Cartier de Lune : Perfume Review


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

Cartier de Lune is the first big feminine launch for Cartier since the release of Délices de Cartier in 2006 and Mathilde Laurent’s first contribution to the prestige side of Cartier (she has already explored quite successfully the niche market with Les Heures de Parfum collection.) It is a bright, fresh floral composition promising luminosity and softness.

The initial impression of Cartier de Lune is that of sparkling pink pepper and green leafy notes set against a rose dominated floral accord. The sheer modern floral notes have a very clean and bright effect—which is often called petally by perfumers. While the rose is the strongest impression, the floral accord is quite well-blended and multifaceted, reflecting lily of the valley and freesia one moment, and violet and jasmine the next. Framed simultaneously by a strong green ivy leaf note as well as by the effervescence of aldehydes, the whole composition retains its promise of luminosity and airiness. This fresh, soft feeling is maintained in the light musky-woody drydown.

Cartier de Lune is all about subtle touches, which is a marked break from the opulent oriental Cartier past (Must de Cartier, Le Baiser du Dragon, and even Délices de Cartier). Its refined prettiness and delicate sillage of sheer rose petals and clean musk are not likely to provoke strong feelings. This is precisely my main qualm with the fragrance: it does not stray beyond the commercial safety zone. While undeniably well-made, it is so smooth and soft spoken that it does not leave a strong memory. Cartier de Lune occupies the same radiant fresh floral territory as Estée Lauder Pleasures, Christian Dior J’Adore and other fresh commercial florals. As such, it has tough competition. I miss the novelty and the tension that Laurent has thus far infused in her other Cartier creations as well as her strong signature, whether she is rendering the sheer allure of peony in VIII L’Heure Diaphane or the austerity of woods in Roadster. Therefore, for a brand with its own in-house perfumer to not push the envelope a bit more on its big feminine release feels like a missed opportunity.

Cartier de Lune (fragrance family: floral) includes notes of pink pepper, juniper berries, honeysuckle, wild rose, cyclamen, bindweed (morning glory,) lily of the valley, musk, and woods. It is now available from Cartier boutiques, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Saks5thAvenue.

Sample source: Cartier



  • Carla: I read this because I admire Laurent. As I read, I was thinking it sounded like Pleasures, and then I saw your mention of Pleasures! I own Pleasures and J’Adore and really enjoy them both when weather or mood requires. I don’t think I need any more fresh florals. January 13, 2011 at 8:35am Reply

  • Jeanine: I love your reviews, so objective and detailed! I can smell the perfume in my mind as I read them. It actually sounds like something my sister would love. I also don’t like my florals too sheer, but she is always looking for a very understated fragrance. She likes rose, but only when it is very sheer. Not like Paris or Tresor. Her birthday is coming up, so I might have to check it out. Thanks! January 13, 2011 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Marina: Yes, very safe and soft-spoken. One wonders how well it will do for a major release. January 13, 2011 at 8:21am Reply

  • Victoria: It is different from them in that Cartier de Lune is much softer, almost a modern aldehydic rose. The other two are more abstract florals, sharper. But the impression overall is fresh and luminous. Granted, there are so many fragrances in this genre that it is difficult to see how to make it new. Smells like it could do well commercially.

    I am a big fan of Mathilde Laurent's work. I loved her work for Guerlain as well as for Les Heures de Parfum collection. January 13, 2011 at 8:44am Reply

  • Victoria: It has that delicate prettiness about it that does not polarize. I would suppose that it might do well. January 13, 2011 at 8:54am Reply

  • Olfactoria: It will probably do well commercially. Do you prefer it over Pleasures? I am very interested in trying the Les Heures, I will probably skip this one. Thank you for the review, V. January 13, 2011 at 9:21am Reply

  • Victoria: B, anyone who likes fresh, delicate florals will enjoy it. I prefer Pleasures in this genre, because it has a very distinctive character. Cartier de Lune is very limpid and pale next to it, but given that it is positioned as delicate and soft, it is successful as such.
    Les Heures is a nice collection, and I like a few from it. January 13, 2011 at 9:28am Reply

  • dee: When I first heard about this one, I was excited, because it meant that I would (financially) have access to something new from Laurent… but as soon as I saw photos of the bottle, but hopes were dashed. My first thought was of the Hermes Jardin series, which are nice, but not for me. “Looks like Water!” rang through my head.

    I like my florals on the voluptuous side! January 13, 2011 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, this is definitely not targeted for those who like their florals dark and unconventional. 🙂 All in all, it has nice elements to it, fusing a modern fresh floral and a classical aldehydic accord, but in the end, its presence is too polite and too soft spoken for me. January 13, 2011 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: Jeanine, thank you, I try!
    If your sister likes subtle, sheer fragrances, it will be something to consider for her. I am sure that this perfume will find its fans. January 13, 2011 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Vintage Lady: I haven’t tried it yet. but the name and bottle are truly beautiful. January 13, 2011 at 3:25pm Reply

  • Victoria: I like the bottle too, which feels very heavy and feels nice with its sharp faceted sides (and the stopper has a crescent moon on it.) Cartier packaging and bottles have always been among my favorites. I  wish I liked the fragrance more, because the bottle is very lovely! January 13, 2011 at 3:31pm Reply

  • Flora: What? Bindweed?! That is completely without aroma. I wonder if they mean the night-blooming moonflower? I can’t imagine why the company would think that “bindweed” is an enticing description! January 14, 2011 at 4:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: D, I have no idea why they used bindweed as a note. I had to look it up, and it is a morning glory family. Morning glory certainly sounds better than bindweed to me. January 14, 2011 at 5:37pm Reply

  • Lily: V, would you say this could be a decent office scent or is it distinctly lacking in character, despite all its bindweed glory?

    I fear I’m over-wearing Hiris, yet hesitant to ‘ruin’ any of my other favourites by associating them with the office! Silly, really. January 25, 2011 at 1:58am Reply

  • Victoria: Lily, yes, it would definitely make a great office scent. It is very understated, sheer. I find it to be a pretty, even if not very distinctive, sheer, fresh rose with some green notes. January 25, 2011 at 8:40am Reply

  • Nlb: This smells exactly like the fragrance used to scent “White Rain” shampoo. Not a bad thing, if you have good memories associated with it. I think “Fragrances of Ireland” did a better job with their interpretation of a “night water garden” impression with “Inis Moonlight”. It’s subtle, has that same combo that’s slightly reminiscent of early 90’s scents but it’s sheer and distinctive. Overall, might not be everyone’s thing, but if this is the sort of scent someone is going for, “Inis Moonlight” is a better alternative to “De Lune”. June 8, 2011 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Capucine: You really nailed this one! It is sparkling, though noone seems to notice, and developes as you have said. I usually prefer stronger perfumes, but I actually like this Cartier a lot! Your reviews are absolutely delicious! October 20, 2011 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: I'm so glad that the review was helpful. Sparkling and airy is just right! It is a pretty fragrance. October 21, 2011 at 6:03am Reply

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