Monday, March 07, 2011

Fragrance of the Moment

The newest 2011 launch by Cartier was composed by in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, the illustrious nose who had created my current favorite fragrance, Cartier Les Heures de Parfum L'Heure Mystérieuse. She's a great, versatile perfumer, able to create beauty in a myriad of styles, but all with her elegant, nuanced, luxurious signature. If you're a clean Floral lover, this is an extremely lovely and light, translucent-yet-creamy skin scent-type Floral, along the lines of Bvlgari pour Femme but sweeter, more citrusy (or, more precisely, like lemon tea) and for me, more wearable (but if you love classic violets with your roses, go for the Bvlgari).

Actually, the resemblance in style to Bvlgari pour Femme was an afterthought; my initial reaction to it was that it reminded me of numerous fragrances with names that often escape me, but they all have the same new synthetic soapy-citrusy high-pitched floral note. I think I've smelled it in Thierry Mugler Cologne, Narciso Rodriguez Essence, a pleasant Japanese Cherry Blossom scrub I once bought from a niche boutique - I might describe this note as somewhat green and maybe salty (?), a new type of aldehyde to use in a nouveau Aldehydic Floral blend (the soapy, creamy ones that smell sort of like Nivea skin cream, only without oakmoss) like Essence, or as more of a pronounced soliflore as in TM Cologne. I think Sarah Jessica Parker Covet and one (or some) of the Issey Miyake scents contained this note as well. Cartier de Lune incorporates this note but it is not at all a soapy scent nor retro-smelling powdery Aldehydic Floral, and it doesn't register as being very Green, even if notes such as honeysuckle and muguet suggest it could be classified as such. It's a subtly green and fresh, rose-hearted Woody Floral, which, now that I think of it, might resemble Zirh Ikon even more so than Bvlgari pour Femme. Fresh Mukki and Penhaligon's Castile also come to mind, but Cartier de Lune is softer, rounder, less sharp and soapy, a closet romantic with the most floralcy of them all. De Lune ends on a light skin musk note, reminiscent of Marc Jacobs but in a more subtle way.

I love the soft yet fresh opening of this scent, but the dry down is also wonderful, a sweet, sunkissed honeyed rose, dewy and luminous, in full bloom but controlled in sillage and absolutely poised, excellent for the office or any important daytime meeting. As far as truly professional scents go, there are two that I'd recommend for you to try the next time you swing by a department store or a Sephora: Chanel Chance (the classiest patchouli-based nouveau Floral Chypre in existence) and Cartier de Lune, an ultra-sophisticated yet functional, clean Floral. Chance is the sweeter (fruity), more aqueous of the two, but you can't go wrong with either one. My only caveat is that de Lune is so dutifully well-mannered that it can bore me after a while. I hesitate to commit to a full bottle, although it smells like something I should own, like a career ensemble, but de Lune impresses me as a great achievement in making that synth floral soap note delicious-smelling with the right accompaniment, the effect unlike that of Nivea skin cream but of milky rice husk, translucent and smooth, a gentle moonlight.