lemon from Sicily, white thyme from Morocco, lavender from Provence, and orange flower from Tunisia, for a citrus-powered scent that’s clean, crisp and invigorating. Cologne Pour Le Soir, meanwhile, features an infusion of benzoin from Siam, Bulgarian and Iranian rose honey, and incense absolute for a inviting, sultry feel.

If you want a signature scent that the masses have yet to discover, make sure to check these out.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Lumiere Noir Pour Femme, $145; APOM Pour Femme, $145; Cologne Pour Le Matin, $195; Cologne Pour Le Soir, $195. Available at BergdorfGoodman.com

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