As the trends began to shift five years ago, I was concerned this was going to represent a line I wasn’t eager to cross. Some of that first impression was because the big brands released their opening efforts in a rush. They were insipid lacking any kind of style. Yet I was watching them being purchased on my trips to the mall. I was keeping an open mind because I was hoping for my favorite perfumers who had some artistic license might make something of it.
In 2018 Cartier Carat was the first of these types of perfumes I completely embraced. Cartier in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent proved to me there is a subtle complexity to the lighter shades of scent. If there is a concern it is this represents a fine line. If you can’t assemble it properly it just lies flat. Even Mme Laurent has not become as sure handed at it as she could be. Lat year she released a set of three fragrances where one of them, Pur Kinkan was another example of the heights of this style. The other two never came together as completely. A year later she is back with another trio with similar results.
The new collection is called Les Rivieres. In the press release it is meant to capture rivers flowing giving off the scent of what they encounter as the flow along. Insouciance is a nice opaque violet, iris, and fruit which feels as if each ingredient is socially distancing themselves from each other. Luxurious is a set of shades of green from herbs to fern to geranium to oak it also doesn’t mesh as well as it seems like it should. Cartier Allegresse is the best of this group because it is also the one which feels more like the motion of a river.
One of the difficulties of working in an opaque style is trying to wrangle the larger presence notes down to a whisper. One of the ways I have learned to enjoy these perfumes is to let that susurration in. Not to look for more but to enjoy what is there. For Allegresse it is tuberose and blackcurrant bud which are speaking at way below their usual levels.
In the opening it is that blackcurrant bud which arrives as a veil of green. It never gets to that sticky sappiness or the pungent fruitiness. It lilts with hints of those only underneath. Hyacinth comes along to provide the watery sense of a river. Petitgrain is the sparkle of sunlight off the tip of the wavelets. This is good at this lighter level. Instead of focused sunlight, in combination with the hyacinth this gives the abstraction of a flowing river. We finally find ourselves amid the tuberose. I expected the creamier aspects to be more prevalent. Yet Mme Laurent finds the subtlest green thread to resonate with the blackcurrant bud to bring this full circle.
Allegresse has 8-10 hour longevity and average sillage.
Every one of the transparent perfumes by Mme Laurent I have liked are the ones which have a subtle kinetic feel to them. I think it comes because the ingredients used find more interactions. She seems to be designing right at the line of great and good. Allegresse is another great transparent floral.
Disclosure: This review is based on samples supplied by Neiman-Marcus.