The debut set of seven perfumes by Carine Roitfeld is quite good. She calls it her “7 Lovers” collection giving each perfume a name to represent a place. Many of them have engaged me by using interesting sets of keynotes. None represents that more than Carine Roitfeld Kar-Wai.
Mme Roitfeld tapped three perfumers to make her fragrances. For Kar-Wai it is perfumer Pascal Gaurin she collaborates with. I knew this was going to be the next I reviewed because of the vetiver in it. Vetiver is one of those perfume ingredients which is a summer standard. What intrigued me so much about Kar-Wai are the two ingredients which lead to that vetiver; tea and osmanthus. Those two are what seem to be the nod to Hong Kong which is the city Kar-Wai is meant to represent.
Kar-Wai opens on a smoky tea note with cardamom breezing over the top. This is a tea note which at turns seems opaque and then more solid. As the osmanthus pairs up with it the tea recedes a little. The osmanthus used here is that leathery version with a hint of fruit underneath. In Kar-Wai that effect serves to create a peach tea underpinning. Almost as if the osmanthus was dyed with peach tea. M. Gaurin gives it all a golden glow with saffron providing a halo. Now the stage is set for the vetiver to arrive. This is a high-quality vetiver which leads with its cooler green grassy character. Then it intensifies further as the woody depth becomes more apparent. The osmanthus and tea accord lays on top of it all, serenely floating on the breeze. Some white musks add a starched collar crispness to the final composition.
Kar-Wai has 12-14 hour longevity and average sillage.
Kar-Wai is an exceptional vetiver perfume because of the osmanthus and tea along with it. I have worn out my sample this summer because it is so good.
Disclosure: This review is based on a sample set supplied by Carine Roitfeld.