The transitions between light and dark that happens twice every day carry a special magic to them. Folklore would suggest that magic is literal in those moments. Perfumer Francis Kukdjian was looking for perfumed inspiration from those same times. He has released two new fragrances from his Maison Francis Kurkdjian brand Petit Matin and Grand Soir.
Petit Matin (Little Morning) is inspired by that moment when the sun has cleared the horizon and its light fills the world with brilliant points of light as it reflects off windows, water and buildings. There is that moment in every early morning where it is pure light. That is the effect M. Kurkdjian goes for with Petit Matin.
Petit Matin opens with two sources of lemon. One is a typical lemon essential oil. The other is an evergreen shrub called litsea cubeba. Litsea cubeba is made up mostly of the lemon scented molecule citral. That gives the essential oil a really different scent profile of bright lemon along with an undertone of green shrubbery. Together they provide that mixture of doubled up lemon brightness with the green providing the smell of dew-coated leaves. The heart is when the flowers of the day wake up as M. Kurkdjian combines orange blossom hawthorn, and lavandin. The lemon remains as the flowers peek out. It comes together in a sun-drenched floral accord which is where this morning stays for hours. It eventually moves along to a starched white linen mix of musks with ambrox.
Petit Matin has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.
Grand Soir (Big Evening) is that moment just after the sun has set and the dark takes hold. There is that anticipation of what the night can bring. This is the moment when the moon provides the shadows and light works hard to find purchase.
Grand Soir is a tightly composed mix of just four notes: benzoin, labdanum, tonka bean, and vanilla. In the early moments it is the benzoin which predominates. This is a high quality benzoin which displays its vanilla character. Which allows the actual vanilla and tonka something with which to form a particular vanillic chord. The labdanum picks up on the resinous aspect of benzoin forming an incense-like vibration. Together they form the anticipation of an evening swathed in vanilla and incense.
Grand Soir has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
I give a hat tip to M. Kurkdjian for accurately capturing these magical times of the day in both Petit Matin and Grand Soir. Petit Matin is my favorite by just a bit because when it all comes together with the citrus and the floral notes it is expansively beautiful and luminous. Grand Soir is going to be a great fall choice as the air chills and the nights get longer. In any case you can wear this pair from dawn to dusk.
Disclosure: This review was based on press samples provided by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.