The term ‘shimmering fragrance’ is one that is open to interpretation according to one’s own knowledge and preferences. To some, it might mean that said fragrance is simply an Eau de Toilette with classic radiant notes like bergamot, jasmine, or ozonic notes while for others, one that is a skin scent of sorts—sniff closely and only then will you get to appreciate it. For Francis Kurkdjian, it takes on an esoteric meaning where said fragrance “embodies a luxurious landscape of eternal freshness where water meets light”.
With a new addition to the Aqua Cologne Forte collection titled Aqua Media (latin for water of the Center) that the House also describes as one that is tinted green as “it is the middle colour of the rainbow prism and reflects balance in motion”, here, Kurkdjian takes us through its inspiration, scent, and how to keep its fresh vibe going.
When you first created the Aqua Cologne Forte collection, what were you hoping to do with it? How do you think its perception has evolved throughout the years considering how much bigger the fragrance market is now?
To understand the idea behind our last Cologne forte, you need to go back to the creation of Aqua Universalis, launched when Marc Chaya (cofounder and current CEO) and I created Maison Francis Kurkdjian in 2009. The inspiration for this fragrance, later followed by Aqua Vitae and Aqua Celestia, could be summarized with this Latin quote “mens sana in corpore sano,” meaning “a healthy body in a healthy mind.”
I wished to reconnect with the tradition of the Eau de Cologne which, in its original form until the mid-19th Century, was also drinkable and had a double effect of smelling good and making you feel good. Cologne forte stands for the idea of a long-lasting eau de Cologne, an intense freshness that is essential nowadays.
The heart of the Aqua Collection is the interaction between light, water, and freshness. Each of them has their own story but they’re all tied to this concept, expressed in different ways, to convey different emotions. This fourth scent of the collection bears a Latin name, Aqua Media, which literally means the “water of the Center”. The fourth fragrance echoes the fourth colour of the rainbow, from which it takes its green hue.
The middle colour of the rainbow, a phenomenon that springs from the meeting of water and light, is the two key elements of the Cologne forte Collection. Aqua Media Cologne Forte embodies this feeling of balance and harmony. It opens a window onto a luxurious landscape of eternal freshness, like a hidden garden, where living but serene water flows.
I never create thinking about who my fragrances are for, I create because I follow a creative vision and my inspiration.
To first-time fragrance customers, how do they determine what a light and fresh fragrance is? Do you think it’s a matter of personal choice or are there ingredients that are always featured in them? The choice of a fragrance is very personal. Perfume is like a love story, you might find love for life or fall in love with different people in a lifetime.
Ingredients are just the perfumer’s tools, however. What matters is the final composition of the perfume, the emotion it conveys through its sillage, and the story it tells. Patchouli is an ingredient traditionally associated with woody, warm scents, but surrounded by other ingredients, it actually accentuates their freshness.
It’s what I did in Aqua Media Cologne forte. The Gentle Fluidity duo is another example: two fragrances with completely different trails that are composed of the exact same ingredients.
Bergamot is one of the fundamental ingredients of the traditional Eau de Cologne. For each fragrance of the Cologne forte Collection, I paired it with different ingredients and accords without distorting the original aim, freshness, while giving it a different interpretation.
With Aqua Media Cologne forte and how it’s inspired by “the wind in the wild grass” and “murmuring of serene white water”, why do you think people will like it or want to smell like it?
Perfume is incredible in its way as it provides you with incomparable and unsurpassable feelings and emotions, that’s why we enjoy it. To me, Aqua Media Cologne forte is the idea of obvious simplicity.
It reflects happiness as a form of freedom. Being happy is above all being in harmony with oneself, one’s mind, one’s body and nature without pretenses.
Now how would you think Aqua Media Cologne forte appeals to long-time fans of the House and people first discovering the House itself? Verbena, sweet fennel, woody musks, and patchouli: all seem like green notes which might make it seem like the fragrance skews masculine…
I create all my fragrances for everyone. I want people to have the freedom of choice. So, I didn’t design it with a specific person in mind. It’s a new addition to the Maison’s olfactory wardrobe, a new option that anyone can wear whenever they feel like.
It’s a scent that is meant to evoke a feeling of balance, harmony, a savoury freshness. What matters is that you feel great wearing it. Each person will relate to it in different ways and be drawn to its colour and its sillage.
What is your tip for Singaporean women who want to wear Aqua Media Cologne forte bearing in mind that we have a tropical climate? Do you think it’s an “instant-love”?
In hot, humid weather, you should look for long-lasting fragrances that give an impression of cleanliness and freshness, such as the entire Aqua Cologne forte collection.
I could even suggest warmer, slightly sweeter scents such as Baccarat Rouge 540 for example. The important thing is that you always feel confident wearing something you love! I believe in instant love.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Aqua Media Cologne Forte Eau de Parfum is available for purchase on essentials.com and is priced at $209 for 35ml or $343 for 70ml.