To close these past days’ reviews of Cartier’s new Les Heures du Parfum (click here for Parts I, II and III), here are the last two of the series – the ones Mathilde Laurent and I didn’t quite get to covering during our rambling, digressive conversation…
Of the series, I – L’Heure Promise ("the Promised Hour") is the one I had the most problems coming to terms with, because either it just doesn’t last on my skin or – this is Mathilde’s supposition – because I have a low olfactory habituation threshold for iris. The scent starts out on a stern, earthy-carroty iris with green bean overtones – not un-reminiscent of Isabelle Doyen’s The Unicorn Spell for LesNez. The woody powderiness of the iris is barely relieved by the apricot-like facets of beta-ionone, perhaps a whiff of jasmine sambac, and a sandalwood base. It is a subtle, austere scent with a dry, suede-like texture.
XII – L’Heure Mystérieuse ("The Mysterious Hour") opens up with a huge, camphory cloud of patchouli and juniper riding on whorls of olibanum. This is the smell of a Gothic cathedral, complete with dank stones, wooden pews and leather-upholstered prie-Dieu soaked in centuries of burning incense. Though jasmine sambac is listed (Mathilde provided me with a vial so I could tease it out of the composition), it is so intimately welded to the patchouli that it only shows up in ghostly flashes – as though I were smelling it on someone else, prompting me to stalk a few women in metro passageways, nostrils a-flare, to find out if the sillage came from them or myself. This is a haunted, cold-hot scent, with the slow burn of patchouli and incense melting into the embers of an ambery base.
Les Heures du Parfum will be available in Cartier stores in November. They are already sold in New York.
Image: Francesca Woodman, Angel Series