Cartier Les Heures – final three

timeOkay, I promise, no more deeply personal and downer posts for a while.

Let’s finish up with the Cartier Les Heures.  I am very much relishing these as an artistic theme.  It allows me to overlay my own interpretation within the framework Mathilde Laurent has set out.

There are only five of the thirteen released right now, available at Saks in NYC for about $250 for a 75 ml bottle.  Do we need to even complain anymore about the exclusivity and the price? No, it’s the standard complaint that nobody is listening to, so just insert that boilerplate bitching in here.

VI, L’Heure Brilliante (the shining hour) is an “aldehydic cocktail,” with a lemon, lime and gin accord.  It’s pretty much the Happy Hour perfume.  Happy, bubbling laughing just a little too loud sometimes, but not so much that it raises eyebrows.   And then it quiets down into a cozy conversation with a man who has admired her for ages, with soft, trilling giggles and  sighs of contentment.  You know, that vaguely sounds like a happy ending, and it is, but not that kind. The one where things do turn out okay, even if it’s not the way you want.

I, L’Heure Promise (the promised hour) has notes of green iris, petitgrain, fresh herbs, sandalwood and musk.  A stunning iris scent.  This scent is so very much about spring and earth, with some carroty notes on the open and then it relaxes into that smoothed-out iris that wears like a perfectly tailored pair of suede gloves.  For those of you that like your irises incredibly silky, but not as sweet as some like Guerlain Iris Ganache,  not as rooty as, say, Iris Silver Mist,  or leaning heavily on woods, this is a great camel that threaded the iris needle.  Is it beautifully rendered on me  with no touch of melancholy, just hope unblemished by reality.

XIII, La Treizieme Heure (the 13th hour) has notes of leather, mate tea, birch tar, narcissus, bergamot, patchouli and vanilla.  This just chugs patchouli-infused smoke on the open, like you were sitting on the back of an old locomotive.  Of course you all know I mean that in the good way.  The tea, tar and narcissus fuse together to give this smoke fullness and interest, but it doesn’t feel as heavy as Le Labo Patchouli 24 or Bvlgari Black.  Can I just say that VII and VIII are amazing together?  Yes, pretty sure that I could.  This, along with XII, will absolutely be the best-sellers of the five released so far.  Partly because they are done beautifully, but also because they are perfect for winter – when we all like to fanny about trailing smoke and incense like Cathedrals on the Orient Express.

Now, how does this collection compare to the Van Cleef & Arpels, which is another very cohesive collection released this year?  They just have different themes and approach.  As a set, at least those released so far, they adhere to their theme very cohesively. The VCA CA’s are set around nature and do an excellent job of showcasing some beautifully rendered florals.  Cartier LH revolves around distinct periods and has a pretty wide latitude to interpret what the hours of the clock means for you.  The five I have smelled, while all very differen, mesh well together, and  several can sit next to each other happily and make an even more beautiful and complex scent.

Like Monday, we’ll do comment entries for another set of samples of these. I’ll announce the winners of the two sets next Tuesday!

  • Futami says:

    if it’s not too late please enter me in the drawing. I’d love to test drive the iris one.

  • veuve amiot says:

    Never mind the ‘fumes, I WANT THAT CLOCK. Is it real or just some photoshop wonder? I could just imagine that sitting on my wall!

    Actually, scratch that: the iris one has my interest. Aldehydes and patch, OTOH, don’t play nice with me.

  • Mikael says:

    All of these sound wonderful, especially the XIII. I’d love to be entered in the draw.

  • Musette says:

    Sitting here in the hospital, trying not to do the whole Shirley McLain thing. God bless wireless!

    These sound wonderful! Draw me, bay-bee!

    ps. are they @ Cartier?

  • Karen G says:

    Oh boy, these sound good. Even though I’ve still not found an iris I love as much as 28 La Pausa, L’Heure Promise sounds *promising*. Thanks for putting me in the draw!

  • therabbitsflower says:

    XII and XIII are the two I’m most excited to try.

    I’d love to be entered in the drawing!

  • Stef says:

    These sound amazing, I love the way you’ve created an image to pair with scents. VI sounds really lovely.

    I’d love to try these out 🙂

  • maidenbliss says:

    The clock is the bomb! I want to be entered in the draw, too. As time ticks away I’ll be dreaming of these gorgeous scents.

    Thank you!!

  • Bev says:

    These sound magnificent……OMG, iris, patchouli and other delicious scents. Please enter me in the draw.

  • Samantha says:

    If I’m not to late I’d also like to be entered, La Treizieme Heure sounds like my dream combination of notes…all my favorite things! Happy (almost) Halloween everyone!

  • Gail S says:

    If it’s not too late, I’d love to be entered in the draw, the 13th hr one sounds totally perfect!

  • Roberto C says:

    Wow!!! XIII sounds really promising, I’d love to try these! Please enter me in the draw.

  • Parfymerad says:

    I’ve been longing to try these, & would love to be put in the draw. Don’t often comment here but have enjoyed the last few posts even more than usual, especially the one about clothes/perfume – thanks for the fun!

  • Sue says:

    Grr to the high costs on these, though at least they all seem well thought out and interesting, and I do love the bottle design. Please enter me in the draw.

    PS Thank you again for the first post on these, Patty, and your kind words for my family. *HUGS again*

    • Sue says:

      Why does my gravatar look like a deranged Groucho Marx? Eh well, guess it fits for Halloween! ;))

  • karin says:

    With all of these “exclusive” lines being released that include numerous scents, I’m curious how this trend came about. What was the motivation behind producing multiple scents in large bottles at outrageous price points? Are they targeted to the uber-rich client who will want to own a Hermes or Chanel “wardrobe” of exclusive scents at $200 or $250 a pop? I suppose it gives the wealthy guy something to give his wife (and vice versa) every Valentine’s, anniversary, birthday, “just because”, etc., until all bottles are owned. This seems like the most likely incentive to me…as opposed to developing multiple scents under the same brand but without any connection between them (customers would be less likely to purchase all scents if they’re not marketed as a “set” or a “collection”). Wow. I wonder if it’s working.

  • Connie says:

    XIII sounds gorgeous … and right up my alley.

    Please enter me in the drawing, thank you!

  • london says:

    I’m looking forward to the cocktail hour tonight… I am very curious to try these and would love to be entered in the draw. Thank you.

  • hvs says:

    please enter me in the drawing. would love to try, thanks…

  • Klara says:

    Please enter me in the draw, I would love to try these!

  • Jane says:

    So so many of my favourite things in these. Appetite of course is wet by your enticements Patty. Please sign me in and thanks for the chance to try!

  • mariekel says:

    Ohhh baby! leather and birch tar! sign me up for the drawing!

    And, listen, doll, yesterday’s post was not a downer. It made some of think about the imponderable, which, while difficult, is a necessary condition of life. It also made this sometime melancholic perfumista have a few moments of appreciating my mom just a little bit more.

  • anna says:

    i have always searched for a perfect true-life iris scent, but Hermes Hiris was just powder on me, and the same effect I got from Prada’s creation as well. I really would love to try I 🙂 Please consider me for a draw

  • Sara K says:

    Please enter me! Another iris scent would be lovely, and 13 sounds intriguing.

  • 2scents says:

    I’ve never said out loud that I was “lemming” something but this entry and that iris description brought it on; I also want to sniff that new VC&A Bois d’Iris. So yes, drawing, I would be thrilled!

  • Neens says:

    Love to be in the draw. XIII calling my name.

  • birdwingwhir says:

    Darn it, these scents sound lovely. I couldn’t really afford to buy a bottle if I fell in love with one, but man do I want to smell them now.

    Please enter me in the draw!

  • Liza says:

    Love the notes for VI! Could do me a glass of champagne right about now … :d

    Count me in for the draw, thanks!

  • Leslie says:

    I love the ‘insert the boilerplate’. Please enter me in the draw.

  • hongkongmom says:


    NEED,NEED,NEED [-o< #:-s,#:-s,#:-s ?

  • Cheryl says:

    I’m just glad there are still perfumes to be thrilled about. I was fearing the worse with the new regulations on what compounds can go into new fragrances. These sound beautiful AND complex.
    Please enter me in the draw.

  • DinaC says:

    L’Heure Promise sounds so lovely! I’m a big fan of iris, and that one sounds like a great one. Definitely throw my name into the hat for the drawing. Thanks!

  • Maha says:

    Sounds so interesting. Please enter me in the drawing!

  • Dawn says:

    Would love to try these! Love your reviews.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Better late than never – I couldn’t get this to load all day, but it was worth it when it finally worked!

    You write so beautifully and amusingly that I (and I’m sure everyone else) find the blog to be a must-read, regardless of the topic. Thank you.

    This iris scent sounds a delight. Roman numerals are a doddle when you studied Latin as a schoolgirl, so that is an advantage! I’d be delighted to be in the draw, please.

  • Fernando says:

    These do sound very good, ridiculously priced as they are. What is a perfume lover that’s not rich to do??? At least I can ask to be entered in the draw, I guess.

  • Tiara says:

    Oh yes, please enter me in this drawing as well.

    Reviews which include an English translation of the name are always appreciated by the way.

  • Tara C says:

    No need to enter me in the drawing, just wanted to comment – I could barely smell L’Heure Promise, must be anosmic to something in there. L’Heure Brillante, on the other hand, was very present and persistent GREEN. Didn’t really get patchouli from XIII, it was straight-up Lapsang Souchon smoked tea for an hour and then it dried down to something quietly vegetal. I would like XII if it didn’t start out with a fecal note that put me off.

    • carmencanada says:

      Tara, I seem to have trouble with L’Heure Promise (the iris-sandalwood one) too. Mathilde Laurent said I might have a low threshold of habituation to iris, which would make me stop smelling it quickly. And, like you, I find L’Heure Brillante (the citrus one) extremely green: Mathilde said it was both things, “green” and “citrus”.
      I’ve been living with L’Heure Mystérieuse (the patchouli one) for three days now and I see what you mean but I find it more dark than fecal. And the drydown is not a million miles away from Guet-Apens. I’m quite smitten by that and La Treizième Heure but I find more complexity to it than you do. All in all a masterful collection.

      • carter says:

        Wait…now I’m confused. I thought that Treizieme (XIII) was the “patchouli infused smoke” one…:-

        • carter says:

          Question mark guy has definitely left the premises.

        • carmencanada says:

          Carter, both scents have patchouli, but to me XII L’Heure Mystérieuse is more predominantly patchouli (with incense, jasmine sambac, and a musk-amber base), while XIII La Treizième Heure is built around smoke, narcissus and leather: patchouli, to my perception (and in Mathilde’s explanations) plays less of a starring role.

  • Gretchen says:

    Please put my name in the drawing. I’m sure this Cartier collection will be the cause of much scent-splitting.

  • kathleen says:

    They sound goooood. Please enter me in the draw.

  • sara says:

    I would LOVE to try these! Please enter me in the drawing! Thanks

  • annie says:

    I,also LOVE to hear your rants,along with your raves,and info on all kinds of goodies…like perfumes,each one of you is unique,and really interesting…most of all,I want Nava’s job,and next,I lust to lay down,in the dirt and all,in the middle of Lee’s garden…close my eyes,and just breathe deeply….heaven!…oh,yes,of course,please enter me in the draw/:)…carry on perfumistas…..:x

  • GalileosDaughter says:

    I’ve been wanting to try these ever since I first read about them. Please enter me in the drawing!

  • MichelleH says:

    Sign me up please. 13 scents sounds like a big collection to me….is it?

  • Claudia says:

    They all sound great – enter me in the draw, please.

  • aubrey says:

    I love the VCA’s, so I am fairly sure that these will be right up my alley (but oh gosh, the price tag!)

    Is saks doing a sample set, btw? If not, winning it here will probably be my only option. At the cost per ml, I’m not sure I could ever justify the price enough to buy decants, even to sample on skin…

  • EileenS says:

    Hmm.. more facts = more confusion. If the XIII is a patchouli fest, then maybe I’m more interested in Les Mysterieuse (what is that, XII? My poor brain isn’t going to do well with the Roman numbering system..). Luckily, this is all theoretical for the next while between the price and the exclusivity :-w

  • MsAnon says:

    Oh wow. Into the drawing for me too, please!

  • Nancy says:

    :-\” Cha ching and budda bing! Still I would want to have a coffer of these and would love to be in the drawing. These and the Arpel’s have me spinning. Thank you.

  • Joe says:

    Oh yes, I’d love to be in this draw. I can’t remember where, but very recently I read a comment from someone who said that XIII is unbelievably good. I can have issues with smoke, but it’s got me curious. Gawd knows I will never be likely to buy it at that price, though. :d

  • Pantera Lilly says:

    Please put me in your draw, I would love to test drive these babies! Thanks Patty, and btw I love your morose posts and your happy posts too!

  • Nina Z. says:

    I’d love to read more personal (even “downer”) posts. And I’d love to try these fragrances, too. So there!

  • Christine L. says:

    I tried the VC&A’s and while I did think that they were pretty I didn’t want to actually wear any of them. I did like trying them, though.
    I’d love to be entered into the draw.

  • Masha says:

    Wow! I want to be a cathedral on the Orient Express! Especially since I’m currently at home, nursing a child with swine flu….
    Thanks for the great reviews, please enter me in the drawing!

  • carmencanada says:

    No need to enter me, sweetie: just writing to say I’m glad you’re enjoying these as much as I am. As far as comparing them to the VC&A, I think that now that I’ve smelled the Cartiers, the VC&A pale in comparison — lovely scents, but from different authors and so much less consistent that the Cartiers, where you can really feel a mind and a style at work.
    I also find it interesting that not one of those Cartiers is gendered: “feminine” and “masculine” seem to be outside their frame of reference.

  • Gisela says:

    “…camel that threaded the iris needle.” -Great! Love your blog!

  • zeram1 says:

    Hi, please enter me in the drawing as well. Wow, the iris-based one sounds fantastic.

  • Alica says:

    I am not giving up! Please enter me in the drawin for the samples. Thank you.

  • #ric says:

    Man, I would love to try these? An Iris? Lime and gin? =o

    However, I can’t even fathom getting together that much money for a bottle. Maybe they’ll change my mind but ouch. Just… ouch.

    Please enter me in the drawing!

  • Francesca says:

    I love that clock, too!

  • Papergirl says:

    Current obsessions: iris perfumes, smoky perfumes. Please enter me in the drawing!

  • Laura M says:

    Please throw me into the contest as well. L’Heure Promise sounds divine.

    I think your bummer post went over quite well! No worries!

  • hyenas says:

    That is one beautiful clock. And review. 🙂

    Please enter me in the draw. Thanks!

  • Mindy says:

    Can you tell me about the clock in the pic.? I have forbidden myself to buy perfume for at least the next 3 months so it would sooth my soul to win some.

  • Natalie says:

    I’ve already gushed over the XIII, so I’ll just sit quietly and wish reeeaaally hard for that sample draw — and until Tuesday, at least, my hope will remain unblemished by reality (love that line, by the way)!

  • ScentRed says:

    Mmmm. L’Heure Promise is calling my name. Although many of the scents sound memorable, I find the naming convention more than a little confusing. Maybe it’s just me – had a very long, tiring day. Even writing this I had to scroll up asking “what the heck was the iris one called again?”

    Thank you for the eloquent reviews. Please throw my hat in the ring.

  • carter says:

    Lemming XIII, beeg time. Le Labo is just too heavy on the birch tar for me, but this one sounds just right. Really good patchouli is one of those things that for some reason stirs an insatiable craving in me (Habit Rouge extrait being a case in point) =p~ and leather is my favorite note in fragrance (hello Jolie Madame and Bandit). I am practically guzzling my vintage Scandal at this point, like a drunk on a lost weekend. Sombrero me, por favor <):).

  • sweetlife says:

    Oh, my. Just when I thought I was done trying new things. Please put me in the draw, Patty!