Cartier L’Heure Vertueuse III: An aromatic, luxurious journey.
On a recent vacation, I took some time to slow my normally hectic pace of pre-Christmas shopping and began a conversation that led me to the Cartier counter in Saks. This tour through Cartier was a bit different since it wasn’t the standard Must or Santos variations, but a very specific line of scents sold in only 17 doors in the US. For roughly the next hour, I was walked through a tour of Cartier’s “The Hours” (Les Heures) collection.
To say I walked away transfixed would be a mild understatement. Very rarely would I view a collection of ten scents and feel impressed by each, and perhaps I’m giving away the plot spoiler a bit early. For a first-look, let’s explore the newest addition to Les Heures, L’Heure Verteuese III.
- Release Date: 2012
- Perfumer: Mathilde Laurent
- Concentration: Eau de Toilette
- Notes: artemesia (wormwood), rosemary, lavender, mastic, thyme, verbena
- Availability: Limited Saks Fifth Avenue locations, Cartier Boutiques
L’Heure Vertueuse is the newest of the ten fragrances in the line, and perhaps it is one of the more interesting. Your affinity will depend largely on how authentic of a garden experience you desire. Consider for a moment the notes in play: all are garden aromas, whether shrub, leafy or herbaceous. It’s very earthy in a sense of not being lush or florally laden, and the temperament of the scent begins more with the rosemary, verbena and thyme notes before it settles down to a very mellow and atmospheric surrounding.
Picture if you will a public park on a warm summer day, after spring flowers have given way to summer growth. That is the sense of place L’Heure Vertueuse provides. It’s calm, the slight lavender is calming, and the remainder is simply gentle. It’s as much a feature as drawback, especially if you are seeking the more ‘garden variety’ garden scent (pardon the pun).
Mathilde Laurent has created something that isn’t an overpowering experience.
Those seeking something lively, fresh, floral, vibrant, or any sense of like adjectives will find this rather subdued and almost moribund. L’Heure Vertueuse has an underlying luxury that has been the hallmark of most Cartier scents, this collection being no exception. It’s a scent that you feel more as a backdrop than a signature, however. And Mathilde Laurent has done a good job of creating something that can be universally enjoyed and isn’t an overpowering experience. The herbs substitute well for the sharper and spicy notes, and the greenery, wormwood (artemesia, core of absinthe) and resiny mastic provide the necessary depth.
L’Heure Vertueuse is very well crafted, but it will not be everyone’s cup of tea as it does not make a bombastic statement. It’s understated in an elegant way, perhaps going as far as being too understated. Longevity, given the eau de toilette formulation, is average at 6 hours duration Projection is exceptionally mild, owing to the subdued personality. It wears close to the skin in an intimate way. The pricing proposition, while not completely odd, steers toward the high-side. The 75ml EDT retails for $260, making owning the entire collection a costly proposition.
Bottom-line: Elegantly understated would itself be an understatement. Nonetheless, L’Heure Vertueuse succeeds at creating a subtle feeling of luxury in a fragrance that encapsulates the experience of a sultry summer day, It will likely gain an appreciation from connoisseurs who delight in unique scents, and is well placed in a limited distribution line. The masses won’t quite understand it.