Despite dire prognoses that perfumery is dying and that “there is nothing good anymore”, this year brought a number of fragrances I was happy to discover, namely, Azzedine Alaia, Galop d’Hermès and L‘Envol de Cartier. I point out these three perfumes in particular, because I not only liked them, I wore them so much that they now can be called staples. That all three are easily available from the department store is a bonus point. I’ve reviewed Alaia and Galop here, while my discussion of L’Envol de Cartier appears in my FT column, Fragrance Inspired by Flight.
“The idea of a fragrance inspired by flight has two iconic precedents, both from the 1930s. Caron’s marvellous orange chypre En Avion was dedicated to the first women pilots such as Hélène Boucher and Amelia Earhart, while Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit paid homage to the writer and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. These are fitting associations because flight is key to understanding fragrance – perfume takes off in the air the moment the liquid touches the skin. Perfumers control the effects of their compositions by using materials of different volatilities – citrus and green notes soar in an instant; musks and woods are slower to become airborne.
But the science of olfaction aside, another reason perfumers, like many other artists, are attracted by the idea of flight is the combination of courage, daring and genius. It might seem impossible to capture such an abstract concept in a blend of aromatics, but it is precisely that which makes the task so appealing. Certainly, for perfumer Mathilde Laurent, the in-house nose at Cartier, this intellectual challenge was the highlight of months of work on new perfume L’Envol de Cartier. To continue reading, please click here.”
One observation I want to add to my review is that while L’Envol was designed as a masculine fragrance, it can be shared. I like the bracing opening, while the warm drydown of woods and honey is an elegant–and lingering–finish.