Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir Perfume Review

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir Perfume Review
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir Perfume Review

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Grand Soir is simplistic scent that is best summarized by being a honeyed amber with vanillic sweetness that starts off in the background and gets sweeter and more sugary (bordering on gourmand) as the drydown approaches. Maison Francis Kurkdjian (MFK) describes Grand Soir’s notes without delineating whether they’re top, heart, or base notes, but here they are in the order MFK lists them:

  • tonka bean, which MFK describes as a “gourmand facet evokes a slightly vanilla-scented and sweetened shortbread tart”
  • vanilla amber accord, which MFK describes as combining cistus labdanum (“warm, resinous, animal facets”) with vanillin (“sweet, aromatic compound); this is a popular accord used in fragrances, which is often complemented by resinous notes, like benzoin and incense, along with tonka bean
  • benzoin, which MFK describes as “sweet vanilla, with a gourmand caramel effect, honeyed, syrupy” and suggests this is part of the base notes
  • ciste labdanum, which MFK describes as either “aromatic, resinous and woody cistus oil” (from steam dstillation) or “balsamy, pyrogenic and resinous” (extraction via volatile solvents), often used in the “heart and base of a fragrance”

The opening reminded me of sweet, orange blossoms–there was a bouquet of citrus blooms there, despite there being no floral notes in the perfume and it seemed very unusual to get that in the opening at all. The whole of my backyard has that scent when all the local citrus trees bloom, and it was definitely scent-adjacent, just much sweeter, bordering on sugary, cupcake-like vanilla sweetness.

This phase lasted for five to ten minutes before losing those blossoms and becoming a honeyed amber, which read sweeter but a headier, richer sweetness. There was the suggestion of spice and warmth, but they were fleeting in an inhale, possibly even a figment of my imagination as a result of looking for more depth and nuance in the overall scent!

There wasn’t a lot of change between the first hour and the next four hours; it was warm, drizzled honey with a rich, resinous quality that was sweet but not gourmand-level sugary or sweet. The vanilla came to the forefront in the fifth hour and grows stronger for the duration, so the scent became sweeter and almost sugary as the vanilla pushed forward.

For testing, I purchased a 2ml glass spray vial of the scent, and I used approximately half of the vial for each wear test, which was applied to the underside and topside of my wrist area on my left arm. I use an unscented moisturizer prior to applying the scent as this is also my swatching arm (aka, incredibly parched at any given moment) as I found scent did not hold well here otherwise.  It was long-lasting (over 10 hours and still detectable as a skin-scent) with moderate sillage for the first two to three hours and then wore more closely following that.

Subjectively, the scent was pleasant and enjoyable to wear, but it was overly sweet and bordering on gourmand at times, which is sweeter than I typically wear; I tend to prefer ambers with heavier woods, smoke, and spice and with less potent of a honey note. I’ll go for sweetness at times, but it’s more of a fleeting mood than part of a routine. I know many readers enjoy more gourmand scents, so for those who often find amber-centered fragrances too woody or too smoky, the honeyed sweetness of this one might make it more approachable.

Available Sizes

  • 0.27 fl. oz. (x3) for $140
  • 2.4 fl. oz. for $235
  • 6.8 fl. oz. for $435

Where to Buy


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gina Avatar

love perfume reviews, hope you’ll do them more often! the only gourmand scent i still love is mugler’s angel, but otherwise they’re not for me– like you, i prefer my vanilla-ish scents to be woodsier or spicier.

Nancy T Avatar

Sweet can be okay sometimes, but not enough for me to invest in such an expensive perfume. I just don’t believe that I’d reach for it all that often. Probably the sweetest of all the fragrances I wear on a regular basis is YSL Black Opium Nuit Blanche. And I’m not even sure what that one is classified as! Semi-gourmand? I truly don’t know.

Sam Avatar

I was wondering whether you’d do some fragrance reviews! Great to hear your thoughts on this one. I’ve gotten so into fragrances over the past year but haven’t tried Grand Soir yet.

If you do more fragrance reviews in the future, I’d also love to see and hear about the samples themselves. Like, a picture of the sample bottle, how much it is, where to buy it from. I’ve gone through so many samples since getting interested in fragrances, I feel like sampling is a hobby in itself!

Deborah S. Avatar

Benzoin is something I am very familiar with as it is used in the hospital quite a bit. As an acute care nurse, we used benzoin because it is very tacky and helps bandages to really stick, better than some tapes. It has a cloying and almost sickeningly sweet scent. You either hate it or love it. I actually quite liked it. It came in small, breakable glass vials. I think I can almost imagine this scent given the components. I don’t love super sweet scents and prefer something a little woodsy or tobacco to be added. I will check this one out just to see how the benzoin contributes to the overall scent.

brendacr1 Avatar

Perfume is one of my great loves and if I could I would indulge in them a lot more than I do but I can’t toke over my fridge with perfumes. This particular one sounds a little sweet for me. I like a lot of the Tom Ford ones for their smokey, woodsy edge. I would really like to delve in deeper to find out what it is that actually draws me to a scent. I would love to have a conversation with someone that has a career in perfume industry.

WildDove Avatar

A closet or drawer is enough protection from light and heat so that 99% of your fragrances will last and be true for several decades. No need for your fragrance collection to take over the frig! No need for a cooler either. Rotating several fragrances from your collection onto your dresser (but not in direct light or heat) should be fine also.

kjh Avatar

Doesn’t sound as if this one will give Baccarat Rouge 540 a run for the money. Would love to hear your take on that MFK. Too hyped? Or as phenomenal as Isabella thinks.

Rina Avatar

If you’d like this on steroids, Apres Pour le Soir is Grand Soir’s BIG brother and absolutely divine. Unfortunately MFK stopped selling it in the US but it is one of my most loved/coveted scents…

Allison C Avatar

I bought a full bottle of Grand Soir as a blind buy after the folks in the Facebook Fragrance Friends gushed over it, but they love many of MFK’s fragrances. As a amber/benzoin/tonka bean lover, Grand Soir to me is a lovely scent. I don’t find it to be gourmand in spite of the vanilla. My problem with it is that it doesn’t last on me at all which I think is a shame, especially after spending almost $200 on it, boo hoo. I was amazed that you were able to describe it after 4 hours, 10 hours. On me, it’s gone within an hour and a half!

Michelle M Avatar

I actually don’t find it sweet at all! I get the vanilla and the tonka, but it’s so underscored by the balsamic note that it smells almost manly to me, not gourmand!

Z Avatar

I like enough sweetness in my perfumes to take the edge off the “heavier” notes I enjoy more. While I’m not a stranger to liking desserty foody smells on occasion (I’ve been slathering Posset’s Pavane on myself a few times a week), I like sweet when I want sweet, but if I’m paying a lot of money I want depth and not just a flat sweet smell.

WildDove Avatar

I love MFK Grand Soir and bought a partially-used bottle online. Very similar and affordable compared to Grand Soir is the lasting drydown of CK Obsession for cozy, wearable, cinnamon-spicy amber.

janine Avatar

I haven’t ventured into any Mfk fragrance since Bacarrat. I got a sample of it and the extrait from Lucky Scent and was very drawn to it. Bought a full bottle of 540 from Bloomy’s and was asnomic to it so sent it back. I tried it on clothes etc but there’s something synthetic in it which shuts my nose down. If I can’t smell it forget it. I did have a twisted lily sample of Fluidity Gold and was underwhelmed but again maybe was my sad nose.

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