Tardes by Carner Barcelona

Tardes translates to English as ‘afternoons’ and the Carner Barcelona website cites this as the inspiration behind this perfume: “A tribute to the peace and harmony of a late summer afternoon.”

I think it’s safe to say that this perfume doesn’t smell of old teabags, drizzle and disappointment, which are what afternoons in Northern England smell like.

Of all the perfumes I have reviewed recently, this one (when smelled without reading the scent notes first) differs wildly from what the makers say it contains. That, to me, is problematical particularly for people who buy over the internet. My advice is if you are considering adding this to your collection then definitely sample first. Notino have samples available from £3.40 for 2ml.

The brand

Carner Barcelona is a high-end perfume brand that tries to capture the essence and spirit of the Mediterranean. Their perfumes use the best natural ingredients and are entirely made in Barcelona, relying on expertise and dedication of local manufacturers to “infuse the brand” with the Mediterranean culture they embody.

Incidentally, I’d really enjoy a perfume that smelt like Barcelona. It would have notes of stone, salt, old books, citrus and pastries. I would so wear that!

Top notes

If you read the scent notes for this perfume, you’d think the top notes would be strongly floral (they say it contains notes of geranium, rose, rosewood and almond). But that isn’t what I get when I spray it, so much so that I thought my nose had stopped working when I compared my notes to theirs. I get milk, a slightly leathery smell, hints of tobacco and the vaguest hint of incense (that could be the geranium coming through). It’s a kind of almond milky but dusty smell. Quite pleasant, but really quite subtle, which sets the tone for the whole perfume.

The second time I wore this I was concerned that the notes I had detected varied so wildly from the notes listed, so I checked with a couple of people to get second opinions and they confirmed what I was smelling, with a few minor differences – hence why I really think you have to try this one on yourself first.

Heart notes

They say: Virginian Cedar wood, celery, plum.
I say:White Russian. As in the cocktail. The milky theme continues, with very faintly detectable wood notes. It smells to me quite a lot like the chocolate liquer that my mum drinks at Christmas. I don’t get even a hint of the plum, or any sort of fruitiness.

Base notes

They say: Venezuelan tonka bean, musk, heliotrope (which should smell like marzipan or almond).
I say: white wood, hints of leather, a strong tonka bean element. I couldn’t swear to it being Venezuelan though.

If this perfume contained half the almond type notes that it claims, I think it could have been a lot more exciting. It IS a pleasant, soothing perfume but the overriding note for me was milk throughout, with a tonka bean shot at the end. So chocolaty milk really. It’s not a perfume that evolves that much as it is worn and the silage (the scent that envelops you and comes off your skin as you wear it) was minimal. It’s not a showy perfume in the slightest.

That said, it is a nice scent and one which would suit someone who was just getting into perfumes and wanted to try something a bit more unusual but not punchy.

The good thing about it is that it flirts with being a gourmand (edible) fragrance but never really gets there. It steers away from being sickly and over-sweet smelling, which is a trap a lot of the less-classy gourmands fall into.

The other stuff

The longevity of this perfume was in the mid range. It doesn’t last all day, but by lunchtime it was still very detectable. The first time I wore it I didn’t put much on and it was gone by lunch.

Tardes is, by its very name, described as an afternoon perfume, however, I think it is best suited to an Autumn evening when you need something soothing and restful to wash over you as you sip a White Russian.

Like other perfumes from this company, the packaging is attractive and elegant. The bottle has clean lines and looks classy.

Tardes is available from Roullier White and Bloom Perfumery. It is priced at around £85 for 50ml. I think this is a tad overpriced for a perfume which, although nice, isn’t really that exciting. Plus you’d really have to slosh it all over yourself before anyone else would notice you were wearing it!


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