January 2011: 30 posts

Cartier L’Heure Folle, Brilliante, Promise, Diaphane : Perfume Reviews

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Green leaves

As I smell many niche collections these days, I get a distinct feeling that the luxury is being channeled mainly through the price and elaborate packaging. I do not wish to single out Cartier; the same thing can be said about by Kilian, Armani Privé, Clive Christian, Xerjoff, etc, etc, etc. This is also not to imply that the fragrances launched under these brands are poorly made; in fact, sometimes it is quite the opposite. However, as the price of luxury rises higher and higher, I begin to wonder whether the fragrances truly justify it. After all, I am not wearing a pretty bottle, nor do I care about the esteemed brand name. The only thing that remains is the scent. As for Cartier Les Heures de Parfum scents, I enjoyed the incense of L’Heure Mystérieuse and fell hard for the introspective aura of L’Heure Fougueuse and liked L’Heure Brilliante. Yet, as I mentioned previously, I wish for more complexity in these compositions and fuller stories being developed around these strong ideas. As I finish testing Les Heures de Parfum, I am left with the surprising discovery that in comparison to many niche lines, Serge Lutens fragrances can seem like bargains!

I decided to review L’Heure Folle, L’Heure Brilliante, L’Heure Promise, and L’Heure Diaphane together, because they capture a similar bright, joyful sensation to me, despite being quite different in terms of their olfactory profiles. As such, it is very interesting to observe how different olfactory effects can be used to achieve a similar mood. They also give a very interesting insight into Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent’s style and her strong signature.

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Cartier IV L’Heure Fougueuse : Perfume Review

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Heures-de-parfumles

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

While I have not been particularly taken by Les Heures de Parfum overall, my resolve melted when I tried IV L’Heure Fougueuse. Unlike with other fragrances from the collection, I did not have to go back and forth for days, trying to decide how I really felt and why they disappointed or pleased; the moment I applied L’Heure Fougueuse on my skin, I immediately fell under its spell. A few jasmine petals among the green tendrils, a hint of tobacco smoke, an illusion of warm, salty skin… What do they evoke? Perhaps, the scents of leather gloves, which still hold the perfume of its wearer, of a vintage purse, or of an old book with dried flowers between its pages. At any rate, when a perfume allows me to indulge in fantasies, it wins a place in my heart.

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Jo Malone Tea Fragrance Blends : New Perfume Releases

Jomaloneassamgrapefruit

Jo Malone is launching a limited edition collection inspired by the British tradition of four o’clock tea. The collection created by perfumer Christine Nagel consists of five fragrances: Assam and Grapefruit, Earl Grey and Cucumber, Fresh Mint Leaf, Sweet Lemon, and Sweet Milk. The fragrances are designed to be layered, so if you can have a choice of whether to have your tea with lemon or with milk. The Tea Fragrance Blends will be available from March 2011, starting with the UK (they are also available through the select duty-free stores.)

Assam and Grapefruit includes notes of grapefruit, violet, rhubarb, rose, cardamom, patchouli, musk, almond.

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Cheap and Chic : Favorite Affordable, Inexpensive Fragrance

Moschino-Cheap-Chic ad

While perfume is a luxury item, the price may not necessarily reflect the quality of fragrance either within the mainstream or the niche brands. As I was testing Cartier Les Heures de Parfum and feeling shocked by the price sticker of $255 per 75ml, I began to wonder about affordable and good quality fragrances.

What is your favorite, reasonably priced fragrance? How do you find your perfume bargains?

My favorite reasonably priced fragrances include Bath & Body Works Cotton Blossom ($10.50, a lovely powdery orange blossom reminiscent of Rochas Tocade) and Velvet Tuberose (75ml $13.25, airy, creamy tuberose,) Sonoma Scent Studio Incense Pure (17ml $36, excellent smoky incense,) Crabtree & Evelyn Iris (30 ml $25, simple, but very elegant iris), Pacifica California Star Jasmine ($9 solid perfume, green, bright jasmine), Demeter Gin & Tonic (120ml $18.80, effervescent, green citrus with a hint of pepper.) Rochas Tocade is not necessarily cheap, but I recently got a 100ml bottle for about $30 on Amazon.com. Ebay.com can also be a great place to find perfumes at bargain prices, but buyer beware, not everything sold there is authentic.

The best fragrance bargain I have come across was a bottle of Shalimar EDP at the garage sale for $5.  Alas, it was the first and only time…

Image: Moschino Cheap & Chic ad (I love its tongue-in-cheek, flamboyant quality)

Cartier Les Heures de Parfum Review : La Treizieme Heure, Mysterieuse, Defendue

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Les-heures-de-parfum-cartier

The deterioration of perfume’s luxury status has resulted in some new marketing strategies on the part of high-end brands. The most obvious one has been to create niche lines within the main range that are distinguished from their commercial offerings both by the elaborate nature of packaging and the impressive prices: Chanel Les Exclusifs, Hermès Hermessence, Guerlain L’Art et la Matière, Giorgio Armani Privé, Cartier Les Heures de Parfum, and Christian Dior La Collection. Cartier Les Heures de Parfum first launched in 2009 with five fragrances (L’Heure Promise, L’Heure Brilliante, L’Heure Folle, L’Heure Mystérieuse, La Treiziéme Heure,) and this year, the collection was expanded to include three more (L’Heure Defendue, L’Heure Fougueuse, L’Heure Diaphane.) As I have been testing my way through Dior La Collection, I decided to revisit Les Heures de Parfum as well.

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