The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews & blog.


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Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Aqua Vitae Cologne forte

WHAT I SMELL:  Aqua Vitae Cologne forte opens with an exuberant bergamot and a fresh and juicy citrus that’s contained in a lushly rounded wrap of the prettiest of florals.  The perfume is bright, yet warmed like citrus in the sun, and the citrus is less the actual fruit, but instead is more akin to the waxy peel of orange and lemon.  As the perfume develops, the floral sweetness mutes slightly and a sandalwood note brings a bit more warmth and depth to the composition along with layer of clean musks that add a a wrap of light muslin around this incredibly soft, but radiant perfume.  Aqua Vitae Cologne forte is a completely rapturous perfume that is gorgeous without being overly formal.

From the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website:

Mandarin from Italy gives bright freshness to the bergamot, leading to a luminous, citrusy and sunny floral scent. Vibrating in unison in a halo of warm light, Aqua Vitae Cologne forte is a pampering eau de parfum whose trail is saturated with sun and sensual musks boosted by sandalwood from India.

Notes:  Musks, Bergamot, Mandarin

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Sunshine.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AQUA VITAE COLOGNE FORTE:  easy-to-wear, radiant, comforting

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AQUA VITAE COLOGNE FORTE:  Velvet Life, Contents

BOTTOM LINE:  Aqua Vitae Forte cologne (which is an eau de parfum) is my summer go-to perfume.  It is so fantastically refreshing and perfect for beating the heat.  And unlike some perfumes worn in the heat, this doesn’t become cloying, nor does it fade away with the sun.  I can easily say that Aqua Vitae Forte cologne will always be a part of my summer perfume collection.

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Citrus
  • Nose:  Francis Kurkdjian
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $235 for 70 ml eau de parfum


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Maison Francis Kurkdjian – Aqua Celestia Cologne forte

WHAT I SMELL:  Aqua Celestia Cologne forte’s first spritz is a very fresh sparkling bergamot that’s fizzy and lightly sweet and tart at the same time.  Quickly, a blackberry note joins the bergamot, or I should say, sits on top of the bergamot because it feels layered as if they’re part of a fruit parfait.  The perfume is clean and bright, so much so that even if you were a little sweaty and hot from the day, the perfume would make you feel like you just stepped out of the shower.  The blackberry note continues to grow as the bergamot begins to fade into the background.   As the bergamot recedes, a fruit infused jasmine highlighted by peach comes in to take its place.  The fruit is bright and just so slightly juicy, but not enough to add any weight to the perfume.  As it continues to develop, a sandalwood pencil shaving note appears adding just the right amount of depth to bring this light and bright beauty back to the earth.  In the end, Aqua Celestia Cologne forte rests in a wonderfully light musky floral haze that’s ever so easy to love and easy to wear.

From the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website:

The bergamot becomes tinged with the fruity notes of blackcurrant, mimosa (with its raspberry and blackberry facets), and jasmine (strawberry, apricot and peach accents), before gradually melting into the mellowness of a fruity musky accord. Aqua Celestia Cologne forte releases a bright, crystal-clear aura and offers a flight towards the horizon.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Picking berries in the cool sweet morning air.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE AQUA CELESTIA COLOGNE FORTE:  pretty, delightful, refreshing

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT AQUA CELESTIA COLOGNE FORTE:  Contents

BOTTOM LINE:  The great thing about the Maison Francis Kurkdjian perfumes is that they are so easy to wear and many have this crisp clean finish that is impossible not to like.  Aqua Celestia Cologne forte (which is an eau de parfum) is no exception.

Aqua Celstica Cologne forte was released this year along with two other perfumes for a trio of Cologne fortes.  The following are my abbreviated impressions of the other two in the collection:

Aqua Vitae Cologne forte:  An inviting perfume that is perfectly delightful with the prettiest of florals that are topped with a mandarin orange.  I would call this a warm perfume that would be perfect for wearing even in the heat of summer.  Another 4 bones from me as it’s really lovely.

Aqua Universalis Cologne forte:  To me, this is the least interesting of the three perfumes.  Comprised of citrus and white muted flowers, it’s not bright, nor pretty, but rather salty and musky.  3 bones.

Samples courtesy of Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary.


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A Perfume Made for Valentine’s Day: Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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WHAT I SMELL:  Baccarat Rouge 540 opens with a striking warm and luxurious jasmine that feels soaked and saturated with saffron.  It’s heady, exotic, spicy and mysterious.  It’s also incredibly sexy and erotic.  There’s a very slight incense and smoke that feels like an extinguished candle that moves off the skin.  And the perfume itself seems to live a couple of inches off of the body.  After some time, a woody base which was there all along, comes more to the forefront, with the radiant jasmine and saffron still pulsating.  As the perfume continues to develop, the perfume becomes more of an ambered spice.  In the end, the fragrance evens itself out and your left with a nicely spiced and lightly sweetened cedar and amber perfume that lingers with the memory of the passionate flame that burned when the perfume first hit the skin.

From the Maison Francis Kurkdjian website:

Luminous and sophisticated, Baccarat Rouge 540 lays on the skin like an amber, floral and woody breeze. A poetic alchemy. A graphic and highly condensed signature.

Notes:  Jasmine, Saffron, Cedar wood, Ambergris

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Marilyn Red Velvet, 1949

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A sexy and erotic boudoir scent.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE BACCARAT ROUGE 540:  lustful, erotic, sexy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT BACCARAT ROUGE 540:  No reviews to be found outside comments on Fragrantica.

BOTTOM LINE:  Baccarat Rouge 540 is a collaboration between Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Baccarat, to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the iconic crystal house.  As such, I was expecting a big, bold and proper perfume.  Instead, I found the perfume to be highly sensual, and erotic…which makes this the perfect perfume to tempt your Valentine with.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Francis Kurkdjian
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $300 for 70 ml Eau de Parfum

Sample courtesy of Twisted Lily Fragrance Boutique and Apothecary