September 30, 2021

#NOTSPONSORED: Why Is Everyone So Obsessed With This Maison Francis Kurkdjian Fragrance?

A picture of the fragrance Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Photography: Danielle Gay

What’s the hype?

Every now and then a fragrance comes along that’s truly special. Over time, it goes from being a closeted cult secret to an icon. If you’re a total fragrance addict then Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 will not be news to you—it was released back in 2015. But if you’re a regular fragrance lover, it’s likely that you’ve only recently started seeing (and smelling) Baccarat Rouge 540 everywhere. 

What I love the most about this fragrance is that when I wear it, I always get compliments. Without fail. I am not sure if I’m alone when I say that this is one of the reasons I wear fragrance. Let me tell you about some of those times…

A few months ago, I went to see Hamilton at the Sydney Lyric Theatre, and was stopped while trying to edge across the theatre aisle in the dark to find my seat by a woman who asked, “Oh my god, what fragrance are you wearing?” 

More recently, I picnicked (thanks, Gladys) with a friend of mine, who I’d met a few years ago at pub trivia. We’d since created a permanent weekly trivia team but that was of course on hold due to the Covid-19 lockdowns in Greater Sydney. Anyway, when we caught up, he said: “Hey you smell like trivia!” Such was the unique olfactory experience of Baccarat Rouge 540—it had, for him, become the scent of our weekly trivia nights.  

So what makes Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 so good that it literally stops people in the street?

A picture of the box for the fragrance Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Photography: Danielle Gay

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

The Sell: The fragrance was created by French fragrance house Maison Francis Kurkdjian to mark the 250th anniversary of French crystal house Baccarat, which is known for its chandeliers. The perfumers tried to capture what the ruby crystal—used in the chandeliers—would smell like, if it had a scent. They used notes of amber, jasmine and saffron and voilà.

The Price: $368 for 70ml EDP from Mecca.

The Review: What does a luxurious, glittering red crystal smell like? With one spray of this fragrance on your pulse points, you have your answer. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 is incredibly unique. I’d describe the scent as complex. I think that’s why so many people ask me what I’m wearing—they can’t quite put their finger on it.

It has base notes of amber and cedar, so it’s technically a woody scent but there’s none of the musky, earthy or forest-floor notes that are present in a typical woody fragrance. Instead, jasmine floats across the skin as a top note, while hot, buttery saffron melts the fragrance into the skin.

A Baccarat Chandelier needs to be heated at 540 degrees celsius—that’s hot. And so is this fragrance. It’s romantic and sexy; warm and sweaty. 

I am a signature scent girl, not a scent wardrobe girl, so finding one complex and unique scent was important to me. I have definitely found it in Baccarat Rouge 540—it’s long-wearing nature makes it a great signature scent because the fragrance doesn’t fade. 

It’s expensive but this is an investment scent and a little goes a long, long way. It has sillage—a beautiful French word that basically means the olfactory trail of scent left behind from a perfume. Isn’t that divine? 

The Score: 10/10. (Yep, it’s that good). 

A picture of the fragrance Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

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