Code of Conduct
Results 1 to 26 of 26
  1. #1

    Default Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Francis Kurkdjian is a wiry, beared figure, softly spoken and by his own estimation, rather shy. However, get him on the subject of Maison Francis Kurkdjian and he is anything but reserved.

    A lucky and select audience of Basenoters were, thanks to Grant and Danielle, able to spend a couple of hours in his company this afternoon, exploring the whys and wherefores of his decision to go it alone and create his own house.

    For those who are not familiar with his name, you will almost certainly be familiar with his work for other perfume houses. The creator of JPG's Le Male and Fleur du Male, Kurkdjian has worked with many fragrances houses including Guerlain, YSL, Armani, Escada, Ungaro, Elizabeth Aden, Narciso Rodriguez and others.

    Maison Francis Kurkdjian is not just about straight forward fragrances though. He uses the word Maison, for a reason.

    "To me it has real significance because there are many things in a house, many different products, many different people including children," he said, indicating the range of scented bubble blowing products on the table before him. "I look at different things that I do and think of the areas where fragrance would work, so I wash my clothes, so I created the washing detergents and fabric conditioners. These are for people who may not feel the need to wear fragrance but still want to smell fresh and clean."

    Kurkdjian himself never wears fragrance. "I never feel the need," he says simply.

    When asked whether, knowing he was going to be launching his own branded range of products, he held any specific scents back from other projects? Rather astonishingly he had not.

    "No, not at all. I had lots of fragrances in drawers which were for various ideas I had, but when I went to them I realised that many of them were only that, ideas and very few were great. For me it is all about the story."

    Kurkdjian uses the word "story" a great deal, and rarely refers to his fragrances as fragrances. Indeed, when creating the seven fragrances for his new range, the process began by working out where he wanted to go with each fragrance, reducing each to being ecapsulated in one sentence, then captured by the name, and from there the fragrance would be created." To anyone else, this would appear to be back to front, but apparently this is how he works best.

    "I keep a book of names that I like, and from there maybe one day fragrances will be created."

    This was certainly true of one of his fragrances Lumiere Noire (Black Light).

    "There was a competition when developing the Nu fragrance for YSL," he explains, "And that is one of the names I used as a working title, because I really like the oxymoron. I decided to keep the name, so when it came to developing my own fragrances I wanted to use it."

    What becomes evident talking to him is how much of a perfectionist he is, as he takes as much delight in talking about the extreme lengths which went into the design of the bottles as he does the fragrances themselves. He also enthused at some length about the triple hand pouring of wax technique which goes into the manufacture of his scented candles.

    What really lit his fuse was when it was put to him that so few perfumers produce EdP strengths for men, when it was noted that Lumiere Noire Homme is an EdT yet Lumiere Noire Femme is an EdP. After explaining that if an EdT is done well it should still provide good longevity, he then continued to berate the industry as a whole.

    "The problem is, that there are so many people out there in the industry who are not proper perfumers, yet claim to be, so as a result they produce fragrances at EdT strength which just don't last, there are may five really good perfumiers that I can think of."

    His wrath was further vented in the direction of Houses which don't adapt with integrity to the changing rules regarding ingredients. He was asked how recent rules regarding things like the use of Oakmoss and animal extracted musks affected him.

    "It annoys you for a while, but you find ways of getting round it. What disappoints me is the Houses that don't prepare for it. Chanel have maintained quality in my opinion, preparing for it and trying to be as faithful as they can be to the original fragrances. There are others out there, who just don't."

    As to the fragrances themselves, and having had chance to sample each of them, here's a brief summary.

    Cologne pour le Matin

    As the name suggests, a bright, clean Cologne with Bergamot, Lemon, White Thyme, Lavender and Neroli, all of which dries down to a soft, clean smelling powdery finish. This was designed to work with the Cologne pour le Soir to be layered as day becomes evening.

    Cologne pour le Soir

    Probably my personal favourite, although purportedly in Cologne strength, on skin this is long lasting. There are no top notes and the fragrance remains very linear, but striking and warm with it. It is a heady incense and benzoin rich blend with rose. Very, very nice.

    Aqua Universalis

    The only product in the range which goes from EdT to laundry products, incense strips and candles and even a perfumed leather bracelet. This is a clean bright fragrance of Bergamot and Lemon, Lily of The Valley, Mock Orange and light musky woods. Very pleasant if not particularly ground-breaking.

    Lumiere Noire pour Homme and Lumiere Noire pour Femme

    Both fragrances play with a favourite combination of his with rose and patchouli blends. What was interesting was that many of the women that were there preferred the male version whilst the men preferred the woman's, The main differences between the two is that the male is noticably more herbal in accord, having a prominent Lavender note, than the women's which brings rose to the fore with a touch of cumin (in some way it's like a "Lite" version of Rose 31 by Le Labo).

    APOM pour Homme and APOM pour Femme.

    APOM, is an acronym for "A Piece Of Me", and again there are similar ingredients used in both being blends including Cedar Wood and Orange Blossom. Unsurprisingly the male version is noticably more cedar heavy and the female more orangey.

    Out of all of them, the one I would be first to buy is Cologne Pour Le Soir, with APOM pour homme and Lumiere Noire pour Femme and/or Homme coming up behind.

    All in all these are good quality and expensive smelling fragrances from a perfumer who knows what statements he wants to make with his product lines and I would certainly recommend fellow Basenoters to try them out.
    Last edited by HDS1963; 23rd October 2009 at 07:49 AM. Reason: Noticed a couple of typos
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    HDS1963, what a lovely account of your day, it was a pleasure to read!

    Quote Originally Posted by HDS1963 View Post

    Kurkdjian himself never wears fragrance. "I never feel the need," he says simply.
    Heh. A lot of perfumers say that. Irony smells goooood.
    Wanted: a cap of Bvlgari Thé Vert

    Wanted: L' Artisan Timbuktu or Fragonard Concerto

    Feel free to visit Polderposh - a young up & coming Dutch fragrance blog!

  3. #3
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    25,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Wonderful - thanks for the report!
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

  4. #4
    Banned

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,289
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Thanks Andy! Glad your impressions of the line were congruous with my own.

  5. #5
    Morning Star

    Astaroth's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    West Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,015
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Very nice. I would have loved to have been able to attend.
    Grant, how much advanced notice do you typically get for events like this?
    Or are they relatively impromptu?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by Astaroth View Post
    Very nice. I would have loved to have been able to attend.
    Grant, how much advanced notice do you typically get for events like this?
    Or are they relatively impromptu?
    This one was pretty short notice unfortunately. It would have been nice to have longer to plan as we could have got child care and I could have gone as well too

    Nice write up Andy. I'm still waiting for D to get home, so yours is the first account I've read!

  7. #7
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    25,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Was anyone allowed to take pictures?
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

  8. #8

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Thanks guys. I found him a fascinating man, one I would have liked to interview in quite some depth. Mike, I think Danielle took some pictures, so maybe she'll post them.

    Dimi, yes I'm glad your findings were similar, although historically our tastes have tended to fall in line my friend.

    All in all, I thought it was time very well spent and credit to Grant and Danielle for getting it sorted. I think it also testimony to the respect Basenotes is held in amongst the perfume community. To some we might seem like weird obsessives, but many people who discover our community do so because they refer to the Directory for opinions on fragrances they are considering.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  9. #9

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    What an amazing write-up! Encapsulates perfectly this unique and fascinating experience - thank you very much A.

    A couple of very, very poor pictures (sorry!) where taken but we did get some video photo of people sniffing and chatting with each other and the man himself on the fragrance floor - on the Youtube channel soon (youtube.com/basenotes)

    Although clearly the whole point of the day was to hear Francis discuss his line (which as previously described was an incredible insight) I have to say the attendees made the afternoon as enjoyable as the man himself did. Christopher Yu (FK's distributor) told me afterwards that he had to stop FK from speaking because he had run over time and even then he stopped to blow bubbles for us - "Burst them with your nose! Burst them with your nose!" CY said that the fact that Francis was speaking to people who clearly knew about fragrance meant he was able to go deeper than usual (spurred on by some amazing questions from the group - HDS1963 in particular ;-)) and this I think made the experience almost as enjoyable for him as for us! Fab, fab day. Cologne Pour Le Soir and Lumiere Noire (both of) are on my wishlist.

    Oh and the macaroons from Sketch literally dissolved in your mouth on contact - scrumptous :-)
    Last edited by DanielleCooper; 23rd October 2009 at 07:12 AM.


  10. #10

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by kissandmakeup View Post
    What an amazing write-up! Encapsulates perfectly this unique and fascinating experience - thank you very much A.

    A couple of very, very poor pictures (sorry!) where taken but we did get some video photo of people sniffing and chatting with each other and the man himself on the fragrance floor - on the Youtube channel soon (youtube.com/basenotes)

    Although clearly the whole point of the day was to hear Francis discuss his line (which as previously described was an incredible insight) I have to say the attendees made the afternoon as enjoyable as the man himself did. Christopher Yu (FK's distributor) told me afterwards that he had to stop FK from speaking because he had run over time and even then he stopped to blow bubbles for us - "Burst them with your nose! Burst them with your nose!" CY said that the fact that Francis was speaking to people who clearly knew about fragrance meant he was able to go deeper than usual (spurred on by some amazing questions from the group - HDS1963 in particular ;-)) and this I think made the experience almost as enjoyable for him as for us! Fab, fab day. Cologne Pour Le Soir and Lumiere Noire (both of) are on my wishlist.

    Oh and the macaroons from Sketch literally dissolved in your mouth on contact - scrumptous :-)
    Hiya, thanks for that, it was lovely to meet you too.

    I look forward to attending more events like that, it's good for Basenotes as a whole I think.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  11. #11
    manicboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    1,768
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Wonder what he thinks about the popularity of Le Male? Surely, he must come across a few men who are surrounded by the infamous Le Male cloud.

    Interesting his comments about other perfumers who can't make EdT strength juice that lasts. Now that I think about, all his juices have superb longevity and sillage.
    "I exist for myself, and for those to whom my unquenchable thirst for freedom gives everything, but also for everyone, since insofar as I am able to love - I love everyone. Of noble hearts, I am the noblest - and the most generous of those that yearn to give love in return. - I am a human being, I love death and I love life."

    Egon Schiele - Self-Potrait


    My classics: Dior Homme EdT, YSL Rive Gauche PH, Helmut Lang Cuiron, L'Occitane Neroli (vintage), Davidoff Zino, L'Occitane Eau des Baux

    http://www.basenotes.net/wardrobe/2976

  12. #12
    ubuandibeme's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Chesterton, Indiana
    Posts
    4,187
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    HDS ~ Thank you so very much for taking the time to fill us in on your special afternoon! Your re-cap of the fragrances is clear & concise, accurate too, we sure appreciate that! Did you get to sample any of the burning papers or the scented bracelet? I was amazed by them both.
    Glad you mentioned about bursting the bubbles via nose ~ what fun!

  13. #13
    Prince Barry's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Nr Leeds
    Posts
    1,709
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Thank you for the excellent report.
    Fine fragrance is alive; it breathes, unfolds and unravels with each passing hour....

    Roja Dove

  14. #14
    mtgprox05's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    5,255
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Great report! I know this probably wasn't a pressing topic at that point in time, but did it get mentioned if he planned on opening up the brand to more points of sale? I'm curious if they're going to be sold in the US (maybe at LS?).
    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

    Obsessions of the Moment- Kristiansand EDC, Green Irish Tweed, Zizan

    Granted, we've known each other for some time. It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine. ~ Common Sense

  15. #15
    Banned

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    9,289
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    I'm curious if they're going to be sold in the US (maybe at LS?).
    Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman from October 2009.

  16. #16
    mtgprox05's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    5,255
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimitri View Post
    Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman from October 2009.
    Really? Interesting, I wonder if it's going to go the same way as the Private Blends, Armani Prive, Chanel Exclusifs and only be available at a select few places, or if it's being rolled out for all NM. I'll have to keep an eye out. Thanks Dimi!
    <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><> <><><><><><><><><><><><><><><><>

    Obsessions of the Moment- Kristiansand EDC, Green Irish Tweed, Zizan

    Granted, we've known each other for some time. It don't take a whole day to recognize sunshine. ~ Common Sense

  17. #17

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    186
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Sounds like a great outing. I have sampled this line a couple of times at NYC Bergdorfs and am particularly impressed by its focus. There aren't too many scents and each one has its own identity, while usually relating in some way to its "partner" scent---the two colognes, the Apoms and the Lumiere Noirs. It is no surprise that M. Kurdjian comes across in your excellent accounts as an extremely thoughtful fellow. This quality is reflected in both the fragrances and the stylish packaging.

  18. #18

    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    1,816
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Thanks so much HDS1963 - I would have loved to be there! Francis Kurkdjian is my favorite nose and I hope to create unique fragrances like his someday.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    On the distribution front, he is currently securing outlets in key areas which are fairly exclusive in their nature, so he mentioned that he was looking at locations in the South of France either in Monaco or Cannes. He didn't give any indication where else in the States he would be having outlets, but then he works with a small team and it can kill a business to open up too many overhead-heavy outlets too soon.

    ubuandmebeme, yes I did sample the burning papers, they're amazing actually, a really quick way of freshening a room, and much quicker than incense sticks and less oily and heavy. The scented bracelet I saw but didn't try.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  20. #20
    VM I hate civet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Stafford
    Posts
    1,581
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Fascinating account, HDS1963 - there are several scents I very much want to try as a result of your report...Thanks for taking the time to give us such a detailed insight into the day.

    I wonder who the few other perfumers whom he rates would be? Five seems a low number to me, though. And what is it about those five that makes them make the grade in his eyes?

    I hope a few of the many women that were there will give us a female take on the scents at some point!
    Last edited by VM I hate civet; 24th October 2009 at 12:37 PM.
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  21. #21

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    H VM, he was reluctant to name those he rated. His major complaint seemed to be that many "perfumers" don't actually go in the lab with the test tubes and get their hands dirty with the actual chemistry of formulating a fragrance, which is something he does himself. He excused Serge Lutens from this, whom he sees more like a Director in a theatre production, knowing what he wants and getting someone else (namely Christopher Sheldrake) to realise his vision.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  22. #22

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by VM I hate civet View Post
    I hope a few of the many women that were there will give us a female take on the scents at some point!
    I can help there! I missed tea sadly but made it to Liberty around 5pm and got a personal tour of the collection from FK. I honestly loved everything! My initial impulse was to go for Lumiere Noire (pour femme, although I loved the men's more on first sniff), simply because the rose in it is divine - it hovers, and glows, above the deeper, darker notes - and I liberally doused a wrist. However, FK said the cumin in it poked out too much on my skin and steered me towards APOM (pour femme), and I'm glad he did as I am in LOVE with it. My first reaction to it was to say to him that it was "radiant," but as I've been wearing it, it really changes a lot as it develops and the drydown is quite bold - sweet and woody, very sexy (imo). It's interesting as the whole thing is both sweet and dry at the same time. There's a very indolic jasmine in the middle that is straight out of Promesse de l'Aube (and my fave bit of that fragrance too), and yet the overall aura is light and powdery. It seems related to, say, Chanel No 22 and Narcisse Noir at the same time... and has something of the character, and certainly the evaporation curve, of Chamade. Totally classic. It can take you from breakfast to work to dinner and dancing, and it hits the right notes throughout. I feel like, THIS is what perfume should be like. I am tired of things that smell. This is alive.

    Enough waffle on that though. I liked the men's too - I noticed a pronounced lavender note and for some reason feel I might like to wear it in the spring for a change. I am not a cologne-wearer but thought both very beautiful and have been enjoying my samples. I can't pick a favourite between the two. And I bought the fabric softener in Aqua Universalis. It's a really fresh, LOTV fragrance and I can still smell it in a scarf I washed two days ago. I would LOVE to do all of my laundry in the whole line all of the time, but it's about ten times more expensive than your normal supermarket brands. I also got some incense papers and they're quite fun. They quickly scent a room if burned and I've been stuffing them all over the place (drawers, handbag, pockets).

    Thanks again to Grant and Danielle for organising this, and I hope to *actually* make it to an event to meet people.

  23. #23
    Basenotes Institution
    mikeperez23's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    25,696
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by mtgprox05 View Post
    Really? Interesting, I wonder if it's going to go the same way as the Private Blends, Armani Prive, Chanel Exclusifs and only be available at a select few places, or if it's being rolled out for all NM. I'll have to keep an eye out. Thanks Dimi!
    Neiman Marcus already has them on the website, for sale: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/ca...avAction=index
    "One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple"

    -- Jack Kerouac

  24. #24
    VM I hate civet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Stafford
    Posts
    1,581
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Angelica, thanks so much for your reviews of the scents - it is interesting to get the male and female viewpoint now! You have got me so intrigued by APOM pour Femme - I love Promesse de L'Aube and Chamade, hate Narcisse Noir and can take or leave No 22, but on balance I think this sounds amazing!

    You have got me curious about the Lumiere pour Femme too - I love a good, dark rose - would have to see how the cumin plays out on my skin!

    How wonderful to take a tour of the range with FK himself!
    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  25. #25
    VM I hate civet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Stafford
    Posts
    1,581
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by HDS1963 View Post
    H VM, he was reluctant to name those he rated. His major complaint seemed to be that many "perfumers" don't actually go in the lab with the test tubes and get their hands dirty with the actual chemistry of formulating a fragrance, which is something he does himself. He excused Serge Lutens from this, whom he sees more like a Director in a theatre production, knowing what he wants and getting someone else (namely Christopher Sheldrake) to realise his vision.
    Thanks for this - I guess he was being diplomatic here, but I would have thought Sheldrake and Polge would have made his shortlist, as I perceive them as "perfumer's perfumers". Maybe also J C Ellena and M Roudnitska or B Duchaufour - anyone else care to speculate on his top picks?

    "So many scents, so little skin"...

    http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/

  26. #26

    Default Re: Afternoon Tea At Liberty in London with Francis Kurkdjian

    Quote Originally Posted by VM I hate civet View Post
    Thanks for this - I guess he was being diplomatic here, but I would have thought Sheldrake and Polge would have made his shortlist, as I perceive them as "perfumer's perfumers". Maybe also J C Ellena and M Roudnitska or B Duchaufour - anyone else care to speculate on his top picks?

    I think you're right on Sheldrake as he actually recommended a Lutens to another shopper looking for something specific (didn't catch which one), and I noticed he kept smelling Dominique Ropion's Vetiver Extraordinaire.

Similar Threads

  1. >>>> Sniff 'n' Speak Saturday, June 2 >>>>CITRUS
    By Quarry in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 50
    Last Post: 5th June 2007, 04:04 AM
  2. More on Burberry London.
    By cedriceccentric in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 30th January 2006, 08:58 PM
  3. Tea notes & Creed
    By moondeva in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 21st January 2006, 08:27 PM
  4. Looking for a tea scent
    By Vegas in forum Male Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: 6th December 2005, 07:03 AM
  5. do tea scents really smell like tea?
    By LoneFish in forum Female Fragrance Discussion
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 11th November 2005, 01:43 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •