Cartier Les Heures: Diaphane, Brilliante and Oud & Musc

So the other day I tried and was none too impressed with Cartier Panthere, finding it a rather weak kitty. Almost to a commentator people wrote that yeah, this one wasn’t great, but the Les Heures were the bomb. So StC has apparently all 63 of them, but in the interest of my short attention span and shorter bank balance I chose three that I hope are representative. Now of course some of these were covered by Patty back in the day and I will refer to her reviews, linking.

Diaphane I chose, like Patty because I liked the name. Also like Patty I didn’t check the notes before clicking “send”: rose, leechee (eeeeee!!!) and peony. I have to write that this one really surprised me. I loved it. It’s a perfect blend of slightly peppery peony and creamy rose with just enough litchi to make me spell it correctly. In someone else’s hand this could have been a Pink Sugar-level disaster but this is as smooth and sheer as a voile summer dress. Would I wear it?  Sure, if I was in a bad mood and needed a lift, if the weather was truly crummy and I needed a shot of perfect springtime, or I was going to be photographed by the ghost of David Hamilton. In that voile dress.

Brilliante is the girl in the diaphanous gown after her David Hamilton experience. She’s a little harder-edged and a little more out for fun. Patty mentions lemon, lime, gin (so far so good) and aldehydes and I get some clove and even some caramel in there. It still reads young: like our young Miss, appalled by the suggestions of Hamilton and his Hasselblad, decided to show the world how bad she could be when she really spit on her hands and dug in: Grabbing her mother’s most shocking Schiaparelli, dousing herself in My Sin, and incarnadining her lips with Victory Red, she sidles up to he bar, orders a gin rickey or two and start on her way as a femme fatale. But, like that vampette, Brilliante has a core of innocence in it’s charming floral heart. Again, I probably need it like I need a floor-length gown with dueling sequined lobsters embroidered on the bodice but I applaud it’s loveliness.

Oud & Musc I chose for obvious reasons. It’s oud and it’s musk, two accords that get an almost Pavlovian response from me. They are also notes that, singly and together a lot of other people have done, and I have to write, done well. So how does this one stack up? Really very well. It’s still ref-ay-ned in that Cartier way- there are no rough edges here. The oud is polished to a sheen and the musk beast has been shampooed and taught which fork to use, but there’s enough beast in here to make me go “squueeee.” Just not enough for me to plunk down $355 for a bottle. If I had PowerLooto winnings, sure it would be on the list. But I would be raiding Uncle Serge, Caron, and Guerlain in Paris, black Amex clenched in my teef and begging to open the vaults before I’d be logging onto the N-M website to purchase.

Oud & Musc is $355 for 75ML, while Diaphane and Brilliante are $280 for the same size. My samples were from Surrender to Chance.

Have you tried these? Others in the “Heures” line? Please share in the comments.

Photos: my iPhone, Pexels, and Wikimedia Commons

  • March says:

    I’m so glad you tried these out! I honestly can’t remember which is my favorite — I can’t keep the names straight in French. I enjoyed trying them but was grateful I didn’t feel compelled to buy one.

    • Tom says:

      Well Cinnamon brutally forced me to order a sample of 4, so we will see how that works out. I also ordered some new PG samples.

      Next week I am talking about Truman Capote and his Swans. Light on the perfume but heavy on the dirt!

      • March says:

        Ooooh, can’t wait! I’m familiar with the general outline of the scandal.

        • Tom says:

          Well you will read perhaps mor that you need to- including how Tru filched the idea of the Black and White ball.

          I do kind of wonder what ‘fumes those ladies wore..

  • Musette says:

    Mme Laurent is my idol.

    That being said, not all of the Heures work for me – but Brilliante? Hooo yus! Those gin-soaked aldehydes are right up my alley. Full bottle, sitting in all its Cartier splendor.
    I loved Fougeuse but it made my nose itch.
    I have several of them in Cartier sample form (and they do samples gorgeously) – the carnation one is lovely! The really incense-y one (Trezieme?) … eh… but that’s because I’m not a fan of incense.

  • Tara C says:

    The only one I truly love is No. 7, a chocolatey patchouli iris.

  • Dina C. says:

    Diaphane is the one I think I sampled and swooned for in the past. Love peony, and this one is gorge. The sales guy was obviously gagging to make a commission, and flattered my pathetic suburban mom self extensively, but my budget did not (and still doesn’t) stretch to these kind of fancy pants purchases. However, STC is a wonderful thing, and thing is going right on my next order! Brilliant sounds pretty fine, too. (I’ve got the vintage My Sin locked and loaded!) Thanks for the reviews, Tom!

  • alityke says:

    I haven’t tried this line from Cartier. As a house I like their classics but newer releases? Meh so I don’t bother anymore

  • cinnamon says:

    I’m surprised l’heure 4 hasn’t been mentioned yet. It might be of interest. Supposed to smell of horse tack: leather, hay, sweat, among other things. I’m only lucky enough to own it because Anita gifted a partial bottle a while ago. I love this and agree with Portia that Laurent has aced these. And the presentation is gorgeous.

  • Portia says:

    LOVE the Les Heures line tom.
    Have collected quite a few of them, and Jin is mad for #6. Mathilde Laurent feels like she makes perfumes to fit my taste on about an 80/20 ratio. that makes me want to try EVERYTHING she makes. #2 is my super fave.
    Portia xx

  • Maya says:

    I tried the Les Heures (2 maybe) some time ago for the same reason that you tried them. I’m too lazy to look up which ones but I know that they didn’t impress me. Cartier is not a house for me.
    Now Pierre Guillaume Paris is another matter altogether. Except for vintage Guerlain, I have never found a house where I like and love so many of their perfumes. I think you may feel that way about Uncle Serge. Isn’t it wonderful!

    • Tom says:

      I love Pierre Guillaume- I just haven’t written about him in a while. I think he’s kind of hard to find here. But he is super talented (and good looking too!)

    • Portia says:

      Hey Maya,
      I’m also mad for PG. Somehow I fell off his new release sample list and as we don’t have a retailer here in Oz any more he just falls off my radar.
      Thanks for the reminder,
      Portia xx

      • Tom says:

        Doesn’t it seem like overload sometimes with the amount of new stuff that gets released? I mean, I’ve got stuff to do..

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    Cartier has never been a house that has caught my fancy. I don’t know why, probably because there are so many perfume houses out there already. And my bank account can’t tolerate any more perfume for the next couple months.