One of Jean-Claude Ellena’s early landmark perfumes was 1998’s Cartier Declaration. It was a surprising retort to all the clean and fresh masculine perfumes of the day. M. Ellena created a top accord which many describe as “sweaty curry”. It was not clean or fresh but if it appealed it was something amazing. It was also a primer on themes which would reverberate throughout the remaining years of M. Ellena’s career. Declaration is one of the best releases in the entire Cartier line.
When I received my sample of the new Cartier Declaration Parfum I was not sure what to expect. The current Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent was going to make a more concentrated version of Declaration. It is a rare moment when I spray on a flanker wondering what will appear.
Mme Laurent’s choice was to accentuate the deeper bass tones of the original Declaration while stripping out the perspiration and the curry. She turns up the volume on the woods and adds in her own leather accord as her signature.
The original Declaration had a tight citrus flare before the spices arrived. Mme Laurent brings the spices out from the beginning, jettisoning the citrus entirely. This is a warm comforting spicy accord. If the original is the dirty side of spice. Mme Laurent wraps you in a blanket of the snuggly side of spices. Cedar was the keynote in the original composition and it is present here but there are some balsams which again remove the cleaner edges of cedar softening and amplifying the woodiness in the overall heart accord. The leather accord in the base is the smell of a Cartier leather handbag. Amber is also present to keep things on the intimate side. Declaration Parfum smells rich in every meaning of the word.
Declaration Parfum has 6-8 hour longevity and moderate sillage.
If you’re expecting Declaration Parfum to be a stronger version of Declaration you will have to define what you mean by that adjective. If by stronger you mean more spices and more sweat that is not what Mme Laurent delivers. If by stronger you mean lasts a long time and projects off the skin. It isn’t that either. It lives up to its Parfum description and wears closer to the skin the longer you have it on. If by stronger you also mean deeper then Declaration Parfum should be a winner. Mme Laurent has composed a perfume which epitomizes the Cartier sophistication and style. I’m not sure which version of stronger will be yours, but mine is the one which is in the bottle.
Disclosure: This review was based on a sample provided by Saks Fifth Avenue.