How do you inject air into a fragrance? After all, as I wrote in last Monday’s post about Nuit de Cellophane, air is the unsung material of perfumery, the bearer of fragrant molecules, the carrier of sillage…
In olden days, aldehydes were used to lift heavier notes. But as they are now perceived as old-lady-ish, they are used in minutes quantities, more for their function than for their olfactory quality. Some perfumers, like Aurélien Guichard in his reformulation of Robert Piguet Baghari, have experimented with very sugary notes to achieve a similar “lifting” effect. With Vanille Galante, Jean-Claude Ellena performs his own brand of molecular wizardry to stretch out notes that should logically be heavy and heady until they practically dematerialize (I still haven’t wrapped my head around that particular feat).
With Un Matin d’orage (“a morning storm”) Isabelle Doyen tackles the problem from a different angle – and from a very different direction, coming right after her rough-hewn, balsamic Orientalistes -- by reinventing the ozonic floral. In his exhilarating review, Octavian Coifan gives a breakdown of the notes, and offers an analysis of the various effects of Un Matin d’orage, that I can’t even dream of equaling, so I’ll just focus on that ozonic reinvention…
Un Matin d’orage smells nowhere near L’Eau d’Issey but it does seem to contain Calone or some similar material. There is something fruity at the outset, but it isn’t really melon: I would say – my friend Jarvis (hi!) and the Goutal S.A.s have reached similar conclusions independently – that it smells of the skin of a not quite ripe nectarine.
But what’s most surprising about Un Matin d’orage is the jarring effect produced by the crackling, post-storm ozonic layer; a mineral flavor reminiscent of some volcanic spring waters like the French Volvic; the pinpricks of a fine, sharp drizzle. But instead of battering down the fragrance rising from the gardenia and jasmine, it actually seems to suck it upwards, as though the drizzle were being sprayed out from the bushes. There may be a hint of ginger in there – there was in Doyen’s Jasmin for Annick Goutal – adding to the general impression of coolness.
In time, the flowers gain on the garden-after-the-storm effect of the ozone but they retain a dewy, green, ethereal quality. The gardenia is just about as far from the eponymous, candied Chanel fragrance or the over-ripe, bordering-on-stinky Tom Ford Velvet Gardenia, as it can be while still being a recognizable gardenia – this isn’t the representation of gardenia in perfumery, or rather, it is an entirely different one. The magnolia then seeps in, with its distinctive, vanilla-lemon facets before subsiding in a veil of musk.
While I am not quite as taken as Octavian, I am deeply intrigued, both by the novel approach of the ozonic floral and the departure that this represents for Doyen, and for the house of Goutal, whose feminine scents have often tended, pre-Orientalists, towards bourgeois-bohemian prettiness. Un Matin d’orage is a composition that seems to demand a different type of attention; a readjustment of expectations. In this sense, its name is particularly suiting: it seems like a fresh start, but in stormy weather.
Image: Barbara Morgan, Martha Graham, Frontier (1935)
Super jealous that you have gotten to try this! I wonder when Saks here will get it here? Must call them in the morning :-)RépondreSupprimer
Was the champaca discernible at all?
Trish, no idea about the availability outside France, sorry... I don't get champaca, it's a very "hovering" kind of floral to me with no super-distinct notes.RépondreSupprimer
Hello, D. Thanks for the shout-out. I wish I had brought some Un Matin D'Orage back with me from France (I didn't even ask if they had any samples).RépondreSupprimer
My recollection is that I quite enjoyed it.
Jarvis, yes I remember your saying you quite liked it. I think I'll collect a few more samples left and right to give this a good wear -- it's intriguing.RépondreSupprimer
I think I'm into a magnolia-gardenia period! as for the ozonic effect, I found that calone+incense plus other light material can produce that mineral volcano effect with a sparkling touch.RépondreSupprimer
Octavian, that mineral effect is quite startling when overlaid on the gardenia-magnolia, isn't it? I didn't detect any incense but if you say so, there could well be some: clearly, it's not the calone (or calone-like material) alone.RépondreSupprimer
Argh, I really wish I had some to re-test. I'm intrigued by "mineral volcanic effect", which clearly I didn't stick around long enough to experience when I tried this last week. Actually, I don't believe I tried it on skin, either.RépondreSupprimer
Well, Jarvis, you had quite a lot of scents to deal with, hadn't you? (I hope you're enjoying Vanille Galante and Iris Silver Mist).RépondreSupprimer
I am dying to get samples of this from France as I KNEW it would be perfection for me. I deserve a volcanic scent, after all, since I am waiting on that vocano to blow right in my backyard.RépondreSupprimer
Once upon a time, a flash in the pan ex of mine called me a bourgeois c*nt, so I guess Goutal suits me. The strangest people are bourgeois see you next tuesdays!
Cait, don't forget the "bohème" part... most Goutal scents have an easy, slightly dishevelled, lolling about in the garden feel. Except that, yeah, this one *does* have a volcano in the garden.RépondreSupprimer
Honestly, D, you have the best-illustrated blog on the planet. I just LOVE the photos you use.RépondreSupprimer
Killing me right now that I can't come sniffing with you. KILLING. ME.
Thanks A. ! I *do* spend ages looking for illustrations that reflect my tastes and the post at the same time. It takes me longer than writing the posts, actually!RépondreSupprimer
But hey, Paris will still be there, and God willing I'll be too, when you scrape enough pennies to come back!
ahh i so want this. does anyone know when Matin d'Orage will be available for sale in Canada?RépondreSupprimer
Anonymous, I'm sorry, I don't have the faintest idea. Despite my pseudo (I *am* Canadian), I live in Paris...RépondreSupprimer
Anonymous- According to AG head office, Un Matin D'Orage will be available at Ogilvy's in Montreal in May and other AG counters in Canada in Sept 09. In the meantime if, like me, you're impatient - The Perfumed Court has samples for sale.RépondreSupprimer