Perfume is such an easy subject to lie about ~ an interview with Francis Kurkdjian, part 1

Francis Kurkdjian with bubbles

Today’s guest post is from Persolaise, the author of the Le Snob – Perfume guide, published by Hardie Grant. He is also the editor of the Persolaise blog, as well as a regular contributor to Basenotes. He has won four UK Jasmine Awards, most recently for Closer To Heaven, a guide to incense perfumes which appeared in The Scented Letter.

I can’t believe that almost three years have passed since I last interviewed Francis Kurkdjian. For a while, his face was a regular fixture on my blog, headlining posts which invariably featured strong opinions and controversial views, many of which prompted readers to share their own feelings in the Comments section. But, for one reason or another, after a flurry of meetings, our paths refused to cross for months on end.

During that time, his eponymous brand has grown in stature and popularity: he now has his own boutiques in Taiwan and Malaysia. He’s continued to make perfumes for high-street names (Jean-Paul Gaultier, Nina Ricci, Yves Rocher). And he’s become an in-house creator, of sorts, for Burberry, Carven and Elie Saab. At the start of February, he popped into London’s Liberty store for an ‘Evening With A Perfumer’ event organised by The Perfume Society. But before facing his fans, he kindly agreed to have an exclusive chat with me, over a cup of coffee and a biscuit…

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Parfums Raffy

Top 10 Spring Fragrances 2016

tulip in snow

I am vocal about disliking spring. Where I live, there are always a few days in late February that feel like an elaborate set-up from Punk’d. Like newborn babes, they come: the office mates, friendly neighbors, the recently retired. They peer up into the warming blue and wonder aloud, trying to remember which way a hapless groundhog waddled weeks ago. Please don’t take spring’s bait. This year it snowed in April in the colder areas of Europe and North America and fans and news writers seemed to blame poor departed Prince. Let’s face it, in Minneapolis anyway, it usually snows in April. And snow can be the least of our worries. I am a fan of heterogeneity — I like mixed drinks and mixed company, for example — but few phrases freeze the heart faster than that euphemism “mixed precipitation”. Spring also brings wind, rain, seasonal allergies and skies the color of dead fish. Yes, the vernal months provoke a rare ire in me.

And yet, looking over my April 2011 Top 10 and Robin’s post from last year on pretty spring florals, I’ve realized I have little cause to be so sour while wearing some of my favorite fragrances. Clutching roots and branches may grow from stony rubbish, as Eliot wrote, but I have hyacinth, lily-of-the-valley, magnolia, violets and iris to console me until mid-May…

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Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 ~ fragrance review

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Hey big spender, how about a bottle of Baccarat Rouge 540 for 3,000 euros? I didn’t think so. It’s a gorgeous bottle, quilted with light-shifting facets, something that would be right at home on Rita Hayworth’s dressing table. But, good grief. For that kind of money, I’d expect it to get up and shake martinis.

Okay, how about this? Swap out the bottle and put the perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian, on the label, and it’s a mere $300 for 70 ml. Now we’re talking.

Baccarat Rouge 540 was first released last year as a Baccarat exclusive, then offered this year as part of Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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