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.