Puckrik on Perfume: Part 2

Katie Puckrik ON Oct 23, 2009 AT 1:25 pm

Cartier Les Heures du Parfum

Cartier Les Heures du Parfum

X L’Heure Folle is a zesty free-for-all of berries high in anti-oxidants. On my skin, redcurrant predominated, but according to the ingredient list, blueberry, blackcurrant and blackberry are also bopping at the berry sock hop. This tart eau de toilette pumps up its punch with an aromatic quality that hovers between pepper and mint. I found L’Heure Folle a tad unrelenting with its capital “R” Redcurrant, but I will admit that fruity is not my favourite flavour of perfume.

XII L’Heure Mystérieuse’s official notes include jasmine, patchouli, elemi gum, coriander, frankincense and juniper. I already have a Baby Jesus manger-load of frankincense perfumes in my private stash, but one sniff of L’Heure Mystérieuse had me sold on my new BFF incense.

This eau de parfum lifts off with a smoldering croon of cocoa powder and incense. Spikes of elemi gum (a resin with lemon/pine qualities) and juniper berry (with its piney/gin note) punctuate the smolder. The cocoa turns into a borderline bitter, twangy smell that I can’t figure out – sort of a musty, murky closeness that I find appealing. It’s a patchouli/resin fender-bender.

The dry down puts me in mind of a lyric from America’s war-mongering national anthem, this lovely image: “the twilight’s last gleaming”. As the long fade rolls out, there’s a soft, almost ambered burr to the proceedings. It forgoes the spiky aromatics for a more “perfumed” halo around the skin.

Have you tried Cartier's new perfumes?

Have you tried Cartier's new perfumes?

And on to the next! Are you entranced by the weird, mushroomy myrrh of Etro Messe de Minuit or Annick Goutal Myrrh Ardente? The sweet’n’sour smoke of Guerlain Bois d’Armenie? The birch tar and vanilla hellfire of Le Labo Patchouli 24? If so, then get thee to XIII La Treizième Heure!

La Treizième Heure is the best parts of all of the above, in one smoothly smoky package. But it doesn’t have the root beer syrupiness of Myrrh Ardente, nor does it give you the contact black lung disease of Patchouli 24, as stimulating as those perfumes are.

(For all of my myrrh talk, I should clarify that there is actually no myrrh listed for XIII. But it does have a moreish off-note that puts me mind of myrrh’s sweet-meets-rank resin.)

But if you work high/low the way I do, the smokiness of XIII conjures another, less salubrious association: Slim Jim Spicy Smoked Snack Sticks. You heard right, Cousin Bubba – beef jerky! Once I got beef jerky into my head, I couldn’t take La Treizième Heure seriously anymore. At least, not £155 seriously. Because that’s what these babies go for. Primo price point, remember?

Regardless of my personal relationship to Slim Jims, I adore the quality and the distinctive personality of each of these “perfume hours”. They’re all nuanced, they all tell a story on the skin, and they all wear transparently, yet persistently. The initial five “hours” will eventually extend to 13, with two new perfumes released yearly. I’m counting les heures!

Les Heures du Parfum info & stockists: http://www.saksfifthavenue.com

More of Katie’s perfume rants and rambles at katiepuckriksmells.com

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