by guest writer Mike Perez
I have been a fan of fragrances with mint, for quite some time now. Mint is prominently featured in many men’s fragrances and I think it’s a ‘love or hate’ note. Either one enjoys the bracing, vivified effect from this sharp, pungent herb – or it negatively conjures up olfactory images of aperitifs, mouthwashes and toothpaste.
Roadster, the new men’s fragrance from Cartier (by perfumer Mathilde Laurent [Shalimar Light and Cologne du 68 by Guerlain]), marketed as a mineral fougère - mixes notes of bergamot and mint with vetiver, patchouli, cashmere wood, cistus labdanum and vanilla. I’m not sure if Cartier (or the men out there Cartier is trying to sell to) fully understands the mineral fougère categorization. Nonetheless Roadster, smells wonderful.
The top notes are dominated by a soft, yet instantly recognizable ‘green’ diffusion of galbanum. I admire this entry (being a fan of ‘green’ fougères like the classic country cologne Devin by Aramis) and can appreciate the oh-so-smooth transition to the next herbal explosion of mint. Mint is tricky (sharpen it too much in a lackluster scent and it radiates menthol), but this mint is subdued, slightly cool to the back of the nose when sniffed and slightly foamy. I’m reminded of the smell I taste, when swallowing mint infused bottled water (such as Metromint).
Unlike some mint fragrances that tingle and cool my skin when applied (Booster by Lacoste by the masterful Jean Kerleo; the limited edition Feuille Verte by Creed; Eau d’Orange Verte Refreshing Body Gel by Hermes) – Roadster’s cooling properties happen only in my nose. It eschews the typical ‘sport’ vibe of mint and uses it in a more sophisticated, modern version of ‘fresh’. This makes sense, since Cartier chose to release this scent right before autumn and the arrival of cooler weather (when a cooling mint fragrance wouldn’t be appropriate).
The base notes are slightly woody (very faint) and sweetly vanilla prominent. Ms. Laurent’s past work for Guerlain shows in the dry down. Complex, blended, subtle whiffs of the fragrance combine with the mint, vanilla and woods in a very unique accord: a fresh baked, delicate vanilla and cream pastry with a steaming hot cup of herbal mint tea. I found myself catching whiffs of myself all afternoon when I first tested this – inwardly smiling.
The Roadster bottle (held horizontally on its side), mimics the hand dial of the Roadster watch by Cartier (which itself mimics the design of a roadster automobile). Heavy, clear glass and polished chrome cap. It’s worth noting that the bottle is VERY heavy. It feels solid in your hands. Perhaps too heavy, for easy application of the scent (held vertically). But…wrapped up in a gift box – it’s solid and substantial weight would make a great gift (who isn’t intrigued by a small, heavy, wrapped present?)
Roadster by Cartier is available in 100 ml. and 50 ml. (Eau de Toilette) for $100 and $75 (although I have seen the 100 ml online - discounted at $73). Visit the extremely slick (and slow loading Flash based) website here: roadster.cartier.com
Notes for Cartier Roadster: bergamot, mint, vetiver, patchouli, cashmere woods*, cistus labdanum, vanilla
Watch the interesting video with Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent talking about Roadster and the Cartier fragrance line!
*Cashmere woods or Cashmeran is a IFF patented, complex aromachemical that provides a beautiful, velours note with diffuse nuances of earthy-wood and spicy notes (pine, patchouli), fruits and flowers (heliotrope, red fruits, apples and jasmine) and is softly musky-vanillic. It's featured in Ysatis, Amarige, Michael, Lacroix Rouge, Perles de Lalique, Dans tes Bras and many more.
Pic of Henry Cavill courtesy of Jocasta/Photobucket, chosen by helg. Clip originally uploaded by Primeprojects on Youtube. Bottle pic courtesy of Cartier and of Roadster watch courtesy of jomashop.