New Perfume Review Cartier Allegresse- Standing on the Line

As the trends began to shift five years ago, I was concerned this was going to represent a line I wasn’t eager to cross. Some of that first impression was because the big brands released their opening efforts in a rush. They were insipid lacking any kind of style. Yet I was watching them being purchased on my trips to the mall. I was keeping an open mind because I was hoping for my favorite perfumers who had some artistic license might make something of it.

In 2018 Cartier Carat was the first of these types of perfumes I completely embraced. Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent proved to me there is a subtle complexity to the lighter shades of scent. If there is a concern it is this represents a fine line. If you can’t assemble it properly it just lies flat. Even Mme Laurent has not become as sure handed at it as she could be. Lat year she released a set of three fragrances where one of them, Pur Kinkan was another example of the heights of this style. The other two never came together as completely. A year later she is back with another trio with similar results.

Mathilde Laurent

The new collection is called Les Rivieres. In the press release it is meant to capture rivers flowing giving off the scent of what they encounter as the flow along. Insouciance is a nice opaque violet, iris, and fruit which feels as if each ingredient is socially distancing themselves from each other. Luxurious is a set of shades of green from herbs to fern to geranium to oak it also doesn’t mesh as well as it seems like it should. Cartier Allegresse is the best of this group because it is also the one which feels more like the motion of a river.

One of the difficulties of working in an opaque style is trying to wrangle the larger presence notes down to a whisper. One of the ways I have learned to enjoy these perfumes is to let that susurration in. Not to look for more but to enjoy what is there. For Allegresse it is tuberose and blackcurrant bud which are speaking at way below their usual levels.

In the opening it is that blackcurrant bud which arrives as a veil of green. It never gets to that sticky sappiness or the pungent fruitiness. It lilts with hints of those only underneath. Hyacinth comes along to provide the watery sense of a river. Petitgrain is the sparkle of sunlight off the tip of the wavelets. This is good at this lighter level. Instead of focused sunlight, in combination with the hyacinth this gives the abstraction of a flowing river. We finally find ourselves amid the tuberose. I expected the creamier aspects to be more prevalent. Yet Mme Laurent finds the subtlest green thread to resonate with the blackcurrant bud to bring this full circle.

Allegresse has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.

Every one of the transparent perfumes by Mme Laurent I have liked are the ones which have a subtle kinetic feel to them. I think it comes because the ingredients used find more interactions. She seems to be designing right at the line of great and good. Allegresse is another great transparent floral.

Disclosure: This review is based on samples supplied by Neiman-Marcus.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cartier V L’Heure Osee- Not as Punk as It Could Be

Of the exclusive lines at the designer brands I have held a minority view. I think the Cartier Les Heures de Parfum is the most artistic collection of them all. In-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent created eleven perfumes representing the hours on her thirteen numbered clockface. It has been six years since there was a release. Which had begun to make me wonder if the absence of five and nine had a grander meaning. I expected Mme Laurent to someday tell us why those two were never interpreted. Looks like my answer is she had been intending to complete her perfume clock after all. Cartier V L’Heure Osee takes care of one of those.

It is a surprising entry because it comes along with two other rose perfumes by Cartier and Mme Laurent. She says in the press release she wanted to explore the more empowering qualities of this ingredient. She calls L’Heure Osee her “punk rose”. I had all of that at the front of my mind when I received my sample. The artistry of the collection with an aggressive mosh pit rose. That is not what I got. I am not sure if calling this a “punk rose” does it any favors. As I became acquainted with it, I came around to my own rationalization of the description.

Mathilde Laurent

Of the many thigs punk rock stood for one of them was a return to the basics of early rock and roll. Fast songs done with guitars, drums, and maybe a keyboard. By the late 1970’s there were touring rock bands that had orchestras on stage. I hated that. It was not what I believed rock and roll to be. As the bands rose up it was this return to the basic structure of rock and roll which was what made me a punk. What it seems like L’Heure Osee is trying to do is also to return to the simple basics of making a rose perfume without becoming a simpering debutante version.

It is an exceedingly simple version of rose. Mme Laurent seemingly mixes some synthetic and essential oil versions of rose. There is a sturdiness to it which is usually lacking from most spring rose perfumes. There is some of that spicy core from the non-tea rose family. I think there is also a minimal amount of rose oxide which adds a subtle metallic edge. The green of the leaves around the blooms is also present but, in a perfume, labeled as a “punk rose” the thorns are missing.

L’Heure Osee has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

If my interpretation of “punk” as a return to basics is correct L’Heure Osee delivers on that. If this was meant to be a rose in fishnets and Doc Martens with a sneer; it is way wide of that mark. It is mostly an alternative to the typical blushing spring rose with something a bit more assertive on its mind.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample supplied by Neiman-Marcus.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cartier Les Epures de Parfum Pur Kinkan- Enveiled in Citrus

One of the choices I made when doing the Pierre Benard Challenge last month was citrus. I feel confident that it would have been in there no matter what. Contemporaneously I was trying a new perfume which almost guaranteed its inclusion; Cartier Les Epures de Parfum Pur Kinkan.

One of the most unheralded in-house perfumers is Cartier’s Mathilde Laurent. I know this because in talking with some different people seeking my opinion, I have mentioned her twice since the first of the year only to be met with, “Who?” She has done what every great in-house perfumer has done in imagining an aesthetic that fits the brand. She has done this at Cartier for over a decade. The collection called L’Heures de Parfum is as audaciously beautiful as anything else done by anyone else. I look forward to every new release from her.

Mathilde Laurent

Except when I received the press release prior to the samples arriving for her latest, I was a bit more wary. I was informed about a new collection Les Epures de Parfum. Their intent is to capture “the pure and simple”. I was further told Mme Laurent would be using a mixture of “natural ingredients” and “those originating from research”. All that read transparent to me. Cartier Carat was the first great example that transparent did not have to mean insipid. Pur Kinkan might be the example which allows me to believe it can be great.

There are three parts of Les Epures de Parfum; Pur Magnolia, Pur Muguet, and Pur Kinkan. All of them treat their keynote as fragrance which whispers to you as if you are only encountering them from a distance. Which is why Pur Kinkan captured my attention so thoroughly. It is the scent of sitting in the limbs of a citrus tree surrounded by fruit.

Kinkan is the Japanese word for kumquat. This is the citrus Mme Laurent is evoking. Because of the lightness of it all I never felt it was as focused as a single type of citrus. That might have to do with the types of ingredients she uses. I believe there are other citrus sources besides kumquat. When they are all pitched at this opacity it isn’t necessarily obvious that it is one specific one or another. Pur Kinkan is a citrus perfume of thin glass overlaid atop each other in a shade of citrus.

For the initial moments there is just a hint of the leaves of a citrus tree. I think this is a tiny bit of neroli or orange blossom. It gives way to the rind of the fruit. If you’ve ever used a grater to make any citrus zest for use in cooking this is what this stage of Pur Kinkan reminded me of. The character of citrus is given bite though its skin. The final stages find the pulp but not as if you are eating it. It is more reminiscent of the scent on your fingers after you have done that. It carries the tartness of the kumquat I remember from my youth.

Pur Kinkan has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

This is the first really transparent perfume to ensnare me fully. I have usually found them easy to dismiss. Pur Kinkan was the opposite. Mme Laurent wrapped me up in whispers of citrus until I was fully enveiled. Never have I been happier to be so swaddled in beauty.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Cartier.

Mark Behnke

Colognoisseur Best of 2018: Part 1- Overview


2018 was a year in which the perfume companies more firmly tuned their fragrances towards a younger generation. I tried 701 new perfume releases this past year. If there was one dominant trend it was towards transparent styles; especially in the mainstream sector. It also meant simpler constructs using three to five ingredients. The difficulty I had with this is the great majority of these perfumes fell apart with any scrutiny. Too often transparent minimalism could be summarized succinctly as insipid. Slightly more charitable it was a case of the Emperor’s New Clothes as the brands tried to sell more and more “nothing there” product. The best (worst?) example was the twenty-five releases, at one time, from clothing brand H&M. They didn’t even disguise their attempt to push out a wave of poorly made fragrance. It was a bad joke which made me wish I had only tried 676 new perfumes this year.

Transparent New Clothes for The Emperor

I have had some problems embracing the whole trend because I believe its success requires a very skilled perfumer. Proof of that would come early in the fall with the release of Cartier Carat as in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent produced a magnificently kinetic transparent floral. It would be followed by the McQueen Collection of soliflore-like constructions employing some of the best perfumers to show the potential of this style of perfume making.

Another emerging trend is the rise of gourmand style perfumes. This might be the last genre of fragrance which has not been terribly overexposed. It means it is fertile ground for brands to make a statement. It also is a style which adapts well to the transparency. Jovoy Remember Me by perfumer Cecile Zarokian was an audacious attempt to push the form forward. I think we will see a spectacular contemporary gourmand soon.

If the perceived banality of the mainstream releases was getting me down the independent perfumers were here to rescue me. They were ready to give me the jump start I needed to throw off my malaise.

Victor Wong of Zoologist Perfumes would oversee the funk of Hyrax with perfumer Sven Pritzkoleit and the prehistoric jungle fire of Tyrannosaurus Rex by perfumer Antonio Gardoni.

Nicole Miller of Blackbird sent out the skanky banana of Y06-S and the oddly compelling plum gourmand Anemone.

Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfume created The AI Series which was experimental perfumery of the highest order.

Hiram Green produced a birch tar overload in Hyde a complete opposite of the enticing tobacco and honey of Slowdive.

Of course, 2018 ended with the loss of one of the great independent perfumers, Vero Kern. As that happened, I was reminded of the old saying “when a door closes a window opens”. The window might be looking toward Turkish perfumer Omer Ipecki and his Pekji brand. Mr. Ipecki like Fr. Kern took years to perfect his perfumes before releasing them. He listened to his own artistic vision while displaying an independent swagger. I know I’m laying a large burden on Mr. Ipecki’s shoulders I am hopeful he will bear it with good humor.

If there was a disappointment it was from the niche brands. Many of them safely stayed within their well-trodden lanes. I feel somewhat churlish for saying this because there were many I liked, but very few of them tried anything different. As I looked back it seemed like too many of the brands found a successful space which they continued within. As I think will become apparent over the next two days there were few which stood out.

I still retain my excitement about perfume as it exists in 2018. As I reveal my Perfume, Perfumer, Creative Director and Brand of the Year tomorrow and the Top 25 new perfumes the day after these are the reasons why I feel that way.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cartier Carat- ROYGBIV


When you are a child, teachers provide all kinds of mnemonics, so you can remember things. One which has stuck with me for almost my entire life is the one used to remember the colors of the rainbow or a spectrum; ROYGBIV. That translates to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. Even though I learned it at six it helped when I was faced with the idea of infrared or ultraviolet at later age. It even helps when I want to get the layers of a rainbow cake in the correct order. I hadn’t thought to apply it to perfume until I received my sample of Cartier Carat.

Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent wanted to translate the colors of the refracted light through a diamond, the spectrum, into a perfume. She would go so far as to assign each ingredient a color. The easy one is violet for violet. The others are more interesting analogies; lily for indigo, hyacinth for blue, ylang-ylang for green, narcissus for yellow, honeysuckle for orange, and tulip for red. Mme Laurent doesn’t make a perfume of ROYGBIV hers is a creation VIBGYOR or an inverse spectrum. It is a much more dynamic perfume than even that implies.

Mathilde Laurent

Many of the large mass-market perfume companies have made a concerted effort to produce a transparent floral fragrance. This is done to capture the new young generation of fragrance enthusiasts. As I’ve observed this over the past couple of years there have been nicely constructed perfumes but the move to transparency has left me wanting for a richer complexity. Which does not seem to be what the mass-market desires. Mme Laurent puts that to rest because as much as Carat is a transparent floral it is also as intricately constructed a perfume as I could desire.

This rainbow comes together a few colors at a time. Right away there is a watery green accord of violet and lily. Mme Laurent uses both notes tilted towards the green facets. The next color is the unctuousness of ylang ylang. This is so precisely applied it never gets out of control while providing a spine for the rest of the spectrum to hang upon. Hyacinth and narcissus provide the deeper colors in this spectrum, A captivating honeysuckle and a recapitulation of watery floral with the tulip complete the spectrum. Here is where Carat stands apart. Just as you look at light being refracted through a diamond; as you turn it certain colors flare to life momentarily. That is how Carat spends its time on my skin developing as if I was rotating a precious jewel through a beam of light. A bit of narcissus transforms to honeysuckle to violet to ylang. It stays with the same seven ingredients but it sure as heck isn’t linear.

Carat has 10-12 hour longevity and average sillage.

Carat is a marvel for its kaleidoscope-like construction while retaining a transparent nature. Mme Laurent has reaffirmed my belief that she is the best of the current in-house perfumers. So many of her contemporaries have taken a swing at this to strikeout completely or hit an uninspiring single. Mme Laurent hits a rainbow arc of a home run to produce the best mainstream perfume of 2018.

Disclosure: This review is based on a sample provided by Cartier.

Mark Behnke

Flanker Round-Up: Cartier La Panthere Eau de Toilette and Dior Sauvage Eau de Parfum

When it comes to flankers one of the most common efforts is to go from eau de toilette to eau de parfum or vice versa. There have been two recent flankers which each went in either direction around a pillar for the respective designer brand. That they are overseen by two of the best in-house perfumers also makes them stand out.

Cartier La Panthere Eau de Toilette

The original Cartier La Panthere was released in 2014 as a gardenia chypre. Because it was mainstream the elements which might have given it bite were defanged a bit. It still was clearly a chypre after a floral opening which won it many admirers, including me. Now perfumer Mathilde Laurent really files down the panther’s fangs. For the Eau de Toilette it is all transparent sparkle.

Mme Laurent opens with a wispy gardenia given some points of light through bergamot. A set of white musks add even more opaqueness along with expansiveness. Then in place of the modern chypre a very light sandalwood takes its place.

It is hard not to see this Eau de Toilette version as a play for younger consumers who seem to want this style. I found it better than a cynical flanker as Mme Laurent does a significant re-work. It is not for me but if you found the original “too strong” this should be just right.

La Panthere Eau de Toilette has 6-8 hour longevity and average sillage.

Dior Sauvage Eau de Parfum

Dior Sauvage Eau de toilette was releases late in 2015. It is what I call a mainstream perfume for the man who only wants one bottle on his dresser. In-house perfumer Francois Demachy wrung out many of the greatest hits of masculine fragrance tropes into a single bottle. Despite all that Sauvage remains one of my guilty pleasures. It isn’t directed to a consumer like me, yet it still connected. If there was anything about the Eau de Toilette that I would’ve changed it was the slightly chaotic opening. In the Eau de Parfum M. Demachy meets my request.

Eau de Parfum opens with the same bergamot and Szechuan pepper but nutmeg and star anise smooth things out. This is the smoking jacket version of Sauvage as opposed to the Eau de Toilette’s jogging suit. From the opening the Eau de Parfum dovetails closely with the Eau de Toilette transitioning through the same safe accords finishing with Ambroxan.

The Eau de Parfum seems like a play for fans of the Eau de Toilette to add a second bottle to their dresser. It is seemingly meant to be a nighttime style of Sauvage. If you like the original I believe the Eau de Parfum will also be to your liking especially if you do want a slightly deeper version.

Suavage Eau de Parfum has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.

Both of these are better than average flankers worth seeking out on your next visit to the mall; especially if you liked the originals.

Disclosure: this review is based on samples provided by Cartier and Dior respectively.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cartier Declaration Parfum- Defining Stronger

One of Jean-Claude Ellena’s early landmark perfumes was 1998’s Cartier Declaration. It was a surprising retort to all the clean and fresh masculine perfumes of the day. M. Ellena created a top accord which many describe as “sweaty curry”. It was not clean or fresh but if it appealed it was something amazing. It was also a primer on themes which would reverberate throughout the remaining years of M. Ellena’s career. Declaration is one of the best releases in the entire Cartier line.

When I received my sample of the new Cartier Declaration Parfum I was not sure what to expect. The current Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent was going to make a more concentrated version of Declaration. It is a rare moment when I spray on a flanker wondering what will appear.

Mathilde Laurent

Mme Laurent’s choice was to accentuate the deeper bass tones of the original Declaration while stripping out the perspiration and the curry. She turns up the volume on the woods and adds in her own leather accord as her signature.

The original Declaration had a tight citrus flare before the spices arrived. Mme Laurent brings the spices out from the beginning, jettisoning the citrus entirely. This is a warm comforting spicy accord.  If the original is the dirty side of spice. Mme Laurent wraps you in a blanket of the snuggly side of spices. Cedar was the keynote in the original composition and it is present here but there are some balsams which again remove the cleaner edges of cedar softening and amplifying the woodiness in the overall heart accord. The leather accord in the base is the smell of a Cartier leather handbag. Amber is also present to keep things on the intimate side. Declaration Parfum smells rich in every meaning of the word.

Declaration Parfum has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

If you’re expecting Declaration Parfum to be a stronger version of Declaration you will have to define what you mean by that adjective. If by stronger you mean more spices and more sweat that is not what Mme Laurent delivers. If by stronger you mean lasts a long time and projects off the skin. It isn’t that either. It lives up to its Parfum description and wears closer to the skin the longer you have it on. If by stronger you also mean deeper then Declaration Parfum should be a winner. Mme Laurent has composed a perfume which epitomizes the Cartier sophistication and style. I’m not sure which version of stronger will be yours, but mine is the one which is in the bottle.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Saks Fifth Avenue.

Mark Behnke

Cartier 101- Five To Get You Started

It took Cartier a while to finally enter the fragrance game. Most of the other luxury brands had been in for decades before Cartier released their first in 1981. In those days, it was a place for perfumers Jean-Claude Ellena and Christine Nagel to refine their signature styles. It was a place where there were memorable perfumes but no coherence. That would arrive with the hiring of perfumer Mathilde Laurent in 2005. At first, she was exclusively creating bespoke perfume at the Paris boutique. It wouldn’t be until 2008 that she started releasing perfume under the brand. It has become so distinctive that Cartier fragrance can be divided into: “Before Laurent” and “After Laurent”. She has also created a style which she has described as using “wonderful ingredients and very few”. It has made this one of the more impressive collections in contemporary perfume. For this edition of Perfume 101 I am going to focus on the “After Laurent” phase of Cartier with five fragrances that introduce her style.

Mathilde Laurent

I’ll start with that very first release from 2008, Roadster. I was so sure I wasn’t going to like it because mint was listed as a focal point. Instead Mme Laurent uses the green herbal nature of the leaf which eventually combines with vetiver in a fresh way. Patchouli and woods are the other foci. It highlights Mme Laurent’s ability to find strength in transparency.

That quality would find its pinnacle in 2011’s Baiser Vole. Working with Domitille Michalon-Bertier an exquisite lily perfume was produced. They chose to surround lily with a top accord of watery green and a base accord of powder and vanilla. The lily snuggles in between to create one of my favorite lily perfumes.

Last year L’Envol de Cartier was released with the description of it being a “transparent Oriental”. That translates into a perfume which is like watching the expansion of a soap bubble coated in a microlayer of honey. It is so light in effect I dismissed it as a trifle when I first reviewed it. The more I wear it the more I have come to admire this honeyed bubble for that lightness.

At the beginning of this year the sequel to Baiser Vole was released; Baiser Fou. This is Mme Laurent showing her playful side as she wanted this to represent “lipstick kisses”. Except her lipstick was not the iris or rose of the cosmetic counter. Baiser Fou is the fruit scented lip gloss you apply with a wand. That accord is layered over cacao. It is a stolen kiss leaving a bit of scent in its wake.

Along with the commercial releases Mme Laurent has produced a luxury line for Cartier called “Les Heures de Parfum”. These are more like Cartier 202 style perfumes and not a good choice to introduce yourself to the brand. If there is one which I think is the best introduction it is Oud Radieux. It is because it is a fascinating taming of that fractious Middle Eastern ingredient, oud. Mme Laurent transforms it with ginger and Szechuan pepper. It adds bite from somewhere besides the oud.

I am short shrifting the work done for Cartier prior to Mme Laurent. If you’re of a mind Declaration, Must de Cartier and Le Baiser du Dragon are great examples of that time. For now catch up with the current house style with the five suggested above.

Disclosure: This review is based on bottles I purchased.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review Cartier Baiser Fou- Spin the Bottle

I had my first kiss at nine at a birthday party playing the kissing game, spin the bottle. I was very nervous as I spun the bottle and it landed on one of my classmates. In theory I sort of understood what I was supposed to do but as I leaned in to perform I wasn’t sure. I was focused on the shiny lip gloss on her lips and the faint smell of strawberry. When our lips met it was nice. As I pulled away and licked my lips the taste of strawberry lip gloss was there to let me know I had indeed kissed a girl and I liked it. Funny thing that grew out of that was I always enjoyed kissing girls who wore fruit scented lipstick. I hadn’t given that much thought until I tried the new Cartier Baiser Fou.

Mathilde Laurent

Perfumer Mathilde Laurent has been the in-house nose for Cartier for almost ten years. She has added a spirit of adventurousness to Cartier fragrance that was present previous to her tenure but is now much more assured. It is also a brand which shows that same ability for unique even in the mainstream releases. Last year’s L’Envol de Cartier or even the previous entry in the “Baiser” line Baiser Vole are good examples of Mme Laurent’s idea of what she envisions department store perfume can aspire to. Both of those fragrances I mentioned are like nothing else on those counters. Baiser Fou is another although it has some more familiar touchstones perhaps.

The press material says Baiser Fou, which translates to crazy kiss, is inspired by lipstick kisses. Most perfumes inspired by that go for that Coty lipstick iris/rose on beeswax accord. Mme Laurent’s lipstick kisses, like my early ones, are fruitier. There is a real sense of playfulness in this crazy kiss that is also quite appealing.

The opening of Baiser Fou is that subtle but distinct fruity accord. I believe there are at least a couple of different fruits as I seem to detect strawberry, cherry, and melon which seemed to me different every time I tested. What I like here is these fruits which could be obstreperous are applied with the feathered effect of a stolen kiss. It is this lightness which sets this fruity opening apart from thousands of others. Mme Laurent uses an orchid accord to provide the powdery lipstick itself. As the fruity notes settle on top of the orchid it is again held together like a gossamer wing. This fragility is a significant reason why I like this part of the development. The final piece of this is dusty cacao which is identified as “white chocolate” but it feels more like a rich cocoa powder to me. It is in keeping with the tone of what came before a delicately gourmand-y way to finish Baiser Fou.

Baiser Fou has 12-14 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

Mme Laurent is one of the most creative perfumers we currently have working. Everything about Baiser Fou is appealing as she continues working on these very delicate constructs as she did with L’Envol de Cartier last year. Baiser Fou is another like that. There might be the tendency for some to want to ask for more. I am happy with just a light but crazy kiss from someone as creative as Mme Laurent.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Cartier.

Mark Behnke

New Perfume Review L’Envol de Cartier- Too Transparent?

There are perfume brands which seem to mine their original creations incessantly with flanker after flanker. Cartier can easily be accused of this with the entire Declaration line. Ten flankers in the 18 years since Declaration’s original release. Eight years ago in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent tried to till some new ground with Roadster. I liked it but it seems others did not share my enthusiasm. So it was back to Declaration flankers. Now it seems Mme Laurent is ready to give it another try with L’Envol de Cartier.

L'Envol de Cartier is described as a “transparent Oriental” in the press release. Throughout that description the adjectives which bring to mind sheer are used. Surprisingly I didn’t find anything mentioning this was aimed at Millennials even though it is this transparency which seems to be the common thought amongst the brands that this group desires. That may just be my Baby Boomer curmudgeon surfacing. It is not like Mme Laurent hasn’t composed in this style previously. L’Envol de Cartier is kept light and airy until we get to the base which literally roots this.

mathilde laurent

Mathilde Laurent

L’Envol de Cartier opens with what is called a “transparent honey accord”. What that means is a very light presentation of honey is buoyed by some ozonic and airy notes. I feel like there is an aldehyde in here but this is so slight it is difficult to be sure. Bottom line this is like a very thin film of honey over a pane of glass with the sun shining through it. The airiness is added to with an application of the more expansive white musks which take that honey accord and mount it on an expanding soap bubble. After all of this it is a surprising contrast when a near full-throated patchouli provides the foundation. This is a classic dirty patchouli adding a vivid contrast to what came before.

L'Envol de Cartier has 8-10 hour longevity and moderate sillage.

On the days I wore this there was always a moment when I wanted something more. I like what Mme Laurent has done here. As it compares to many of the other transparent fragrances crossing my desk this is in the top tier of this style of perfume. I think it is going to be too transparent for some. I am probably in that category. I admire the effect and the skill necessary to achieve it. I just wish it connected with me more. I am very happy to see Cartier try something different. If this doesn’t succeed, please let Mme Laurent try again instead of doing another few Declaration flankers.

Disclosure: This review was based on a sample from Cartier.

Mark Behnke