To most of perfume lovers, no matter if they are confessed perfumistas or not, the name of perfumer Francis Kurkdjian is well-known and it rarely leaves us indifferent when we hear about his name or about the fragrances he made. Even if someone is not much into perfume and they visit the perfume department only when they run out of their only bottle of “cologne” there is a high chance that at least once in your entire life you wore or tried a scent by Kurkdjian. He is one of those who succesfully combine working for mainstream labels and his own brand, Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
The niche house signed by the name of Francis Kurkdjian has just launched the new annual pair of fragrances, Masculin Pluriel and Feminin Pluriel. This duet is focused on mirror effect and it’s “a beautiful creation composed of a multitude of facets, designed to evolve with freedom and sensuality, unbound from fleeting fashions. A challenge to time and a search for timelessness, the recognizable quality of major classics.” Both represent classic perfume themes rendered in modern, contemporary way. “The quest for an eternal feminine and masculine inspired the creation of the ‘Pluriel’ collection” – the press material says. Lets have a closer look (smell?) at both compositions.
Masculin Pluriel – Baron de Fougere
This fragrance opens with a straight-forward lavender accord. For the initial 5 minutes it has an herbal vibe but after that time has passed it smells really floral to me with some addition of green color in the background. After a short amount of time Masculin Pluriel develops a dry and refined woody vibe which is really pleasant. Who would’ve thought that cedarwood could smell so nice when paired with lavender. Especially that the floralties cover the characteristic sweaty feeling of it.
Masculin Pluriel also contains a lot of patchouli. But if you expected the typical patchouli which is nocturnal, dark, dirty and smells of damp earth and rotting leaves, you were wrong. This note in Pluriel for men is presented in much more clean manner (just like in Chanel 31 Rue Cambon, for example). When this note is revealed from the deeper parts of the composition, this new Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfume starts smelling to me like a really classy and expensive lavender soap like barbers used in their salons for shaving and grooming. This is some very high-end stuff.
The combination of lavender and patchouli like this one result in obtaining a very aromatic blend. You can notice how seemlessly the things ‘fit in’ in this perfume. At some point I have an impression of smelling something really similar to coumarin-loaded tonka bean or fern but neither of these two notes are mentioned officially as elements of the composition so it’s possible that my nose was fooling me… For 2-3 hours Masculin Pluriel is a classy fougere scent.
The modern twist comes later in a form of leather note introduced to the structure of this MFK perfume. It adds even more masculine edge to already typically masculine scent. How much men could there be in a perfume for men someone might ask. Don’t you worry, this is not a macho perfume. After the leathery phase dissipates the earthy smell of vetiver adds a little bit dryness and dirtiness to the composition. For most of the time Pluriel Masculine smells on me of woody lavender with a hint of background spice. My issues with it? Projection is as small as 1-2 inches above the skin and after 6 hours it’s hard to detect it. It’s ‘just’ an eau de toilette…
Feminin Pluriel – Baroness de Flora
The opening of this perfume immediately reveals a floral side which is ultra feminine. In my opinion this is not a kind of perfume that could be easily borrowed by men unless you want to release the inner dive inside of you. Dominant part of Feminin Pluriel opening is taken by the lily of the valley accord which has a few different stages. At first it’s sheer, cold and bit watery to my nose. After it warms up on the skin it reveals a slightly green nature that later evolves into a white floral tone with a hint of powder in the background. This note lasts until the very end of this scent’s longevity.
After around 20 minutes the muguet chord is followed by the scent of rose. Francis Kurkdjian didn’t use a rose of rich and oriental smell. Instead he opted for a flower that is delicate, ethereal, with light pink petals and very gentle smell. Actually you can barely smell the rosy molecules coming from this composition. Even iris, which was used in really small dosage in Feminin Pluriel, seems to be stronger than the rose. At least you can smell its obvious powdery aroma swinging in and out.
Later on the orange blossom joins the composition. It adds even more lightness to already light floral blend. The highlighted aroma of white flowers brings in this kind of clean and cosmetic vibe to this Pluriel scent. Because of this note the perfume seems to gain a bit more volume as well. At this point I also detect some jasmine that intensifies the white floral vibe with a little bit of indolic sensation (this one is not permanent). For a couple of hours it smells linear to me.
After that time MFK Feminin Pluriel once again becomes a little bit more ozonic because of the violet flower but this sensation doesn’t last long before the scent gains a little bit more substance. Vetiver adds a nice and a bit earthy woody smell to this composition – it’s toned down and doesn’t everwhelm so that the floral aroma is still the most important element of this scent. Given notes include patchouli as well. For once it probably serves as a fixative in this blend. It also gives me a soap-like impression, the same one I got from patchouli in Masculin Pluriel.
Few words of summary on Pluriel duo from Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Both fragrances are really well-made – yes! Are they contemporary interpretations of classic perfumery themes like floral and fougere? – Oh yes, they are! This also concludes that these perfumes are not groundbreaking or really innovative. They are easy to wear compositions, friendly for the office environment I would say. There’s nothing risky in them and perfumistas often want something edgy – they won’t find edgy here. These are great and safe scents. Both come in MFK signature 70ml bottles. Masculin Pluriel is eau de toilette, Feminin Pluriel is eau de parfum. The latter one has a better sillage and longevity.