Maison Francis Kurkdjian is a popular niche house of fragrance based out of France, and founded by nose Francis Kurkdjian along with his business partner Marc Chaya. The house has a great many fragrances including Aqua Celestia, Aqua Universalis, Grand Soir, Ciel de Gum, Patit Matin, and Baccarat Rouge 540. It’s that last fragrance we’re going to talk about today, particularly its extrait form.
Folks. Not every fragrance experience is going to positive.
Some are going to be downright negative to the point of turning you off notes for the rest of your life.
Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait de Parfum (launched in 2017) is one of those fragrances for me.
Baccarat Rouge 540 is an extremely popular fragrance in the niche world, to the point that it is routinely counterfeited on the open markets like Mercari and eBay. Never buy a Maison Francis Kurkdjian fragrance from anywhere but a reputable seller to avoid getting a fake. I’d been meaning to get my hands on a sample of BR 540 for some time, and finally had the opportunity to try the extrait. Now, I always trial fragrances on my skin and not on test strips, because your body chemistry is a vital part of shaping how a fragrance will ultimately smell on you. Test strips won’t give you the full story.
So I applied a decent application to my wrists and then waited for the results.
Now some of you might have heard that this scent has an almost cotton candy smell to it. I can vouch that it actually does, even though that’s not a note in the fragrance. In fact, before I go further, let’s take a look at the notes in this scent.
Top: Bitter almond, saffron
Heart: Egyptian jasmine, cedar
Base: Musk, additional woody notes, ambergris
Folks, I will never, ever in my life, knowingly wear a scent again that has an almond or bitter almond note. Within 5 minutes, this scent turned a nauseating combination of metallic sour and sweet, leaving my stomach lurching and my head beginning to ache. I tried to fight through it to see if it would dry down easier.
I didn’t even make it 30 minutes before I was reaching for the rubbing alcohol to try and wash this off. See, you can’t wash a fragrance off with just regular soap and water, because the chemicals have bonded with your skin. You have to have something strong to disrupt that bond.
And I am here to tell you. Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait de Parfum is Satan’s Scent and will. not. wash. off. It laughed off the alcohol like it was water. I tried oil, I tried vinegar, I tried Irish Spring shower gel. It batted all of them away, laughing maniacally at my growing desperation. Friends, you might remember how I described the lasting power of Swiss Arabian’s Casablanca as “that loyal friend who will follow you down to hell so you won’t be alone”. Or something to that effect.
Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait will drag you down there itself, by the hair, and proudly present you to Satan to torture. It will gleefully thwart your every attempt to free yourself from its olfactory chains.
I finally reached a breaking point as my stomach was threatening to expel its contents.
I grabbed a Tide Pod. And cracked it open over the skin on my wrists.
I am not proud of this, nor do I recommend doing the same.
But I was desperate, and I finally had sweet, sweet relief. I muttered at the water and suds swishing down the drain with that awful scent that it could go to hell.
And some nights, when I can’t sleep, I can almost hear it calling to me from the drain… “I’ll see you there first.”
This, folks, is a prime reason why we don’t buy without trying, because I would’ve been stuck with a bottle of nightmare juice.
Make no mistake, this is not cheap. A 75 mL bottle of this stuff goes for $425, a 200 mL runs at $825. You can get a travel set for $295. If you want to trial this, I strongly, strongly urge you to sample first. If you’re in the US, go hit up LuckyScent.
And, more than anything else, always trial a scent on your skin before you commit to purchasing because you never know what kind of devil is waiting to f*ck your body chemistry right up.