A Quiet Morning by Miller et Bertaux is quite a nice little discovery I’ve made recently, together with the fact that Miller and Bertaux aren’t, as I imagined, the umpteenth irritating couple of 30-something niche hipsters dressed in white garbage bags, rather two eccentric, laid-back middle-aged beardy gents. I’m not crazy for the other scents of this brand I’ve tried, but A Quiet Morning works darn good instead. It’s very minimalistic, but for once, it doesn’t seem to rely to the same trite array of synthetic aromachemicals which are in fashion in the “minimalist” side of perfumery. In other words don’t expect just another ripoff of some Comme des Garçons/Andrea Maack-like stuff. Neither a dull citrusy or floral faint nonsense. This is a pretty different take on minimalism – for the better. It takes (well, it took me) a while to appreciate it and it’s probably easy to dismiss it at first, but the truth is that it manages to smell somehow very natural and breezy, yet amazingly modern in its transparent thinness, still keeping it not cold or blatantly synthetic. It creates instead a very peculiar “aura” of warm, sophisticated clean subtleness and lightness which contrary to many other cases, at no point becomes “dullness”. It’s actually a very substantial scent with some seriously enjoyable transitions and depth: it’s just filtered through clear, thin pastel glass, smelling rarefied and delicate, but so to speak, very robust “in spirit”. And briefly put, it doesn’t smell like anything else.
The fragrance opens with a quite sharp yet weightless sort of bitter cedar, and actually oud-like note (emptied of any “animalic” dirt), quite woody, dry and spicy-medicinal, blended with a nose-tingling accord of ginger (or something similar to that) cumin and saffron, and a touch of rose – or, again, something similar to it, slightly floral and fresh-juicy. A tasty, dry, almost edgy spicy-woody-floral accord which soon starts to unravel a warmer heart: clean, soapy hints of sandalwood blend with a really enjoyable, very subtle yet crystal crisp accord comprising something like a honeyed saffron note paired with a microscopic drop of warm floral soap. I’ve mentioned the word “soap” a couple of times but don’t get me wrong; A Quiet Morning isn’t really a “soapy” scent, it just has some light hints of that (and this scent is all about shimmering, light “hints” of things). It’s dry, dusty and breezy, but has indeed a sort of slightly soapy-sweet and “juicy” base texture, mostly due to sandalwood and that touch of honeyed-floral spices.
On the drydown it becomes more and more warm and a tad sweeter too, before turning again more dry and woody, with a slightly bolder presence of (good, seemingly quite real) sandalwood still lightly infused with a sort of medicinal cedar-oud note, and a simply, quiet but somehow distinctive floral-spicy accord – which after some time starts reminding me of tea a bit, as some herbal accents pop out. All still feeling very light, clean and “peaceful”, albeit slightly smokier and darker than the first hours. The overall effect is very nice and enjoyable, achieving a rather unique sort of “spicy-woody airiness” that I basically never found so far in fragrances. It’s indeed a “quiet morning” feeling - soft, clean, cozy. It’s a very light scent, but somehow it projects and persists well better than it seems, staying more “around you” than on skin – which is an effect I’ve often noted in many (good) sandalwood scents, so maybe it is due to that. Probably too light for many given all the “bombs” we’re used to today, but an unusual, fascinating little gem.
It’s not often a fragrance takes you places - I mean really takes you places. But it’s not a forecful kidnapping. It’s a quiet invitation, a simple wave of the hand, offering you to come along. A Quiet Morning does take you on an adventure. I've never been to the places AQM takes you, yet, somehow I feel I'm there.
I don't get a lot of distinction between notes. It's mostly palm leaf, saffron, tumeric with a hint of orange blossom that seems to come and go as it pleases. And it remains that way for me for the most part. Soft, but not soft enough to disappear. This lasts for hours. Bravo!
I get a fantastic, addictive honey note from this -- one made by riled up, Africanized honey bees. It is somehow both energizing and relaxing. Must have MORE. Saving up for a full bottle.
I like this alot and agree with the substance of foetidus' rating. This is an exotic wood scent, with a headshop/meditative vibe to it. But not a hippy patchouli scent at all. Sandalwood and cedar finally, gently sweet and smoky and totally unisex.
A quiet winter morning drinking tea on the balcony of a wooden house facing fog clad forests at Himalaya’s mountainside. Inside, some Basmati rice is cooking with yellow spices- saffron, turmeric- outside the cold dry wind that blows from the mountains brings notes of camphor, cedar and most of all sandalwood, in its cleanest and sternest version. A faint hint of flowers appears suddenly, like a sunbeam through the mist, but it doesn’t last long, the forest keeps swaying in the wind and releasing its balsamic notes. (I wish to thank Miller et Bertaux for the fragrance, my local Indian restaurant Rajput for the spices, Kiran Desai’s book “The inheritance of loss” for the location and the countless cups of Darjeeling tea for the inspiration).
Ordinarily I don’t get along well with a saffron note, but in this case, I think the curcuma (related to turmeric) bothered me more than the saffron the first time I tested it. Frankly I don’t think the use of turmeric in a fragrance is a very good idea… the smell of turmeric is not my idea of aroma made in olfactory heaven, but at least it was relatively easy for me to get used to the note. By my third testing, its spicy aggressiveness, while not enjoyable, didn’t bother me at all. When the opening accord wears off, I am left with an exotically rich wood accord with traces of the opening spice, and the accord presents itself as a combination of sandalwood and cedarwood augmented by incense. Thanks to the cedar and incense, the accord has an excellent aromatic quality that gives it the feeling of both depth and lightness… It’s as intriguing a wood accord as I’ve experienced in several years. I love it with a love that didn’t seem likely with the aggressive spiciness of the opening. This fragrance is like the other Miller et Bertaux fragrances I’ve tried: unique, a bit quirky, and eventually, loveable. Light, but present sillage and excellent longevity.
19th January, 2010 (last edited: 23rd January, 2010)