Greatest Hits : Françis Kurkdjian

Francis Kurkdjian trained at ISIPCA, where he now teaches perfumery students, and Quest, before moving to Takasago.

He founded his own perfumery house (Maison Francis Kurkdjian) in 2009, born from his bespoke perfumery. He also won the prestigious Prix Francois Coty in 2001, was named as a Chevalier des Artes et des Lettres in 2009, and was named Perfumer of the Year in the most recent Basenotes Reader Awards.

He also is (as far as I know) the only perfumer to sell scented bubbles, which is about as close to magic as humans will ever get.

Click ‘Next’ to see The Greatest Hits of Françis Kurkdjian



Whilst Kurkdjian is adept at creating fruity, bright roses — his real strength is in exploring the darker, more chypre elements of rose.

Rose Barbare is a plush rose surrounded by thorny darkness, and is an absolutely outstanding take on the classic theme.


Again, Kurkdjian has an exceptional talent with manipulating the luminous and sensual orange blossom into novel and interesting, as well as beautiful, perfumes.

A radiant orange blossom with support from musks (Kurkdjian’s most recent fragrances are mostly driven by the power of musk), Le Parfum is utterly glorious.



Kurkdjian’s first blockbuster, which propelled him to fame at the age of 25, is the iconic amber-fougere housed in the homoerotic sailors body – Le Male by Jean Paul Gaultier.

A loud lavender and mint combination sits atop the rich and warm amber base. It has the incomparable ability to shout louder than any fragrance, spilled booze, sweat, poppers and whatever else you smell in clubs these days, and capture the attention of the same or opposite sex.



A modern chypre accord of rose and patchouli, powered by a gentle musk and amber base, For Her arrived at the start of a trend that has yet to end. Followed by countless reiteration so both from the same house and across the world of perfumery, Narciso Rodriguez For Her has been massively influential in feminine perfumery. 



Francis does sparkling like no one else – Ma Dame Eau Fraiche smelled like carbonated grenadine. For his eponymous brand, Aqua Universalis is his bestseller: a zingy, floaty, fizzy blend of crisp citrus, clean white florals and the musks that smell like fresh linens, Aqua Universalis is a total triumph.


Kurkdjian has added several ouds into Maison Francis Kurkdjian, however, none of them top the genius, obscure take of his original OUD. A bizarrely grey scent, with a heavy dose of saffron, elemi and patchouli, OUD is truly a one off masterpiece.



What are your ‘Greatest Hits’ of Françis Kurkdjian? – Let us know in the comments…

About the Author

  • Nick Gilbert

    Nick has been working in the world of fragrance for over 15 years. He is co-founder of Olfiction, a creative scent agency offering fragrance development, training, copy and content production. He is frequently quoted in the press and has provided perfumery training globally, from London to Seoul.

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