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You have 14 calendar days from the date of delivery to exercise your right of withdrawal and request a refund. To exercise this right, you must declare to the Maison Francis Kurkdjian address below, your decision to withdraw using the withdrawal form. The product or products must be returned unopened, unused, in perfect condition and in their original packaging (if not, a refund will not be possible) accompanied by the withdrawal form to the following address: Maison Francis Kurkdjian 20 Allée des Érables – CS 41057 95913 Goussainville Cedex FRANCE The withdrawal form can be downloaded from the Terms and Conditions section of our site, or, if you completed your order using a customer account, in the "Orders" section of your account.
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While there is a multitude of amber woods, their common denominator is the strength they bring to a fragrance. The range of possible tonalities is as vast as with musks. Some of them replace the animal effects once used, namely ambergris, a sperm whale excreta. Each major supplier of raw materials offers its own amber wood developed by synthesis. They are called Ambroxan, Ambrocenide, Cetalox or Cashmeran. Francis Kurkdjian's amber wood accord combines these synthetic notes with natural ingredients such as patchouli, sandalwood, cedar and vetiver. It contains multiple facets, powerful, dry, enveloping and rising. Its ingredients amplify the scent's sillage and hold.
Discover our luxury perfumes with wood.
AmbroxanTM is obtained from sclareol, one of the natural constituents of clary sage. It was created in the 50s and gradually superseded ambergris, a natural excrement of the sperm whale. AmbroxanTM emulates its various amber, dry woody and mineral facets. It is a kind of super-potent woody note with a lingering sillage that adds a modern sensuality to any kind of composition. AmbroxanTM has spawned a large family of similar molecules, often called "amber woods".
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Its name sounds like that of an Egyptian goddess and yet it is native to the Caribbean, and Haiti in particular. There, local fishermen poetically call it "candle wood" because they use it as torches thanks to its highly flammable properties. It is sometimes also refered to as sandalwood from the West Indies. This is probably because once distilled, Amyris balsamifera exhales sweet scents that oscillate between cedar and spicy, slightly smoky sandalwood. A classification among woods that clashes with its botanical genus, the rutaceae family, which also comprises citrus fruits.
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The resin of Styrax tonkinsesis, endemic to Southeast Asia, and more specifically Laos, is obtained by notching the trunk of its tree to make it "cry". Once incised, the tears thus collected form a whitish liquid that turns amber-yellow as it solidifies. Six months later, classified according to its purity, this gum is harvested, cleaned and treated. The scent can be extracted by infusion in alcohol or by extraction with volatile solvents. The smell of benzoin is multi-faceted: sweet vanilla, with a gourmand caramel effect, honeyed, syrupy. Its enveloping properties are used as a base note, and perfume both Orthodox churches and Buddhist temples.
Known for its fruity edge in Earl Grey tea, Citrus Bergamia is widely used in perfumery because its fresh, sparkling top notes bring a kind of "smile" to the perfume. Its oil is obtained by cold expression of the fruit's peel. Southern Italy specializes in the cultivation of this citrus fruit, used in the composition of eau de Cologne and of many women's and men's fragrances, with fresh, floral and aromatic facets unfolding and stretching all the way into the heart of the perfume.
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This is an expensive ingredient but one of the rare naturally-obtained fruity scents. Its use is relatively recent, since the olfactory properties of blackcurrant buds were only discovered around the 1980s. The Burgundy region, which specializes in growing blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum) to make blackcurrant liqueur, is the sole supplier. The buds are harvested in winter before extraction with volatile solvents to give a multi-faceted absolute - green, sparkling, tangy, fruity - that blends perfectly with flowers; as well as woody, sulphurous with an unpleasant animalic effect, reminiscent of boxwood. It is used in the top and heart notes of a fragrance.
Its tall stems bearing yellow and white flowers resembling small daisies are familiar in Europe, especially on lawns or on the edges of ponds. This plant likes sandy soils; it is indeed abundantly cultivated in Mediterranean regions, including Egypt. While there are many varieties, the plant was already known to the Greeks who gave it its name, chamos, meaning "sand" and melos "the apple". This is because steam distillation of the flowering stems of Chamomilla Matricaria produces an oil with aromatic, floral, but also fruity notes of apple. The indigo blue color of its oil comes from the inclusion of azulene in its composition.
It is a bouquet of aerial flowers, just picked and barely open, imagined by Francis Kurkdjian. To do this, he reconstituted a seringa, also called the poets' jasmine, with a scent oscillating between orange blossom and fresh jasmine. Then he reproduced the effects of two other mute flowers, the luminous freesia and lily of the valley, and blended them together. The green lily of the valley note magnifies citrus fragrances and leaves an airy floral sensation.
In some cultures, offering a coffee flavored with cardamom is a gesture of hospitality. This perennial herbaceous plant, of the same family as ginger, is native to southern India, but it has adapted to surrounding countries as well as to Guatemala. Still little used in European cuisine, it is an essential ingredient in the Indian drink "chai massala". Its dried fruit, a small gray and green capsule, is steam distilled. The Elletaria Cardamomum oil produces a zesty, aromatic, spicy and slightly floral freshness that embellishes eaux fraîches, tea notes and sublimates floral notes.
It is also often called cashmere wood in reference to the enveloping softness it provides, reminiscent of musk, but more vibrant and uplifting, with woody undertones perceptible from top to base. It is a synthetic note that combines a dry and musky cedar facet with a warm cocooning effect close to musk, at once resinous and slightly powdery, leathery. Mingled with other woods, it intensifies the fragrance's sillage.
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This is the typical smell that comes out when you sharpen a pencil: woody, dry, slightly spicy and creamy. This North American cedar, also called red cedar because of the color of its wood, belongs to the juniper family, Juniperus Virginiana. Several types of cedars are used in perfumery, but this one comes into play in the heart and base, which gives a kind of verticality to its woody theme. It is quite different from the other three main varieties used in perfumery, the drier Texas cedar, the animalic and leathery Atlas cedar or the smoky Chinese cedar.
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Also called the May rose - because that is the month of its flowering - the Centifolia rose Pays blooms in Grasse, in the south of France. It is the other variety used in perfumery, along with the Damascena rose. Its name, "one hundred leaves" in Latin, is explained by its numerous overlapping petals. Particularly delicate, it flowers only once a year which explains its rarity and its high cost. The roses are picked by hand, early in the morning. Too delicate to be distilled, the harvested rosa Centifolia blooms are extracted with volatile solvents to obtain an absolute. This rose absolute is used in the heart and base notes of a perfume. Its generous and complex rose floral notes stand out by their beautiful petal-like effect and honeyed facet.
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This spice is derived from a tropical tree, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, and the best quality comes from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon). Widely used in food, it flavors mulled wine, gingerbread and many pastries: it is a real gustative comforter. Its oil, obtained by steam distillation of its bark, gives off a warm woody but also sweet and powdery gourmand scent. Its leaf can also be distilled and yields a more raw result. Used in top and heart notes, cinnamon is often associated with ambery and woody accords. Francis Kurkdjian likes to blend it with flowers for its highlighting effect.
This wild shrub grows in arid soils around the Mediterranean. When it is hot, its leaves and branches exude a sticky animal-scented gum called labdanum, close to ambergris in high dilution. There are several ways of extracting Cistus Ladaniferus: steam distillation of its branches yields the aromatic, resinous and woody cistus oil. Extraction with volatile solvents results in the heavier cistus-labdanum absolute, at once balsamy, pyrogenic and resinous, used in the heart and base of a fragrance. These two products are pivotal notes in "chypre" accords and add character to amber accords and "oud" compositions in both women's and men's perfumes.
Native to southern Europe and western Asia, this herb has been known since the dawn of time and was used by the Romans to cure many ailments. Hence its name, derived from the Latin salvare - to heal. Among the multitude of varieties, the sage used in perfumery is Salvia sclarea. Francis Kurkdjian gets his supplies from the Drôme region, an important producer of excellent qualities known as "pays". Obtained by distillation, the oil is complex and multi-faceted: fresh, zesty, green, but also floral, similar to lavender, with camphorated nuances. This heart note is also slightly warm amber.
It is not uncommon to come across this small aromatic herb in our gardens. Coriandrum sativum was already appreciated in ancient times. In perfumery, its leaves give a very particular oil with strong green metallic notes. The steam distilled seeds are commonly used. The resulting oil is fresh, zesty, slightly peppery and very floral, close to freesia. Francis Kurkdjian has even identified solar overtones due to the presence of linalool.
In perfumery, only two varieties of rose are used for their fragrant properties: rosa damascena and rosa centifolia. The Damascena rose or Damask rose's appeal lies in its highly distinctive honeyed accents and slightly spicy scent. Originally from Persia, this very old variety is the most used in perfumery. It is now cultivated in Bulgaria, Turkey or Iran. Different perfumed products, such as rose water, rose oil and rose absolute, are obtained by using various methods of extraction, each with their distinctive olfactory characteristics. Rose oil is obtained by steam distillation. The Bulgarian rose has fruity facets with hints of pear, lychee and raspberry.
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This tall tree from the Philippines belongs to the same botanical family as frankincense and myrrh. Like them, the Canarium commune produces a gum-resin when it is incised. It is a well-known panacea for many ailments in Asia and an incense to burn in China. Perfumers are particularly interested in the oil produced by distillation of this white gum. Its scent evoking lemon, lemony pepper and incense refreshes the top part of a perfume, with a slightly woody balsamic facet that extends into the heart.
These small plants native to South Africa are very popular in Mediterranean gardens because their flowers can be of multiple colors, white, yellow, purple or pink. They also emit a heady scent close to jasmine or coriander seeds. But the freesia is a mute flower because its petals do not deliver their scent by any mode of extraction. Francis Kurkdjian gives his own interpretation of the flower with a very luminous floral note of jasmine and orange blossom overtones.
Native to Southern Africa, this plant can be brightly colored, but the Rosat geranium variety very often grown in Egypt and used in perfumery has pale pink flowers. Rubbing its leaves with the fingers suffices to show that they hold the perfume. The oil obtained by distillation of the leaves of Pelargonium graveolens delivers a green, lemony, minty top note reminiscent of lemongrass, which extends into the heart with a rosy floral effect. Nothing surprising since nearly 35% of the compounds it contains are similar to rose oil. Although used in women's fragrances, geranium is generally considered to be a masculine flower, since it is part of the Fougère accord present in shaving soaps.
The real name of the variety that floods market stalls with sunshine is the pomelo. Botanists prefer to talk about Citrus x paradisi. As with other citrus fruits, its oil is extracted by cold expression of the rind. Its scent differs from the orange by a slightly green bitterness. In a perfume, it conveys a similar very fresh, fruity, juicy sensation, with tart and slightly sulphurous undertones. With its high volatility, it fuses and adds vibrancy to any composition.
Its Latin botanical name Lignum vitae, meaning wood of life, is full of optimism. Due to its high density, this tree native to South America and the West Indies has long been used in industrial processes for its robustness. Its oil, which comes from the distillation of its trunk, is very versatile: warm and powerful, it evokes vetiver with its slightly spicy smokiness while adopting milky accents of sandalwood. Although it has not yet played a leading role in a perfume, guaiac wood is an ideal bonding agent between the other woody tenors in the middle and base accords.
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A distant cousin of the rose, this thorny shrub is very fragrant in spring. Within a few days, it is covered with a multitude of small white flowers, sometimes resembling snow, and exhales a bitter almond scent. But its flowers are mute, that is to say too fragile to extract the perfume. The art of the perfumer is to recreate the sensation of passing by the tree in full bloom. Francis Kurkdjian combines sweet, flowery, slightly honeyed notes with almond accents that express themselves in the heart of the perfume.
This aromatic compound developed in the 1960s has become one of the most frequently used. When isolated, it evokes the floral and very fresh delicacy of jasmine, with a slight lemony facet, like a slice of lemon dipped in a glass. In its natural state, it comes into the composition of the scent of tea and jasmine, even if it is quite different, more airy, more luminous. In addition to this transparency and lightness, it binds other ingredients and adds freshness, volume and diffusion to a creation. Francis Kurkdjian refers to it as a breeze of petals.
If in the hearts of perfumers the rose is the queen of flowers and jasmine the king, then the iris is the empress. The part utilized in fragrances is not its flower, but its rhizome, i.e. its root. Perfumery uses the iris pallida, native to the region of Florence in Italy. After growing in soil for 3 years, the iris rhizomes are dried and crushed before being distilled to obtain an oil with a thick consistency, also called iris butter. This long transformation process and the very low yield it produces make it one of the most expensive ingredients in the perfumer's palette. The iris extract offers a very special floral note, between the violet and a soft wood, with very powdery and slightly chocolatey, cocoa-like facets. Endowed with exceptional persistence, the iris can be used in minute doses to add volume or in greater quantity to support a floral or woody accord.
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Known by its Latin name as jasminum grandiflorum, the jasmine used in perfumery is surprisingly potent and multi-faceted, ranging from orangey-floral, solar, fruity (banana, strawberry, apricot), to animalic and spicy. Jasmine has an astonishingly complex structure for such a fragile flower that needs to be harvested very early in the morning before the sun spoils its fragrance. Its scent can only be extracted with volatile solvents and is very expensive due to its low yield of essential oil. Its kaleidoscope of nuances blends perfectly with other flowers as well as woods or ambery accords.
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English Gin is emblematic of the taste of juniper berries, with its particular and striking aromatic flavor. In perfumery, the fruits of Juniperus Communis lend this same sensation of striking freshness. This shrub is present in Northern Europe and the Balkans. When ripe, the small blackish berries are dried before being steam distilled. The resulting oil offers a fresh, aromatic, spicy but also woody and slightly resinous top note. It can be found in colognes, men's fragrances and some women's perfumes; Francis Kurkdjian uses it to amplify certain floral notes such as the rose.
Endemic to the Mediterranean basin, it was already highly prized in Roman times to perfume linen, freshen the breath or for its antiseptic properties. Its name comes from lavare, "to wash". For a long time, the south of France was the first producer of Lavandula angustifolia, but today its culture is worldwide. Although it can also be distilled, Francis Kurkdjian prefers to work with French lavender absolute obtained by extraction with volatile solvents. Less rising than the oil, its aromatic herbaceous notes, reminiscent of shaving foam as well as sun-warmed hay, are used in the heart and base of a perfume.
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Lavandula X Intermedia is a hybrid cross between fine lavender and lavender aspic, which provides better yields. Its small violet-blue flower heads as well as its flower sachets sold in local markets are the emblem of Provence. Its purplish flower spikes are carried by long stems. Steam distillation produces an aromatic, fresh, herbaceous, camphorated and aniseed oil. This heart note is found in Colognes as well as in the Fougère accord, emblematic of men's fragrances.
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Born at the end of the 19th century at the Tsars' court, this olfactory theme became fashionable in Europe, where it took the name Cuir de Russie (Russian Leather). Each fragrance house proposed its own interpretation, but the basic ingredients remained the same: smoked birch, cade wood and styrax. At the time, the scent of leather was associated with the smell of Cossacks' boots, which were tanned with burnt birch to make them more supple and waterproof. The leather accord became very popular in the 1920s in Europe, and was worn by women who wished to become emancipated. Today, a wide spectrum of leathers is offered, from classic smoky wood-honey-animal-tobacco type accords to notes imitating supple suede.
The graceful and fragrant white flowers of the lemon tree, the Citrus limon, blend a soft floral effect with the bright tangy facet of its fruit. Too beautiful to give itself away, it is one of the so-named "mute" flowers, i.e. one that does not give off any scent by extraction. It therefore required all of Francis Kurkdjian's imagination to recreate its fresh and lemony but also airy and sensual delicateness, by blending it with other notes. This accord is used as a top and heart note in a perfume.
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The lemon tree was introduced to the Mediterranean basin during the Crusades in the Middle Ages. Today, the regions of Calabria and Sicily in southern Italy are the main suppliers for perfumery. Its oil is obtained by cold expression of its peel using mechanical processes. Its bright color announces its joyful fragrance, with green, zesty, rising top notes. Its crisp, lively effect is often found in men's colognes and eaux fraîches. It also gives a beautiful lift to floral sillages.
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Unharvested, the clusters of white bells surrounded by the green leaves of the Convallaria majalis embalm our gardens. Blossoming in springtime, lily of the valley is also an emblem of renewal and a lucky charm flower traditionally offered on the first of May in France. Its perfume is slightly aqueous, with crispy green jasmine-like floral tones. Its bells are however too fragile to reproduce the scent by any method of extraction, lily of the valley therefore belongs to the family of mute flowers. Its perfume is recreated by Francis Kurkdjian by assembling other ingredients. This fresh and green floral note is often found in light floral scents.
This Citrus aurantifolia variety of lime was acclimatized to America by Spanish and Portuguese settlers in the 16th century. Mexico is one of the main producers. It is used in the composition of many tropical cocktails such as Margarita or Mojito. Along with cinnamon, it forms one of the basic ingredients of Coca-Cola. As with all citrus fruits, its fragrant principles are contained in the peel and are extracted by cold expression to obtain the oil. Its scent is fresh, tangy and sparkling, a touch "fluorescent" compared to the classic lemon.
Also called exotic verbena, this evergreen plant can reach over ten meters and grows in tropical areas of Asia, particularly in China and Indonesia. Its large leaves give clusters of small green fruits. These are distilled to obtain a fresh and delicate oil, tarter and greener than a lemon, oscillating between verbena and lemongrass. It also has accents of candied lemons, zesty pie or tangy sweets. It is ideal to underline citrus top notes and blends perfectly with Colognes.
Native to China, this tree has settled in many Asian countries as well as in islands of the Indian Ocean. Its pale pink to red shell protects the delicious pulp of its fruit. In perfumes, a lychee accord reproduces the effect of the juicy and sweet fruit, complete with a rosy floral facet. This facet blends perfectly with floral bouquets, and the rose in particular, bringing cheerfulness and tangy freshness. The small red fruit is therefore very popular in fruity floral perfumes for women.
Native to China, this fragrant and aesthetic flower has no natural extracts. Like all citrus flowers, it is mute, in other words, it is impossible to extract its subtle and airy fragrance. It is the perfumer's task to recreate its fresh sillage, comprising the sweet, tart and zesty facets of its sun-kissed fruit. Used in Eaux de Cologne as well as in eaux fraîches with citrus notes, mandarin blossom gives a fragrance a luminous floral aura.
At the beginning of January in Sicily, the fields of mandarin trees offer an almost unreal landscape: rows of green shrubs punctuated by orangey-yellow fruits spreading as far as the eye can see between sea and mountains. This Citrus reticulata was imported from Asia at the beginning of the 19th century. According to legend, its name came from its color, identical to the ceremonial dresses of Chinese Mandarins. The fragrant compounds contained in its peel are extracted by cold expression to obtain its oil. This variety has citrusy, zesty but also green, sweet and slightly sulphurous facets. This sparkling and joyful top note enhances a Cologne and energizes an ambery perfume.
Its bright yellow pom-poms are the first to bloom in January on the Tanneron massif, near Grasse. If the plant is native to Australia, its Acacia dealbata variety used for perfumery has been grown in southern France since the 19th century. Its scent is obtained by extraction with volatile solvents of the flowering branches. The absolute thus obtained exudes comfortable sunny, powdery notes, with many facets: almondy floral, violet-leaf green, honeyed, sweet spicy. Mimosa is a heart and base note.
For a long time, peppermint was cultivated in Mitcham, south London, hence its name. This variety Mentha Piperata has a very fresh, rising scent, with an almost "frosty" effect due to its high concentration of menthol. Everyone has already tasted it in a candy or mint syrup. Its oil is obtained by steam distillation of its leaves. It develops a great aromatic freshness which explodes in the top and heart of a perfume. Francis Kurkdjian uses it to recreate impressions of crisp greenery and crumpled leaves.
Initially extracted from Tibetan musk deers, natural musk has been banned in perfumery since 1973. Synthetic molecules designed to replace it appeared at the end of the 19th century, so today there is a wide selection of musky notes with an olfactory palette ranging from fruity, to woody to animal facets. Musks are very persistent and relatively non-volatile base notes. They have been extensively used in detergents and fabric softeners, and are commonly referred to as white musks because they evoke the scent of soft, fluffy clean linen, and conjure up a feeling of tenderness and comfort suitable for all kinds of fragrances. With their inimitable mellowness highly appreciated by the general public, today musky notes are present in the vast majority of women's and men's perfumes.
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The nutmeg tree can reach 15 meters in height and punctuates the landscape of Indonesia and surrounding countries. When ripe, the orangey-yellow fruits of the Myristica Fragrans implode and release an ovoid nut, covered with small irregular hairs, called mace. Once this membrane is removed, dried and ground, the nuts are steam distilled and give off a spicy, dry note like grated wood, reminiscent of the smell of an old book. A complex top-to-base note, prized among others for its role in the composition of woody and ambery fragrances for men and women.
There are several ways to process the Citrus Aurantium flower. By volatile solvent extraction to obtain the orange blossom absolute, or by steam distillation for the orange blossom oil. But beware, connoisseurs know it well: we don't speak of orange blossom oil but of neroli oil, since the Princess of Nerola, enraptured by its fragrance, brought it into fashion at the time of French king Louis XIV. The absolute is used for middle and base notes, with solar floral overtones, in turn fresh or heady, honeyed and animalic. Neroli oil has much more citrusy and green floral inflections, used in the top and heart notes of a fragrance. It is often associated with the smell of sun-dried sheets and flavored madeleines.
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The power and complexity of its musky, woody, leathery, smoky and honeyed scent is only matched by the mystery of its creation; largely random since it depends on the fungal infection of a Southeast Asian tree also known as Agarwood (Aquilaria). Only diseased specimens produce an aromatic resin that is distilled to obtain an oil. It is among the most sought-after ingredients, and is also one of the most expensive, resulting in poaching. This is why Francis Kurkdjian has chosen an Oud from Laos produced according to the principles of fair and sustainable trade. He combines its vibrant notes with intense flowers, spices and other woods for a bewitching sillage.
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The species used in perfume is called cypriol, a cousin of papyrus, and belongs to the genus Cyperus. This herbaceous plant grows on riverbanks, especially in India. The fragrant molecules reside in its roots, which are first dried before being steam distilled. Its oil exudes a powerful dry, smoky and earthy wood scent, in the range of patchouli. Cypriol is often used to reconstitute an oud accord or to reinforce its smoky woody notes. It adds strength to some men's fragrances.
Native to Indonesia, this aromatic plant has almost no smell in the earth. It is first necessary to dry its leaves and to let them ferment for its odorous molecules to form. After distillation, the oil must be aged in barrels for several months to allow optimal use. When ready, Pogostemon cablin reveals a powerful woody and earthy scent with smoky, camphorated, syrupy and even musty accents. Some say it recalls the smell of a damp cellar. Greatly appreciated in France by women of easy virtue at the end of the 19th century, patchouli was for a long time considered a little vulgar. Then the hippie generation of the 70's adopted it as a symbol of freedom and popularized the fragrance. Although it no longer carries a scandalous reputation, its powerful scent continues to fascinate and is used in both feminine and masculine compositions.
Most fruity notes used in perfumery are actually recomposed in the form of an accord, much like mute flowers. The pear gives a fresh, crisp, juicy scent used as a top note in a perfume. The fruit has more or less fruity or green facets, depending on the variety the perfumer has chosen to evoke. Very often, the pear note is combined with rose oil to highlight its fruity aromas.
The large blossoms of different colors combined with the green leaves of the Paeonia is a pure aesthetic delight. Some smell more than others, giving off an airy, rosy floral scent, slightly green and fruity. However, the peony is part of the so-called mute flowers, as its fragrance cannot be extracted naturally. Francis Kurkdjian created a peony accord that gives the impression of burying your nose into its serrated corollas. In China, the peony is a true emblem of feminine beauty and is considered to be the queen of flowers.
Petitgrain commonly refers to the leaf of citrus fruits (mandarin, lemon...) but the Petitgrain Bigarade essential oil is distilled from the twigs and branches of the bitter orange tree, also called bigarade orange tree or Citrus Aurantium. Its oil is zesty, green, bitter, as well as sweet floral. It is one of the components of the classic eau de Cologne. The bitter orange tree is very present on the Mediterranean rim, where it blooms from the month of April. A blessed tree in perfumery, it also yields other ingredients such as neroli or orange blossom. Its fruit, the bitter orange, is used in the famous English marmalade.
It is often called pink pepper and yet its tree, native to South America, does not belong to the pepper family. The very pungent tasting berries of the Schinus terebinthifolius, commonly known as Brazilain peppertree, make it a popular spice. In perfumery we use either the pink pepper oil, obtained by distillation, or the CO2 extract: when subjected to very high pressure, this gas turns liquid and transports the fragrant principles without heating the ingredient, which preserves the sharpness of these fresh spices. The spicy, slightly sweet and floral pink peppercorns are used as top and heart notes. They brighten up citrus fruits and add vibrancy to heady flowers.
Endemic to the Mediterranean region, this shrub was already highly prized in the Middle Ages, and cultivated by monks in gardens of medicinal plants; it was used as an antiseptic and a tonic, among other things. Mixed with alcohol, Rosmarinus officinalis was also the major component of the Queen's Eau de Hongrie in the 14th century, renowned for its alleged rejuvenating properties. The oil is obtained after distillation of its blooms. It has fresh, aromatic, herbaceous, camphorated and slightly woody inflections. As a top note, rosemary is used in the composition of some colognes and in many men's fragrances.
Coming from the pistil of a variety of crocuses, this most expensive spice in the world is nicknamed "red gold". Natural saffron is not used in perfumery because it contains safrol, a highly allergenic compound. But its effect is reproduced with one of its derivatives, saffronal. Its very powerful perfume is bitter and slightly metallic, blowing hot and cold on the rest of the composition with also a leathery, tarred facet. Francis Kurkdjian likes to use it in the top layer of a fragrance to break the sweetness of citrus notes. It is often associated with Oud-based perfumes and amber accords.
Sweet pea is either a white or a colorful flower from a climbing plant native to southern Italy. Its papillote-shaped petals reveal a very delicate, sweet, honeyed scent, also found in honeysuckle or orange blossom but without the distinctive floral facets. Sweet pea is a mute flower, which means that its fragrance cannot be naturally extracted. By blending different ingredients, Francis Kurkdjian re-created the scent of the white sweet pea, the most fragrant of the family. The result is a fresh, soft and delicately powdery floral note, with subtle honey undertones.
This precious raw ingredient comes from the Dipteryx odorata, a tree endemic to Central America and northern South America. Local people have to go into the jungle to pick its ripe fruit once fallen to the ground. After macerating in alcohol and dried, it delivers its kernel, a wrinkled black bean, the tonka. It gradually develops its flavors, including those of its main aromatic molecule, coumarin: powdery, almondy with a freshly mown hay effect, tobacco, slightly honeyed and smoked. Its gourmand facet evokes a slightly vanilla-scented and sweetened shortbread tart. Its absolute, obtained by volatile solvent extraction, is one of the most sensual base notes.
Its powerful, narcotic, even unpleasant aromas have long earned it the reputation of casting spells: in the past, young girls were forbidden to take evening walks in tuberose fields because they could lose their minds. Indeed, the scent of the long stem topped with feather duster-like petals can still be smelled two days after it has been picked. Its voluptuous white flower perfume, obtained by solvent extraction, is remarkably complex: green, spicy, medicinal with fruity, woody nuances evocative of coconut or fig. Originally from Mexico, today Tuberosa polianthes is mainly cultivated in India, as well as once again in the Pays de Grasse where it experienced a huge boom in the 19th century, before almost disappearing.
Few people know this, but vanilla bean extract naturally has woody, leathery, almost animal accents. To smooth this dark side, Francis Kurkdjian has recreated his own vanilla accord. A more airy, gourmand and slightly spicy interpretation. The round, enveloping aspect comes mainly from vanillin, the main olfactory compound of vanilla, also used in food flavors for its particularly soft and sweet side. This accord brings comfort and sillage.
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The amber used in perfumery has nothing to do with the yellow amber stone, which is ornamental but has no smell, nor with ambergris, which refers to an animal extract from the sperm whale. The amber accord inspired a series of successful perfumes launched at the beginning of the last century. It included two flagship ingredients, cistus labdanum, with its warm, resinous, animal facets, and vanillin, a new, sweet aromatic compound, which is the primary component of vanilla. Since then, the combination of these two warm and persistent notes has been considered to form the amber accord, generally enriched with tonka bean, coumarin and resins such as benzoin or incense, which are all base notes.
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This is undoubtedly one of the most used ingredients in the men's fragrances of the 60s, giving off a very elegant earthy, smoky and root-like impression, with "green grapefruit" inflections. Its potency conjures up the image of a majestic tree, but the Vetiveria Zizanoides is in reality a small plant with green tufts and very deep roots. The oil is obtained by distillation of the roots, with two major sourcings, Java in Indonesia, for a particularly smoky variety, and Haiti, which supplies Francis Kurkdjian. Vetiver is used as a base note.
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Despite its readily identifiable and popular perfume, the violet is a mute flower, as it is impossible to extract its perfume naturally. Only the leaves and stems can be used for extraction. The green scent of spicy cucumber they exude is antithesis to the flower's scent. To reproduce the fruity, gourmand and slightly woody fragrance of its petals, Francis Kurkdjian uses odorous molecules called Ionones (ionos means purple in Greek), discovered and made available to perfumers at the end of the 19th century. In feminine perfumery, the violet lends a powdery facet or a gustatory sensation that blends beautifully with rosy notes. Its green facet is widely used in men's fragrances.
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This Indian wood is considered to be sacred. It is mentioned in many Sanskrit texts and is still burned in Asia during religious celebrations. For perfumers, the Santalum album growing in India, China and Indonesia is the reference, even if there are now two other varieties cultivated in Australia and New Caledonia. The Indian quality is often referred to as Mysore because it is the historical region in the south of the peninsula that produces the largest amount. The oil distilled from the ten-meter tree is rare and expensive, because it takes more than 50 years to obtain a tree that can be used in perfumery. Its low volatility makes it a very persistent base note. Its fragrance is woody, milky, slightly spicy, round, soft and enveloping.
In the Philippines, it means "flower of flowers". Its tree native to the tropical forests of Southeast Asia was imported to the islands of the Indian Ocean in the 20th century. Nowadays, it is mainly grown in the Comoros and Madagascar. Although the Cananga odorata flower is yellow, it is olfactorily classified among white flowers. Distillation of its petals lasts up to twenty hours, but only the oil from the first few hours is used in perfumery, as a heart note. Its scent is that of a strong, powdery and solar white flower. It also has medicinal inflections, with fruity facets like ripe banana, and spicy, slightly heady tones like a lily.