Francis Kurkdijan Created A Remarkably Masculine Scent That’s Also Floral

Is Francis Kurkdijan — the master perfumer behind the eponymous fragrance house, Maison Francis Kurkdijan — a stickler for the rules? “I don’t like breaking rules. That’s not quite my style, although I enjoy the idea of stretching boundaries,” he tells Robb Report Malaysia from his atelier in Paris. “It’s important to have rules, as well as to stretch them. In this case, it’s about giving men the choice to wear a rose fragrance, which is not something that men are usually comfortable with.”

The newest eau de parfum from Maison Francis Kurkdijan, l’Homme À la rose (priced at RM530 for 35 ml and RM880 for 70 ml), places the essence of Damask rose from Bulgaria and absolute of Centifiola rose from Grasse at its very epicentre. At once straightforward and intriguingly complex—a tricky feat achieved by only the most accomplished perfumers—it is a rose fragrance that sits on men as comfortably as a well-tailored suit, with both freshness and sensuality in spades. 

Notes of grapefruit and sage lend a bracing sense of vitality to l’Homme À la rose, deepened by herbaceous cistus and amber woods. “What was tricky was that rose has almost exclusively been used in women’s perfume,” Kurkdijan explains. There have been translations of rose in men’s fragrances, but it’s often achieved through geranium oil, which I didn’t want to use as I thought it was too obvious. My goal was for people to open the bottle and really feel that rose-based scent – one that draws a very fine line between masculinity and femininity.”

It is a fragrance very much in keeping with the progressive approach of Maison Francis Kurkdijan towards perfumery, evolving beyond traditional notions of gender-appropriate scents. Even men without a trace of floral notes in their fragrance libraries will find themselves surprised at how quickly they take to l’Homme À la rose, which speaks volumes about the characteristic charm of Kurkdijan’s scents. “The idea is not to please anyone – it is more important to seduce people than to please them,” he says. “Perhaps certain people will find it too feminine or not masculine enough, but I believe there’s room in the area of men’s perfume for this type of scent.”

Bakhache Luxuries Malaysia

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