Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage : Perfume Review

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Matin dorage goutal

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

With all the new launch samples piling up on my desk, I instead find myself reflecting upon my old favorites. I have always admired the work of Isabelle Doyen for Annick Goutal, whose contributions range from the startling simpilicity and power of Eau du Fier, to the ethereal beauty of Eau de Ciel, and to the baroque richness of Songes. Un Matin d’Orage feels like yet another page in the Annick Goutal album, a rendition of gardenia that blends the starkness of photorealism with the mystery of abstract art.

Given the difficulties in capturing the capricious beauty of gardenia in liquid form, it is not surprising that there are only a few successful renditions on the market: my favorites being, the gauzy gardenia of Marc Jacobs Perfume and the dark Velvet Gardenia by Tom Ford. For a gardenia lover, Un Matin d’Orage is in a category of its own; it fuses the transparency of Marc Jacobs gardenia with the animalic allure of Tom Ford’s version. The brilliant use of watery notes to infuse light and radiance into the lush floral accord gives Un Matin d’Orage a very contemporary feel.

At the same time its heart is thoroughly classical. In fact, I was reminded of the original Ernest Beaux’s Chanel Gardenia (not the bland version sold under the same name today)–bold strokes of orange blossom, jasmine and rose, painting a gardenia image, with creamy-lactonic and green mushroomy notes adding a characteristic gardenia effect. Where Beaux relied on a heavy dose of aldehydes to lift the heavy petals of his flower, Annick Goutal’s gardenia is embellished with dewy notes. The effect is at once powerful and delicate, an interesting quality one often finds in Doyen’s work. If at one moment, I am struck by the perfection of a white, opulent flower created by the perfumer, the next, I feel only the joy of experiencing this scent. And isn’t this the reason one wears perfume in the first place?

In fact, besides Carnal Flower, I wore Un Matin d’Orage during the days preceding my wedding (and its name, meaning “a stormy morning” in French, reflected perfectly my emotional state at the time!)

Un Matin d’Orage includes notes of lemon, perilla leaves, ginger, jasmine sambac, gardenia, magnolia champaca and sandalwood. Available from Annick Goutal boutiques, Bergdorf Goodman and other retail stores.

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22 Comments

  • Six’: V,

    I’ve never commented yet, but I’ve been following BdJ for years(!) and I was eager to have your opinion on UMd’O, as I’ve been tremendously enjoying it these days…

    It’s funny how our perceptions of it differ, though. What strikes me most about this scent is the sheer tension imparted by a Karanal-type molecule, you know, that intense sparkling, prickling feeling that virtually sends shards up your nose? (I can’t get enough of the stuff, though, so I’m not complaining!)
    That, and I also get a distinct Calone-like, green melon smell…

    To my nose, the combination of this tension/Calone contrasts with the beautiful, dewy gardenia you describe… and I simply adore the result!

    Thank you for a wonderful blog! March 2, 2010 at 12:46pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Six, thank you and welcome! I actually do not think that our perceptions differ that much, because this ambery-animalic contrast to the ozonic-watery floralcy is what I find exciting as well. If Marc Jacobs was a bit too watery and Tom Ford too dark for some, then Un Matin d’Orage would be a great discovery (albeit, in a different interpretation.)
    I am also a big fan of ambery notes in general! Used in tiny quantities, Ambroxan, Karanal, etc. can function as such a fantastic backnote. March 2, 2010 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Uella: Never smelled it, after reading Luca Turin’s low-rated review I didn’t feel the need to. March 3, 2010 at 5:46am Reply

  • Tara: Great review! You’ve captured what I loved most about this fragrance, which is its radiance. I am a big gardenia fan. March 3, 2010 at 8:40am Reply

  • andrea: This is my first comment after following you silently for two years.
    I had samples here I was in no hurry to try – after LT’s dismission of the scent. I just did try it – and I love it, especially the sharp fizziness. I was always hankering after the original Chanel gardenia, which I smelled once, when I was far too young to carry it off. Later I did not recognize it anymore and was so sad about my faulty memory – until I found out that the formula was changed. It is not totally the scent of my memory but it is in the same spirit. Thanks for the review – you made my day! March 3, 2010 at 9:18am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Uella, if you like airy florals, then it will be a good choice. I liked it for a beautiful rendition of gardenia, complete with the animalic-ambery notes (and I loved its use of very high quality raw materials.) March 3, 2010 at 10:24am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Tara, I am glad that you’ve enjoyed it! March 3, 2010 at 10:24am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Andrea, you are absolutely right—the formula is now very very different from what it used to be. It used to be a lush floral, and now it is rather uninteresting. I have several old bottles, so I had a chance to compare. March 3, 2010 at 10:26am Reply

  • sweetlife: Hooray! A post!

    You make me want to sniff this more thoroughly, V. I’m afraid I never got past my initial impressions of ozone.

    I’m wearing No. 19 today, with great pleasure, on a bright, cold spring day, here in Texas. It was a post of yours that taught me to love it. March 3, 2010 at 11:29am Reply

  • Yulya: Hello, thank you for this wonderful review. I, as a couple of others here, have been following you for a long time and finally decided to write. I have a small perfume collection and by no means consider myself to be particularly knowledgeable. For some reason no matter how many attempts I have made to appreciate this House’s fragrances, their beauty escaped me. I might be able to see the light after this review. I will let you know!
    Do you think that Canadian versions differ from European?
    Thank you again March 4, 2010 at 3:54pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: A, it is somehow more special to me as a part of Goutal’s body of work. The latest (Ninfeo Mio), on the other hand, I did not care for as much.

    Hope to see you in NYC soon! March 5, 2010 at 11:02am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Yulya, I don’t think that they differ at all, since it is all imported.
    I have to admit that the first time I tried Annick Goutal fragrances, I had difficult time grasping them, because I was more used to the classical grand parfums. However, the more I delved into niche, the more appealing Goutal became. I see their fragrances as etudes, poems, something very personal. They were often trendsetters too, establishing a theme that was subsequently picked up by larger houses, which is very interesting too. March 5, 2010 at 11:06am Reply

  • columbine: from Isabelle Doyen i like “Spell from a unicorn”. i remember looking for a violet perfume but could not find one i like: too sweet, too powdery, too iritating. then on i can’t remember which blog, the blogger recommended to try this one and i have to say i quite like it, it’s a modern violet. i tried the other perfumes from LesNez but i found them too androgenous for me. so far i have not found an Annick Goutal i like, but i keep trying… March 8, 2010 at 10:06am Reply

  • Lucy: This has been one of my real favorites the past few months, I carried it in my bag with me as a mood elevator. It changes so much after the first ten minutes, I hope those who have tried it before and didn’t love it as much will give it enough time to develop if they try it again. The sharp and soft tones mixed together that resolve into a very modern abstraction seem perfect for the coming rainy cool Spring in NYC. March 8, 2010 at 5:58pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Columbine, have you tried Duel? You might like it that one, if you’ve enjoyed Isabelle’s work for Les Nez. March 9, 2010 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Lucy, it is so true–Un Matin d’Orage develops beautifully, and its contrasted accords are so well structured. I enjoy it very much. March 9, 2010 at 2:13pm Reply

  • Katherine: Glad to have you back V! I love your writing and reviews; I think that your taste in scent is quite similar to mine. I always check back periodically to see if there is a new post and I was delighted to find a review of one of my absolute favorite scents! I too love gardenia (VC&A Gardenia Petale and EL Tuberose Gardenia are two of my faves) and I adore most scents by AG. But I never did like AG’s Gardenia Passion- there was some musty note in it that did not agree with my nose. I could not have been more excited when AG came out with Un Matin d’Orage, and it did not disappoint. This scent is very evocative of time and place for me… it really does feel like being in a beautiful garden right at the moment a thunderstorm is ending. I really smell the ozone and electricity in the opening and the heart really gives the feel of beautiful white flowers in full bloom, wet with rain drops. Such a work of art! I’m glad you’re a fan too. Cheers! March 10, 2010 at 4:11pm Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Robin, thank you. March 11, 2010 at 8:30am Reply

  • Boisdejasmin: Katherine, for me, Gardenia Passion and Passion are my least favorite from the line (I do admire them, but hardly ever wear them.) Songes is another one I adore, which was a scent of heaven.

    Your description of Un Matin d’Orage is beautiful! Thank you for sharing. March 11, 2010 at 8:32am Reply

  • Flora: I really love Matin d’Orage, especially in the fabulous body creme. AG makes the best bath & body items for their fragrances! I like how this one has that hint of decay and chaos beneath the fresh smoothness of the florals. March 14, 2010 at 5:15pm Reply

  • carmencanada: Hi V., a little late to the party here but I’ll bounce off Six’s comment: I remember asking Isabelle Doyen about the “bois qui pique” (spiky wood) note common to Vanille Exquise and Un Matin d’Orage… Since then I have become even more hyperosmic to Karanal-type molecules (Light Blue, for instance, is now almost a painful experience if too lavishly worn), and much as I admire the loveliness Un Matin d’Orage I cannot wear it. I suspect LT might be hyperosmic to the spiky wood himself, hence his poor opinion of it, which is just that: an opinion. I do think Un Matin d’Orage is original, an interest step in Isabelle Doyen’s work, and well worth trying out. March 17, 2010 at 8:46am Reply

  • L: I like Matin D’Orage, but what I really love is the opening. I wish that ozonic quality would hang out for the duration. A lovely fragrance, nonetheless. March 28, 2010 at 12:31am Reply

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