Morgan de Toi is to France what Victoria’s Secret is to the US, except much older and nowhere near as campy or lewd in their designs and marketing. Not much of the brand has made it stateside, but they had prior to the COVID-19 pandemic 650 retail locations worldwide, and like Victoria’s Secret, had a line of designer-quality perfumes sold mostly at the registers within their stores (see also: Zara). All of these fragrances were naturally marketed to women save for one token men’s entry called quite blandly Morgan de Toi Homme (2003), which ended up being a woody ozonic musk that fell perfectly in line with what designers like Dior, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Kenneth Cole, and Perry Ellis had done at the time. Sharp, tart, brash, playful, but ultimately tame after it dries down, Morgan de Toi Homme is perhaps one of the easier going of this usually bombastic genre. For this reason, the scent comes across like a bit more work-friendly but still young and energetic scent for then-hopeful Millennials in college, a weird contrast between playful mischief and business casual, which may be why it never made a splash. Most guys already in their 30’s in the 2000’s would have ignored this, as would anyone not familiar with the boutique chain.
The opening of Morgan de Toi is all sharp bergamot and lime ozonic accord with bits of dry juniper not unlike a good gin but amped to eleven. Clary sage comes in within moments to be joined by a metallic geranium, raw spearmint, and hedione white lift in the heart. Morgan de Toi calms down in about an hour to reveal a woody musky chypre-like base, with sandalwood and cedar mingling with vetiver and oakmoss coated by a thin veneer of silky white musks. Overall this reminds me a bit of Avon Prospect (2003) but with slightly more vivid presentation, which itself is more about juniper and not ozonic in the top anyway. The projection goes from Daft Punk arena concert to intimate jazz club in about an hour, leaving people to believe this has poor performance if they spray their chest or airways a bunch. The stuff lasts, but goes hard only in the first hour, then becomes more discreet but detectable for 8 hours afterwards. If you’re still wearing this style nowadays, Morgan de Toi Homme feels best for spring through early fall. The dead of summer might be better for an aquatic, however. I also must mention the very heavy bottle and solid built-in sprayer with aluminum surround. This thing is a beast.
The release of Morgan de Toi Homme is similar in purpose to the release of Very Sexy for Him by Victoria’s Secret (2001), in that it gave straight guys something to buy when taking their girlfriends shopping or something those same girlfriends could gift their boyfriends from Morgan de Toi, and the scent was originally part of a matching set with the titular Morgan de Toi (2003), which was previously Morgan de Toi Femme when this masculine counterpart was on shelves. Annick Menardo had worked on a ton of designers so was a good choice to perfume this, as was partner Gérard Anthony, with a huge resume of gentlemanly fougères and orientals to his name. The two of them didn’t exactly create their best work (unless you’re a Morgan de Toi fan), but the results of their collaboration is a painfully Y2K exercise that ends up being both fun and more wearable than likely intended. Too bad this is discontinued and sells for stupid money it’s not worth in the aftermarket, and if I hadn’t come across old testers being tossed out from a local shop, I wouldn’t have likely been able to review it. Thumbs up.