Clair Matin means something akin to "a bright and early morn" in French. It is what the upcoming new perfume by Les Parfums de Rosine was baptized and it is now about to be unveiled in New York City this week. It will be one of their four new launches this year. The composition was reportedly inspired by the first rose tree, a dog-rose tree, that brand founder Marie-Hélène Rogeon planted in her rose garden located in her property in Picardie. The new scent is yet another research into the perfumes of roses, the house's trademark olfactory signature.
I find Clair Matin to present interesting nuances, mostly for the rose lover, I am tempted to say, more so than for the perfume lover who might be looking for a stronger statement and state-of-the-art perfumery instead of being wooed by naturalness. For rose lovers always on the lookout for new rose perfumes, be it known that this is a tart, green composition with a certain level of complexity to it despite it being of a lighter concentration, it being an "Eau Fraîche." The scent eschews the most predictable shortcut to a clean, aseptic and transparent rose treatment while managing to be refreshing, crisp and fruity. The blend offers a balanced charm with little touches here and there that connoisseurs will appreciate, and an understated yet definite push in the direction of tangy.
Notes: raspberry leaves absolute, Italian lemon essence, blackcurrant bud / camomile, violet, Turkish rose essence, peony / musk, apricot, sandalwood, amber...
Clair Matin opens on citrusy-green notes with a light touch of understated syrupy thickness (raspberry leaves absolute, Italian lemon and blackcurrant bud are listed.) As the scent mellows, softens and sweetens, it starts smelling more of angelica and rhubarb. The perfume is, as I pointed out earlier, tart, a little sweet, vegetal. There are hints of understated aldehydes which fizz discreetly under the nose. The perfume goes a bit in the direction of an herbal-y, absinthe-y green rose, which is no doubt due to the camomile note lending it a nice refreshing aura as well as a slight note of dissonance. After a little while, I am invited by the personality of the scent to draw a mental connection to a green-rose perfume which perfumer Sophia Grojsman did for Yves Rocher called Neblina (1999), which is now discontinued. They smell kindred in feel and spirit. But here Clair Matin takes on a different turn: a petal-y yellow rose seems to emerge from the green-rose accord; a Turkish rose is featured. The yellow-rose impression must rest on the contributions of notes like camomile and apricot. The scent of the rose becomes fruitier with hints of peach and green banana.
Yellow roses are not as commonly seeen as pink or red roses in perfumery, it therefore feels like a worthwhile exploration for the rose collector of a different range of rose nuances. Les Parfums de Rosine already did a yellow-rose composition with Rose d'Eté, whose fruity, downright drunk-with-sun tonalities bespeak of summer.
Clair Matin becomes creamier and more vanillic but without losing its tartness and freshness. If it warms up a bit, it remains in the cool shade of a green foliage. In the background, there is a fruity nuance, lingonberry-like, which contributes to this rose perfume being a bit of an exception despite the more consensual nuances of Camay-soap-like whispers on the skin and PC vanilla creaminess.The perfume develops interesting green and yellow, fruity nuances. While labeled as an "Eau Fraîche", which might lead you to think of it as an unsubstantial little thing that will soon evaporate on the skin, it is not so. The perfume has a fresh tonality, but it is quite fleshy and complex at the same time. The slight scent of musky and fruity decay emanating from a material which smells like Nordic lingonberry adds an air of discreet, foresty exoticism to the perfume.
In the drying-down, Clair Matin starts smelling more of a crisp apple, continuing its unveiling of tart, crisp nuances. The composition comes across overall as a soft and sourish in a pleasant way fruity-floral built around the rose, in which perfumery research notes predominates over commercial ones. It also offers the merit of creating an impression of freshness which is not pedestrian. The perfume is not transparent, dewy, clean, soapy, nor breezy; I was a bit let down personally by the oceanic breeze effect in Une Rose au Bord de la Mer which could have been made to feel less standard and déjà-vu in my opinion. Freshness here is conveyed mainly thanks to a riff on the tangy accents of the rose, not forgetting the indispensable hint of fruity and musky decay in the background to make things a bit more lived-in. Ripe is good.
As I said before, albeit in different terms, you need to get used to paradoxical, contrasted compositions to appreciate the traditional school of perfumes Made in France which believes as much in a dash of character as in a drop of beauty. This is not to say that Clair Matin is assertive and in-your-face at all - in fact, lastingness could constitute an issue for some - but it manages to show "son petit caractère." In other words, it manages to show a little bite and to stand its ground, as a fresh rose scent.