A remarkably talented perfumer, a creator of his own brand, a former ballet dancer, Francis Kurkdjian represents an idea of a Renaissance man. He first became famous for Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male, which became of the defining masculine fragrances for the 1990s. Subsequently, he created a wide array of scents, from airy Elizabeth Arden Green Tea to smoldering Christian Dior Eau Noire. He also has his own eponymous line. Below are a few excerpts from a good interview Kurkdjian gave to Kanokporn Chanasongkram of Bangkok Post (originally published on September 2005.)
The recipe for a great perfumer?
Good olfactory memory, senses, passion, and flexibility to switch and absorb each brand’s character or style. Also patience, because creating one fragrance can take up to three years. For Gaultier to the Power of Two it took 18 or 19 months. In terms of academics, perfumers should have a knowledge of chemicals.
How do you get inspiration for a new fragrance?
Rather than specialise in a particular note combination or style, I like to switch olfactory territories to explore new challenges.
What do you look for in a great perfume?
Finesse in everything, including the ingredients, process, bottle and concept. It does not have to be complicated; it can be simple and still be perfect. Less is more. Jean Paul Gaultier and I have the same opinion about this.
Your most important tip in choosing a new scent?
It may sound obvious, but simply choosing a perfume that appeals to you is my best advice.