Understanding the Genius of Francis Kurkdjian

Francis KurdjianWhen, at the age of 26 and having recently graduated perfume school, Francis Kurdjian produced one of the best-selling colognes in world (Le Male, for Jean Paul Gaultier), it became apparent that the Paris-born perfumer was destined for great things.

His career since then reads eclectically and fantastically with creation of over 40 fragrances for a string of high profile names. He even recreated a perfume that could have been worn by Marie Antoinette, and designed a series of “olfactory installations”, turning perfume into art to be experienced.

As well as his brilliance, Francis has also gained a reputation for being outspoken, reportedly accusing perfumistas of “wanting everybody to like the same thing” and claiming that Jean-Claude Ellena makes perfumes that all smell the same. This verbose streak only adds to the allure that maestro surrounds himself with.

Influenced by Artistic Environment

Francis Kurkdjian was brought up in a suburb of Paris, describing his childhood as idyllic. Surrounded by the arts, dance, music and balls hosted by his parents, it is no surprise that Francis grew up to a career so creative and artistic.

 alt=After failing to launch his original chosen career as a ballet dancer, Kurkdjian turned to the world of fashion, intrigued by the allure and sophistication of glossy magazines. As he discovered that design skills were not his forte, Francis eventually decided to persuade career in perfumery. Despite almost stumbling into his career, Kurkdjian now feels passionately about perfume. “It’s more emotional to me than music”, he told a beauty blogger in an interview. This passion can make the creative process a painstaking one. Kurkdjian begins with “a feeling, an emotion, or a story”.

He spends a lot of time drawing up mood boards and similar for each fragrance. Only when the “feel” for each scent is determined can the ingredients for the perfume start being considered. Once Kurkdjian has a list of ingredients in his head that match the “feel” of the perfume he is going for, he sends a list off to the producers who come up with samples and send them back to him.  This process can involve going backwards and forwards a lot of times. This way Francis created a number of successful fragrances for Christian DiorAcqua Di Parma, Guerlain and many more.

The Birth of Mason Francis Kurkdjian Perfume House

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of his own bespoke perfume house and to mark the occasion, Kurkdjian has released 20 limited editions of a fragrance that was almost a year in the making. The exclusivity comes at a price; it is being sold at $11,000 a bottle. The 20 bottles are each marked with their number in the collection, with Kurkdjian reserving Nr.0 for himself. The owner can dream up their own name for the fragrance and it is engraved upon the bottle for them.

The fragrance itself is “a tribute to the French art of perfumery”, according to Kurkdjian himself, and is a bold mixture of all the olfactory families. Key ingredients include Egyptian jasmine, Damascus rose and South African marigold. The finished product is an enigmatic and mysterious scent which is said to adapt to the skin on which it is sprayed.

However it is not just perfumes that Kurkdjian produces, but all sorts of fragranced products, including laundry-washing liquid and leather bracelets. There is no disputing that Francis Kurkdjian is an incredibly talented entrepreneur that has taken the production of perfumes a step further. The luxury Fragrance House Maison Francis Kurkdjian is designed to be a modern bridge to scents in all aspects of life, not just perfume.

There are seven signature fragrances featured in products sold by the House. Two of these are the twin perfumes Pour le Matin and Pour le Soir. Designed for use at different times of the day, these two playful fragrances reflect the modern ideology behind the brand.

Absolue Pour le Matin Absolue Pour Le Matin

Introduced in 2009 along with Absolute Pour Le Soir, the beautifully blended scent of Absolue Pour Le Matin is warm, deep and enjoyable on skin. It opens with a fresh composition, the feeling of pure Eau de Cologne in the concentration EDP that gives “after-shower” vibe for the rest of the day. Featuring woody dry Amber and Violet flower, the scent makes you feel tender and powerful. Elegant and sophisticated, it lasts long enough to please your loved ones.
Absolue Pour le SoirAbsolue Pour Le Soir

This perfume is celestial and yet grounded in animalistic drive of the most beautiful kind. When applied, it turns slowly into oppressive musk, whilst retaining a sense of honeyed innocence. The floral notes are pretty much in the background, slowly touching the soft ambergris in the base. Captivating and immediately apparent, the composition manages to maintain the elegance and smooth seamless blending, proving the benchmark of the best house signatures which Francis Kurkdjian is praised for.
Oud by Maison Francis KurkdjianOud

Launched in the first half of 2012, Oud Perfume is nothing but stunning in its unique elegance. It is the mixture of contrasts… sometimes dark, sometimes celestial. You will figure it out for yourself! Oud opens with a smooth blend of wood, saffron and patchouli. I will work perfectly on a special occasion, when you want to impress, and probably always with a suit. Projection is great, and longevity matches it, which offsets the high cost of this fragrance.

Kurkdjian has spoken about how having his own perfume house and line of fragrances is an outlet for him to work at his own pace and under his own rules, as opposed to constantly trying to fulfil the requests put upon him when he is designing for another brand. Nevertheless he has recently created a fragrance for the French fashion house Carven.

Francis Kurkdjian Sniffa Mag BraceletsCarven was launched shortly after the war ended when fabrics were scarce and the fashion industry was weak – especially for women to break into. However, Mrs Carven (celebrated her 104th birthday in 2013) made a success of her business. The original Carven scent was called Ma Griffe (which translates roughly as “my scent”), and although it smells old-fashioned today, it was revolutionary and very popular at the time. Kurkdjian has produced a fresh scent for the brand, which took over 200 attempts to get right. The result is Carven Le Perfum which is sweet and feminine.

Kurkdjian is famous for making several unisex perfumes. He believes that every perfume tells a story and some of these stories, for example the feeling of freshness, are applicable to both men and women. It is this imaginative approach to perfumery that has earned Kurkdjian his place amongst the most highly celebrated perfumers of recent years.

Photo Credit: billionaire.com