Pret-a-Porter Perfume – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Amyris Femme & Amyris Homme Perfume Reviews


“I dress men and women with my perfume, wrap them with my art and my love.” – Francis Kurkdjian [1]

Despite coming to the Maison Francis Kurkdjian party a little later than mostI can safely say that I am pretty much hooked. Like many I have admired perfumer Francis Kurkdjian from afar, appreciating and enjoying his mainstream creations for designer brands such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior and Elie Saab, but it is his Maison with its ‘scented lifestyle’ approach that truly cements M. Kurkdjian as a true talent.

Kurkdjian says of his line: “The range is like creating a wardrobe. You go from casual to evening to couture. And in my vision, what’s missing is a daily ready-to-wear perfume” [2] and with his latest feminine and masculine duo ‘Amyris’ Kurkdjian has filled this void with two suitably pret-a-porter perfumes for the everyday guy and gal on the go.

“Its head is in Jamaica, and its heart in Florence. The Amyris duo evolves somewhere between the flamboyance of the sun and the vibration of the earth.” [3]

Both Amyris scents are centred around notes of Jamaican Amyris (the Jamaican tree which exudes elemi) and Iris from Florence. Each feels like an extension of Kurkdjian’s designer work taken to a niche level of quality where “instant hit” style of mainstream fragrances is traded for the slow burning love of niche perfumery.

Amyris Femme

Amyris Femme

The Notes

Lemon Tree Flower, Orange from California, Amyris from Jamaica, Iris from Florence, Vetiver from Haiti and Musky Amber

How Does it Smell?

If I could describe Amyris Femme in one word it would be “stylish”. Everything about it seems expertly crafted, just like a freshly cut piece of jersey. It opens with tart lemon and mandarin, both notes having a slightly juicy and zingy quality to them, before developing into a strong and distinct blend of woods and flowers.

The use of iris in Amyris Femme is relatively faint, I find it to add just a touch of sweet earth and powder. To my nose there is also something orange blossom-esque lurking in the middle, adding brightness and lift. It all feels very pretty but not ditzy and that’s an important distinction to make, Amyris Femme displays an intelligent kind of prettiness rather than pandering to the lowest common denominator.

In the base Amyris Femme utilises a good slug of Kurkdjian’s laundry musks that are tinged with vetiver, woods and patchouli to give off a slightly bitter air. Surprisingly, the soft effervescence of the top notes seems to be carried through into the musky theme of the base notes, creating a solid rooting for the airier materials that make Amyris Femme so damn enjoyable.

Smelling Amyris Femme it is easy to draw parallels with Kurkdjian’s creation for Elie Saab ‘Le Parfum‘. It has a similarly radiant quality, but with Amyris this radiance has been approached from a different angle, specifically a softer and more refined point of view. The result is something a little less showy (and dressy) that exudes an “off-the-peg” vibe, begging to be picked up and worn.

Amyris Homme

Amyris Homme

The Notes

Rosemary from Morocco, Mandarin from Sicily, Amyris from Jamaica, Iris from Florence, Tonka Bean Absolute from Brazil and Modern Woods

How Does it Smell?

The first time I smelled Amyris Homme I was most unimpressed. To my nose it was nothing more than a generic masculine, you know the type; sweet citrus up top, slightly aquatic and watery in the middle and with fuzzy, milky woods and vanilla in the base. It most definitely feels like a designer outing but where it may not be decidely unique in its style Amyris Homme is most definitely atypical in its quality.

What makes Amyris Homme significantly better (and more enjoyable for that matter) than many of its designer brothers is balance. The citrus notes are suitably crisp and smell natural enough to conjure up images of ripe fruits in the sun and the woody notes feel measured enough to provide both rough and smooth textures. At no point does anything shout or battle for attention, it is all in perfect proportion.

Normally these types of masculines derail in the base by blasting a chemical foghorn of vanilla and cedar. Amyris Homme however, rounds itself off wonderfully with the plushness of tonka bean and sandalwood. As it heads into the base things also quieten down considerably to a low hum of sweet woody-ness that simply smells comfortable.

Amyris Homme is an incredibly easy to wear masculine and I don’t mean that as a criticism at all, in fact I think it highlights the true art of subtlety. It strikes me as the kind of fragrance that would be worn by the shy, unassuming man that likes to appear well turned out and smell good without drawing undue attention upon himself. Sure, Amyris Homme won’t win any awards for breaking new ground but it serves as a welcome reminder that you don’t have to be unique to be special.


Amyris Femme is available in 70ml Eau de Parfum (£115) and Amyris Home is available in 70ml Eau de Toilette (£105).

— — —

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! If you’re stuck for what fragrance to wear on your date tonight then check out my Date Night Fragrance Guide over at*.

PR samples. Image 1 Dior Ready to Wear via (combined). Image 2. Image 3. [1] & [2] via [3] & Notes via *Affiliation.


22 thoughts on “Pret-a-Porter Perfume – Maison Francis Kurkdjian Amyris Femme & Amyris Homme Perfume Reviews

  1. Glad you spend some time with reviewing both Amyrises. I must say that I’m with you in case liking Femme better than Homme but still my opinion on Homme was a little bit positive.

  2. I know it’s going to sound like I’m damning it with faint praise, but Amyris sounds like it could be a really high class office scent.

    Perfect photo accompaniment as always.

    BTW what does elemi smell like anyway?

    • I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there! It would make a very nice high class office scent indeed.

      To my nose elemi is kind of lemon-y, spicy and a bit incense-y, kind of like the snuffed out candle aspect of incense. It’s quite strong in Eau de Merveilles.

      • Yep, see >>> there’s that ‘elemi confusion’ rearing it’s head, as I thought it might. 🙂 … And yep T’, that’s a great descriptor of elemi’s scent – that “burnt out candle aspect” thing is so spot-on.

        But once again (@Tara) > there’s NO actual ‘elemi’ in either of these two ‘fumes. (Or at least, not going by the released list of notes.) – ‘Amyris’ does not equal ‘elemi’ !)

  3. Well, “intelligent prettiness” sounds pitched quite nicely for my tastes, and I do like Tara’s comment about it potentially being a “high class office scent”! I am a bit worried about the laundry musks in the base – are they kept well in check in Amyris Femme…?

  4. Whilst I agree that these are indeed nicely composed and perfectly balanced, (& I too preferred the ‘Femme’ one), unfortunately, in view of their asking price, I found them disappointingly underwhelming, even a little lacking. … (IMO I’d say it’s the sort of frag perfect for those with more money than ‘fume-sense, basically.) 😉

    Also, just in case your connection of ‘elemi & amyris’ in that sentence precipitates some confusion, I thought I’d mention : … Whilst it’s essentially true that one CAN get a sort of ‘elemi’ from the Amyris family of trees > i.e. a sort of oleoresin from Amyris Elemifera – it’s however NOT the same ‘elemi’ elemi as the one usually found in perfumery. … So essentially what I’m saying is that ‘Jamaican Amyris’ shouldn’t be confused with the tree one gets Elemi (resin) from, as the two are altogether different things/trees & have quite different scent profiles. Jamaican Amyris (i.e. Amyris Balsamifera) is what’s basically commonly known as West Indian Sandalwood, which has a ‘woody’ scent profile. (& is often used to adulterate/stretch real sandalwood !) – As opposed to actual Elemi which has a far more fresh-resinous lemony/frankincense type of scent, (& usually comes from the Canarium Luzonicum tree instead.) …
    (Actually there’s rather quite a lot of confusion when it comes to ‘Elemi’ in general, as quite a lot of different trees & resins have been known/named elemi down the ages.) 🙂

    Anywayz, … sorry if that was overly pedantic. 🙂

    • Hmm… I could go with the price being off putting for Homme, I personally wouldn’t shell out £105 for it, as much as I find myself liking it, but I do think Femme could be quite popular, it does feel quite luxurious.

      I think both would appeal to those who want quality but don’t wish to stand out too much.

      • Yes I agree. (I was mainly bashing the ‘Homme’ one tho’). But yeah, they certainly are ‘easy’ & pleasant enough. I think both will do exceptionally well for MFK. They’ve both got very much that ‘offend-no-one’ widest-appeal thing going for them. ‘Quality for more generic tastes’ is exactly it’s strength (& exact purpose too I imagine.) 🙂

  5. Nice review, but they are a bit pricey for what you get, although I am a fan of MFK other creations he has created for other houses. I think I would prefer the Femme version of Amyris, but I’d be open to try both.

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