There are few brands whose launches I look forward to more than those from Maison Francis Kurkdjian. I’ll just come out and say it – I’m a Francis Kurkdjian fanboy. If you’ve been following my Instagram over the last week, you will have seen proof of this in the form of me spending much of my time enjoying Kurkdjian’s creations for rebellious fashion designer, Jean Paul Gaultier (specifically; Le Mâle, Fragile and Fleur du Mâle). Maison Francis Kurkdjian, the perfumer’s very own brand is one of my favourites and with MFK, Kurkdjian manages to weave simplicity and complexity effortlessly together, creating approachable but high quality, and more importantly, high class perfumes.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s latest fragrance is À la Rose, and unsurprisingly, it’s all about the humble rose – 250 of them, in fact. You can never get enough rose in my opinion, and seeing as the flower can be interpreted in so many different ways, ranging from delicious rosewater treats (see Essence Nº1: Rose by Elie Saab) to heady examples of rosy exoticism (see Guerlain’s Nahéma), there’s always a surprise, or two, to be had. In short: the world of rose is never boring.
Kurkdjian already has two roses within his collection (Lumière Noire pour Femme & pour Homme – two heavy and oriental roses), so exactly what does À la Rose bring to the table that we’ve not seen from the perfumer before? Well, the focus is definitely quite different and this new rose feels very much in keeping with Kurkdjian’s penchant for clear and radiant signatures that present familiar themes in their purest form. It does exactly what one expects it to and for once, lives up to the marketing spiel, which is somewhat of a rarity in the industry today. À la Rose is described as follows:
“A la Rose is an ode to femininity, a declaration of love captured in a fragrance. Two hundred and fifty precious roses from Grasse offer their radiance and their unmatched richness in every flacon”
– Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Damascena Rose from Bulgaria, Bergamot from Calabria, Orange from California, Violet, Magnolia Blossom, Cedar Wood, Musk and Centifolia Rose from Grasse
How Does it Smell?
To my nose À la Rose is, quelle surprise, all rose, rose and more rose – rose all night and rose all day. It opens crisp, fresh and dewy with rose petals spritzed with hesperides. The opening feels like walking into the cool and fragrant confines of a florist’s fridge stuffed to the brim with roses. The air, which feels like a delicate pink mist, is positively fizzing with the scent of sweet rose petals and thorny green stems. Right from the very start À la Rose is dreamily pretty, and it continues in that vein throughout its lifespan.
The development or À la Rose is slow and subtle. As it settles, the citrus subdues, losing some of its glisten, and the sweetness of the rose becomes richer as it’s supported by mineral-like earthy notes. The roses themselves are shaded in pastel hues. Their muted edges allow them to blur seamlessly into steamy base of wispy musk plumes and a delicate cedar wood trail. At no point do the roses get lost amongst the trimmings.
It’s hard to sniff À la Rose and not think of other examples of crisp and dewy roses, especially Acqua di Parma’s Rosa Nobile from last year, which appears to be made in very much the same vein. Sniffing the two together however, is quite a different experience, and the Kurkdjian manages to come across as entirely more delicate and airy than the Rosa Nobile, which feels positively weighty (and much warmer) in comparison.
À la Rose does exactly what it says on the tin. It displays a suitable “ode to femininity” in the form of a fresh and crisp rose fragrance, as promised. It’s ever so pretty in the way that pastel-coloured roses are, I just wish that it had a bit more oomph and a touch more character (much like the more full-bodied Acqua di Parma). But that would perhaps defeat the object of such an unfussy and natural take on rose, and it cannot be denied that À la Rose is really quite lovely.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s À la Rose sings with many choral voices, each of which represents a different tone or facet of the flower, but it does so in a hushed manner. This is a rose that exudes a quiet cacophony of fragrant sound.
À la Rose is available in 70ml Eau de Parfum for £145.
Sample, notes and quotes via Maison Francis Kurkdjian. Image 1 via fragrantica.com. Image 2 via thewomensroomblog.com.