June 13, 2015
To understand fragrance history, means above all, learning about the perfumers behind the classics. Similar to painters, understanding their masterpieces often requires closer look into their provenence, their training and the aesthetic references in their palette. For example, Aimé Guerlain was fascinated by verbena, and Jean-Claude Ellena is a man of jasmine.
Incredulità di San Tommaso
“Tradition is important because everything we are today it’s because of yesterday… Modernity is because I live nowadays, I have a smartphone, I use technology so I try to do things that can be worn in our time, everyday” Françis Kurkdjian told me almost five years ago when speaking about tradition and innovation in his creative process. When I first smelled Absolue pour le soir right after, everything he said became crystal clear. Beginning at a young age, M Kurkdjian has been one of the most influential perfumers of the 21st century, creating mega hits for many designer, niche and department store fragrance. How masterfully he has brought lavender and orange blossom, used for centuries in colognes and fougeres up-to-date. Delving deeper, he is definitely a man of rose and Absolue pour le soir represents the summa of his aesthetics.
As in Shalimar, the Temple of Love created in 1921, Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue pour le soir, composed in 2010, plays with contrasts in the opening, breaking the boundaries of genders and social acceptance. Paraphrasing Jacques Guerlain, wearing Absolue pour le soir means letting your senses take over. I swear Kurkdjian did it in the making. There’s a sense of innocence in it, an almost edible childhood memory of oriental fried honey treats in the opening bringing the sinful message of cumin, its suede-like unshaved outrageousness whispering “this is my body, which is for you”.
Detail from Lawrence Alma-Tadema Elagabalus 1880s
In Absolue pour le soir, the sensual warmth at the top is a masterful handling of the floral aspects, the indolic clove-dashed ointment of ylang ylang. There is sense of tradition though in the heart of the fragrance. Rose is the key: the cherished smell and flavor of eastern countries empowers Absolue pour le soir bridging the honeyed sweetness on top to the resinous burning base and places it along the heritage of Shalimar and Ambre Antique.
Albert Edelfelt:The Virgin Mary in the Rose Garden
As for its reference to classic masterpieces, it is Rose, she shines like the star of Isis, The Virgin Mary, both sacred and mundane, seamlessly blending bold opposites in a totally unexpected powdery mellowness. Measure by measure Kurkdjian's absolut temple of love juxtaposes tobacco lusciousness with myrrh tinged smoke giving way to hieratic incense and papier d’armenie. Absolue pour le soir awakening the senses in a totally polarizing, primitive place reeking of feast, bed and cathedral smells.
Absolue pour le soir has overnight longevity and above average sillage.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample of Absolue pour le soir courtesy of Campomarzio 70.
Guest Contributor Ermano Picco of Le Gardenia nell’ Occhiello
Ermano is a fragrance expert, well known for his insights into artistic perfumery and he was integral to the new Rubini Fundamental introduced at Esxence. He will be contributing monthly to CaFleureBon Modern Masterpieces. Please welcome him and be sure to check out his wonderful perfume blog Le Gardenia nell’ Occhiello