I remember when Déclaration was released back in 1998. It was considered unique, exotic and elegant, and it inspired a whole genre of woody citrus men's fragrances that continues to this day. I've always thought of them as the "dirty orange" scents, and it's a style that's been done to death. It's a style I don't like very much, mainly because most of Déclaration's offspring, with Terre d'Hermes being the prime example, are done badly, in a tacky, heavy-handed fashion.
Until recently, I'd only taken sniffs of Déclaration from test bottles at department stores, and I didn't like it. I'm glad I finally had the privilege of wearing it fully, because wow, this is quite the masterpiece it's touted to be.
Déclaration certainly does smell like dirty orange peels, and it holds onto that smell for its entire duration, citruses and all. Everything is balanced perfectly, with orange and lemon up top, aromatic and wood notes in the middle, and with caraway providing a weird sweaty, B.O.- like skank lying underneath it all. It's a musky, dirty undertone that smells a lot like cumin, and it's really what makes Déclaration so special and gives it soul. Similar fragrances like Terre d'Hermes and Monsieur Balmain attempt but screw up the whole effect by overdoing the citrus and the dirt, and they end up smelling poorly balanced and amateurish. Déclaration fine tunes everything just right.
It's versatile and suitable for any situation, and is the kind of fragrance that could easily become a signature scent. Its citrus notes are strong and long-lasting, providing a wonderful dry zest that makes Déclaration perfect for spring and summer. The raunchy skank undertone in the fragrance, as well as the woody notes, give the fragrance some weight and spine, enough to make it an enjoyable wear during fall and winter. It also has a sunny Mediterranean style that I love in other fragrances like Signoricci and Capucci Pour Homme.
I doubt I'll ever warm up to any of the fragrances that Déclaration spawned, but the original is a masterpiece.
MY RATING: 10/10
Fragrance House: Cartier