Greatest Hits : Franšis Kurkdjian
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12th October, 2015

Francis Kurkdjian trained at ISIPCA, where he now teaches perfumery students, and Quest, before moving to Takasago.

He founded his own perfumery house (Maison Francis Kurkdjian) in 2009, born from his bespoke perfumery. He also won the prestigious Prix Francois Coty in 2001, was named as a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres in 2009, and was named Perfumer of the Year in the most recent Basenotes Reader Awards.

He also is (as far as I know) the only perfumer to sell scented bubbles, which is about as close to magic as humans will ever get.

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About the author: Nick Gilbert

Nick has been working in the world of fragrance for over 15 years. He is co-founder of Olfiction, a creative scent agency offering fragrance development, training, copy and content production. He is frequently quoted in the press and has provided perfumery training globally, from London to Seoul.


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    • hednic | 12th October 2015 21:23

      Interesting article. Happen to own a few in the list. My favorite of his is Rouge 540.

    • badarun | 12th October 2015 21:49

      Interesting article on a very good nose - my take on his 3 best creations are here:

      Narciso Rodriguez For Him

      Absolu Pour le Soir

      Guerlain rose Barbare.

    • pluran | 13th October 2015 02:50

      Right at the top, if not his best is MDCI's Elevement au Serail (original formulation) one of the greatest chypres ever before reformulation removed all dark and abstract chypre aspects turning it into a nice floral.

    • Colin Maillard | 13th October 2015 07:32

      Vastly overrated but he surely did some nice stuff. He definitely works better under direction for me.

    • Johnny_Ludlow | 13th October 2015 13:06

      That's what you think because you can't seem to appreciate pee in the parking lot, quite disappointing.

      In all seriousness, Absolue Pour le Soir is for me one of the highlights of this decade. One of the very few cases where me and Colin just can't see eye to eye.

    • furrypine | 13th October 2015 16:39

      Elie Saab is gorgeous, and Rose Barbare is one of the few rose centered scents that I really like. He's made some terrific stuff, but he comes across so weirdly dismissive of perfumery in interviews; to him it's just a business, art has very little to do with making fragrances.

    • ABXY | 14th October 2015 19:37

      .... let's not overlook the wonderful Reve en Cuir by Indult

    • Erok32 | 15th October 2015 01:37

      Should that really make a difference?

    • pluran | 15th October 2015 08:42

      He's a genius even if he thinks L'Heure Bleue smells like "burning rubber".

      His MFK line is good but not great, but if I wanted to have some kind of bespoke fragrance made he'd be one of the first people I'd talk to, at least for ideas. He has plenty of them.

    • Dorje123 | 15th October 2015 19:50

      Agreed, that and masculin Pluriel are my favorites from him. AplS is not exactly an everyday fragrance though, at least for me.

    • michailG | 17th October 2015 10:38

      My partner wares now and then Absolue Pour le Matin and still after almost 3 years I find it compelling and strange and cheerful. I never get tired smelling that divine opening! I like Kurkdjian's creations very much but it is very hard to find their perfumes where I live, and this business with the small samples being sold for gold is tiring. Anyway, MFK creations are quite excellent and I think compared to other French houses they have a kind of pleasing lightness that is surely keeping them well afloat in the congested perfume industry.

    • pluran | 17th October 2015 13:44

      Maybe an every few months kind of thing, and if you don't love rose then probably never. Compelling stuff, but with Absolue pour le Soir I'm ready to stop listening after an hour or so when it can easily become clunky and annoying as fast as it made the good first impression. Plenty of quality about it nonetheless.

      Edit: Like MFK Oud a lot. Need to spend more time around it. Like what it has to say overall.

    • freewheelingvagabond | 18th October 2015 22:08

      I haven't tried most of his fragrances, and don't like a few but one that is breathtaking is Eau Noire.

    • CardaGiorgio | 25th October 2015 09:23

      If I should to choose the most remarkable fragrances in Kurkdjian┤s career, I┤ll choose these:

      -Le Male. A lot of fragrance snobs doesn┤t like this because it┤s a best seller and everywhere you go you find someone wearing it. Despite this, in terms of originality this is one of the best smells on the market in my humble opinion. And when I say "in the market" I┤m referring designer and niche markets together. In terms of quality maybe it would be better with a less synthetic vanille note. A classic.

      -Narciso Rodriguez for Him. In few words: sensual, classy and comforting.

      -Absolue por le soir:. To me this is one of the big names of his house, if not the biggest. The first time I tried it I remember myself thinking: "This is very dirty, but I don┤t know why I can┤t stop smelling it from my wrist".

      -APOM (pour homme).. The second big name of his house. Bright and classy smell.

      Of course, Kurkdjian has another great creations and I┤ve not tried all of them, but from what I know these are four fragrances that mark his career (in a good sense).

    • hednic | 25th October 2015 14:11

      Happen to like all four of these also.

    • chypre | 25th October 2015 18:40

      Oh, I'd never heard that about him! The sacrilege! Then again, perhaps he meant it positively, since a lot of his scents smell like burning rubber...

      I used to like his line, until he started cleaning it up and making all the scents approachable. The reformulation of Lumiere Noire PH was, to me, unforgivable. It used to be an incredible dark rose supported by spices and resins, but now it is nothing but an ultralight generic cologne. And now I hear he will be discontinuing APLS. It has been disappointing to say the least.