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.