Taking a new perfume out for a spin is risky business. Not only is it a pricey investment, but what smells delicious on your wrist in-store might trigger a headache hours later or develop into another fragrance entirely. For this reason, I’m rather loyal to my tried-and-trues, but with all the buzzy hype Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540 perfume has been attracting recently, I threw caution to the wind and gave it a whirl for an entire week—and honest to God, I never received so much attention in my life.
Read on for my full review.
SCENT FAMILY: Woody-gourmand-floral
KEY NOTES: Jasmine, saffron, cedarwood, ambergris, amber wood, fir resin
BYRDIE CLEAN?: Yes
PRICE: $325 for 2.4 oz, $625 for 6.8 oz.
ABOUT THE BRAND: Maison Francis Kurkdjian was founded by one of the world’s most celebrated perfumers, Francis Kurkdjian, who blended masterpieces for Dior, Guerlain, and Saint-Laurent, before starting his own perfume workshop, which is widely recognized as the home of modern luxury French fragrances.
About My Skin: Sweaty
This is certainly unglamorous to admit, but it’s difficult to describe the wearability of perfume without discussing your skin type first. Everyone’s body chemistry is different, and the way a scent will lay on my skin and develop over time will be different than yours. My body tends to run hot and I perspire easily, and while it is luckily scentless (thank you, Secret!), it can impact the way a fragrance lingers. If your skin leans sticky, a perfume fastens itself all the stronger onto your body, meaning that less is definitely more when it comes to applying, versus dry skin, which will encourage a perfume to dry down and settle quickly. With a heady perfume like Baccarat Rouge, it is certainly a quality to consider, but I’m happy to report that despite running errands all over the city (and most definitely working up a sweat), the aroma remained unchanged.
The Scent: Warm and sweet
Without leaning heavily into one specific fragrant note, it seems as though the formula was almost mathematically derived with each note contributing equally to the whole for a perfume that continues to evolve and reveal itself throughout the day. And because it’s not entirely one type of fragrance or another, it doesn’t fall neatly into one scent family box, meaning that most people will find themselves attracted to at least one of the various notes across the spectrum.
It’s a warm, multi-layered scent that envelopes you like a hug from an old, dear friend.
One spritz of Baccarat Rouge opens with a freshly-cut cedarwood aroma, with hints of saffron’s underlying spiciness, before revealing an overall sweet sensibility, almost akin to a gourmand, courtesy of the syrupy ambergris twist. It’s a warm, multi-layered scent that envelopes you like an authentic, fragrant hug from an old, dear friend (not a phony air-kiss hug).
The Feel: Substantial and rich
Baccarat Rouge is not for the faint of heart—this perfume is intense, full-bodied, and absolutely decadent. It will announce its presence without saying a word and I can’t think of a better perfume for when you want to exude confidence or power. TikTokers have described Baccarat Rouge 540 as “money” and “rich mom-approved,” and it’s all true—it both feels and smells extravagant.
And if that’s not enough to tempt or pique your interest, the inaugural batch of Baccarat Rouge was intended to be a six month supply. Instead, it sold out in less than a month.
The Value: Pricey yet fair
As with most full-bodied, concentrated perfumes, less is more when it comes to wearability. And with Baccarat Rouge, one spritz will certainly do the trick to last all day long. One bottle will likely last you quite some time, even if it becomes your daily delight. If you’re on the fence about the pricey splurge, think about it in cost-per-spritz.
In a world where more is seemingly always more and yet, never quite enough, this perfume strikes a different tone with only seven ingredients, brewed and matched to perfection. The push-pull of its sweet and savory notes establish a sensual tension that is neither feminine nor masculine—just powerfully sophisticated.