“I only love wild roses”. – Mathilde Laurent.
For the new Cartier releases – Les Épures de Rose (looking up the french word épure just now, I find the English translation is also …..’epure’ – definitely a new word for me: apparently it means ‘sketch’; detailed draught or model), Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent, who, according to the house “hates the archetype of the rose – an emblem of femininity withered before it blooms” and “longs to return to it its true nature” has obviously sat down with a bowl of roses before her and reconsidered the queen of flowers’ public image.
I like all three.
L’Heure Osée, the ‘dared hour’, for Les Heures De Parfum collection, is billed by Cartier as a ‘punk rose’. No notes are given with the slender miniature long vials I have just received in the mail with the signature dark red Cartier boxes, but the top notes do smell like youthful bubblegum and banana, before ceding to a sexy, white-musk rose twinked with citruses that reminds me of some early Rosines and has quite a nice bravado in its step: very French teenage girl with attitude chewing gum feigning nonchalance. Not quite my image of punk. But great for a clean summer’s day.
Oud & Pink ……..is not what you think.
Described as ‘a shocking and androgynous rose in a tuxedo’ I must admit that I remain unflabbergasted – but quite pleased – as I smell this interesting, more adult, dry chypre I can imagine quickly gaining a lot of fans. I detect patchouli alongside a de-ouded oud and sensually pink rose curved with animalic undertones that doesn’t condescend to the consumer : I was recently re-smelling Mona Di Oiro’s Myrrh Casati, and there are similarities in the perfumes’ atmosphere – slyly assertive, great for post-Covid board meetings – even if the Cartier is the fuller of the two. Flashes of fresher rose extracts shine through intermittently, a rose perfume with a slightly devious, contemporary demeanour.
The bottle itself might be a touch too Avon Lady for me personally, but Pure Rose – a ‘naked rose’ – the most traditional of the three new offerings – is in the same mould as Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue; very dewy, very fresh and watery orchestral – like a rose from the garden. Clear and optimistic – which is what we need right now; simple, and prettily convincing (though I still always maintain that there is nothing like a rose on the stem). I don’t know if I could ever convincingly carry this one off myself, but like my Perfumer’s Workshop Tea Rose, which I like to sometimes use as a ‘top up’ for other perfumes when I meet up with friends and ‘suddenly’ fancy a rose twist at the first moment of rendezvous, I can imagine keeping this in my pocket, and at the last moment, surprising them…… and perhaps even myself.