’I had a farm in Africa, at the foot of the Ngong Hills,’ wrote Isak Dinesen. Years ago we had a country house on the Cape where the winter could linger through April – and where a lily of the valley might peep through a spring snow. Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian's Aqua Universalis forte is an homage to that transition between two seasons.
A floral woody musk, determinedly for both men and woman, Aqua Universalis forte is Kurkdjian’s continuation of his fascination with bright and sparkling scents that he explored in his eau de toilette Aqua Universalis. While the addition of the word “forte” denotes the fragrance as a more potent eau de parfum, “forte” also implies strength (and, as used musically, a loudness).
What is strong and loud about Aqua Universalis forte is equivalent to the sight of that green shoot of the lily of the valley rising from a bed a white. For what is stronger and louder than the announcement of spring on a field of snow?
With a remarkable concentration of 40%, Aqua Universalis forte has strength in its sillage, leaving a splendid trail that lingers throughout the day. Similar to its eau de toilette sibling, the fragrance opens with Sicilian citron, enhanced in this version by a brilliantly bright bergamot. A bouquet of white flowers follows – the lilies of the valley with white lilacs and Egyptian jasmine and Moroccan roses – and the effect is exhilarating.
A green and white fragrance, radiant and effervescent, Aqua Universalis forte is as elegant as a watercress sandwich eaten in a conservatory redolent with blossoms: the cress, the butter, a tangle of savory with a hint of sweetness. Light wood appears in the drydown, alongside musk and a bit of tobacco.
A maestro of tasteful seduction, Kurkdjian has packaged Aqua Universalis forte in his signature soft mauve with gold engraved lettering. The sliding box with brocade pull is a stunning container for such a splendid fragrance, which is bottled with a solid golden stopper. Aqua Universalis forte is made for presentation and celebration.
According to Kurkdjian, “A good perfume is…when the scent and the person become one.” Many fragrance aficionados will be tempted to claim Aqua Universalis forte as their signature scent. With an impeccable pedigree complemented by a refined sensibility, Aqua Universalis forte is a modern classic.