Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage, 2009

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(image Matthias Haker)

Perfumer Isabelle Doyen

Gardenia, like lily-of-the-valley, needs to be built from the ground up in perfumery. As fragrant as the flower is, it doesn’t yield an essential oil. Building a flower that combines elements of green, creamy, and umami is hard enough. Then to make it dewy should have been a nightmare for Isabelle Doyen. Perhaps it was, but we don’t see the sweat, just the smooth end product

Un Matin d’Orage does smell a bit like a gardenia, just enough to make the allusion. This isn’t a gardenia soliflor by any means. The success is not just in the likeness to the scent but in the odd balance of forcefulness and frailty the gardenia flower suggests.

Using the ghost-gardenia as a launching pad, the image of a forest floor at dawn actually comes true. Because the gardenia’s scent suggests both soil and plant it is the ideal basis for this olfactory image. The watery notes have an ambient feel: misty, dewy, even muddy. Very nice work.

I found an unlikely kindred spirit to Matin d’Orage in Parfumerie Générale Psychotrope. Matin’s sweet-forest has a water-color version of Psychotrope’s electric Jolly Rancher & leather accord. Both perfumes leave me with a very clear olfactory memory. I can call both of them to mind very easily.

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