Some perfumes come surrounded by so my hyperbole that it is impossible to approach them with an open mind. The perfume community does have a habit of hyping things up to god-like levels so that when one comes to trying something regarded as the divine ambrosia it’s almost too easy to be completely disappointed.
Still, disappointment isn’t such a bad thing, after all it allows us to reaffirm our tastes and what we do or don’t like. Anyway, sometimes it’s good to stand out from the pack, you might be miffed at the time but individuality is something to be celebrated. But there are times when a whole heap of hype can be substantiated and one fine example would be Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour le Soir.
“When the night takes on its own life, the tempo changes. Take a long, languorous breath. Linger till dawn. Keep your head in the stars. You’re suspended in time.”
Absolue Pour le Soir (Absolute for the Evening) is a “more concentrated and sophisticated” version of Kurkdjian’s Cologne Pour le Soir. If I had to sum it up in three words I would choose; “beautiful, filthy beast” because it is a fragrance that has the power to shock due to its strong dichotomy of ugliness and beauty.
Benzoin from Siam, Rose Honey, Incense Absolute, Ylang Ylang, Cumin, Atlas Cedar and Sandalwood
How Does it Smell?
My very first encounter with Absolue Pour le Soir was not a joyous one. Having heard all of the praise (and horror) from fellow fumelovers I tentatively picked up a tester in Liberty and gave one generous spray to the back of my hand. In this precise moment one has a simple choice; fight or flight. I chose flight.
There’s a heck a lot of stuff going on in Absolue Pour le Soir and in the first instance it is easy to be overwhelmed. Right from the first spritz Absolue unleashes a cacophony on odours; honey, imortelle, cumin and a whole hunk o’ civet, it puts it all out there, front and centre. These warm, syrupy smells are underpinned by something cool and almost mentholated during the opening stages, adding to the already rather rich textures of this absolue for the evening.
A gorgeous blend of rose and cedar is added as things develop and the whole thing stops growling, settling into a steady purr for the rest of the evening. There isn’t a huge amount of development but in Absolue’s case I think that this is for the better; it smells so good why would you want it to change? It does after all, showcase the perfect equilibrium of warm coziness and filthy animalics.
I have spent a considerable amount of time resampling Absolue Pour le Soir since our ill-fated first meeting in Liberty and I can now freely admit that it is one of the most wickedly beautiful fragrances out there, so beautiful that I simply had to buy a bottle. It’s a big snuggly, sleeping beast to wrap oneself in whilst battling the cold and harsh realities of winter, when the only reason to get out of bed is to find your bottle and bravely spritz some on.
Would I be adding to the hyperbole if I were to say that Absolue Pour le Soir is simply addictive? I would? OK, I’m cool with that…
Absolute Pour le Soir is available in 70ml Eau de Parfum for £115.
Images 1 and 2 Madonna by Steven Klein. Notes and quotes via Francis Kurkdjian.