Childhood Summers – Review: Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse

I was debating with myself (and the lovely #fumechat Twitter community) whether I should add my two (s)cents about this perfume that is very much “in” at the moment, although it has been reviewed by many who know a lot more that I do. We agreed that that is not the point after all, my blog is a place where I talk about what I love, at the moment I choose. And if somebody likes to read that, all the better. :)

I did not seek out the Cartiers, because I read they were not so special (aside from Fougueuse) and since I did not intend to spend 200€ on 75ml Eau de Toilette, I thought I would do just fine without trying that line.

(Un)fortunately three samples reached my door along with the lovely Guerlains (don’t forget to enter my giveaway!).

L’Heure Diaphane and L’Heure Promise are decidedly not my cup of tea, they were easily dismissed. But L’Heure Fougueuse posed a problem.

It had my attention before I ever smelled it, because my friend Dee was anticipating it with bated breath, she hoped to find a memory in it. I hoped for her that it would be the one she sought, but for me it held not much interest, because to tell the truth, aside from the occasional Fiaker or at the circus I never met a horse and have no burning desire to do so. And I expected a perfume that smelled of horse and barn, as this was what reviews and Dee talked about.

As this sample lay before me, I was very curious, but the last thing I expected was to fall in love. The rest – as they say –  is history…

This was the one perfume to rule them all, the one to find them, the one to bring them all and in the darkness of a Cartier Boutique bind them…

L’Heure Fougueuse was created by Mathilde Laurent in 2010 for the boutique-exclusive Cartier line Les Heures de Parfum. It bears the number four on the bottle. (Quick thinkers are right to assume that there will eventually be twelve of those, at the moment eight have already launched.) It includes notes of bergamot, magnolia, lavender, horse’s mane note, maté, vetiver, oakmoss, musk and coumarin.

L’Heure Fouguese smells of summer days, of haystacks, of – yes – horses and saddles and barns, of flowers in the mild breeze, of sun-warmed stones. It does so in a totally unexpected and gloriously understated, but persistent way.

It is what I wanted Chergui to be, that eventually proved a bit much for me, it is a westernized version on Chergui’s theme maybe, that is nearer to my experiences and therefore nearer to my heart.

L’Heure Fougueuse opens with a slightly animalic, the teensiest bit dirty idea of a horse. That interesting and complex note is accompanied by bergamot and lavender, adding an air of freshness, of outdoorsiness, of movement even. I get the feeling this fragrance is dancing in the breeze, speeding along with a galloping horse, pick your metaphor. What I mean is it is the antithesis of stagnant and rigid, it is airy and open – moving.

The maté note is prominent on me and lends the perfume an amazing herbal quality, it evokes haystacks and sun-bleached grass. Later the vetiver and oakmoss take over the role of supporting the idea of green, dry and aromatic meadows.

This is a perfume to indulge in fantasies as Victoria of Bois de Jasmin puts it, and I couldn’t agree more.

For me L’Heure Fougueuse evokes summers of my childhood, running through meadows, tumbling and rolling down a hill, laughing, free, summer vacations stretching endlessly ahead, all burdens left behind, camping in the “wilderness” (I was a girl guide! Once a scout always a scout!) and feeling the warm sun on my skin.

I am almost tempted to say that is worth 200€.

Picture source: topmag.lu, Summer landscape courtesy of Photo8.com, some rights reserved, thank you!
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25 Responses to Childhood Summers – Review: Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse

  1. Tara says:

    Oh dear B, this is very worrying cash-wise, especially as I had the same reaction to Chergui and would love to find a lovely outdoorsy hay fragrance. I’m so squeamish, it’s good to hear that it’s not too heavy on the “dirty horse” (though guess that could disappoint some). Oh but the price! I need to get a sample at some point though just to experience such a wonderfully original scent. I’ll have to risk falling in love. There are always decants, after all.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Tara, I am sorry! I wish I had better news financially…
      It is a very special and original perfume though, well worth experiencing. I always feel a decant is not such a good bargain after all, it is not exactly cheap and you miss out on the beautiful bottle. I am awful, I know! :)
      I don’t think the horsiness will bother you, it is really subtle. Let me know what you think, I heard Cartier boutiques are quite generous with their samples (if one dares to ask ;)).

  2. Marina says:

    Beautiful review! In all of the blogosphere it looks like I am the only one who is left cold byFougueuse :(

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thanks, Marina!
      We all fall for different things, it makes life much more interesting! ;) And think of the money saved…

    • Victoria says:

      You are just being a rebel without a cause! Teasing you. :)
      No, seriously, I am baffled that everyone loves it as much as they do, not because it is not beautiful, but because it is very peculiar.

      B, lovely review! I completely agree that the point of blogging is not to deliver breaking news, but just to write about what one loves. The pleasure one takes in it always shows up in writing, as it is clear in your post today!

      • Olfactoria says:

        I really enjoy writing about what moves me, whether that is something everybody else is moved by at the same moment or a totally obscure or not”in” at all perfume. I have decided to stick with that notion for better or worse. :)
        I think so many people – with the notable exception of Marina – love Fougueuse because it is so different from everything else. It is unexpected and that is refreshing. Also it is just good. :)

        • Victoria says:

          I also think that all of us smell something different, and I personally like to read several different views. Just as I love to read several different movie reviewers’ takes about my favorite films.

          L’Heure Fougueuse is very refreshing and different. A herbal fragrance that smells devastatingly glamorous, conveying the same feeling as the vintage Vent Vert did.

  3. deeHowe says:

    B., I’m glad that you decided to write about this one—AM and I had this conversation recently, and we concluded that the only thing that matters is writing whatever you feel inspired to write. I’m so excited that Fougueuse moved you, I can faintly smell it as I read.

    It’s a little frightening too, isn’t it? I think you perfectly captured that element by invoking the Lord of the Rings! As you say, “it is so different from everything else.” To be that, and also be stunningly beautiful, it does not surprise me how well it’s been received.

    I love this post B., thank you for it—you’ve made my morning. :)

  4. lady jane grey says:

    “L’Heure Fouguese smells of summer days, of haystacks, of horses and saddles and barns, of flowers in the mild breeze, of sun-warmed stones” – it sounds like freedom…

  5. JoanElaine says:

    Thank you for this wonderful review!

    This is the one fragrance from the Cartier Les Heures de Parfum that pulls at my heart. L’Heure Fouguese does indeed sound like fantasy and freedom captured in a bottle.

  6. Suzanne says:

    Dear Birgit,

    Though I’m new to your blog, I’ve been enjoying getting acquainted with you, having discovered you through your posts at PST. I think we might have some overlapping tastes in ‘fumes — a shared love of Puredistance fragrances, most definitely — and a shared loved of this Cartier scent, too (but then, there are few who don’t love this one!). What a beautiful review you wrote of it! I’ll probably be back to read it a few more times again, in addition to your other posts.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Welcome, Suzanne!
      What a lovely comment, thank you so much! I read you review of M the other day, it was such an interesting take on this great perfume.
      I am glad you liked my Fougueuse review and hope we get to “talk” often in the future. :)

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  14. This sounds wonderfullllllll. I have to try this D:

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