At Cafe Makeup, we must admit to adoring deep, relaxing fragrances. Maison Francis Kurkdjian has a collection of three based on the oud note– Cashmere Mood, Silk Mood, and Velvet Mood ($375 each/ 2.4 fl. oz. extrait de parfum spray, available online). This trio was imagined by parfumier Francis Kurkdjian “as feelings, sensations, rather like those one would have when wrapped in a fragrant stole. The play on shimmer, comfort and warmth. They are precious, intense and concentrated.” We received samples of all three:
As you likely know, “oud” is a fragrance note that derives from the resin that is formed in the heartwood of Aquilaria and Gyrinops trees (beautifully explained here at Blogdorf Goodman). We found that each shared the soft emotion and a touch of spice. All had a lovely lasting quality, as you would expect from an extrait de parfum. They were rather strong at the first spray. After some time, they became part of the skin in a more subtle way but continued to project a sillage. I notice the scents later in the day seemed to have mellowed, they were not overpowering but continued to remind me of their deliciousness. Each has a completely different character.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Silk Mood was my favorite. This is the lightest, with a very slight touch of floral and spice that is absolutely appropriate for either gender. According to Kurkdjian, it is “airy reminiscent of the soft touch of a petal,” although there are woodsy and warm notes that ground the overall impression. According to Kurkdjian, Silk Mood’s notes are Bulgarian rose, Moroccan blue chamomile and papyrus. This is an extraordinarily complicated and mysterious fragrance for one that is so soft. I strongly dislike shrill florals, and Silk Mood had none of that. The wood and rose notes are the strongest, particularly at the first spray, although I sensed some green and spice (although not nearly as green as Serge Lutens De Profundis). I had the impression of being inside Silk Mood, the blend was very comforting and natural, yet very refined.
Kurkdjian Cashmere Mood is perhaps the most classic oud of the three, although there is a softness that best fits the parfumier’s vision of a comforting wrap. Certainly a universal scent, this oud has Moroccan labdanum, Loatian benzoin and vanilla. This is beautifully harmonized and slightly addictive. Like Silk Mood, this is both very complex and very refined. There seems to be a bit of smoke, a fair amount of spice, and masculinity in this (I feel as though I’ve borrowed Cary Grant’s cashmere blazer and “forgot” to return it). I agree with Kurkdjian that this gives a “second skin” effect, there is nothing distant about this fragrance. Rather, this perfume holds you in its center and creates a world of deep, warm comfort.
There cannot be any question that Velvet Mood is the strongest, and most long-lasting, of the three. This combines cinnamon, saffron, and Brazilian copahu balm. It has a resiny quality that brings out the fullest scent of the oud. Velvet Mood has a very assertive quality that gives it some muscle. This is a very full, strong, almost heavy fragrance that in intended to cast you into its spell. It cannot be just my imagination that this lasted longer than a day on me, as the Scentrist noted the same quality in its review. Although Velvet Mood can be worn by either gender (I would certainly wear it), the style is more tailored and masculine.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian is carried worldwide at these retailers (including Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus in the U.S.). Please call before going to a store to ensure that stock is available as these are just now slated to release in March 2013.
Bottom line: Intense, incredibly unique, and well worth exploring.
Cafe Makeup was provided with these sample bottles without charge for consideration for review.