Francis Kurkdjian is arguably the first perfumer to come out of the traditional fragrance & flavor company "system" and make a real success of a brand under his own name.1 Maison Francis Kurkdjian debuted in 2009, and it's far from an obscure niche brand — I can find the fragrances at my local mall, in Neiman Marcus, where they currently occupy prime real estate on the fragrance counter (and I am told they are big sellers).
Pluriel is the latest duo. The women's, Pluriel Féminin, is styled as a "grand, modern floral bouquet",2 and I'd say it lives up to its billing. The start is bright and citrusy, and the "floral bouquet of Florentine iris, rose, jasmin, muguet and orange flower", does, as advertised, seem to unfold flower by flower before evolving into a soft, lightly sweet blended floral. Likewise as advertised, it's entirely modern, that is, it's more clean than not, and the sillage is relatively quiet. It's not soapy, or drowning in white musk, but there's nothing indolic or heavy — Pluriel goes for radiance over depth or richness. Old-school, vintage-fiend perfumistas might prefer otherwise, but Pluriel is adaptable to modern life (and modern offices) in a way that the classic grand floral bouquets (Joy!) are not.
The base is a pale musky woods, with "chypre accents" of patchouli and vetiver. It's also modern: the patchouli adds a touch of darkness but not much else, and it's dry but not at all earthy. Pluriel is feminine but not what I'd call sexy, and has a velvety, lightly powdered finish.
Pluriel reminded me right away of Jour D’Hermès. They smell nothing alike, and the floral notes in Pluriel, unlike in Jour D’Hermès, are distinct and recognizable. But my conclusions about Jour D’Hermès — "...easy-to-wear elegance, gorgeously joyful or joyfully gorgeous" and "still more ethereal than not" — could as easily apply to Pluriel. Pluriel could also be the more sophisticated, somewhat older (and wealthier) cousin of Carven Le Parfum, another of Kurkdjian's recent floral offerings.
Verdict: Pluriel fits nicely into the Maison Francis Kurkdjian line, which emphasizes craftsmanship and quality materials over the kinds of oddball little numbers that some perfumistas (yes, me included) prefer when they shell out for a niche fragrance. Still, it's lovely. If you're looking for a mixed floral that you can wear anywhere, anytime, do give it a shot. It's expensive but not outrageous (depending, of course, on your definition of outrageous, but at least they've kept the cost under $200). If Pluriel eventually comes in the Globe Trotter refills (three 11 ml sprays), I might have to find somebody to split a trio with me.
For another opinion, do see the review at The Candy Perfume Boy.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Pluriel Féminin is available in 70 ml Eau de Parfum ($195). For buying information, see the listing for Maison Francis Kurkdjian under Perfume Houses.
1. Or have I forgotten someone? Do comment if I have. Francis Kurkdjian trained at ISIPCA and still works for the fragrance & flavor company Takasago.
2. See the Pluriel video.