I read about Francis Kurkdjian’s APOM before I ever sniffed it, and was immediately intrigued by the story. As a Lebanese-Australian, I had never heard of a fragrance that was inspired by Lebanon. And when I finally got my hands on a bottle, well, I was giddy. It’s gorgeous.
The scent itself is lush and heady, and pays homage to “the beauty and sensuality of Mediterranean women and men, a special and unique blend of orange flower and cedar wood,” explains Kurkdijan of APOM, which stands for A Part Of Me. “APOM is a tribute to my Middle Eastern roots, and trips to Lebanon I started more than 15 years ago.”
These days it’s my special-occasion fragrance and whenever I wear it, I get compliments. So, I wasn’t surprised when a friend wanted the details of the perfume I was wearing.
But I was irked when she bought it for her mother-in-law.
Don’t misunderstand me, the mother-in-law is lovely, but I was annoyed (and yes, ok, slightly irrational) because she has at least 30 years on me and because I didn’t want to share my special scent.
I was annoyed because I didn’t want to share my special scent.
But then I realised this might be karma: around 15 years ago, I “stole” my co-worker’s scent, Narciso Rodriguez For Her. I was working at a fashion magazine with an extremely cool and up-and-coming stylist named Stevie Dance (now a New York-based stylist and designer). She, too, wore a sublime perfume: For Her.
So of course, I promptly bought it; fell for its white floral and powdery musk charm; and am still loyal to it to this day, switching between that, APOM, and a handful of others. (It so happens that Kurkdjian is the nose behind For Her, and he describes it to me as “a timeless classic in its form and feeling, a quintessence of femininity.” Heaven.)
Maybe you, like me, have a favourite scent – and when friends ask after it, you’d like to steer them towards fragrances that are comparable to yours. Or maybe you’re in the market for a Christmas gift for your mother or sister, and want to find a fragrance that’s similar to her current perfume.
I asked Clayton Ilolahia, who works on evaluations at fragrance experts Fragrances of the World, to suggest a few fragrances that might appeal to fans of some much-loved bestsellers.
If you love Chanel No 5
If you love Jo Malone London English Pear & Freesia
If you love Le Labo Santal 33
You might also like other woody scents including Maison Crivelli Papyrus Moléculaire, Maison Louise Marie Perfume Oil No.04 Bois de Balincourt, D.S. & Durga Radio Bombay.
If you love Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
You might also like Viktor & Rolf Bonbon, Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Ribelle Fashion Edition 2020, Elie Saab Girl of Now Forever, all modern orientals with gourmand accents.
If you love Marc Jacobs Daisy
If you love Dior J’Adore
And going forward, I’ll be taking Ilolahia’s advice and directing friends who love my APOM to the sunny floral oriental and white flower accents of Yves Saint Laurent Capeline, Trudon Elae, or Carner Barcelona Sweet William instead. And if they want elegant, mossy woods modernised with fresh notes, I’ll guide them toward Tom Ford Private Blend Rose Prick, Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Intensément, or Bottega Veneta Illusione, and ask that they please leave For Her for me. And Stevie.
Photography: Georgina Egan
Styling: Jack Milenkovic