Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir (2010)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir © Victor Wong

Who can rock Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir? But first, let’s take a look at some of the common comments you will find on fragrance forums about this fragrance:

  1. It smells like pee.
  2. It smells like a dirty old man
  3. It smells pungent/disgusting
  4. It smells like a farm
  5. Why?

Hmm… Let’s assume you are one of the lucky people who don’t have strong body odour, and if the above are all true, you choose to wear this perfume to… what? smell like you have just peed on your own pants? You know, accidents happen. Or do they? Or, maybe you want to smell like a farm hand after spending the morning feeding horses and stepping into soft things. Hey, you could become extra charismatic if you wear this perfume while wearing a suit, for you will become paradoxical, a city man with a country flair.

Absolue Pour le Soir is a one-of-a-kind perfume, and it completely destroys what common people perceive a perfume should smell like (i.e. people who are only exposed to Tresor, Daisy and Chanel Coco).The above comments are from people who obviously don’t like this perfume, but I wouldn’t say they are unfounded. They are, to a certain extent, true. In fact, it reminds me of unhealthy salted fish that Chinese people love to eat. (The innards of the fish are removed and packed with salt, and hung tailsup to sun-dry. The flesh eventually smells honey sweet and slightly rotten, and cut into small pieces and thrown into a rice cooker/hot pot. When the rice is ready, it’s smells savoury.)

I definitely love this perfume, but I doubt I would want a bottle at the beginning of my fragrance journey. In fact, when I told people a year ago that I had never smelled it they said they were completely surprised – you own hundreds bottles of perfume and write crazy reviews and you have never smelled it? Whoah.

If you look at the note breakdown of Absolue Pour le Soir, it’s rather simple and unsuspicious (rose, honey, incense, benzoin, ylang-ylang, cumin, Atlas cedar and sandalwood,) but the end result is absolutely animalic, warm and primordial. It unearths the emotion buried deep inside your brain by your caveman ancestors. It’s a shame that Mr. Kurkdjian decides to discontinue this gem.

Acqua di Parma’s Iris Nobile EDP (2006)

Acqua Di Parma's Iris Nobile, © Victor Wong
Acqua Di Parma’s Iris Nobile, © Victor Wong

I was greedy. I didn’t take the advice from a fragrance reviewer and bought the Eau de Parfum version of Iris Nobile instead of the Eau de Toilette version. I thought, with a bit more money, why not get the EDP that would last on me longer?

At the department store, I took a sniff of the bottle cap sprayed with some EDT, then the one with some EDP. I thought they smelled identical. When I reached home and started using my bottle of EDP, the bubbly effervescent, refreshing effect that I got from the EDT wasn’t there anymore. Instead of Orangina, I got orange juice. Instead of Aero, I got Kisses. Instead of Lady Gaga, I got Lady Haha. (In Spanish that’s Lady Jaja.)

Actually, from a discussion on Facebook about a year ago, I had learned that there were some, or even significant differences between the EDP/EDT and the Parfum of the same fragrance – different priorities and different concentration of perfumery notes for each version. In Roja Dove’s “The Essence of Perfume”, he writes that, “Many great fragrances were only made as Perfume, and an assistant perfumer would create the Eau de Toilette, sometimes many years later.”

Now I realize that there’s quite a bit difference between an EDT and an EDP.

Well, I still enjoy Iris Nobile EDP very much. Instead of hopscotching I don’t mind sitting down and have some tea. (Here I go again.) What I’ve got is an iris perfume that is not powdery. This is almost a first for me. It opens with a hint of star anise (again, unexpected), then transitions into what I call a pale, dusty light floral area filled with toned down tuberose, jasmine and ylang-ylang, (the exact opposite would be Annick Goutal’s Songes, same ingredients but measured with a ladle instead of teaspoon), backflips three times, tears aways her white gym clothes to reveal her true self – a very light chypre.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud (2010)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud © Victor Wong
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Oud © Victor Wong

My friend Fifty-fifty told me that the beef patties from McDonald’s were not all made out of beef, but they called it 100% beef because they bought their meat from a company called “100% Beef”. It’s an urban legend, according to McDonalds. This piece of information or myth didn’t bother at all; I go there for fast food and the fries are quite good. A Facebook friend also said that 99% of all the “oud” perfumes out there did not contain real oud but a synthetic chemical made by aroma chemical giants such as Firmenich. This didn’t bother me neither; I wear “oud” perfumes to make me feel dandy or special. That being said, I could tell all the oud perfumes in my collection have the same kind of synthetic oud in them.

Except Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud. Because if all the oud perfumes smell like oud, then MFK’s Oud doesn’t. I don’t even care if it has no oud in it, because the perfume doesn’t smell like anything I have smelled before and I quite enjoy it.

I call MFK’s Oud chemical X. It smells like some mysterious chemical solution you found in an immaculate, sparkling clean clinic… you twist open the bottle cap and carefully take a sniff… and find the scent smelling unnatural, yet non-pungent and strangely unharmful. You keep on smelling it with a frown until you succumb to the scent with half a smile on your face. Can’t exactly tell what it is; may be the smell of a cotton ball soaked with anesthesia solution that stuffed beside my gum when I had my wisdom tooth pulled? Maybe it’s love? Maybe it’s oud?