Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir is simplistic scent that is best summarized by being a honeyed amber with vanillic sweetness that starts off in the background and gets sweeter and more sugary (bordering on gourmand) as the drydown approaches. Maison Francis Kurkdjian (MFK) describes Grand Soir’s notes without delineating whether they’re top, heart, or base notes, but here they are in the order MFK lists them:
- tonka bean, which MFK describes as a “gourmand facet evokes a slightly vanilla-scented and sweetened shortbread tart”
- vanilla amber accord, which MFK describes as combining cistus labdanum (“warm, resinous, animal facets”) with vanillin (“sweet, aromatic compound); this is a popular accord used in fragrances, which is often complemented by resinous notes, like benzoin and incense, along with tonka bean
- benzoin, which MFK describes as “sweet vanilla, with a gourmand caramel effect, honeyed, syrupy” and suggests this is part of the base notes
- ciste labdanum, which MFK describes as either “aromatic, resinous and woody cistus oil” (from steam dstillation) or “balsamy, pyrogenic and resinous” (extraction via volatile solvents), often used in the “heart and base of a fragrance”
The opening reminded me of sweet, orange blossoms–there was a bouquet of citrus blooms there, despite there being no floral notes in the perfume and it seemed very unusual to get that in the opening at all. The whole of my backyard has that scent when all the local citrus trees bloom, and it was definitely scent-adjacent, just much sweeter, bordering on sugary, cupcake-like vanilla sweetness.
This phase lasted for five to ten minutes before losing those blossoms and becoming a honeyed amber, which read sweeter but a headier, richer sweetness. There was the suggestion of spice and warmth, but they were fleeting in an inhale, possibly even a figment of my imagination as a result of looking for more depth and nuance in the overall scent!
There wasn’t a lot of change between the first hour and the next four hours; it was warm, drizzled honey with a rich, resinous quality that was sweet but not gourmand-level sugary or sweet. The vanilla came to the forefront in the fifth hour and grows stronger for the duration, so the scent became sweeter and almost sugary as the vanilla pushed forward.
For testing, I purchased a 2ml glass spray vial of the scent, and I used approximately half of the vial for each wear test, which was applied to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I use an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise. It was long-lasting (over 10 hours and still detectable as a skin-scent) with moderate sillage for the first two to three hours and then wore more closely following that.
Subjectively, the scent was pleasant and enjoyable to wear, but it was overly sweet and bordering on gourmand at times, which is sweeter than I typically wear; I tend to prefer ambers with heavier woods, smoke, and spice and with less potent of a honey note. I’ll go for sweetness at times, but it’s more of a fleeting mood than part of a routine. I know many readers enjoy more gourmand scents, so for those who often find amber-centered fragrances too woody or too smoky, the honeyed sweetness of this one might make it more approachable.
- 0.27 fl. oz. (x3) for $140
- 2.4 fl. oz. for $235
- 6.8 fl. oz. for $435