Francis Kurkdjian for Monte Carlo Yachts 105 captures the ocean breeze

Bespoke ambient fragrances for the boating set

How to capture the scent of freedom? The salty tang of an open ocean breeze? The musk of sunbaked skin, bronzed and unfettered by city fug? According to perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, it’s whatever you want it to be. For he is creating ambient fragrances for the prestigious Monte Carlo Yachts 105 series, which premiered in Venice on Sunday and will sail to the Cannes Yachting Festival on September 8-13.

“I try to imagine the journeys this yacht will do,” he tells me. “The Mediterranean is the soul of perfumery and the home of many of our most precious and best-loved ingredients, such as Italian citrus and French jasmine. Then there is the world journey – patchouli from Asia, coffee from Brazil…”

Kurkdjian, who has form in evoking the “mood of the moment” in numerous olfactive installations, from Paris’ Gardens of Versailles to its Grand Palais, believes ambient scents not only heighten a sense of place, but also personalise it. However adventurous they are, those aboard MCY 105 may find a familiar fragrance the ultimate comfort during days at sea.


“Although charged with potential, that brand-new boat smell doesn’t feel homely,” he reflects. So, whereas island maquis aromas such as rosemary and thyme complement sea breezes, Kurkdjian also strives to include ingredients that reflect his clients’ personality. For, like the yachts themselves, these fragrances are specially created and, as he puts it, the “cherry on the cake” for MCY 105 owners seeking ultimate freedom of expression.

Since these days candles in the chandlery may not be a shrewd move, MCY 105 scents appear as ambient sprays, although linen fragrances are also mooted. Imagine, at the end of a day lounging on deck, floating off on a pillow infused with your custom-made dream.

A word to the wise – two of the three MCY 105 series (€9.5m-€11m) have already been sold. The race is on for the third – and a Francis Kurkdjian bespoke fragrance (from €15,000) to sail with it. Freedom, after all, is whatever floats your boat.


For another unexpected scent collaboration, take a look at Four by chef Jason Atherton, or for more exotic perfumes from far-flung lands, try offerings from Parisian shop Buly.

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