French-Armenian perfumer Francis Kurkdjian never ceases to amaze me. At such a young age, he is already the recipient of the coveted Francois Coty Prize for Lifetime Achievement as a perfume creator, and has numerous global fragrance triumphs to his credit, including Gaultier's retail smash Le Male, and the much adored Narciso Rodriguez for Her. Now at the helm of his own atelier, Kurkdjian continues to demonstrate his extraordinary talent whilst designing scents for international design houses and bespoke perfumes for the well-heeled.
Arguably one of his finest achievements to date, is the oriental fougere created in 2004 for Dior, named "Eau Noire" (Black Water). This scent for men and women, is one-third of the Couture Collection trio of colognes, available through select retail outlets and Dior boutiques. It can only be described as "inspired" - pushing the envelope by meshing the fougere (fern) perfume classification together with a rich oriental. The result is a harmonious blend that is as lush and succulent as an emerald New Zealand forest, and as thick and mysterious as an oriental bazaar. Clary sage, violet, lavender and cedar ripple over a strumming heart of helichrysum, caraway, leather, bitter coffee and smooth vanilla. Olfactory chiaroscuro is at work here... there are contrasting lights and shadows at play... rich spices and dark woods are stippled with bright, creamy vanilla and tranquilizing lavender. It offers welcoming familiarity with its honeyed warm hues, and also an uncharted greenness which begs to be explored. The juxtaposition of accords is genius, and the overall impact is velvety, comforting and engaging. Eau Noire remains earthy, natural and grounded. It has reasonable sillage and can be detected up to 8 hours after initial application.
I will be the first to recommend this fine Kurkdjian creation, which serves to represent just one of his many present successes.