L’Heure Vertueuse III by Cartier

verteuseThis is III – the Third Hour.  As  I write this, there is a CD of birdsong in the background (my nerves are shot – ‘real’ music is out of the question).  Normally I think of gentle gardens (this is a backyard birdsong disc – pretty banal)…but I am wearing Cartier L’Heure Vertueuse III, Mathilde Laurent’s most recent addition to Cartier Les Heures..and all I can think of is one of those SyFy movies with the Giant Snake.  Or Jurassic Park.

That’s not a bad thing.  Truly.  The reason those come to mind is the intense, almost primordial GREEN that Vertueuse conjures.  Mme Laurent says this about the scent:

It is the time for rebirth, enlivened by the cheerful goodness of wild herbs. A moment of well-being for the body and soul, which are soothed by the playful greenness (absinthe) of this miraculous antidote with plant notes of rosemary, myrtle, thyme, verbena and lavender that calm the spirit. “All herbs, aromatic, wild and medicinal, even lavender, even absinthe, as fresh as the moment they were picked.”

Well, let me tell you, I get ‘wild’, that’s for sure.   I certainly don’t get  ‘cheerful goodness’  or ‘herbs’ – but I think I know why:  when I think of herbs I think of carefully planted and tended knot gardens.    This?  This is a possibly poisonous variety of prehistoric lavender that is crouched under the leaves of a highly aromatic Gunnera Manicata the size of your average gas station.  And it’s just rained and the rivulets of rainwater, picking up the aroma of the leaves, has a narcotic, absinthe tinge…the people under the leaves gather small amounts of the tinged rainwater to use in their rituals.  Carefully administered, it will invoke the gods.  Careless application ends in death.

And there is a snake.   Oh, yes.  And he is big. SyFy big.  King Kong Big.   If he’s recently fed he’ll just scare all the hair off your head.  If he’s recently fed.  If not….


Can I tell you just how insanely HAPPY this makes me?  Oh, it does.  Charming (Promise), Urbane (Brillante), even a touch foreboding (Mysteriuese) , all the previous Les Heures, are beautiful. But they have felt like  Cartier, finely-crafted perfumes, obviously created in a structured environment by a creative and cultured perfumer.   Like they belong in the lovely, urbane Cartier boutiques.   This one?  It’s as if Mme. Laurent said ______ , then loosed herself from her cultivated chains and let herself run buck-wild!  Obviously she kept her disciplined, structured mind intact – this is every bit as ‘crafted’ as the others –  but there’s something completely different at the core of this one, as if she totally embraced the primordial/primeval nugget that still holds a tiny place in all of us.  I sniff this and envision her in a clearing, deep in a primeval rainforest, crafting this in a teakwood bowl at the beginning of our time on this planet.   I don’t know how to explain the green, when there is so much lavender – but it smells like the lavender is being stomped on by the green (this is good.  I am not a fan of a strong lavender note).

And yes, those snakes are there.  But she doesn’t fear them, nor they her.  They are her servants and her friends.  This one is off-the-chain weird.  And oh, SO fabulous!

I don’t think I could wear this all that often – I certainly couldn’t wear it at work or in polite society.  But I . Must. Have. It.  Even if I only wear it in the privacy of my own garden, on alternate Tuesdays, when my Tardis takes me back 2000 years.    It makes my mind spin, makes me want to climb a tree and ululate at the top of my lungs.  Dance around like a dervish.  Smear plant sap in my hair and on my face and chew betel nuts and throw aromatic branches on a smoldering fire and breathe the hallucinogenic smoke until I see visions of the rainforest gods and maybe tie some buff young warrior to a tree.   May I just say?  I’m happy as hell I didn’t sniff this in front of James at my Cartier boutique.  I would never be able to live it down.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go float around the room some more, maybe smear something green on my face…gunnera.wait for my people to bring me that buff young warrior…(Mme Laurent is going to take out a restraining order against me, isn’t she?)


Notes are : absinthe, rosemary, mastic, thyme, verbena and lavender (cribbed from Cartier.com and fragrantica)  Available at Cartier boutiques 75/ml $260.    My sample came from a generous friend who is cackling evilly, knowing I am going to have to get this!


FragrantWitch February 9, 2013

You are amazing Musette! At the end your review I an damn disappointed that I am in yoga pants in drizzly England instead of a wild verdant forest filled with primeval memory. Cartier is usually just a bit too done for me but this, this, I MUST SNIFF. Thank you! xx

Teri February 9, 2013

Ooooh ooooh ooooh There's long been a secret wish in my heart for a Jurassic Green perfume. This sounds like it just might qualify. Of course it costs the earth, but most dreams-come-true do.

Lori L February 8, 2013

Thanks for the review and now you have me wanting this right now! I've been a fan of the line and XIII is my favorite! :-)

malsnano86 February 8, 2013

Another wonderful review full of the word pictures you paint so spectacularly, dear! Bookworm, just now heading off to school (two hour delay due to last night's freezing rain/snow mix), poked her head in and wanted to know what was making me cackle like a delighted witch. I tend to avoid lavender because it gives me such stonking horrible headaches - sure, it smells fine, but I just. can't. do it. - and I usually need some flowers in with my greenies. But I think I really must try this one. If I love it and have to have a bottle, it will be your fault!

Liz K February 8, 2013

How can anyone resist now? Based on the listed notes I would never even give this one a chance but since I am a gardener (I spend my weekends looking like a sweaty, stringy haired swamp witch), I will now have to give it a sniff. I agree that this is a gorgeous piece of writing and an absolutely wonderful review. PS. If we find the beautiful cleaner may I borrow for a bit? Mine is an older model and seems to have broken down on the sofa and I can't get him running again. Also, I need a lawn boy. I will trim trees and shovel manure but I draw the line at lawn care.

Ann February 8, 2013

Darling M, what a gorgeous, evocative review! Just lovely!

Martha February 8, 2013

So tell us how you REALLY feel about it. I am going to have to smell this stuff somehow, somewhere. Your review definitely has me interested.

karin February 8, 2013

What a fun review!!! Can't wait to try this. I'm a Mathilde Laurent fangirl, too. She's awesome. Thanks, A!

Selina February 8, 2013

Sold! After a review like that i'm definitely trying that one! :-D

dinazad February 8, 2013

OHHHHH, JUST what I like! An a good reason to go traipsing down to the local dispenser of perfumey goods for a sniff next week. Could I have a buff young cleaner instead of the warrior, please? I like to combine the pleasant with the practical..... But herbs in carefully tended knot gardens? Giggle...... herbs are anarchic by nature. Not quite as bad as pumpkins or blackberries, but they do try, in their own small way. Give them time and they'll take over your yard. I garden in flowerpots and last year's lemon balm managed to strangle all neigboring growth without even leaving its pot!

Tom February 8, 2013

When my nose stops running like it owes me money I'm heading straight to Cartier to test this. I will blame you if I have to sell a kidney to get it. :-)

Ninara Poll February 8, 2013

*gives up and adds another lemming to her Big Ol' List of Desired SAmples* I'll take what Musette's having, with an extra dose of buff warrior ties to a tree ;) NP

Jan Last February 8, 2013

You know, this may be right up my drainpipe.

tammy February 8, 2013

I read King Kong Big as King Kong Bong. Which made the review even more interesting! :P I'll take a young buff warrior to go, please.

HemlockSillage February 8, 2013

Dibs on Race Bannon to hack through the primordial jungle, preferably shirtless, when I try this! Certainly after reading this, I will hunt it down. You have a way with words, dear lady. I read your posts aloud to my mom while we were spending interminable hours in the hospital with her sister. Bless you for the laugh. I won't curse you terribly for creating yet another lemming. Confession is good for the soul; I caved and ordered Siovohle samples after your Anubis post. I have not tried Anubis YET. First I had to wear Centennial, for which you and Mals created a huge lemming just as it was discontinued (it's back), and for a green floral loving gal, it is gorgeous. Then I had to wear Underworld to go see Warm Bodies :D I'll get around to Anubis. . .and then the Cartier III. I think I've told you before, some perfume company should snag you to write their ad copy, and craft their back stories. Your writing could sell sand in the Sahara. Be well.

Nina Z February 8, 2013

Anita, this is wonderful writing! So vivid and evocative. So full of life and energy and passion. I say this as a writer, not a perfumista. (Though, of course, as a perfumista, I have to say that I now really want to try this perfume.)

Cat Schultz February 8, 2013

Mmmm.... I love absinthe!! It sounds like anise, herbaceous, earthy goodness in a bottle. I am adding this to my list of "must try's"

Angelique Campbell February 8, 2013

"Carefully administered, it will invoke the gods. Careless application ends in death" One of the most beautifully crafted scent sentences I've ever read. .