Baccarat Rouge 540
Baccarat Rouge 540
Created by Parisian perfumer Francis Kurkdjian for Baccarat’s 250th anniversary, Baccarat Rouge 540 is, in my opinion, one of the best fragrances created by Kurkdjian.
The name refers to the process of gradually heating 24-carat gold powder with clear crystal to a temperature of 540 C to create Baccarat’s iconic red-coloured crystal.
Baccarat Rouge 540 is Kurkdjian’s interpretation of the process. In an interview, he said, “The perfume suggests the heat of the furnace, the breath of the glass maker and the transparency of crystal through the association of ingredients that, in my mind, represent those ideas.”
Baccarat Rouge 540 opens with a sparkling note of blood orange. The ruby red colour echoes the name, but it smells citrusy-bitter, yet sweet and juicy and with its raspberry facets. Lurking just behind it, I smell the salty-sea sweetness of ambergris and the woodiness of cedarwood. On me, these stay present throughout the fragrance's development, at times in the background, at times called forward by facets of the other ingredients. In time, a note of jasmine, sweet and indolic blooms, its airiness warmed by saffron. The fact that saffron is one of the world’s most expensive spices by weight is a nod to the luxuriousness of the Baccarat brand. A note of aromatic, herbaceous sage appears; its peppery aspect keeps the warmth humming. It’s paired with lavender, its medicinal aspect on show here. Oakmoss, turpentine-like, earthy and woody gives Baccarat Rouge 540 a rich, foresty, sensuous depth.
What makes Baccarat Rouge 540 a perfect scent is how the notes play on the skin, as though through a crystal lens, changing, re-arranging, and re-combining different aspects of each note. For this to be successful, the ingredients must always re-combine in a pleasing way. This is the genius of Francis Kurkdjian: choosing and manipulating components to not just represent the heat of the furnace, the breath of the glass blowers and the transparency of the crystal but in a way that results in a fragrance that is complex, luminous and a joy to wear.
Notes: blood orange, ambergris, cedar, jasmine, saffron, oak moss, lavender and sage.