Latest Stories

How renowned perfumer Francis Kurkdjian designs his scents


FRANCIS Kurkdjian

I’m not interested in fragrances per se,” says perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. “It’s simply a way for me to express myself.”

Ten years ago, Kurkdjian opened a house of bespoke fragrances, the first to do so. In 2003, he met his would-be business partner, Marc Chaya, who was ready to quit his job as a partner at the professional services firm Ernst & Young. Around them, a small team soon formed, and Maison Francis Kurkdjian officially opened in 2009.

Kurkdjian’s current creation, called “Amyris” (from the Greek word amyron, meaning “intensely fragrant”), is the most recent addition to the brand’s “couple scents.”

“The range is like creating a wardrobe,” says Kurkdjian. “You go from casual to evening to couture. And in my vision, what’s missing is a daily ready-to-wear type of perfume.”

“Amyris for women is basically a tribute to the modern woman, a woman on the go, just like my sister.”

In both versions—for women and men—the Amyris duo is a light and fresh scent, derived from amyris, a little tree from Jamaica, and iris, the subtlest of Florentine flowers.

“It’s long-lasting and effortless—something that’s also hard to achieve in fashion and style,” says Kurkdjian.

“I dress men and women with my perfume, wrap them with my art and with my love.”


In the Philippines, the brand has found its home in the sleek yet charming bi-level boutique that is Adora.

The carefully curated merchandise and well-trained staff were factors that made Kurkdjian choose Adora.

MAISON Francis Kurkdjian’s latest scent Amyris for men and women

“It’s very elegant and intimate, like a family and not a big corporation,” says Kurkdjian. “For luxury products, it’s very important to have that kind of relationship because they’re like jewels you have to take care of.”

Though he’s been in the perfume business for roughly 20 years already, Kurkdjian says that when it comes to the Maison, they want to take their time in establishing each fragrance.

From the perfume’s ingredients sourced from  the world over down to its gilded box, a Maison Francis Kurkdjian creation denotes luxury.

And “no matter what luxury is for you, it’s something that makes you dream, something that makes you go out of yourself,” says Kurkdjian.


He adds, “I try to bring a touch of humanity to each perfume. For me, it’s not only a perfume but something that shakes your memory and brings you back to your personal feelings.”

When creating a scent, he considers two important factors: sillage (how a perfume leaves behind its scent) and signature to make the perfume stand out.

He also has a knack for developing unconventional ways by which others can experience his scents, such as “Agathe’s bubbles” and perfumed bracelets. Kurkdjian is not afraid to take risks and think outside the box.

“I think what’s important with the bubbles we created is that no matter who blows them, they have happiness in their eyes.”

He waits for the inspiration to come (usually about 18 months), then “Marc gives me an idea when I should be ready and how long I have to prepare.”

“You don’t really know when the inspiration will come and what’s going to come out of it, but what makes a difference is translating it into the real product,” says Kurkdjian.

He sees his life as having many doors, and notes that everything in life is also good timing.

“All of a sudden, one door opens more than another,” explains Kurkdjian. “You just push it and you feel like the world might be more exciting.”

With numerous well-known scents (at least 50 of them) and awards under his belt, he certainly has a lot to be thrilled about.

But for the Prix Francois Coty awardee (the equivalent of the Oscar among perfumers), what’s most memorable is the time his parents told him they were proud of him.

“As simple as that,” he says.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian is available at Adora, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Francis Kurkdjian , Lifestyle , People , Perfumes , Scents

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  3. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  4. No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  5. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  6. The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  7. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  8. Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  9. What has happened to Barrio Fiesta and Singing Cooks & Waiters?
  10. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. How to enjoy Buntod
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  5. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  6. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  7. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  8. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  9. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  10. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Smooth Edsa ride up in 2 years, but…
  • Obama: US will defend Japan vs China
  • Santiago accuses Lacson of fronting for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  • Name names, Lacson told
  • Ukraine FM: We are ready to fight Russia
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Denims that keep you cool–literally
  • Entertainment

  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • OMB exec’s assurance: We work 24/7
  • Business

  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Gaming stocks gain, PSEi eases on profit-taking
  • Cebu Pacific flew 3.74M passengers as of March
  • Technology

  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors
  • Career diplomat is new PH consul general in Los Angeles
  • US4GG: Aquino should ask Obama for TPS approval, drone technology
  • Complex health care system for California’s elderly and poor explained