Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Standard perfumista wisdom warns against wearing one of your favorite perfumes on first dates. That way, if the date goes badly, you don’t risk tainting one of your tried and trues with a negative association. (I still can’t touch Lush Tuca Tuca after a particularly rough OKCupid date at a Lord of the Rings-themed restaurant, during which I was lectured about the Singularity for longer than Return of the King. EXTENDED EDITION.)


In keeping with this principle, I decided on Baccarat Rouge, a scent I had spent very little time with, for the first date with my now-boyfriend Garrett. (This is the first time I’ve mentioned a boyfriend on the blog since college. I will be so mad if he dumps me tomorrow.)

No turning back now- meet Garrett, everyone!

Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian has described Baccarat Rouge as “burnt strawberry jam”, and that’s wonderfully accurate. Baccarat Rouge opens with a mouthwatering caramelized effect, candied with just a touch of savory. Fascinatingly, Baccarat Rouge is based around a very common ingredient, ethyl maltol, the sweet core of mainstream blockbusters like Thierry Mugler Angel and Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. But where Angel and Flowerbomb are massive, hulking fragrances, Baccarat’s sweetness is airy, streamlined. It’s candy, but it’s polished, subtle candy, like a delicate toile of sugar on a Michelin-rated dessert. The burnt strawberry jam never fades away, but it’s gradually given depth by a quiet, fresh jasmine note, which just so happens to be the only kind of jasmine I can tolerate.

The ultimate proof of Baccarat Rouge’s allure? After a few months, Garrett ordered his own bottle.

What are your go-to date fragrances? Any scents you’ve had to banish after bad first dates?

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. 


12 thoughts on “Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

  1. Congratulations on the boyfriend! And was that LotR themed place in Old Town Alexandria? I know there’s a Hobbit themed one there, which boasts having unique craft beers … but really has like some Sam Adams on tap. Nope.

    My go-to date perfumes are such romantic charmers as Avignon and De Profundis, or if I’m feeling particularly sacrilegious I’ll throw on some nard oil I bought from the Holy Sepulcher, have to keep with that vampire crypt theme. Which this is probably why it’s a good thing I’m married, because Alex just expects me to smell like a dusty old tomb, whereas I imagine that wouldn’t go over as well with most people I’d date. Alex still asks that I wear Midnight Poison sometimes when we’re going out though, because it was what I was wearing when we first started dating back in 2009.

    1. That’s the place! I’m sure I would have enjoyed it more in better company, but it was hard to get past the notable absence of lembas bread.
      I love that Alex still requests Midnight Poison! Our mutual friend Katri actually just got married last month in Avignon- her husband’s request, apparently 🙂

  2. Hello, Garrett!! Nice to see your face!

    A boy ruined Shalimar for me for a while…but I finally got over that feeling, thank goodness. And there was one summer when another boy ruined Banana Republic W, but they were both just flings for me so it was all ok in the end.

    The year I met my now-husband, I was alternating between Lolita Lempicka and Jean-Paul Gaultier (original fragrances from both). All three still rank very high in my affections. 😉

    1. A very lucky husband in many senses, not least in having such a lovely smelling wife! 😀
      Your Shalimar near-tragedy makes me think of all the various slogans, “Fries Before Guys”, “Ovaries Before Brovaries”, etc… “Shalimar Before Summer Flings”??

  3. Garrett seems like a keeper. He’s cute, too. 🙂

    I haven’t actually DATED-dated since, like, 1991, and at least a couple of things I was wearing back then (Aspen for Women, Xia Xi’ang) don’t even exist anymore. Oh well.

    I thought I was kinda sorta geeky and LOTR fangrrly, but apparently NOT THAT MUCH. I had no idea there was a theme restraurant, much less what the Singularity is. I’m gonna go look it up now…

    1. He will be absolutely tickled you think so, Mals 😉 The LOTR restaurant was a great choice in theory, but the food was very standard pub fare. No dishes based on meals described in the books or anything! I would have been more impressed if they had shown a little more dedication to the concept- it didn’t go far enough with the geekery, imo!

  4. I’ve been lucky and haven’t associated my perfumes with bad dates. There are a few that I wore when I was feeling awful or had a headache, and now I hesitate to wear them. Not that they were the cause of it.

    1. Oh, that’s so unfair! Dates can be planned for, but there’s no knowing when a headache is going to hit. I sincerely hope the unpleasant associations fade away for you eventually!

  5. Baccarat Rouge 540 become my go-to scent after work. Just outstanding no matter the time of year or weather. It’s like a cozy blanket for me. Thanks for introducing it to me!

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