A Scented Service

Mimi ON May 06, 2011 AT 11:12 am

Aqua Universalis Forte

Aqua Universalis Forte

This week, Katie Service shares her first impressions of the brand new Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Universalis Forte fragrance…

By Katie Service

For anyone who happens to study music or, like me, was forced to play the recorder for the better part of their impressionable youth, the word ‘forte’ you will know to mean loud or strong.  It is a direction given with regards to the dynamic of the music and is contrasted to the softer and quieter instruction ‘piano’.

Not so coincidentally, when I met Francis Kurkdjian a couple of weeks ago I discovered that he thinks of his perfumes as a form of music.  A piano player himself, Kurkdjian toys with the dynamics of his fragrances to create different beautiful effects.  His most recent creation, the latest in a line of 10, Aqua Universalis Forte is a subtle dynamic shift from his UK bestselling Aqua Universalis.

Francis Kurkdjian

Francis Kurkdjian

The spirit of MFK, as Kurkdjian himself tells me, is French and a luxury one at that.  However unlike most luxury fragrance brands it lacks that gaudy sense of ornate dressing up and instead has a more refined feel to it, a light and airy quality.  ‘Creating a perfume is very similar to writing a book or a novel’ says Kurkdjian, ‘You can write around the same idea forever and ever using different words or you can use the same words to say different things.’

The original fragrance Aqua Universalis is centred around the household.  It is a fragrance for both the skin and the home.  It encapsulates the beautiful crispness of wearing something for the first time and its comforting freshness reminds you of white flowers and clean linen.

Aqua Universalis Forte, Kurkdjian’s new piece of the story, expresses different facets of the same feeling.  Just as in music Kurkdjian wanted to play the same few lines of music but with a louder intention.   The main difference is that there is a different quality of citrus to the new fragrance.  The bergamot used is from an earlier harvest and therefore slightly sharper and greener than its sweeter counterpart in the original.  Kurkdjian has also added a cushioning bouquet of jasmine and rose, which softly and dryly envelopes the nose without feeling too sweet or sickly.  This dryness, as opposed to sweetness, manages to keep the fragrance light and contemporary (as opposed to the heavy powders of your Granny’s dressing table!)

The beautiful new bottle has a sunkissed pale yellow metal cap – the first to do so in the collection – but keeps its heavy square glass bottle.   Like everything else Kurkdjian creates the sophistication and exactness of the whole fragrance is a league above many of the high end perfume it sits beside in Liberty and Space NK;  the Aqua Universalis collection may well be light and airy but it is certainly not vague.

Before I smelt this new fragrance I was worried that it wasn’t a London scent (it sounded as if you needed the chic-ness and poise of a Parisienne to pull it off.)  How wrong I was as, I have to admit, usual!  Aqua Universalis Forte is more about getting a feeling of clean, pure comfort out of yourself rather than getting a reaction out of anyone else.  It’s a happy bit of ‘me-time’ in a bottle.

Launches mid May in Liberty and Space NK


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