Mainstream Monday: Cartier’s La Panthere

La Panthere 1I’m a little late to the La Panthere party, but here goes. When I first read about this on NST, I thought, “Oh, that looks interesting,” and then sort of forgot about it. But not for long, as I count myself a pretty decent Cartier fangirl, and La Panthere kept pinging at the back of my perfumista brain (no doubt because of the love I had for the original Panthere from the ‘80s). So when a sweet perfume pal sent me a dab vial, I dove in. Mmmm … delightful and quite promising. But how is it sprayed, I asked myself. Very soon afterward, when I happened upon the bottles in a Neiman’s store display, my eyes lit up. I spritzed generously from the tester and begged my favorite SA to dig me up a spray sample to take with me.

It’s in the fruity-floral family, no doubt about that. I’ve heard the word “chypre” bandied about, but these days I’m really not sure, although I can see how this might hint in that direction. La Panthere strikes me with an elegant, almost retro vibe to it; this wouldn’t have been at all out of place in the ‘70s or ‘80s. This is one classy cat.

La Panthere 2So simplistic as it may be, here’s my not-a-perfume reviewer take: La Panthere opens with a slightly fruity tang but not too sweet and stays fairly dry) and then melds with the gardenia as it sweeps in on a creamy breeze. Then it gently segues into the musky, slightly mossy drydown, which is quite nice. Some people mention getting leather in this, and others note something a little dirty, but I really don’t get that. On my skin it was a lovely, elegant medley of fruit, petals and just a whisper of musky fur. Victoria over at boisdejasmin called it a tamed panther, and I rather agree. Although I must admit that I’m envious of those whose skin significantly amps the mossy drydown more than mine did.

La Panthere gets major props for sillage and longevity.

I’m not sure exactly what it is, there is something highly addictive about this scent as a whole that keeps me coming back for more. I’ve almost drained two samples, and have worn it exclusively on successive days, which is saying a lot for me. I’m eyeing that 1-ounce bottle at Nordstrom or on the Cartier site itself, although I doubt I’ll pull the trigger; I rarely seem able to buy a FB anymore for some reason. But that’s for another post.

(Although after I began writing this post, I did find the cutest little 15ml spray, which is probably about the closest I will come to a FB. But that and a sample or two for my purse, and I’ll be a pretty happy camper.)

La Panthere joins a select few fragrances that I think of as grown-up, classy mainstream offerings, including the Bottega Veneta line, Reem Acra, and of course, Cartier’s own Baiser Vole: sophisticated, beautiful scents all, with gorgeous packaging to boot.

Notes (from Fragrantica): rhubarb, strawberries, dried fruit, apple, apricot, gardenia, musks, oak moss

Have any of you tried this, and if so, what did you think of it? What are your favorite Cartier scents?

  • Mrs. Honey says:

    I definitely did get the leather. That is from the oakmoss. I smell leather in vintage Mitsouko, too. I found it fruity but grown up.

    • Ann says:

      That’s a good way to put it, fruity but grown-up. Glad to hear you got some leather out of it, which probably helps to offset the sweetness. Wish I had gotten a bit of it, though.

  • Carla Kaiser says:

    Hi, I got a sample on Friday at the Nordstrom Spring Fragrance festival. I’ve never been a big fan of Cartier, and really didn’t want the sample, but the rep shoved it at me, so I was like. Okay. And I had zero expectations for this scent. But now I must say I am thinking about buying a big bottle. It kinda does smell like the 80’s, and I agree that it smells like a classy lady perfume, but I also think there’s something sexy about it. Without being too obvious. I think it’s a winner. I like it.

    • Ann says:

      Oh, that’s great, Carla! Sometimes the most unlikely of scents will just wow you out of the blue. I’m glad you like it, and I agree that it’s classy and a bit sexy, too. And that bottle is lovely, isn’t it?

  • I haven’t gotten around to trying this yet, but I want to, even if only because the bottle design is cool. 🙂 And I like Bottega Veneta and Reem Acra (found a RA gift set with 90ml EDP, shower gel and lotion for a great price at Marshall’s recently), so I’m hopeful. I have Baiser Vole EDT, but while the scent is nice, it’s a bit too light and delicate for my taste, so I will probably be putting it up for swap when Swapmania comes around.

    • Ann says:

      Hey there, Jennifer! Wow — is Reem Acra already at the discounters? But I guess it has been out for a while now. That’s a great score, though! BTW, have you tried the other Baiser Vole forms (extrait or essence)? Think they might have more oomph.

  • Tiara says:

    Good reminder for me — I thought I’d added this to my try list but it wasn’t there. I’ve been wearing either Bombay Bling or Shanghai Lily almost every day. And happily I might add but the need to shake things up will appear soon I’m sure. I think the only Cartier I’ve tried that I liked was Baiser Volé. Declaration was just OK as was Eau de Cartier. If I tried any of the others, I can’t remember which says something in itself.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Tiara! Mmmm … you smell great in your Bombay Bling and Shanghai Lily! I’d be pretty happy with those in the regular rotation. Let us know what you think when you do try the Panthere.

  • rosarita says:

    Hi, Ann! This sounds nice… I confess that I haven’t smelled a Cartier that really speaks to me. I’ve been searching for a floral that I like and have given Baiser Vole a good try – I can appreciate it but it’s just not that into me, y’know? I’m beginning to think florals in general aren’t really for me. Nice to see you this morning 🙂

    • Ann says:

      Lovely to see you as well, dear! Do try this when you can, but its floral heart comes with an appetizer of fruit, so not sure it will be to your liking; still, you never know … I liked the first Baiser Vole (EDP) fine, but really cottoned more to the later iterations of it (the essence and the extrait). They might be worth a try; if I remember correctly, you like lily, and those seem to amp it more (to me, at least).

  • zazie says:

    Hi Ann, to me la panthère was the usual mainstream “let down”.
    It has happened many times before: I read promising reviews here there and everywhere, I admire the work of the nose, I rejoice at the “mainstream” attribute: any perfume shop will have a tester and samples at hand…but when the actual testing begins I ask myself: “what’s wrong with me? what is everybody talking about? Chypre? feline? animalic?where?”.
    La panthère to my nose is a “fruity floral”, un point c’est tout. Not interesting, not pleasant (except maybe at the beginning), not memorable… a mish mash of sweet fruits, odd smelling flowers, and a base to make a queasy stomach. This definition applies to almost every perfume on the maistream (and many niche) perfume counters!
    I’m glad others have liked la panthère more than I did: paying a reasonable price for a juice that doesn’t require jumping through hoops is nice. really nice. envy…. 😉

    • Ann says:

      So glad you stopped by, Zazie. I’m sorry to hear that the Panthere did not sit well with you, but I see your point. As I mentioned in the post, I didn’t really get all the impressions that other people have gotten either. I’m just happy to find a scent now and again that on my skin is a cut above and smells somewhat classy . I hope you can find something in the mainstream to love sometime, although I know it’s not easy these days.

  • Portia says:

    Um, not a perfume reviewer take? That looked like a star spangled review if ever I read one.
    MMMMMMM La Panthere sounds like I might give it a go.
    Portia xx

    • Ann says:

      Howdy, Portia! Thanks — you are sweet, but I’ve never thought of myself as a perfume reviewer. I don’t parse out notes very well and am not good at creating the wonderful, evocative scent stories that you guys do so well. I’m just the fragrance-lovin’ chatty Cathy girl-next-door 🙂 and that’s OK. I hope you try La Panthere soon; as much as you enjoyed Reem Acra, I feel certain you will like this one, at least a little.

  • jilliecat says:

    I’ve really got to get me some Panthere to try!

    My favourite Cartier up to now is So Pretty – it really is pretty, like a prettier, softer, peachier Nahema, and I miss it.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Jilliecat — so nice to see you! Do give the Panthere a go and see what you think. I need to re-try So Pretty, as I haven’t smelled it in ages. And I’ve never tried Nahema, so I’ve definitely got some sniffing to do. 🙂