Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
A lily that flirts with vanilla, Cartier Baiser Volé took me by surprise. After experiencing the pretty, but overly timid Cartier de Lune, I expected that Baiser Volé would fit its name, which means “stolen kiss” in French, by possessing a delicate and fleeting character. I was right about delicate, but fleeting and limpid it is not. For all of its soft and caressing presence, it has a distinctive and vivid character. While its start is sparkling and bright, Baiser Volé becomes warmer and richer as it develops, turning from a gauzy veil to a comforting cashmere wrap.
The first few minutes of Baiser Volé lead one to expect a crisp floral à la Christian Dior J’Adore or Estée Lauder Pleasures, given the crunchy green notes that introduce the main accord. As soon as the floral layers unfold, the neon radiance is left behind and Baiser Volé becomes lush and velvety. The lily is the main impression, but as I wear Baiser Volé, I find that it oscillates between a rose and a gardenia, with the illusion of lily occurring along the way. This kaleidoscopic effect is miles away from the nondescript acrylic florals one finds in most fragrances today. The play on sensations is as much an interesting part of experiencing Baiser Volé as its refined character.
I like all of the parts of the journey on which Baiser Volé takes me, but the vanilla accented drydown is especially appealing. It has the comforting “silk slip” quality of fragrances like Love, Chloé or Guerlain Cruel Gardénia. The floral petals have melted by now, leaving on your skin the warmth of musk, honey and candied almond. The sweetness is tempered by the green notes, and the character of Baiser Volé at this stage is elegant and suave, rather than gourmand or heavy. Compared to most lily compositions, it is perhaps closer to the abstract flowers of Hermès Vanille Galante than to the sumptuous richness of Serge Lutens Un Lys or Donna Karan Gold. Either way, it is another great discovery for floral lovers who want something different in their bouquets.
Cartier Baiser Volé includes watery notes, green leafy notes, floral accord, lily, vanilla, and powdery notes. It is now available from Cartier boutiques, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks5thAvenue. 1.6oz, $100; 3.3oz, $145.
Sample: Cartier PR