So many eaux, so little temps. Though Cartier released Eau de Cartier way back in 2001, I’ve just tried it — along with the new Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange. Cartier fragrances have never wowed me (I’ve only owned one: 1981’s Santos…and that was a gift), so I was hoping Eau de Cartier, and especially Essence d’Orange (I’m an orange fiend), would be “bright spots” in the Cartier perfume line-up.
Eau de Cartier Eau de Toilette
yuzu, bergamot, violet leaves and flowers, musk, lavender, cedarwood, patchouli, amber
Eau de Cartier opens with a burst of wonderful yuzu “juice,” violet leaf (diffuse and watery) and, if you pay close attention, lavender (more herbal than floral) with a hint of licorice. Eau de Cartier has an indistinct, vaguely sweet, floral-talc dry-down with only a touch of musk and a clear, slightly salty, amber note; this is a very light fragrance with minimal sillage.
I tested Eau de Cartier at three retail outlets; only the Nordstrom tester was fresh (newly opened, just for me) and that's the bottle I used to write this review. At my local Sephora (where perfumes are displayed on hot shelves beneath lights so strong brain surgery could be performed under them), Eau de Cartier had a bitter-maple vibe: the scent of “off” immortelle. (I also noticed a “sour straw”/scorched butterscotch note in the third bottle I tried — displayed in full sunshine!)
Eau de Cartier started its “life” marketed to women; it’s now sold as a unisex fragrance, but it does smell more feminine than masculine to my nose.
Eau de Cartier Essence d'Orange Eau de Toilette
orange, bergamot, violet flowers, acacia, cedarwood, patchouli
Essence d’Orange starts with a smooth, opaque orange aroma (not the juicy, tangy orange accord I was hoping for); the soft, “pastel” orange note blends nicely with a quiet violet accord (acacia is not distinct to me). In mid-development, Essence d’Orange has an “orange-flavored-baby-aspirin” scent, and any cedar/patchouli is diluted to the point of invisibility…one thinks…till an orange-tinged amber emerges late in Essence d’Orange’s development and intensifies on skin. This patchouli-rich, powdery amber accord makes Essence d’Orange more of a fall-winter scent than a spring-summer fragrance.
I love powdery aromas. I enjoy the scents of: incense ash; rich, gooey amber turned to dust; dry sandalwood; pungent citrus juice and peel reduced to talc. What I don’t like are “polite,” “beige,” sheer (and ever-so-tasteful) powder aromas that smell like make-up. Unfortunately — for me — Eau de Cartier and Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange fall into this “scented-cosmetics” category.
Eau de Cartier was developed by perfumer Christine Nagel, and is $55/85 (50/100 ml); Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange is $85 (100 ml).