Cartier had a big hit with Baiser Volé several years ago and now they have launched a flanker, Baiser Volé Lys Rose. The first one has a “dusty pollen” quality which I happen to like, but not everyone is a fan. The Lys Rose (pink lily) is sweeter with a fruity character, so it should win over those who liked the first one and attract more admirers who could not quite warm up to the 2011 edition. In Portland this fragrance is available exclusively at Nordstrom (downtown and Washington Square only) for the time being and is available in eau de toilette.
In my review of the first Baiser Volé, I described how its smell captured the entire lily plant – flowers, pollen, the fleshiness of the bulb and the crushed greenery. There is some of that in the new Lys Rose, but it is not as pronounced, because the most dominant note other than lily is raspberry. This was a great idea, because many Oriental hybrid lilies have a distinctly fruity character – think of the heady aroma of a bouquet of Star Gazers. Cartier's house perfumer, Mathilde Laurent, also authored this variant of the original, and choosing to make its flanker a “pink” perfume was very clever, broadening its appeal without losing its audience of adult women who don't want to wear something that's too juvenile and sweet. It hits just the right balance and is buoyant and fresh without going into the well-worn fruity floral territory.
I almost gave this four stars, because it is delightful; however, somewhere in the middle of its development the raspberry went a bit sideways on my skin, smelling like artificial raspberry flavored hard candies, those purple ones with the nubby surface made to look like a raspberry. This is unfortunate and I can't help but think that it would have been different had the formula contained more naturally derived materials; there are natural perfumery essences that do smell like the real thing, but it's a trade off since those don't last as long, generally speaking, as synthetic aroma chemicals. As it is, this fragrance has impressive longevity for a floral scent, and the hard candy impression does go away after a while. Overall I would recommend it, and since lilies are my favorite flower I always welcome a new lily perfume on the scene. It is not quite different enough from the first one in the eau de toilette strength for me to consider buying a bottle, and I really hope that Cartier will launch an eau de parfum and a full strength parfum eventually. I have a feeling that a more concentrated formula will only improve it.