The concept behind Carat, Cartier’s latest feminine launch, is really beautiful. Cartier’s perfumer Mathilde Laurent was inspired by the light of diamonds, specifically how a beam of brilliant light hits the precious stone and is refracted into a full spectrum of colour. With this inspiration she chose to create a floral rainbow – a composition of seven flowers, each of which has been chosen to represent each colour of the rainbow. Isn’t that beautiful? So beautiful, in fact, that I’m not going to say anything more about the fragrance before I jump into the review, simply because nothing could sum it up better.
Colours: Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red
Florals: Violet, lily, hyacinth, ylang ylang, narcissus, honeysuckle and tulip
How Does it Smell?
Carat is dazzling right from the outset. It open green and dewy, evoking the inside of a florist’s refrigerator, or a lush garden captured at dawn when the day is cool and the air moist. There’s also a distinct sense of sweetness amongst the misty floral opening, specifically the smell of juicy petals in a myriad of colours. Things are distinctly abstract though and whilst one gets hints of certain flowers, the overall impression is of a hybrid bloom pieced together from many floral components. So yes, floral, green, dewy and sweet – so far so good.
The heart is where things really bloom. It really feels like a rainbow of flowers, but rather than vivid, neon colours, the impression is much more pastel. Stripes of yellow narcissus (complete with a dusty, powdery texture) run perpendicular to slashes of sweet violet, whilst fleshy ylang ylang, nectarous honeysuckle and juicy tulip overlap to create watercolour shades of green, orange and red, and all of the shades in between. I’d say it was symphonic, but a symphony is to loud – this is nature’s brilliance played at an ambient level and on repeat.
I’d say that Carat is fairly linear. It’s not one note per se, but it shifts softly and slowly, with a delicate transition through top, heart and base notes that don’t take one on a long journey. As it dries down it becomes more reliant on the musk and powder sections, moving away from petals and stems. In a world where all designer brands are wanting to do a signature abstract floral (think Gabrielle from CHANEL and Joy from DIOR) Cartier has them all beat with a delicate bouquet made from fragile crystal. CHANEL and DIOR take note…
Carat is a beautiful idea beautifully executed. Mathilde Laurent has carefully crafted a single bloom out of glass, tying in a spectrum of threads from multiple flowers to create something entirely new. It is a marriage of many textures, colours and tones, where a crisp sense of greenery meets floral sweetness, powder and transparency. It definitely feels more accessible than La Panthere, and younger too thanks to its innocent, charming feel. Carat feels like a beam of brilliant white light – the purest and the brightest – but it also explodes with every colour in the spectrum all at once. It is glorious.
Carat is available in 30ml (£52), 50ml (£75) and 100ml (£112) Eau de Parfum.
Sample, notes and quotes via Cartier. Images are my own.