I like men who like Cartier Déclaration.* I have that urge – that sudden urge I sometimes get upon learning such small details as this – to put my faith in their hands.
*Women, too, theoretically, should I ever meet any.
Déclaration launched in 1998, composed by the subtle Jean-Claude Ellena, whose work I like so often, and so well. This smells somehow old-fashioned and modern at the same time. A masculine blend of bitter, spicy, and smoky, this scent is at once mature and…what to call it? Virile, maybe. A cultivated virility.
My pattern of generally preferring “masculines” (marketing!) is clear.
In the notes we have bitter orange, cardamom (this is the spice I mean, not a warm amber/holiday spice, but a green, slightly exotic, peppery spice) and a blend of birchwood, cedarwood, oakmoss, and smoked wood. [So, yes, it smells of wood.] This is very smoky, to warn you. Rather like your clothes might smell after a bonfire, to distinguish from the sweeter tobacco notes you sometimes get in masculines. Or maybe more like it smells at a bonfire, with the smell of the burning wood mingling with the live woods nearby. Seriously, if you are into bonfires…
There is also, controversially, a slight cumin or body odor-like smell, which tends to be polarizing. People love it or hate it, depending on their skin and temperament. I love it, at least as it is interpreted here, and as it behaves on my skin. For me the cumin is balanced by the bittersweet citrus elements and bound up with (and integral to) the strength of the smoke. It is nice to acknowledge and celebrate the human element rather than try to mask it into oblivion, ultimately a losing battle for a human body, though the barrage of “clean” and “fresh” fragrances would have you try. I don’t want to smell unclean but I don’t want to smell inhuman, either. I want to smell alive. Not like a kitchen.