Perfume is personal, but every now and then, one comes around that is universally beloved. At least, that is the case for Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Baccarat Rouge 540. It's a perfume in which the name alone sounds luxe, expensive, and enticing—which is entirely the point. Crafted by the esteemed French fragrance house to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Baccarat's famous crystals, the gorgeous, golden-colored perfume has a storied origin.
Master perfumer and creative director Francis Kurkdjian dreamed up a way to capture the elegance of crystal in a bottle. The name Baccarat Rouge 540 comes from the metamorphosis of crystal, taking special note of the way that Baccarat's famed golden, ruby red coloring is created in its chandeliers. Kurkdjian explains that 24-carat gold powder is mixed with transparent crystal and gradually brought to fusion at 540 degrees Celsius to deliver a glowing scarlet appearance, which is now hailed as Baccarat's signature. "The process combines minerals, fire, and extraordinary craftsmanship, three elements I wanted to infuse in the perfume," he tells us.
As far as smell goes, unique, bold, and sophisticated are key adjectives that encapsulate both French brands. According to Kurkdjian, "I wanted to create a fragrance that translates the feeling of transparency and density of crystal; a timeless and contemporary fragrance by its name and its scent, and one inspired by Baccarat's crystal itself. Its sillage is very present and recognizable, filling the space around the wearer. It is definitely remarkable."
And though Baccarat Rouge 540 was initially released in 2015, Tiktok and social media have brought this luxurious aroma back to a significant resurgence, sparking our curiosity. Scroll ahead for our review of Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Baccarat Rouge 540.
Key Fragrance Notes:
What Does Baccarat Rouge 540 Smell Like?
Baccarat Rouge 540's key notes of amber, jasmine, saffron, and cedar impart a decidedly mysterious and sensual aroma. It is not light and airy (at least not to me), yet intense, full-bodied, and decadent in a way that most floral or citrus perfumes are not. The bouquet is woody, with an underlying spiciness and overall warmth that's something special. What's more, a very subtle sweetness comes out with extended wear, proving it to be one of the most multi-layered smells I've encountered.
According to Kurkdjian, Baccarat Rouge 540 has a complex trail with several facets. "Everyone feels attracted to one aspect more than the others," he says, and after trying out myself, I can confirm.
While not overpowering, I will say that Baccarat Rouge 540 is bold. This fragrance is for someone who wants to own the room and turn heads–wallflowers need not apply. It's concentrated too, so less is more. I sprayed one spritz on my wrist and dabbed the excess onto my other pressure points, so one bottle will likely last me a while.
The sillage, that fancy French term referring to the trace or veil the perfume leaves behind, is the main selling point for me. Prepare to be enveloped in an aroma of luxury from dusk until dawn. Ten hours and a shower after my initial spritz and I could still smell the faint traces of amber and saffron wafting from my body. That level of longevity has me impressed.
Baccarat Rouge 540 is also a unisex perfume, and while the seductive scent smelled nice on me, I liked it on my husband more. On him, it took on an even more intoxicating, woody amber aroma that was cozy and delicious. We may end up sharing the bottle.
As for wearability, this is the kind of fragrance that can evolve with your day. One Nordstrom reviewer referred to it as a perfume for CEOs, and I can see why. It's powerful (yet not cloying) enough to wear to a board meeting, yet elegant enough to translate to a formal night out.
Is this a pricey perfume? Yes, undeniably. But is it special? Absolutely. This timeless smell deserves a spot next to Chanel No. 5 and Miss Dior. I don't see its popularity wavering anytime soon, but I'm thrilled to have added it to my perfume collection.