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.
There is an interesting tension in L’Heure Fougueuse, which is created through the striking mossy-smoky accord set against a luminous layer of citrus and floral notes. If the initial impression of sparkling bergamot and lemon might lead one to expect a light and effervescent composition, the distant timbre of earthy vetiver and salty leather grounds the composition and lends it an alluring duskiness. The unique dry-green note of yerba mate, which Laurent weaves into many of her creations, is set into an intricate herbal accord with a distinctive leathery note. It is not the leather of a tanned hide like Robert Piguet Bandit, nor is it the smoky note of Chanel Cuir de Russie. Instead, it is the hay and horse mane scent that is present in flowers like narcissus and jasmine. While it is not a subtle touch in L’Heure Fougueuse, it is balanced out so well that this animalic, rough note actually lends a startling beauty to the perfume.
Developed by Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent for Les Heures de Parfum collection, L’Heure Fougueuse exemplifies her strong signature and ability to create unusual and memorable accords that are nevertheless very elegant. Laurent’s intimate knowledge of grand parfums is evident in the composition; its development recalls the introspective beauty of Guerlain Sous Le Vent. Unlike other fragrances from Les Heures de Parfum, L’Heure Fougueuse is more than just an original accord, however. While it is thoroughly modern, it is marked by a wonderful complexity that reminds me of fragrances of the past. It has a great, sophisticated sillage, and as a little black dress perfume, it is an excellent choice. That being said, it is androgynous enough to suit men, especially those who enjoy the understated elegance of fragrances like Christian Dior Eau Sauvage and d’Orsay Etiquette Bleue. Is $255 for 75ml far too much to pay? Probably yes, but L’Heure Fougueuse weaves a fantasy that tempts me sufficiently.
For another ode to L’Heure Fougueuse, please see Anita’s review on Perfume Posse. As always, Anita pin points what makes a perfume sing to her and does so with her wonderful sense of humor.
IV L’Heure Fougueuse includes notes of bergamot, magnolia, lavender, horsetail, maté, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, coumarin. Les Heures de Parfum fragrances are available at Cartier boutiques and Saks Fifth Avenue in the US.
Reviews of the entire Les Heures de Parfum collection: I L’Heure Promise :: IV L’Heure Fougueuse :: VI L’Heure Brilliante :: VII L’Heure Deféndue :: VIII L’Heure Diaphane :: X L’Heure Folle :: XXII L’Heure Mystérieuse :: XXIII La Treiziéme Heure
Sample: 4ml sample from Cartier.