Tag Archives: Must de Cartier

Tea Shop Time of Year… Must de Cartier by Cartier The Perfumed Dandy’s Twelve Days before Christmas Part III 

In electric December twilight beneath thousands of Paris’s lamps the lovers’ locks on the Pont des Arts shimmer and gleam.

A hardware hoard of brass and steel is transformed by romance and the season’s illuminations into a sea of gold and silver: a jewelled arc across the river.

A block or two removed from the Seine, just far enough for peace from the avid advent bustle of tourists on the Pont Neuf, upstream of the dock for the bateaux mouches carrying their endless tide of visitors through the City of Lights, the petite maison du the on Rue du Pont de Lodi, nestles in its quiet street.

Behind the imperial purple door, bearing a fresh wreath for Christmas, new owners are fashioning what they fancy is a fragment of the Far East on the fringes of the fifth arrondisment.

They have added orange blossom oolong tea to the carte of regular tisanes.

Its sweet, floral citrus reaches up a welcome upon your entry.

You settle into newly lowered-chairs. Their dusty, musky, furniture polished faux second empire frames strewn with raw silk cushions and lit by reproduction Tiffany lamps and chintz-shaded 40 watt bulbs.

You look up at the once-low counter and peering beyond spot an unknown object: alongside the old steaming urns and a bedsit stove topped with milk pans, there is an oil burner.

A porcelain contraption that gives no heat, and exists solely for scent.

You imagine, for you cannot see, a small slurp of viscous liquid hanging in a china crater above the solitary night light that seeks to slowly diminish it and diffuse the aroma into the air.

A pool of ever-reducing resinous residue.

A slick of fragrance added after fragrance until no note is left distinguishable from the whole warm and comforting confusion.

There is vanilla certainly, and amber, some sandalwood and something, well, distinctly animal.

Though on reflection, that might be the ancient cat adopted by the ancien regime that has outstayed the old owners and sits perched atop the out of tune upright piano.

A bunch of haphazard flowers are squeezed onto the instrument too, and seem to shade our feline friend like a tiny floral palm tree – a few roses amongst carnations and the very odd orchid – on his Parisian indoor desert island.

You come to order and think to try the oolong tea, then, discovering that deserts have similarly gone East, resist and instead hold onto the past with a generous boule of hot chocolate, which serves to warm your hands and heart.

The chocolat chaud goes down easily, especially when the waitress offers to add a Cointreau as a token of their affection for returning customers and to mark the time of year.

With satisfaction you find the only tampering inflicted on the peach flan to make it oriental has been a heavy pinch of cinnamon added to the custard supporting the fruit.

Who can argue with such an addition so close to the Noel?

The cat, Albert, jumps onto the stained piano keys, his paws yielding a major chord as he pauses before making his way over to you and placing himself aloofly in your lap.

His manner says ‘I’m doing you a favour’ a moment later his rough tongue licks the excess spiced crème anglaise from your fingers as his powder puff body quivers with a purr.

The maison du the on the Rue du Pont de Lodi is not quite what it was.

Christmas even here these days comes a little bit made in China.

Even so, dimly lit and quiet, with its slightly narcotic smell it is a haven this hallowed season from which to watch the festive world go by.

The quietest and in some ways most reserved of the balmy orientals of the 1970s and 80s, Must de Cartier is unlikely ever to offend.

It is an exercise in good manners.

Where others scream and seek to shock or pass themselves off as the real Far Eastern deal, Must seems happy with itself, comfortable with the notion that it is an allusion to the orient and not the actual thing.

After a surprisingly bright opening orange and bergamot flourish, aided by aldehydes, the perfume settles down into familiar territory of amber, sandalwood and vanilla, with a distinctly resinous quality to the heart, though the galbanum here is decidedly not green.

Equally, though there is musk, those fearing powder should be calm as it is kept at bay with some fine handbag leather and civet.

Finally, floral notes are distinctly muted in a drydown that sees this become as much a next to the skin scent as something so spicy can become.

Some will undoubtedly find the fragrance too sweet and muddled, but the drydown is so subtle that any over sugaring and note mixing mellow gently into a pleasant ambient perfume.

Must de Cartier is every inch a comfortable, if eccentric, teashop sort of scent.

A subtle choice for a special occasion or spoiling yourself because you can.

As I alluded to yesterday, I find both Musts de Cartier interchangeable and their designations as homme and non-homme quite superfluous.

Who doesn’t like hanging out in slightly off the wall tea houses?

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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Santa’s Silver Fox… Must de Cartier Pour Homme by Cartier The Perfumed Dandy’s Twelve Days Before Christmas Part II

Arthur was widowed young.

So he learnt, unlike most men of his generation.

Unlike most men.

And account of the fact that he liked cakes.

To bake.

He also, a rare disposition in widowers so he found, liked people.

Young, old, good and bad humoured, pleasant looking and plain and of every colour and creed.

And in their multitudes.

Arthur like to surround himself with other souls.

He was talked of in hallowed terms ‘pillar of the community’, ‘salt of the earth’.

But his current best friend, a spirited boy of six, some seventy two year his junior, would correct this second epithet.

“Arthur’s not the salt of the earth. He’s it’s sugar.”

On account, the precocious infant would explain to anyone who asked of their being nothing bitter, rancorous or un-likeable about his pal.

The week before Christmas finds Arthur in a halo of strong plain and self-raising flour beaming like a gastronomic angel amongst celestial clouds of icing sugar.

He will make…

Decorated gingerbread men by the dozen.

Scores of mince pies scented with coriander, a memory of childhood and the Raj.

Multiple dense fruit cakes, fed with Cointreau and full of candied orange peel.

Apple and cinnamon crumbles so that some as old but not as able as him can have hot puddings.

Sixty egg custard tarts with too much vanilla essence, because he likes them that way.

And biscuit upon iced biscuit, by the bagful, to decorate any tree that will have them.

Arthur’s industry though is strictly a morning thing for, following a light lunch and good soak, he emerges from home immaculate in bright tweeds topped with silver Brylcreemed and combed through hair.

On brown brogue shod feet or a rickety burgundy bicycle with capacious basket he begins the real work and joy of his day:


A lifetime working logistics has prepared him for the intensity of this sincere high speed socialising.

He visits, calls with, meets, drops in on and takes out daily more people than many other commune with in a month.

Yet each one he succeeds in making feel special.

He has a talent for remembering.

Knows when a granddaughter has been unwell, a sister divorced, a nephew has lost work or an ageing mother moved into a nursing home and for asking after them with genuine care and an absence of the arrogant desire to advise.

He recalls birthdays and anniversaries, school sports day triumphs, examinations passed, homes moved into and new jobs found.

And of course he does make the best sweets, puddings, biscuits, cookies, crumbles and cakes.

So when, sartorially elegant and scented of a polite vetiver he’s worn since the sixties, he calls at this time of the year he is more the especially welcome.

For “Arthur is the sugar of the earth.”

Must de Cartier Pour Homme is a generous, friendly, frightfully likeable fragrance.

Its mixture of sweet, vibrant and absolutely un-sickly spices is a seasonal tonic to be truly savoured.

If contemporary gourmands are industrial, sucrose-driven production units of confectionery perfume, this is the aroma of fine home baking with organic Demerara and good doses of citrus fruits to cut through anything that might possible cloy.

It is the smell of an expertly made pre-Christmas Monday.

Oranges and tangy, rather than sharp, lemons combine with a carnation that is more white pepper than petal and a good pinch of coriander at the top.

The spiciness then mellows and sweetens, though, despite a strong cinnamon note and because of the zing of a prominent ginger, the composition retains it fizz.

The dry down is gentle, though quirky, the olfactory equivalent of a polka dot bow tie on a smartly dressed man. A pleasant sandalwood, vanilla and tonka bean accord is given some verve by a refreshing vetiver that, coupled with the residual aromatics, lift the whole experience.

As a masterclass in subtly idiosyncratic composition and irrepressibly optimistic perfume making this is hard to beat.

It’s also a sure fire festive fillip for those in need of a touch of seasonal spirit.

Oh, as if it needed saying, this is absolutely appropriate for women and men alike. In fact, the ‘Pour Homme’ here feels like an afterthought.

‘Le Must de Cartier II’ would have sufficed.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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