Mathilde Laurent may not be quite what you’d expect of Cartier’s in-house perfumer.
The nose of the prestigious Parisian house since 2005 has a definite rock and roll edginess about her, as well as a refreshing honesty about the industry. ‘I find very few perfumes that interest me,’ she told woman&home at the launch of La Panthere, Cartier’s latest fine fragrance. ‘I’m not going to buy every new perfume – that would be the best way to discourage myself.’
What she did do was immerse herself in the idea of the Panther, ‘the only animal that smells good, naturally,’ whipping up hundreds of ‘tries’ from the cornucopia of tiny scent vials in her Parisian laboratory, before centring in on The One – a sensual, deep musk with floral notes of cyprus and gardenia.
‘The inspiration was like a mosaic, coming together,’ says Laurent, explaining the esoteric addition of cyprus as, ‘a way to give sensuality in a very modern non-caricature way. It’s something that hasn’t been seen on the market for a long time.’
So after infinite hours spent and scores of combinations tested, how does she know when she’s got it just right? ‘When I feel that I can offer the perfume to everybody,’ she says, casually. Then, showing a flash of the meticulous perfumer within, she adds, ‘It’s a feeling that, okay, it’s nearly perfect.’
La Panthere Eau De Parfum, £90 for 75ml, is available exclusively from Harrods from March 9.