Heraldic beasts and out of season Valentines… le Baiser du Dragon by Cartier The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

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She needed to forget Paris.

To put the diamond business behind her, pack her bags and pack away all thoughts of hard rocks, hard cash and most of all hard business men with their hard, hard hearts.

What better place could there be for a doomed lover than Verona?

At least she wasn’t dead she thought, that was something she had on that pair.

Yes, it was a trade fair, but as her boss had said – this was Italy, it was bound to be more fair than trade.

Then the dates came through.

Who holds a jewellery fair in Verona on St Valentine’s weekend?

The Italians apparently.

She wanted to cancel, but the tickets were bought and she didn’t want another ticking off from on high. Her stock was low and her star falling at work, she “wasn’t on her game” they said, since, “you know, since the split”.

She arrived at Venice airport in a failing mood and the coldest winter the Veneto had known in a generation.

Her rooms were pretty but chilly and summer-ready sparse. Outside the air was so cold that her breath froze in it and the wind so sharp that it cut through her cashmere layers of comfort.

All she did was shuttle to and from the exhibition halls and her hotel, eating on the hoof or at home, drinking too much red wine too late at night.

At the show, she could muster no sparkle to match the precious stones, no gleam to glisten and gloss deals as she would have done before.

Except, at one stand, where something of her lustre returned. A local craftsman presided, only here by means of patronage to promote the city’s produce.

Here was an artisan, tanned even in the off season, with thick hands and thicker hair, shining even where it greyed at the temples.

He spoke softly and tried to sell her nothing. And yet he had the only thing she wished to buy: a small golden broach in the shape of a dragon’s head, encrusted with rubies and diamonds that gave its skin an immaculate sheen.

She must have returned to the see the dragon a dozen times, not asking once how much it cost, it was sure to be too much to treat herself.

At the end of Saturday’s session she went back for a final fleeting farewell. The stand was packed away, the dragon and its master had disappeared.

She felt as though she should weep, but not why.

Resolving to walk back, whatever the weather decided to throw at her, she passed by the Old Castle high up on the hill and in its lea next to the river a ristorante, warm lights lit within.

Without thinking she went in. After the heat it was the scent that struck her first and then the thought that she hadn’t worn perfume the whole trip.

She never forgot her fragrance.

Here was a warm cloud of gourmand steam. Of honey glazed meats roasting, and behind the soft yielding flesh a haze of the pastry chef’s creation: gently bubbling caramels, melting dark chocolate preparing to fall onto choux buns, almond tartlets just crisping in the wood oven.

Lunch had finished, but she was welcome to take a seat and wait for the dinner service.

She looked around her at thick silk wall hangings, crystal chandeliers and aged dark wood paneling and was about to decline her place amongst such luxuries.

She opened her mouth to speak and a voice, not hers, emerged up from behind a smoked glass partition, a head followed: it was the jewellery maker.

‘But you must stay, dinner’s not far away and the wine is good’.

He persuaded her into a seat, saying good bye at once to his colleagues from the business council.

She needed something to stave off hunger. He ordered biscotti di Prato and vin santo, apologising that she should be starting her meal at the end.

In his company she unfurled, she opened up to the warmth of his conversation. He ordered Amaretto with more playful apologies and cantuccini biscuits for the both of them.

The afternoon became a honeyed, slightly intoxicated evening.

She felt safe enough at last to ask.

‘What happened to the broach? The dragon’s…’

The jewel appeared.

‘The Dragon’s Kiss? It’s here. I kept it for you’.

A wonderfully romantic fragrance with the savour and scent of Northern Italy, le Baiser Du Dragon by Cartier is, like the best love affairs sensuous and consoling in equal measure.

The opening thrill, a mix of boozy Amaretto and sweet flaked almonds stays in place for the whole relationship.

As time passes and the affair solidifies into something more concrete the composition gains a rich wooden form with some patchouli that softer notes of caramel, dark chocolate and sweet amber can be draped on.

Though gourmand, the whole effect is honeyed without being syrupy, comforting rather than cloying.

This is a nurturing, nourishing passion that smoulders with a soft intensity for a long while.

The eternal question? Man or woman?

Surely in matters of the heart we are all lovers.

Well, one knows it’s some six months out of time for St Valentine’s… but Autumn needs a little comfort and warmth and Amaretto and love supply both.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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28 Comments

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28 responses to “Heraldic beasts and out of season Valentines… le Baiser du Dragon by Cartier The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Mary E.

    So gorgeous! I think I should dab some on when I have my next Prato biscotti & vin santo…

  2. Lilybelle

    That was lovely…and heart warming. 🙂 I haven’t smelled Le Baiser du Dragon in a long time. Now I’ll have to sample it again.

    • Dearest Lily
      It is a heart warming aroma.
      As you know, The Dandy’s not generally partial to sweeter and more gourmand scents, but for this dragon I make an exception.
      Perhaps it’s that uplifting quality of almond that quashes my normal qualms about the honeyed nature of the fragrance.
      But do try again… and be sure to report back!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. You made me hungry, Sir Dandy … *pouts*
    My eyes narrowed a bit at the “Twilight” reference, but I’ll let it pass since this was another wonderfully-written story.

    • Dearest Elfin One
      A ‘Twilight’ reference?!? To the end of the light? The crepuscular?
      Poor Dandy doesn’t understand why the dusk should cause a narrowing of the eyes!
      Yours ever, but puzzled,
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • The “Wuthering Heights” cover contained a reference to a written – something, called “Twilight” (I do not wish to call such badly written drivel as a novel). But if it escapes your notice, then I can assure you it’s something that’s not worth bothering about.

      • Dearest Elfin One
        Oh dear, I was just drawn in by the rather tumultuous flowers and have no knowledge of ‘Twilight’, that will teach The Dandy to be more careful with his pictures in the future!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • This exchange about “Twilight” had me grinning in my chair. Hilarious! And a bravo to Haefennasiel for a great sense of humour, along with a good catch. 😀

      • Dearest Haef and Kafka
        Now, looking up in Wiki, I find
        “Twilight is a series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels by American author Stephenie Meyer. It charts a period in the life of Isabella “Bella” Swan, a teenage girl who moves to Forks, Washington, and falls in love with a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen.”
        Could this be the ‘Twilight’ we are talking about, I feel such a fool for not knowing, but surely I am to be forgiven for in my imagination I live in a world before even before Edward Cullen was born.
        *The Dandy winks*
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • My dear Beau,

        Trust me, obliviousness is best when it comes to this subject. I certainly wish I had it…. 😉

      • Dearest Kafka
        Hahaha… oh yes, I see, I shall now try and forget everything!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Margaret

    That was the most delightful lead-in for a beautiful perfume, which I shall now of course, have to try. Serendipitiously, we’re off to Italy on Tuesday so the story was indeed special. Thank you – MMR

    • Dearest Margaret
      Italy in the Autumn.
      How perfect. I do hope the weather is gently warm and the art and food as convivial as ever.
      Oh and if you’d like to bring an almond-scented piece of that country back with you then Cartier’s Dragon might be just the thing.
      Thank you so much for dropping by and do enjoy your break!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. Nena

    What a beautiful review! I have a decant of this, but I haven’t tried it on my skin yet.

  6. rosestrang

    I love this story – perfect for this time of year to warm our hearts (also brought a tear to my eye!). I absolutely get the reference to warmth in winter, this perfume made me feel (bizarrely!) as though I was curled up comfortably in an oak wardrobe. And those gourmand smells of roasting meat and almonds you’ve described are spot on – I get a little touch of immortelle from LbdD. Also I find it a perfect unisex perfume, lovely on anyone I think, possibly not for the very young, though there are no rules of course!

    • Dearest Rose
      Isn’t it just a lovely perfume for the Autumn… and you’re quite right, there is a little immortelle!
      I love the image of being curled up inside a wardrobe… it has something of Narnia about it.
      Oh yes, and this one is absolutely unisex, in fact far better for men than most of the over sweet gourmands that are ‘meant’ for them these days.
      Lovely to be back in correspondence.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. rosestrang

    Something of Narnia – Lucy in the wardrobe, yes! – it’s more the kiss of a big tawny lion (not much fun in real life perhaps!)

  8. I love Le Baiser du Dragon, though I haven’t taken out my little bottle in ages and ages. I shall have to remedy that after this lovely, evocative, and deeply touching review. Beautifully done, my dear Beau! I loved every bit of it, and I’m so glad he saved the brooch for her. My only problem is that now I want the Dragon’s Kiss, too.

    • Dearest Kafka
      Why thank you… it’s a perfume that I love too, and only hope I’ve done it justice.
      As for the ‘Dragon’s Kiss’, the piece of jewellery I had in mind would be from the late Duchess of Windsor’s incomparable collection, though I couldn’t photograph to fit.
      The thing itself is quite another thing, once kissed by a Dragon, never forgotten.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. What a story! I’m not familiar with this perfume but I enjoyed reading what it inspired.

    • Dearest U
      Why thank you… it’s quite a full, slightly boozey almond affair. Some people think it a little over simple, it feels The Dandy with a sense of comfort and warmth though… and there’s a time and place for such scents in my view.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  10. Dear Mr Dandy,

    Sorry I’m late. I did like Baiser du Dragon and was lucky enough to review the parfum. Your review is entirely accurate and I agree with all of it. My only disappointment with this one was longevity. Even the parfum seemed like an EDT.

    Glorious heart soaring photographs as usual.

    Your friend
    IScent

    • Dearest Iscent
      Oh. That’s interesting. I’ve only ever tried the EdP and it lasted well on my normally hungry skin, though, admittedly as a skin scent.
      Perhaps that boozy marzipan note, being ever so slightly sweet is amplified by my chemistry… it seems to happen to anything that’s even been near a spoonful of sugar!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  11. One deeply moving fragrance that draws people like a magnet. Bought myself a small bottle just for traveling so the dragon can be kept close.

    • Dearest Cairo
      How lovely to hear from you.
      This is a perfume that I have found people find attractive, it’s one that’ remarked upon.
      I put it down to the smell being so convivial, reminiscent of restaurants and celebratory cakes.
      How wise of you to forever to have one of these tame and likeable dragons by your side.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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