Hermessence: Cuir d'Ange by Hermès (2014)

Nose: Jean-Claude Ellena

The new Cuir d’Ange by Hermès is undoubtedly a gorgeous scent, showing an actual careful work, great composition skills (not that we needed a confirmation for that), and perfect choice of materials. As-is, the idea is not new: basically a floral-suede scent with a subtle, slightly earthy floral accord of narcissus and heliotrope topped with musky-anisic-spicy tips, but Ellena succeeds in making it smell completely innovative and unique, putting together an impressively crystalline, sharp, clear, deep scent – not a “thick” deepness, rather airy, almost celestial as the name suggests. Cuir d’Ange is ethereal and minimalist in a way, as regards to the composition, yet really dense and with a quite bold projection. The leather accord (which I am usually quite picky about) is great, carrying a range of nuances from musky to silky/polished, all conveyed in a slightly drier and more “roasted” accord if compared to the usual and over-used (most of times, rather uncreatively) safraleine/suederal bases. It smells contemporary and synthetic in a way, but not conventional. Floating all over, a gentle and slightly resinous anisic-floral breeze with a sort of subtle “milky” substance (or better say “watery” in a liquid, mineral meaning – not ozonic, shortly), melting with a powdery white musks note, all together colouring this scent with delicate pastel hints of grace. Simple yet complex and incredibly well executed, showing all Ellena’s clever elegance and ability in creating a thin scent full of nuances and notes which fill the space at the same time leaving it airy and “empty”. Beautiful and also quite persistent despite being close to skin (as you would expect, from both this type of fragrance and Ellena’s style). A bit linear perhaps, but not a flaw here. I can not think of any particular similarity with other scents, as this really brings the floral-leather genre to another level, but I'll agree with the similarities reviewers mentioned online - e.g, Guerlain's Cuir Beluga or Heeley's Cuir Pleine Fleur, but the distance from both (and others) is wide enough - just more a matter of general inspiration. So, in short, a sophisticated and terribly pleasant scent which is compelling and remarkable to every extent, and most important, totally unique and distinctive despite showing a deceptively “already-seen” pyramid of notes. Now, if the market situation was different and there were more remarkable new scents around (as I wished), I’d be probably less enthusiastic and rate this only as a “really good” scent; but given the dramatic lack of new ideas and good scents both in niche and mainstream, this is a memorable standout. Probably more costly than it should be, but nice enough to be worth it (perhaps...).


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