It wasn’t until Monday afternoon that I realized it was the first of March. March always sneaks up on me. This year January and February lasted approximately nine years. But that FAIL post on Monday was fun, eh? I think everyone emerged in good spirits.
Today I’m blogging about Cartier Les Heures (I)- L’Heure Promise, which is the iris one, which has been criticized (not inaccurately) as wearing lightly, somewhat like Prada Infusion d’Iris, and if that bores you – just please stick around just for this tangential pre-review part of the discussion and then I’ll unlock the door.
The Prada Infusion d’Iris and Narciso Rodriquez EDT were two scents I could not smell, and by could not smell I mean: as far as I was concerned, that NR bottle had water in it. The IdI I could smell, sort of – just enough to snicker and wonder who would pay good money for it. It was so … nothing-y.
But I ran into a couple of recurring problems. First off, “Narciso Rodriguez!” was frequently the answer I received when I asked somebody what nice fragrance they were wearing. Granted, at that point there were already at least three variations, the oil, the EDP and the EDT, but they were all the same to me – water. So apparently I could smell it on other people. Maybe twice a month for a year (or two) I’d try NR on in the store and shrug – nothing. I joked with a few of the SAs about its lack of aroma, and you could tell they thought I was nuts. And then … I could smell it. And I loved it. I added it to my wallpaper list. I bought a full bottle (and paid retail! Can you imagine!?) And now, almost a year after that, as unlikely as it sounds, there are times when NR EDT can be … a bit much, with that orange blossom/synthetic haze, like somebody stepping on the guitar amp pedal too aggressively.
Infusion d’Iris I also kept smelling around me, and I recognized it – it’s distinctive, and a popular scent in my city, being discreet and rather staid. I also became, over a year or two, increasingly sensitized to its smell. It’s never overpowering, and it has a charming way of fading and reappearing. The only reason I don’t own a bottle yet is that somehow I keep winding up with free samples.
So my thoughtful, learned question is: what the hell? If you expose your nose often enough to something you’re anosmic to, can you “learn” to smell it? If you can learn to smell something, can you unlearn it? Why should my brain start to perceive these scents after many, many attempts? Has this ever happened to you? I recall seeing somewhere (I think it was in comments on a Grain de Musc post) that some folks layer Les Nez L’Antimatià¨re on top of other fragrances, even though they can’t smell it at all, because they enjoy its reflected glow. (Didn’t Isabelle Doyen do it? So it can’t just be some cheap trick like Iso E Super, can it?) They can perceive it only in juxtaposition to something else. I really need to dig out my sample, at the time it seemed very Emperor’s-new-clothes to me.
So. Cartier L’Heure Promise has notes of petitgrain, fresh herbs, iris, sandalwood and musk. It’s pretty quiet, as I said, a la Infusion d’Iris, and if you can’t smell that, well, likely you can’t smell this one either. However, if you can smell it, and you have a bit of patience, it’s a treat. The petitgrain, with that citrus/baby aspirin smell, magnifies the spicy/rooty qualities of the iris. Unlike some iris scents, it is entirely free of both powder and that sharp/metallic aspect that I find offputting. And then! The sandalwood! Okay, fine, I got interested in sandalwood at a laughably bad time, right after all the cheap n’ glorious Mysore stuff disappeared and I guess from here on out it’s either Australian or chemical fakery with a big TM symbol after it, like SANDALIDE or what have you (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) In Promise, it takes a few minutes for the sandalwood to start to emerge, and no, it’s not going to bring you to your knees weeping in astonishment. However. The scent’s constructed in a way I love, with the two parts – the iris and the sandalwood – appearing alternately, like two actors popping on and off the stage, one chasing after the other. It does another Prada Infusion thing – it’s often easier to detect in the air around me than sniffing the spot I sprayed it on, and the entire scent will seem to disappear completely for ten or twenty minutes, and then – whoosh! – it’s back. It doesn’t have quite the tenacity of IdI – and no, that’s not a joke, if you can smell it, really, it’s quite tenacious, and on fabric it lasts for days. If I put Promise on in the early evening, which I’ve been enjoying doing (it’s rather meditative and soothing), I can still smell it the next morning.
So here’s a final happy aspect of L’Heure Promise – iris and sandalwood as a combination. Or, looked at another way, a sandalwood that has not been contaminated infested tainted by paired up with rose. The soft sweetness of the sandalwood with the dry, woody iris? A match made in heaven. This made me almost as happy as … sandalfig. I think I’m going to dig up some samples of iris and try them out over some sandalwood. 28 La Pausa over Tam Dao? Sounds plausible to me.
PS. Crap, I keep forgetting my sources: decant of this one, private sample. Yeah, I know — big help!