Francis Kurkdjian: 14 posts

Guerlain Rose Barbare : Perfume Review

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Princess_tarakanova

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The grand reopening of the Guerlain flagship store at 68, Champs Elysées brought a number of new perfumes, from the regal Vega to the reintroduced Attrape-Coeur, Metalys, and a few others. Rose Barbare joined the Guerlain line under the auspices of “L’Art et la Matiere,” which also includes Cuir Beluga and Angélique Noire. Created by outside perfumers, the perfumes are nevertheless like visions of Guerlain through non-Guerlain eyes. The creamy vanilla that is the characteristic note in many classical Guerlains is made richer and creamier. The powdery opulence of Guerlinade is rendered soft and luxurious.

Rose Barbare, created by the perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, is my favorite so far, even if it is the least Guerlinesque of the three. Unlike Cuir Beluga and Angélique Noire, it is not adorned by the plush sweetness or the gilded richness…

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Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely : Perfume Review

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Narcisorodriguez

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Chypre category with its strong accord based on the interplay of hesperidic, floral, woody and mossy facets has gathered popularity since 1917, when Coty Chypre intriguingly explored the extremes of olfactory spectrum to create a memorable and unusual fragrance weaving bergamot, oak moss, labdanum, and patchouli . Subsequently, the affinity of the chypre accord with the voluptuous fruity and floral notes has been discovered, resulting in the orchestrations that fused various flowers, peach (Guerlain Mitsouko, Rochas Femme), plum (Guerlain Parure, Shiseido Féminité Du Bois), as well as exotic fruit (Jean Patou Colony) with the classical chypre accords. The marriage of chypre with other notes is likewise fascinating, with fragrances like Grès Cabochard and Robert Piguet Bandit being examples of the animalic leather chypres, and Dior Diorella, Clinique Aromatics Elixir and Couturier Coriandre exhibiting the beautiful interplay of chypre accords with modern synthetics such as hedione.

While the popularity of the classical chypre has waned, the chypre category is hardly ignored. Ralph Lauren Pure Turquoise, Lulu Guiness Cast a Spell, Dior Miss Dior Cherie, Chanel Chance, Coco Mademoiselle EDT are the examples of the fragrances released in the past couple of years and classified as posssessing chypre accords. The very definition of the chypre seems to be changing, with the emphasis made on the transparent and fruity notes combined with the chypre facets, and many fragrances classified as chypre these days do not even seem to be related to the classical chypre accords. Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely are two examples of the classification that would consider them as floral oriental compositions with chypre accords and they are often compared. The main similarity between them is in their luxurious musk accords touched with the ambery warmth that makes these compositions melt beautifully on the skin, and while the fragrances are by no means identical, they create a similar effect of warm, sensual softness.  Now, whether chypre classification might applicable here is a whole another story. …

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Christian Dior Eau Noire : Perfume Review

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Meninas

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Eau Noire is one of the fragrances from Christian Dior cologne trio. In contrast to the recent feminine releases, which seem to be partaking of the trend for fruity and sweet, the Dior masculine line includes a number of unusual fragrances launched under the guidance of Hedi Slimane. Like his menswear collections, the cologne trio is marked by the attention to quality and detail, from the understated elegance of the packaging to the intriguing compositions.

The most memorable fragrance from the range, Eau Noire was composed by Francis Kurkdjian, the creator of my other favorite, Cologne Blanche, a musky almond overlaid with orange and bergamot. Eau Noire ornaments dark woods with the bitter honey and smoky caramel. Its multifaceted quality resembles the richness of colors in Baroque paintings, where the golden hues merge into the vivid carmines against the textured interplay of light and dark. The initial floral sweetness of lavender is woven through the rich herbal mélange, reminiscent of the windswept hilltops under the blistering August sun. …

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Christian Dior Cologne Blanche : Perfume Review

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Prudon_josephine

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

One of the three colognes released by Christian Dior in 2004 under the guidance of Hedi Slimane, Cologne Blanche was composed by Francis Kurkdjian. All three fragrances are well-composed, with the attention to detail that cannot be left unnoticed, from the high-quality ingredients to the understated luxury of the packaging. If the name cologne leads one to expect thin and bland citrus concoctions, Cologne trio will definitely be a wonderful surprise. The colognes are quite varied, from bitter herbs and caramel undertones of Eau Noire to chilly elegance of Bois D’Argent. Cologne Blanche is an epitome of refinement, with its marriage of indulgence and comfort set against a ravishing delicacy of almond base enriched by the softest of musks.

The bergamot and orange are the radiant ornaments, delicately intertwined with the herbal whisper of green herbs. It is as if a branch of rosemary got caught in the fruit basket, its piney scent adding a rejuvenating element. The sensual touch of musk is an interesting element, considering the essentially “straight out of the shower clean” aura of the composition. However, there is something ethereal and alluring about the fragrance that makes me want to lean in and inhale the scent emanating from the skin.

The elegant drydown is reminiscent of the bittersweet peach stone, which alternates between milky green almond and lusciously sweet nut. A mere hint of confectioner’s sugar scented with vanilla foils the understated musk of the base. If I am to imagine a fragrance Napoleon would like on Joséphine (a woman of whom he said in his letters, “I must see her and press her to my heart. I love her to the point of madness, and I cannot continue to be separated from her. If she no longer loved me, I would have nothing left to do on earth”), Cologne Blanche would be it, fitting Napoleon’s fastidious cleanliness as well as Josephine’s predilections for exotic musks.

Cologne Blanche, like the other two colognes, Bois d’Argent and Eau Noire, is available in 4.2oz, 8.4oz, and 16.9oz bottles, and can be found at Neiman Marcus and Dior boutiques.

Painting: Pierre-Paul Prud’hon. Portrait of Empress Joséphine. 1805. Oil on canvas, Louvre. Abcgallery.com

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