Sunday, September 16, 2012

Déclaration

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

9 comments:

  1. Hope I can find this perfume in the market near me. This is a nice gift for my brother on his birthday. Thanks for this. :)

    eula_w

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  2. I've never even thought to test this one! Will try to have a sniff sometime soon - it's in all the department stores over here.

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    1. If you can get a sample, it's better. I never liked it when I just took little spritzes on my wrist. Wearing it makes a huge difference.

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  3. I remember when this came out--I was in Saks in Chicago and tried some on the back of my hand. I thought it smelled good but then had to put my leather gloves back on for the winter-time walk back to my hotel. I still have the gloves and they still smell fantastic! I always meant to get some and never have. Maybe I will, although like you, I am not a fan of the genre. I think that Terre d'Hermes is the Emperor's new clothes, and this from the house that gave us Bel Ami! Lots of flankers of this one, not sure what it all means. Glad you got a chance to love it--it has that perfect French fresh/dirty thing that I know you love.

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    1. Your mention of the leather gloves reminded me to mention that Declaration's longevity is excellent - about 12 hours for me - especially for a citrus.

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  4. Hi - love the review and totally agree with your rating, Declaration has been my signature scent since it was recommended to me on a BA flight in 1999. It has a beautiful unique clove note amidst the masterfully blended citrus and wood notes that I absolutely love. Avoid the 'blue' version like the plague, it's all about the original.

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    1. Yes, the original is great, but I also like Essence as well.

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  5. I bought one of those $10 refillable little bottle at Perfumania and I filled it with Declaration. The sales lady was pushing Roadster pretty hard, but I told her flat out that it smelled boring, and that I wanted a paper sample of Santos which she didn't seem to like, but I thought smelled freaking awesome on paper. I decided to fill up with Declaration because you gave it a 10. I like it quite a bit, and think it deserves a 10. I like the fresh but dirty vibe it has going on, and it's different than anything I have.

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    1. Yeah, Roadster sucks. You're much better off with Declaration or Santos.

      Careful with buying stuff you sample in the store at Perfumania, though. Sometimes the tester bottle they have is a different version than what you buy. Especially be careful with with Santos! The most recent version is awesome, but the prior release is lousy. The current Santos looks like the bottle in the picture in my review here.

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