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February 03, 2006

Fragrance Review: Delices de Cartier


The perfume branch of the famous jewelry house Cartier has produced a number of unusual fragrances, from the animalic elegance of Must de Cartier to the ambery sensuality of Panthère. With Délices, Cartier has entered the fruity-floral, gourmand domain previously underexplored by the house. As can be expected, the presentation is stunning, especially for the parfum. Inspired by one of Cartier’s Art Deco brooches from the 1920s, the dark red flacon glistens like a precious jewel in its white satin lined box.

Created by the talented Christine Nagel (who is also responsible for the crisp refinement of Eau de Cartier), the perfume is well- made; its gently ambered base balancing the fruity-floral accord, never allowing the syrupy sweetness of cherry to obscure the rest of the arrangement. Délices exists in two concentrations, the eau de toilette and the parfum. ...

The Eau de Toilette sparkles as it begins to unfold, with the pepper adding a pleasant sharpness. The luscious fruity note has a transparent sweetness that contrasts with the radiant floral accord in the heart of the composition. Even without knowing that Délices de Cartier was created by the same perfumer as Miss Dior Cherie, it is possible to grasp the similarities between these fragrances. While the crisp strawberry notes of Miss Dior Cherie crown a sheer patchouli and amber accord, the cherry in Délices de Cartier falls onto the oriental base made soft and vanillic by coumarin. The cherry is not the bittersweet cherry flavouring of cold medicine, nor is it the fresh dark fruit. The best description might be cherry jam. The violet tinged woods temper the sweetness; however, the result definitely has a candied fruit element.

The parfum amplifies the juicy sweetness of cherries, lavishly sprinkling them with pepper and melting their crimson flesh over the warm oriental base. If the EDT were a sorbet, the parfum would be the equivalent of a mousse. A ribbon of red cherry runs through its composition, and while in the EDT it is sustained as a sweet, transparent note, the cherry has more presence in the parfum. The vanillic density of tonka bean adds an opaque and creamy touch, like the remnants of red lipstick on a silk handkerchief.

Neither the EDT nor the parfum can be called heavy; although, the parfum is definitely richer, with a more beautiful harmony amongst the floral, fruity and ambery facets. The floral notes are made more voluptuous, thus restraining the cherry sweetness. In this light, my preferred concentration is the parfum, especially since the EDT has the sharp, sweet fruitiness reminiscent of Chanel Allure and Miss Dior Cherie. Overall, the fragrance presents the same ambivalence for me that I have experienced with Lancôme Hypnôse. While undeniably well-made, it is exactly the kind of fragrance that does not appeal to me personally—candy-sweet and fruity. However, the fans of fragrances like Lolita Lempicka, Miss Dior Cherie and possibly Chanel Allure will discover that Délices de Cartier might be a lovely new release. In fact, if I were in the market for a fruity-floral, I would certainly choose Délices above all others.

Notes include pink pepper, cherry, Sicilian bergamot, freesia, violet, pink, white and yellow jasmines, tonka bean, amber, sandalwood. The line includes eau de toilette, perfume, body cream, body milk, and shower gel. The fragrance is exclusive to Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Cartier boutiques at the moment, however starting in April, it will available at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, Sephora, Macy's and Holt Renfrew.



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