The top notes, indeed the very first seconds of the life of a perfume, are a very precious moment, at least potentially. And since they vanish quickly, they deserve probably even more attention than the rest. Not that you’ll necessarily find the pot of gold, but you never know what you might miss out on.
In theory, any perfume will behave differently at this initial stage, but looking at the extremes, two things can happen: either the notes will set down immediately, at the same time, and in orderly fashion, no messing around. Or, you will have 30 seconds of olfactory pyrotechnics.
Which is what happened with this Cartier Fragrance, whose opening gave me a WTF moment, with an inextricable mix of fruity gourmand and bitter notes. It was like smelling a rotten fruit, but still wanting to eat it.
Once the madness is over, Delice Cartier will settle down to a controlled red cherry sweetness, backed up by lightly spiced pepper. The smell is at times quirky, slightly laminated (although not at the levels of Gucci Rush) and not always entirely pleasant. As it goes on, it will add a powdery halo a la Naughty Alice, which will make it more attractive. In the end, woodsy and musky notes will put the fruity notes to bed (you can feel them snoring in the background).
All in all, Perfume Cartier Delices reminded me of Nina by Nina Ricci: same controlled sweetness, same faint fruits, with the light pepper in the background. And also a quite similar bottle, not apple-shaped, but still spherical and with a similar red. And – but this is just me – like Nina, it didn’t drive me crazy for the same reason: too controlled, too afraid to cause disruption to the world, to have a definite personality.