Back in 2009 perfumer Francis Kurkdjian released his first seven perfumes under the Maison Francis Kurkdjian label. Over the years this has become one of the strongest collections because of the versatility of it. M. Kurkdjian has used the freedom of his own label to create on his own terms. It has been a source of pleasure from the first moments.
In that first collection there was one I dismissed too quickly on first sniff, Aqua Universalis. In short because it smelled like fabric softener. There were way more interesting things away from the laundry room in the other fragrances. It wasn’t until I was with a group of people out perfume sniffing together that I began to see that I was in error.
I was looking forward to showing off these new perfumes because I thought so highly of them. What surprised me is at the end of the day three of the group of twelve bought a bottle of Aqua Universalis. It made me wonder about that. It also made me re-think my disdain at the time for the laundry/white musk style of perfume. As much as we talk about comfort scents full of heavy ingredients which strum our mental pleasure centers these prove there are others. Think of that moment you slip in between freshly laundered bed linens. You are enveloped in a cloud of cool cloth and white musks. Just typing that makes me smile. We may not say it enough, but that scent of freshly laundered cloth is equally a comfort as any vanilla alternative.
Another thing I have noticed is when a new perfume lover is thinking of trying something a little more adventurous Aqua Universalis provides a gateway. I have nothing but my own experience to back up this hypothesis, but I think Aqua Universalis is a lot of people’s first niche purchase. There have been a couple of flankers released since 2009. The most current one is Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Cologne Forte.
- Kurkdjian made me giggle a bit at the seeming contradiction of a lighter cologne which is also forte. But that latter descriptor doesn’t have to mean stronger it can mean fortified. Which is what I experienced.
The same citrus-muguet-white musk axis of the original is there. M. Kurkdjian fortifies that with the soft vegetal green of sweet pea and a transparent rose. You can smirk and think this smells like some commercial fabric softener with a “spring fresh” label. It does smell like that, but it also has more substance than that description gives it credit for.
Aqua Universalis Cologne Forte has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
I have always enjoyed the way M. Kurkdjian gives me things to think about. In this case I can consider a different type of comfort scent.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.