Limited editions are the bane of my existence. As a blogger I can often get a small sample of even the most expensive perfumes. On a visit to the Baccarat shop in New York City, in the Fall of 2014, I was able to get a small sample of the perfume designed for the 250th anniversary called Rouge 540. I would later learn it was composed by Francis Kurkdjian. When I spoke with the person in the boutique I was informed there were only 250 pieces made and there were only a few not already spoken for. I felt it was a tragedy because I kept sniffing the spot on my forearm where I sprayed some. I took care of my sample in hopes that M. Kurkdjian might return to the themes on display. Right after the New Year I got a very pleasant surprise as I received a sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. I immediately located my sample from before and happily found them to be identical.
The name comes from the temperature necessary to achieve red colored Baccarat crystal. While I admire the connection Baccarat Rouge 540 is not a perfume of heat. It is instead something more akin to the finished product; sparkling and depthless. What I liked when I first tried it was the use of some extremely well-chosen raw materials to create that effect.
M. Kurkdjian uses blood orange to open Baccarat Rouge 540. This is all of the blood orange: pulp, pith, and rind. It falls somewhere between the bitterness of bergamot and the juiciness of regular orange. Neither of those would have been the right choice, blood orange is. M. Kurkdjian next uses a bridging note of saffron. This more than any note used in Baccarat Rouge 540 imparts the luxuriousness of its inspiration. Saffron in all of its exotic dusty floral quality is the perfect lead in for the duet of lavender and sage in the heart. Lavender and sage are classic partners found in many colognes. The presence of the saffron changes it enough that I never get a cologne vibe. It comes to rest on a mix of woods, ambergris, and oakmoss. It is the ambergris which provides a marine-like foundation which the woods and oakmoss push against.
Baccarat Rouge 540 has 14-16 hour longevity and very little sillage wearing as a skin scent on me.
M. Kurkdjian is at his best when he is giving his interpretation of something modern. Baccarat Rouge 540 feels like a perfume less interested in 250 years of history than making a mark on the present day. Baccarat Rouge 540 is one of my favorite Maison Francis Kurkdjian releases.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Twisted Lily.