Petit Matin (2016)
by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

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Petit Matin information

Year of Launch2016
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 59 votes)

People and companies

HouseMaison Francis Kurkdjian
PerfumerFrancis Kurkdjian

About Petit Matin

The company say:

Rise at dawn and escape into the delightful freshness of an early morning in Paris to rediscover a taste for beauty. Stroll through the empty streets and archways of a Paris still cast in the first light of day, before taking a rest. Let yourself be carried away by the luminous energy of litsea cubeba from Indonesia, lemon from Calabria, the floral softness of hawthorn and lavandin from Provence. Then, get lost in a labyrinth of musky and ambery notes.

Reviews of Petit Matin

From December, 2016:

*This is a long review because MFK features many similar types of fragrances and it's important to kind of understand the differences between them and what separates one from the next...especially if you plan on making any kind of blind buy.

Petit Matin is yet another offering from MFK in the "clean white citrus" genre. By this point, you're probably aware of the consistent quality MFK offers so the question now becomes, "Why this one? What sets this apart from his previous releases?" It's a question worth answering, as we now have Aqua Universalis, Aqua Vitae, and Cologne Pour Le Matin, not to mention some "Forte" versions as well. Whether you're trying to decide which one to choose between them, or just wondering if Petit Matin is worth adding to your collection which already includes the others, it's not unreasonable to ask, "Is this different enough to warrant a purchase?"

First of all, as far as its strength, Petit Matin is probably a little stronger than Aqua Vitae and Aqua Universalis. It's no screamer, but it's a bit more solid than the ethereal musk of Universalis and the lighter, delicate structure of Aqua Vitae. If those are both considered "light" fragrances, then Petit Matin can be considered "moderate." However, in terms of strength it should be noted that Aqua Vitae Forte is much more powerful, and certainly the most powerful in the whole group. Universals Forte also has a stronger presence than Petit Matin, so in terms of their strength, I would rank them from lightest to heaviest: AU, AV, Cologne Pour le Matin, PM, AUF, AVF. So you see, Petit Matin ranks right in the middle.While it's certainly not a strong fragrance, it has some body to it, a little weight that will make sure you know it's there while you're wearing it.

More importantly, Petit Matin focuses primarily on citrus and lavender, with the musk playing more of a supporting role and the ambrox giving everything its patented marine-sweet sheen. The Italian Lemon is the big note here, and it's paired with a very clean, crisp lavender. The lemon is bright, but avoids smelling completely realistic and more like a lemon designed for a fragrance, which is a positive thing in this case. It smells very good, but not like you're wearing the fruit itself. Petit Matin probably resembles a traditional cologne more than any of the others. Personally, it reminds me of a higher quality Lanvin L'Homme, Alberto Morillas' underrated workhorse for men. Therefore, while Aqua Universalis focuses on mostly on white musk and its pairing with a blend of lily-of-the-valley and lemon, creating a very ethereal, "white" impression, Petit Matin is more directly centered around citruses, and is paired with a more hearty, traditional lavender. Universals Forte is just a beefed up extension of the white floral theme (and probably the most feminine as a result). Aqua Vitae in comparison to Petit Matin is softer, more floral and possessing a sweeter tone overall. Vitae seems focused on a soft, sweet mandarin note, supported by vanilla, tonka, and jasmine. None of these notes are apparent in Petit Matin, which in contrast feels sharper, crisper, and once again, more reminiscent of a traditional men's cologne. While Vitae seems best suited for occasions, Petit Matin feels better suited for work and every day situations. Aqua Vitae Forte feels even more formal and opulent than Aqua Vitae, and in this sense is much more dressed up than Petit Matin, also heavier and more attention-grabbing. The two are actually very, very different in the end.

What to make of all this...

If you look at all of this together, you'll see that Petit Matin actually has its own place in MFK's white citrus continuum, and a very important one as well. It's the daily-style wear, every-day cologne in the bunch; the least dressed up of the three (or 5 depending on how you look at it), and probably the most consistently functional. Aqua Universalis is great for wearing when you don't want to really know that you're wearing anything. It creates a wonderful impression of fresh, clean laundry and makes one feel clean and well-groomed. For this reason I love it. But it's also rather ethereal and "white." We often want something with a little more presence and bite, to get moving about our day and to feel energized. Petit Matin offers that, through its emphasis on Italian Lemons and their pairing with a heartier, though also clean and polished lavender accord. And finally, Aqua Vitae and its stronger half, while smelling wonderful, do not possess the down-to-earth simplicity of Petit Matin and are therefore not nearly as functional on a day-to-day basis. In the end, I must conclude that Petit Matin is not only well-executed and a very worthy addition to MFK's lineup, but also perhaps the most functional addition to the group.

Finally, to address Petit Matin in relation to Cologne Pour Le Matin, in my opinion, there's no comparison--Petit Matin is much, much better. CPLM is my least favorite in this entire group. I find it's awkward--at times artificially powdery and plastic-like--other times smelling "kitchen spicy," with overly sugary citruses and even a certain poorly placed dirty cumin note floating around. Petit Matin has no missteps in this regard and the two should really not be compared saved for their namesakes.

I recommend sampling Petit Matin. It's very nice. The only reason I'm not recommending it as a blind buy is simply because it's in a genre (citrus colognes) that's very common, so you might already own some that you like or have smelled others you're considering buying, not to mention it's pretty expensive. It's worth seeing where Petit Matin lands in relation to others before committing to buying it, but I will say this--it's hard to dislike Petit Matin. Kurkdjian did a very nice job with it. Thumbs up.

EDIT: I forgot to add: Some of you may also be familiar with Absolue Pour Le Matin. This is not the same fragrance or even very similar to it. APLM has a very powdery quality to it due to the florals and is also more feminine as a result. Petit Matin is not powdery at all and smells more masculine.
13th August, 2019
The main opening note is orange blossom. Plus a vague Lily of the valley.

Must be the May chang (Litsea cubeba). 20 minutes in, it's this note that overtakes the orange blossom. It's like a citrusy lily of the valley.

A little bit of very refined musk at the base. There's a slight freshness throughout from the remaining notes, which is the only role they play.

Well put together but for me this one is a negative for men unfortunately. And I'm definitely not a typical 'black' fragrance fan saying that. Petit Matin doesn't just go towards feminine to land in unisex, it's in feminine territory to me. Less so after several hours but still.

On a woman, I would rate it neutral.
10th June, 2019 (last edited: 11th June, 2019)
I often call Maison Francis Kurkdjian a "vanity label", because it's creation was under similar circumstances to most major players in the music industry, where fame and hype became such that rather than be associated with whatever label actually published their work, the band/artist in question preferred a custom label to produce their work under so they're not having to share any of the attention or credit while still benefiting from the distribution network of the parent company. In the case of MFK, this parent company is LVMH, and since Kurkdijan has become something of a perfume auteur in ego and attitude, the "vanity label" tag is even more appropriate. With that having been said, Francis Kurkdijan can sometimes make a justifiably niche fragrance to fit the cut-above bill he slaps on his line, and Petit Matin (2016) is one such fragrance. At it's core, Petit Matin is a neroli scent, but the uniqueness and innovation on Kurkdijan's end comes from the merging of this eau de cologne vibe with a musky cetalox/ambroxan base similar to the most successful of masculine fragrances from its decade, which is also where Petit Matin finds its unisex balance.

Petit Matin imagines itself as the smell of Paris in the morning, and while I'm not one to challenge that claim, there is sort of dewy freshness in the beginning. A soft lemon and orange blossom open Petit Matin, with a bit of piquant sharpness from litsea or maychang ("mountain pepper" in Mandarin), that keeps the bouquet on the tip of the nose until an indolic hawthorn note shows up. Anyone who has smelled hawthorn knows that too much reeks of death, but just the right amount implies sex and naughty bits. MFK uses it extremely sparingly here, and it is flanked with lavandin to bring a masculine lean that pulls Petit Matin to the center of the gender spectrum. A decidedly non-niche laundry musk and cetalox accord finish Petit Matin, bringing in the expected Creed Aventus (2010) glow to support the neroli and hawthorn alongside the barbershop-ish lavandin. The final dry down reads perfectly unisex, like a merger between Dior J'Adore Absolu (2018) and Montblanc Explorer (2019) without the fruit of the former nor the sage of the latter. Wear time is long, and sillage isn't immense, but Petit Matin delivers as a high-brow casual scent for those with the coin.

The best thing about Petit Matin is it succeeds at being a luxury market intensification of an Eau de Cologne without actually trying to be one. Where stuff like Tom Ford Neroli Portofino (2011) comes off as pretentious and Bond No. 9 Eau de New York (2004) as tacky, Petit Matin just delivers as a variation on a well-loved theme which brings clearly-detectable orange blossom with tastefully minimal embellishment in a perfume that goes the distance. The only complaints here will be the "bro-sauce" in the base, but let's be honest with ourselves: If you haven't come to terms with ambroxide bases becoming the new standard by this point, why are you even smelling new perfumes in the designer/mass prestige segment? In the case of Petit Matin, a woodsier base could have been used for a drier and sharper finish, but I think the point of this was to finish in a light and warm ambergris glow to better let the citrus and florals remain detected for longer, which is a trick house Creed has been abusing for decades before MFK did it here. I might not be the biggest MFK or Francis Kurkdijan fan overall (his affected brand image is a bit much), but this one is a winner. All in all nice, although too pricey for most, but worth investigation at your local perfume shop. Thumbs up!
29th May, 2019
A really solid neroli scent that's perfectly unisex. Everything about Petit Matin reminds me of Jardin di Amalfi, but with more florals and less fruity-sweetness and sparkle. Also, as it keeps drying down, it becomes more feminine to me. It doesn't smell any worse, it's just the musk isn't as manly and starts to lean into hairspray territory, having that airy-ambroxan, hipster unisex feel. That said, this smells really good and I can see why some guys get compliments with it.

I get good projection and was able to get whiffs of this all throughout the workday.
24th May, 2019
Starts off very badly like an expensive lime detergent, musk again? The best part of it emerges later, which is an outdoors, scented bushes smell, and overcast lavender. The florals become haunting, and evoke the company's description of early morning Paris, and strolling through empty streets. A sort of european perfume smell, newly cleaned laundry, while walking down the cobblestone streets, under an overcast sky. The amber helps to add complexity to the musk. To me this tilts more feminine, but a man could wear it. The more intriguing part of the scent is a light lemon violet smell that is supposed to come from Litsea cubeba. The fresh clean laundry scent mellows out but it's still a main player as the scent moves through its stages. The neroli is there, and plays off of the musk well. Yes this is definitely something I want to smell on a woman. An elegant neroli musk combo, with no dominant notes. They all add their contribution to make a complex fragrance. Despite this being a no for me, it is a complex scent and I wouldn't judge anyone for raving about it.
08th January, 2019
Update:

I'd like to add that this is not a fragrance you want to overspray. I made that mistake today and found myself in a cloud of an aroma chemical like miasma for about an hour and a half. I had left for work by the time I realized that it was affecting me like that. Anyway, for me, fewer sprays will definitely make this a more enjoyable wear moving forward.



Petit Matin is a wonderful, fresh, fragrance that has a beautiful opening, and transitions from there into a beautiful dry down. There is a note that is more transparent here, but it reminds me of something I smell in Slumberhouse's Pear + Olive. As I said, this note is much more transparent in Petit Matin, and much more dense and syrupy in Pear + Olive, but it is still a similar note to my nose. Petit Matin is a joy to wear, and I want a bottle as soon as I may. Thumbs up for Petit Matin!
11th July, 2018 (last edited: 06th September, 2018)

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