I remember smelling Cartier Déclaration when it was released almost 15 years ago. I didn’t like it one bit: “too dirty.” What smelled “unclean” to my nose back in 1998, today smells almost fresh, and not because of reformulation, but because so many of my perfume dislikes turned to likes over the years.
I must have been in the minority back in 1998 when Déclaration Eau de Toilette was released because it’s been successful and spawned flanker after flanker. At this moment, there are four Déclaration formulas for sale.
Original Déclaration Eau de Toilette
Original Déclaration Eau de Toilette was developed by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena and includes notes of birch, bergamot, bitter orange, juniper, artemisia, cardamom, cedar, vetiver and oakmoss. Déclaration Eau de Toilette goes on strong with bitter orange (bigarade) and perhaps a touch of sour artemisia. I smell cumin, cedar and cardamom. (The citrus peel aromas in Déclaration are “raunchy,” even more ‘sweaty’ than grapefruit.) Frederic Malle’s Cologne Bigarade (also developed by Ellena) is similar to Déclaration Eau de Toilette: both are pungent and veer toward aromas of a spicy food stall in the tropics — India comes to mind.
Déclaration Eau de Toilette’s spices intensify, darken and dry as the perfume wears down and this is the phase where, I’m betting, “haters” of Déclaration develop and shout out: “EW! Someone needs a bath!” I was once in that contingent, but that was long ago. I enjoy wearing Déclaration Eau de Toilette and could care less if people smelling it on me think I’ve had a hard day…for that hard day was spent wrapped in the wonderful aromas of strong citrus and spice.
Déclaration Eau de Toilette’s notes are rather “food-y;” there’s an interesting vinegar-y scent in the dry-down that reminds me of mango pickles and also an unusual sourdough/beer note in mid-development. The extreme dry down of Déclaration Eau de Toilette is mostly “funk-free,” with warm, sweet-ish citrus-cedar notes coming to the fore.
Déclaration Eau de Toilette has great lasting power and good sillage; it’s available in 30-200 ml ($50-145).
Déclaration Cologne (Eau de Toilette strength) was developed by perfumer Mathilde Laurent and launched in 2010. Déclaration Cologne’s notes include bergamot, orange, ginger, cedar and vetiver.
Déclaration Cologne “cleans up” the Déclaration formula, eliminating the spicy-food notes and all traces of ”sweat.” Déclaration Cologne starts with juicy and delicious-smelling orange peel aromas; what spices are present are “sheer,” effervescent, and well blended. Déclaration Cologne goes through its paces quickly. If you get the fragrance on fabric it lasts a long time; on skin only, it fades within an hour. After its opening citrus burns off, the overall character of Déclaration Cologne is similar to the base notes of original Déclaration Eau de Toilette.
Déclaration Cologne is a “classic” citrus-wood fragrance and if you know someone who loves his sports fragrances, wean him from the predictable ozone/menthol stuff and buy him Déclaration Cologne instead. Though it’s not "new" in any way, Déclaration Cologne smells great.
Déclaration Cologne is $80 for 100 ml.
Cartier Déclaration Essence Eau de Toilette
Déclaration Essence was launched in 2001 and Cartier lists notes of cedar, birch, amber, cistus labdanum and immortelle. The bitter orange and spicy funkiness of original Déclaration are present but toned down a notch, not amplified as “Essence” would imply. There’s a heavy dose of cedar-birch in the amber blend and a note that reminds me of dry lime. If Déclaration is “too much” for you, and Déclaration Cologne “too little”…Déclaration Essence may be just right.
Déclaration Essence has good tenacity and sillage; $105 for 100 ml.
Tomorrow: a review of the new Déclaration d’un Soir.