Cartier just launched L'Envol (the flight). If you read about the fragrance online, you'll see it compared to the scents of mead and ambrosia; there's even a connection with one of Louis Cartier's favorite people, aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. Santos-Dumont has a Cartier watch and perfume named after him, and you may have seen "him" (wearing his Cartier watch) in the beautiful L'Odyssée de Cartier film (he's the guy in the sky bringing the leopard back to Paris).
I got a kick out of L'Envol's sample card's wording, which shows even super-rich companies fall short in PR and translation: '"Un nectar aérien et boisé. Une potion de vie pour prendre son envol" was translated as "An airy and woody nectar. A life potion for men to take off."1 After spraying on L'Envol, I didn't want to take it off; I wanted to spray on more.
L'Envol was developed by perfumer Mathilde Laurent and its listed notes include honey, lignum vitae, iris, patchouli and musk. L'Envol starts off with an accord I'll describe as iris-violet flowers; the opening is refreshing, but also, somehow, soothing; next up is a slightly smoky, medicinal/bitter wood aroma (imagine quinine-drenched wood chips). On my skin, honey comes into focus in L'Envol's heart and base— it starts off diffuse but it slowly concentrates as it combines with rich patchouli (with a red-fruit aura) and an 'engaging' musk note. L'Envol's musk is clean but not your usual white musk; this is "dressy" musk, not animalic/beastly in character. On several wearings, I was sure I detected a smidgen of tobacco in L'Envol, and it did at times remind me of a softer/lighter version of Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque.
L'Envol smells great (and a little bit retro). The perfume is not eccentric and it doesn't call attention to itself, but L'Envol isn't dull, either. L'Envol's tone is stylish (and expensive), not flamboyant. L'Envol has little sillage but if applied liberally will last most of the day. It was interesting to me that the women I let smell or wear L'Envol were almost unanimous in their delight with the scent. Men? They weren't as enthused. Perhaps most of the men I asked were too 'young' for L'Envol or they found its extreme dry down 'troublesome' (L'Envol develops into a scent that reminds me of deluxe face powder). I'm wondering how L'Envol will fare in the marketplace; I hope it's a success.
L'Envol comes in a beautiful 100 ml refillable bottle with two parts: an open-bottomed "cloche" or dome, and the perfume-filled "ampule"/capsule that snaps in and out of the dome. The bottle design reminds me of a more complex Aeon 001 bottle.
L'Envol de Cartier Eau de Parfum is available in 50 ml ($90) and 80 ml ($115) standard perfume bottles (no glass dome!); the refillable 100 ml bottle is $132 (with its refill capsule priced at $92).
1. I believe what Cartier was trying to say was something along the lines of: A lively potion to prepare you for take-off or A lively potion for men to help them take flight (as in flying on an airplane...or heading to a big date...or important meeting, etc.)
Note: top image of French postal card showing Santos Dumont flying the "14 bis" via Wikimedia Commons.