Review: #3 by Cristina Bertrand

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This perfume smells like you always wish a white floral would, but never does. Cristina Bertrand #3

Number 3 by Cristina Bertrand is a white floral fragrance that is available on Amazon.com as an eau de parfum ($80 for 100ml). 

If you’ve never heard of Cristina Bertrand with regard to perfumes, this would be forgiveable. She is actually a Spanish artist, based in China, who specialises in paintings concerned with the I-Ching. She has also designed a three-strong range of perfumes, which are sold in China (details on her website) with prices in RMB (whatever they are), but #3 is a discontinued fragrance, hence its presence on Amazon. I actually bought mine on Ebay for a stonking $11.89. 

#3 has top notes of bergamot, wild flowers and orange flower, heart notes of orchid, jasmine and tuberose and base notes of heliotrope, sandalwood and musk.

I came across it because of a blog called Muse in Wooden Shoes, when I was pootling around looking for Serge Lutens alternatives, as I don’t really have the money to buy many, and it was suggested as an alternative to Lutens’ Fleurs d’Oranger.  Worth a punt, I thought. 

However, it most assuredly is not an alternative to the Lutens. Fleurs d’Oranger is a heavy, syrupy, oriental-style orange blossom, quite heavily indolic and sexy. #3, in contrast, is bright, light and white, and pretty rather than sexy – a white linen shirtwaist rather than a red satin sheath. It could easily be worn by either a young girl or her grandmother without seeming wrong on either, but it is not girly or fusty.

It smells extremely clean without being cheap, and exactly like you always hope a white floral will and yet never seems to. I can detect orange blossom and jasmine, though no tuberose or heliotrope, and it dries down to a creamy (that’s the sandalwood) white floral. It is in no way green or bitter, and I don’t find it at all lemony either – no bergamot. 

It is a very pleasant fragrance indeed and I think would be foolproof for a business meeting, job interview or anywhere that you wanted to wear perfume without offending anyone – the dentist’s surgery, doctor’s surgery or meeting with your lawyer. It feels like it’s made from quality materials, and it also has astonishing longevity. I applied mine some 13 hours ago and can still smell it. Great for days when you don’t want to make a particular statement. 

If you fancy buying #3, be aware that the box looks very similar to that of Blue Orquid, and uses an image of the same painting by Bertrand, but that this is a different perfume with different notes.  

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