The Beast Within – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir Perfume Review

The Beast Within

The Beast Within

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.


Alpha. Omega.

The Notes

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 Β£115.

Images 1 and 2 Madonna by Steven Klein. Notes and quotes via Francis Kurkdjian.


49 thoughts on “The Beast Within – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir Perfume Review

  1. I was surprised and pleased that they had this in Isetan Tokyo yesterday, as it seems very counter to Japanese tastes. I was not quite in the mood for a spritz myself, but sniffed it from the bottle and have to say I kind of like it (I also love any excuse to mention a remix of Justify My Love…!)

    • Hehe any excuse to mention Madonna really…

      I too am surprised that you found it APlS in Tokyo, I thought it would be too much of a Godzilla for Japanese tastes. There must be some very brave (and wonderful smelling) people over there!

      • There is quite an underbelly….a darker side…and it IS right next to the gay quarter..

        When I saw the title of this post I thought it might be the new Truth or Dare, which I hope you will write about soon as it is sure not to come over here…I wait with baited breath..

  2. I am still wrestling with APLS, some days it is a perfect, beautiful.wild and cuddly-cosy embrace, some days it is cumin, cumin and nothing but cumin that I suffer through miserably, waiting for it to finally just go away!!!!
    It is unpredictable, which might be part of its allure…
    (I’m afraid to death of Madonna on these photos, I know I’m a super-wimp…)

  3. I love the opening of ‘Im going to tell u a secret’ , the beast within being one of my most favorite Madge songs ! Great review, I’m intrigued and think I may find this at a local cosmetic store to test freely ! I’m excited πŸ™‚

  4. I’m glad you were finally won over πŸ™‚ I think APLS is the star of FK’s own collection.

    By the way, who’s that woman in the pictures…?

  5. Congratulations on your full bottle! APLS sounds perfect for a duvet day.

    It can be good for a reputation to preceed a perfume because it gives you an incentive to keep testing even if you don’t get it the first time. I’m head over heels with OJ Woman now and I would have given up after my first encounter without encouragement from wonderful people like you.

    I’m with B – Madonna is scary these days at the best times but those pics take it to the next level! (Beautifully done though).

  6. Beautiful pics, would not have guessed it to be Madonna. I had the same reaction as you the first time I scented APLS, but I will scent it again soon, so who knows ? Had the same reaction to Musc Ravageur, not for me. Very nice review btw !

  7. I love APLS. I do agree with Persolaise that it’s the start of his collection. I especially love the animalic character of the scent. It reminds me of a perfume by Mona di Orio (Nuit noire) and Histoires de Parfums 1740 (Marquis de Sade). Do you agree?
    I’m curious what you think of histoires de parfums moulin rouge 1889? It’s absolutely different, but I like the smell.

    • Unfortunately I never got to try the Nuit Noire so I cannot comment on the similarity but I do agree with you that the animalic character in Absolue is wonderful.

      I’ve not tried the Histoires either, I’m a bad fumenerd!

  8. I love APLS and bought an unplanned bottle of this about 2 months ago! I love the smell, it’s all about the honey on my skin, and I love that at certain stages it can actually make me blush. Unfortunately I haven’t actually summoned the courage to wear this out of the house yet and this has been made worse by a friend who sniffed me and asked me why I smelled like mens’ toilets…

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