In a wood panelled room above Liberty in the heart of London, Francis Kurkdjian leans forward excitedly and reaches for one of the pristine white boxes that are spread out on the table in front of him. This is the man who created one of the most prolific fragrances of the nineties: Le Mâle, at the age of 25, and who has since been the créateur parfumeur behind a succession of internationally renowned fragrances for the likes of Dior (Eau Noire), Elizabeth Arden (Green Tea), Guerlain (Rose Barbare) and Armani (Mania). Today, he presents a range of fragrances which launch his own parfum house: Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
He explains that he doesn’t consider Maison to be a brand, or a niche line. It is more personal than that, he has spent a lot of time, and put a lot of his own personality into the range. He likens it to a fashion house, something that can be handed down to future generations.
The box he now holds is sleek, and minimal. But this is just the outer carton, a recyclable box that contains all the fussy small print. Inside, you will find another box, even simpler in design than the first. Here, the only distraction from the clean lines of the beautiful packaging is the modestly printed name: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris.
To Kurkdjian, the origin of the fragrances is very important. He stresses that he endeavoured not to outsource any aspect of the fragrances. Even the zinc bottle tops were locally sourced, and he explains that no artificial weight has been hidden in the bottle top. The quality is genuine and speaks volumes. It is clear that this man is a perfectionist, he has overseen every possible element from the typography to the flacon design.
The debut collection consists of seven fragrances, plus some unusual surprises:
Cologne pour le Matin / for the Morning is a fresh citrusy blend of bergamot, lemon, white thyme, lavender and orange flower (200ml Eau de Cologne.)
Cologne de Soir / for the Evening sensually combines benzoin from Siam with Bugarain and Iranian rose honey. (200 Eau de Cologne.)
APOM (A Piece of Me) a subtle mix of orange blossom, cedar wood and ylang ylang flower that has been inspired by the colours and flavours of the middle east. (Available in both 70ml edt for men, and edp for women)
Aqua Universalis is a unisex Eau de Toilette, containing the fresh scent of bergamot and Sicilian lemon, a white bouquet and light musky wood. (200ml Eau de Toilette.)
The collection also consists of a range of home fragrance sprays, perfumed candles with zinc table protectors, and boxes of perfumed strips of paper ideal for burning as an alternative to incense.
Also available is a laundry detergent and fabric softener fragranced with the clean, fresh scent of Aqua Universalis. Plus a fun gift for children, cold mint or pear perfumed play bubbles. Kurkdjian personally recommends bursting the scented bubbles with the tip of your nose.
The Maison Francis Kurkdjian collection is available exclusively at Liberty London in the UK. Internationally the range is available at the Maison Francis Kurkdjian store in Paris, and selected Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus stores in the USA.