To me there is a limit to how animalistic or real I will go. I love to experiment and think I have a broad mind when it comes to perfumery. This is a bridge too far for me. I read another review where someone said this smells like moist panties. It does. It basically smells like ladies bits.
I was long overdue to try Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour Le Soir, which was released in 2010, and I only acquired a decant of APLS well after I tried and bought the much more recent Grand Soir. Both are highly-resinous fragrances, but while Grand Soir is cinnamon-laden and sweet, Absolue embraces the more animalic side of resins; it's more Ambra Aurea by Profumum Roma than it is Amber Absolute by Tom Ford or Mitzah by Dior.
APLS is dense and strong, and maintains a reasonable balance between the sweeter and more animalic sides of resins. Surely there's a lot more going over but to my nose, it's primarily a benzoin/amber mixed accented with spicy (cumin) and floral (rose, ylang-ylang) touches. I don't experience a ton of evolution from APLS on my skin, though as the formula usually goes, it opens a little spicier and dries down a little smoother. Overall, though, it remains a fairly harmonious balance with the cumin being featured more in the opening and the woods being more a part of the dry down–again, not surprising.
Its performance is impressive, too, clearly highly long-lasting and pretty darn boastful (as far as projection) for the first few hours. Clearly one I'm going to need to consider buying as I try my decant some more. I regret sleeping on this for as long as I did, as I might ultimately prefer to Grand Soir some of the time, though it still doesn't touch Mitzah or Amber Absolute, in my opinion.
I have to hand it to Mr. Kurkdjian for another great resinous creation, though, along with Grand Soir and Ciel de Gum. They're really quite the outstanding trio.
I actually couldn't find any evidence of it being sold by a US retailer, so I'm not sure if it's discontinued or just temporarily unavailable, or available only in certain countries or a select few stores, but I'll have to track it down to indulge my curiosity, if nothing else. I'm really pleased that I finally bought a decant, as I love it!
I belatedly sampled Absolue Pour le Soir with high hopes, and alas, was let down. TL;DR, the problem for me is the level of gourmand sweetness, and how it presents in a rather sickening way against a strong cumin note.
As a huge fan of animals (civet, musk, castoreum, cumin, you name it, I'm game), I have a high tolerance for what others consider frighteningly raunchy scents. And sure enough, the opening of Absolue lives up to expectations, with a strong cumin and musk presence in particular. And it's actually pretty nice. The opening is the driest and most straightforwardly animalic phase of the scent...kind of a modernized Bal a Versailles to my nose.
The problem starts as the scent becomes more dominated by honey and benzoin. This is not a "dry" honey. It's an oozing honey that smells like it's coming from baklava or something - a sweet, sticky desert. That accord with a big hit of cumin, sweat and musk is incongruous, and not in an interesting or attractive way. I think the cumin (normally one of my favorite notes!!) is where it goes off the ledge. Musky gourmands like Musc Ravageur tend to work fairly gracefully. Musk can be a fluffy/sweet kind of dirty accord, essentially acting as a powdery note in this context. Cumin either smells culinary or (usually) pleasantly body odorish...and neither of those cumin variations belong with a sweet dessert.
So I guess the moral of the story is, cumin goes with powder, cumin goes with musk, cumin goes with leather or wood. It goes with all kinds of things. Cumin does NOT go with syrupy pastries.
Curious how the trinity of honey, cumin and cedar provides a funky, salty-sweet, oozed-out-my-pores-and-dried quality to this perfume. This is hardworking skin at the end of a hot day amplified and perfumified'. The illusion holds and yet one can smell the various elements here in their own right the sharper tones of the cumin and cedar, a dry quality imparted by them both, and a buzzing-with-pheromones honey note that leans more towards beeswax than towards floral condensation. This makes me feel a bit hot (and I'm not talking about me nether regions), so I couldn't imagine wearing it on a summer's day.
The rest of the perfume emerges through this intensely physical trinity, the floral notes skewing wine-y (somewhere between wine cork and wine cellar, which is quite a good place to be), the incense adding a further dry and salty tang rather than smoke. Ultimately my nose perceives Absolue pour le soir as an amber composed of noble elements but treated in a manner that suggests it has reached its evening after a hard slog. There is a certain satisfaction and restfulness in that, but it ain't the sensual heave that other wearers seem to experience.
In the deep drydown, things move in a vintage complex floral direction there are powdery accents, and the spicy-woody tones give it the impression of an old-style multi-layered base. The salty-sweet accord I mentioned at the start now has some of the maple-and-meat heft of immortelle, and the whole thing becomes increasingly siren-like.
...honey, oozing out of the jar, trickling down on warm skin...
This one is so much more than the sum of its parts.
...a thorned rose caressing the skin, does it cause pain or pleasure?...
It creates an illusion, a personal mirage.
...they burn some incense paper, trying to mask the scent of their carnal act. Sweet benzoin, paper, ashes...
Some will find its scent euphoric, others will find it shameful. Both will acknowledge its sensuality. My personal mirage is that of still warm and moist worn panties (sic!). I don't know how Francis Kurkdjian created that effect, but kudos to him, for it is a very evocative and organic fragrance. It seems to breathe and have its own beating heart.
The illusion of the... dirty laundry... seems to come and go, and relies on specific materials, that cause olfactory fatigue, so I will only get the effect if I have not worn it for a while.
In a house that offers mostly safe and mainstreamish scents, this is truly a standout fragrance and I hope they never discontinue it, as this is some of the highest art in perfumery.
This one is a well of life and warmth, unfiltered and unwashed.