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Bombay Duck London

Francis Kurkdjian Cologne Pour le Matin

What do mornings smell of?  Well, it would be pretty heavenly to wake up to a world scented like this cologne from Francis Kurkdjian, the second of this gifted perfumer’s creations that The Scent Critic has dipped into for this blog.

Air.  Great gusts of it, billowing through a white linen curtain.  A pile of perfectly starched and folded sheets.  A touch of cool stone, I’d say – very dry, wafting up from a courtyard via a few terracotta pots on the balcony, in a city limbo-ed by the mass exodus of Parisians in August.  This Cologne Pour le Matin plays right into my fantasy – I will live it, I WILL – of spending an entire month in that city, sometime, in a borrowed apartment with tall French windows:  all cool grey paint, wood panelling and waxed parquet floors.

It’s crisp.  And clean.  This isn’t a rumpled bed;  it’s a freshly-made one that you just got out of and the housekeeper changed the sheets while you were brewing a pot of Arabica.  Neatly-folded hospital corners and all.  Aha:  when I look up the notes (The Scent Critic feels this is cheating, until I’m done sniffin’), I discover ‘cotton’ and ‘flax’ are listed.  And that is exactly what you get.  And after it’s had a little lie-down – a dry-down – there’s another twist on the laundry theme, as some faintly sweeter, snugglier, touch-of-fabric-conditioner notes drift lazily in, delivering a powdery almost violet-like softness.  I swear there’s a teensy aromatic nose-tingling touch of black pepper wafting about, too.  (Might be the thyme note.  Whatever, it instils even more of an open-window outdoorsiness to this wearable, shareable cologne.)

Weirdly, I am forced into smelling this on my right wrist only, however.  This is because my left is completely dominated by a coconut-and-amber-scented fake tan I made the mistake of trying this morning.  Beauty editor’s aside:  good realistic colour, utterly grim smell.  (Though Pour le Matin does to a certain extent camouflage the characteristic biscuit-tin-with-undertones-of-wet-towel-that’s-been-left-in-a-sports-bag-for-a-week fragrance of fake tan.)  My right wrist (and what’s wafting up from my décolletage) is by blissful contrast daisy-fresh and innocent.  And somehow deeply and wonderfully French, too – in a crisp-white-man’s-shirt rather than a stocking-swishy-dark-nightclub-fog-of-Gauloises way.

This could be worn by a man, or a woman – or you could just fight over it.  You could even happily dab this behind a child’s ears without overwhelming their natural scent, and make them feel very grown-up indeed.  The clear juice and clear glass bottle (and Kurkdjian’s so-clever all-but-invisible spray mechanism) is a perfect fit for the minimalist chic of this fragrance.  My one reservation:  I’d say the label ‘cologne’ was a bit of a misnomer:  the overture may have brief whispers of orange blossom (the Little Black Dress ingredient of all eaux de Colognes), but Cologne Pour le Matin is altogether more sophisticated and complicated.  You might as well casually write off Pratesi or Frette or Pourthault linen as mere ‘sheets’.

Actually, it’s another of The Scent Critic’s dreams to have those – crisply starched and changed every morning, too.  By someone else.  But for now, I will make do with breathing Cologne du Matin, and let this breeziest of scents fuel my clean-sheet reveries instead.



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