The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Cartier – XII L’Heure Mysterieuse

WHAT I SMELL:  L’Heure Mysterieuse has a strange opening that’s full of smoke and tar as well as a heavy patchouli that is thick, chewy and rather like paste.  The smoke rises off of the skin like some kind of industrial component.  This is a very bizarre as I can’t see how the opening brings promise of anything beautiful or gentile….or something that represents “Cartier.”  Thankfully, after a short time, the tar and heavy smoke begin to lift.  A dried flatness of incense appears instead and the perfume starts to belie a more gentle persona.  But don’t get me wrong, there’s a strength to the perfume in that it has a fighting energy buried beneath the smoky subdued radiance.  After quite some time a light floral appears, once again softening the former intensity.  To me, L’Heure Mysterieuse is a hard perfume to describe, but I can tell you that it has a classic old world heart that reminds me of fragrances from the 1970s.

From the Cartier website:

Silence was on the prowl. You could hear it breathing, lurking like desire. The calmness felt only temporary. Drowsiness gained life, slowly jasmine and heavily PATCHOULI. This was the time for listening to your own pulse at the edge of abandon, like a reverse countdown, a voyage into the intimate where everything both takes shape and disintegrates. Withdraw into yourself, escape and focus your mind on your inner self, reaching that point where self-awareness resides. Was it elemi gum, CORIANDER day? Was it incense, FRANKINCENSE night? Soon you must leave the juniper darkness… but not quite yet. First, savor L’HEURE MYSTÉRIEUSE for just one hour – no longer, that’s a promise – extracted from deep within, and rediscover your own personal roots.

La Liberté guidant le peuple. Eugène Delacroix. 1830

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  La Liberté.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE L’HEURE MYSTERIEUSE:  smoky, intense, retro

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT L’HEURE MYSTERIEUSE:  AustralianPerfumeJunkies, Bois de Jasmin, Katie Puckrick Smells

BOTTOM LINE:  L’Heure Mysterieuse Is a like and not a love for me.  The opening is weirdly interesting, but the drydown redeems the perfume as it turns into a retro classical scent.

  • Bone Rating: 3 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental Spicy
  • Nose:  Mathilde Laurent
  • Classification: Unisex (but to me it leans masculine)
  • Expense: $1 for 75 ml eau de parfum