Monday, December 9, 2013

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Eau de Toilette and Forte Eau de Parfum

A couple of years ago, I purchased Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Aqua Universalis ($175 to $235) at Neiman Marcus. It's divine and a perfect holiday gift. Everyone likes it.

According to his biography, Francis Kurkdjian was not born in Grasse as many French perfumers were, nor did he come from a long family heritage of French perfumers. As a child, he studied piano and dance. A lovely piano melody plays as you peruse his Web site. It's so calming, you should visit when you want to relax!

At age 15 (when most of use haven't determined our future course), he decided he would become a perfumer, and in 1995, when he was 25, he created his first perfume, La Male, for Jean Paul Gaultier. Since then, he has created dozens of fragrances, and you know their names, even if you don't know his. Aqua di Parma Iris Nobile, Dior Cologne Blanche and Eau Noire, F by Ferragamo, and Emmanuel Ungaro are just a few. His work as a perfumer reached a milestone in 2009 (some sources say 2008) when he opened Maison Francis Kurkdjian in Paris.

Aqua Universalis Eau de Parfum is a fragrance for "everything, everyone, and all days." The name is Latin for "Universal Water," and the scent does what it says on the bottle. Francis Kurkdjian calls it the missing link between skin, clothes, bed linens, and the air, and he’s spot on. This light, sparkling eau de toilette could be spritzed by anyone, anywhere, anytime – but you’ll probably want to save it for your skin, since you can scent your house with the Aqua Universalis candle or incense paper and launder your clothes with the matching detergent.

The notes begin with a strong unisex fragrance of bergamot and lemon from Sicily. When you first apply the fragrance, it's almost masculine - certainly unisex. It starts to dry down quickly, though, and as it does, the lily of the valley and sweet mock orange white flower bouquet take over. From that point forward, it's soft and feminine. The fragrance culminates in sheer perfection with light and musky woods. It's not terribly long-lasting (a shame), but if you like it, reapply!

Since I purchased my first fragrance from Kurkdjian, I have purchased others. I was one of the first to buy Aqua Universalis Forte ($275), a more intense, longer-lasting version of the original. This olfactory composition has the same "sunny" emotions, but adds the memory, sparkle, and intensity to the citrus charm and white flowers of the "classical" Aqua Universalis. The result is the fabulous, precious, sought-after "sillage" or lingering trail left by the fragrance. Sicilian citron is still there, but with another bergamot chosen this time for its greener, more brilliant, sparkling notes.

The nobility of a bouquet of white flowers - lily of the valley and seringa - elevated by the absolutes of Egyptian jasmine flowers and Moroccan roses. The fullness of light woods as a base note, brought to the fore by a more sustained musky accord. And finally, an exceptional concentration on par with an extract.In short, an aerial fragrance, at once light and powerful like gold in summer.

You can find Aqua Universalis at Neiman Marcus and LuckyScent.

Photo courtesy of Neiman Marcus

7 comments:

Becca @ The Beauty Sample said...

I'm not really a fragrance connoisseur to be honest but my gosh do you make this one sound irresistible! I'll have to try and get a sample or take a sniff at it somewhere! :)

Eileen said...

Oh, how I envy those of you who can get even a single hour of wear from the enticing, but short lived, Aqua Universalis! It is such a clean, refreshing smell that it is hard not to be attracted to its fleeting beauty, but it disappears in a flash on so many of us that it has earned a reputation for its vanishing act :-( I'm talking minutes here, not hours, so reapplication isn't the answer. I was given the EdT as a hostess gift and got only about 15 minutes of bliss before it faded into nothingness. That's such a shame because Aqua Universalis is absolutely lovely--it's freshly laundered linen blowing in the breeze, it's flowers releasing their scent into the sun's warmth, it's cool, clean sheets on a summer's night, it's. . . it's just lovely! I certainly had no intention of tossing it or giving it away and was determined to find a way to enjoy it. My solution was to use it as a spring/summer bedtime fragrance. It just made me want to sigh with contentment as I drifted off to sleep. I think it made my husband sigh, too, or perhaps he was just snoring! LOL

I haven't tried the Forte yet, but that is on my short list because I really do love the smell of the EdT. I know there will be a difference--and not just in strength--between the two, but it is certainly worth a sniff.

By the way, I want to compliment you on your fragrance reviews, Charlestongirl. Some perfume bloggers are so painfully pretentious that they come across as pompous; others are so entirely elitist that they come across as arrogant, and still others are so doggedly derogatory that they come across as haters. You, our dear Charlestongirl, are none of those things! You come across as our favorite BFF who has discovered a new delight. Your genuine and thoughtful consideration of a product--even when you don't care for it--is always expressed in a manner that is respectful and which leaves room for a difference of opinion. You give us a nice combination of the marketing description and your personal take on it without resorting to the faux erudition that some part-time perfume bloggers feel they must adopt in order to validate their opinions. Thank you for embracing the notion that, above all else, perfume should be a source of pleasure :-)

Evelyn said...

If there was a "like" button, I'd double "like" Eileen's comment on your descriptions of fragrances. I do find your descriptions very helpful and I'll definitely be trying this one too.

Teresa Ann Elizabeth "Teri" said...

Exactly what Becca@ The Beauty Sample said!! You could sell ice to Eskimos, CG!

Seriously, your reviews are awesome!

Anonymous said...

I have both of these too. I purchased the Forte Eau de Parfum first for the winter last year and then Eau de Toilette for the summer this year. I love both. I already finished a bottle of Eau de Toilette and have just bought a new bottle. I found the scent addicting.

Recently I bought Tom Ford's Rive Ambre. But I must say I prefer Aqua Universalis.

CG, have you tried Aqua Vitae?

mark antony said...

A few days ago i purchased eau de toilette. i am using this happily. i will again purchase this for sure.

No said...

I too love this scent, but it does not last long, and the price is a full car payment... Sadly that it turns me more off then on.