Hermessence Cuir d'Ange (2014)

Hermessence Cuir d'Ange by Hermès
Bottle Design Alnoor Design
8.1 / 10     194 RatingsRatingsRatings
Hermessence Cuir d'Ange is a popular perfume by Hermès for women and men and was released in 2014. The scent is leathery-powdery. It is still in production.

Fragrance Notes

Heliotrope, Hawthorn, Musk, Leather

Ratings

Scent

8.1 (194 Ratings)

Longevity

7.5 (141 Ratings)

Sillage

6.2 (145 Ratings)

Bottle

8.4 (141 Ratings)
Submitted by Lilienfeld, last update on 08.02.2020.
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Reviews

Gschpusi
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Gschpusi
Gschpusi
Top Review    0  
The second skin
I found Cuir d'Ange unpleasant on my first spray. Dry and tart like freshly tanned leather, which lay over a wooden trestle to dry.
It just smelled like leather. Nothing soft, nothing warm, just leather.
Based on the existing comments I had to test it again, because it was incomprehensible to me how one can rave for this smell. Yes I know, tastes are very different and that's a good thing.
So Cuir d'Ange had to get on my skin again and this time hardcore. 2 sprayers on the right and left side of my neck, one in my neck, one between the bells and one on my wrist. Pooh *laughs* that's where we both have to go through.
And then there it was, this moment, when suddenly your childhood love stands before you. The heart beats to the throat. All your veins are pumping and you feel like you're glowing. He smiles at you and takes you in his arms. A little stiff you still stand there before you just surrender and sink deep into this unarming. Leather, now you're soft, warm leather. Caused by my own body heat and by my own smell. Sweet in love. Like little angels with arrows. Heliotrope as creamy velvety as a caramel candy, hawthorn floral light and fragrant of wild roses. And this leather.... as if my skin paired with a new skin. Oh dear, what am I writing? A second skin . Nappa leather or softer. A hint of leather. One is naked and vulnerable and yet feels completely attracted. A beautiful angel leather, that's exactly what it is.
11 Replies
8.5
Scent
8
Longevity
3
Sillage
7
Bottle
StellaDiverF

213 Reviews
StellaDiverF
StellaDiverF
Helpful Review    4  
Unicorn Leather
As I was expecting another limpid, abstract floral leather like Kelly Calèche when I was testing Cuir d'Ange for the first time, my jaw almost fell to the floor when not only did it hit me with a realistic leather, but also a fairly noticeable cumin as an companion.

However, this doesn't mean that Cuir d'Ange smells like a dirty, butcher leather. While the leather note here is mostly dominated by its barnyard-y, hay-like facet probably resulted from narcissus, it's juxtaposed with a supple, lightweight, suede-like texture (suederal?). With the presence of the cumin, there's also a clean white musk and vegetal, floral undertone, almost like a floral ivory soap. It's as if Ellena pulled the trick of the juxtaposition of dirty-clean in Cartier Déclaration again in this leather composition, resulting a convincing impression of a finely-cured real leather.

The focus on this slightly spicy, hay-like leather starts to blur with time, as the clean powdery white musk and heliotropin gradually melds into the leather, until it finally becomes a feather-like, abstract, pristine floral powdery skin scent in the late dry down. I can definitely relate to the comparison of Cuir d'Ange as a leather variation on Frédéric Malle L'Eau d'Hiver. The transition happens in an incremental pace, but I would say that starting from the 6th hour, the leather behaves more like a salty undertone undertone.

The sillage of Cuir d'Ange is close to skin, as most Hermès fragrances are; the longevity is around 10 hours on my skin.

In my mind, I would picture Cuir d'Ange as a leather made from unicorn or pegasus skin. It has this ethereal, other-worldly aura, but firmly displays an animalic (not necessarily dirty) aspect. When I try to compare it with other elegant modern floral leather, Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur is handsomely animalic but lacks this strange diaphonous aspect; Penhaligon's Iris Prima is too clean and too abstract as a leather in comparison; Louis Vuitton Dans La Peau lacks the animalic quality despite its realistic leather handbag impression, and its execution as a whole is rather conventional in style. Therefore, Cuir d'Ange strikes me as a rare exemple that manages to unify these two seemingly contradictory qualities. I would definitely recommend it as a graceful, lightweight floral leather, and a gateway animalic leather as well.
8
Scent
5
Longevity
2.5
Sillage
5
Bottle
MasterLi

371 Reviews
MasterLi
MasterLi
Helpful Review    4  
Delicate Leather...
I don't think this is too much of a stand out fragrance from the Hermessence line. It is in keeping with the character of the other releases in the series. Basically a light, delicate leather. There's a sweetness to it that I also get, perhaps from the almond-like heliotrope. The overall feel of the fragrance is not harsh leather but soft suede. I feel that Jean-Claude Ellena wanted to create a leather that did not smell like the rest of the heavy, birch tar scented leathers of the "dirty" and "animalic" style.

So I get the soft leather, very clean. I also get florals in the shape of violet and iris. There probably is musk in here, but it is nowhere near dirty or "musky" enough to make an impression, other than giving a soapy clean finish to everything.

I am a fan of his work, but I think with this one I am starting to agree with people who call it an "eau de cologne with leather" which to me is why it is so light, even though it has a wonderfully sift, clean leather note running all the way through. I think that if you don't want a strong, stinky animalic in-your-face leather experience, then this one is a perfect alternative take on those. Great stuff for people starting out in leather based fragrances too. As long as you expect a light and delicate fragrance here, you won't be disappointed. Typical signature style work from Jean-Claude Ellena.
6
Scent
10
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
5
Bottle
Drseid

722 Reviews
Drseid
Drseid
Very helpful Review    4  
Linear Soapy Leather...
Cuir d'Ange opens with slightly animalic musky leather softened by almond vanilla-like heliotrope support. Moving to the early heart the composition stays highly linear as the musky leather continues to soften as the almond vanilla-like heliotrope melds further into it. During the late dry-down the leather gradually recedes, leaving its remnants in support of the remaining heliotrope and musk through the finish. Projection is excellent and longevity outstanding at over 20 hours on skin.

I haven't had a lot of luck with the Hermessence line from Hermes in the past, so I went into sniffing Cuir d'Ange with quite modest expectations. When initially sprayed on skin the heliotrope arrives just a hair before the leather, resulting in a relatively interesting and pleasant smelling open. The combination of the heliotrope with the slightly animalic leather conjures up vague memories of using saddle soap on fine leather furniture. If one could stop time right here I think Ellena and Hermes would have a moderate winner. Unfortunately, things really don't change much hereon, and over time as the almond and vanilla-laced animalic leather combination goes on, and on... and on, it gets to be more than a bit overwhelming and mundane. The enormous performance metrics of Cuir d'Ange while commendable on the one hand, actually work against it over time with its highly linear nature, and when you *want* it to go away it won’t comply. I suppose if Ellena could have changed the progression up a bit along the way, the result would have been more appealing, but as it stands I can appreciate the linear minimalist work but really can't muster much enthusiasm for the end result. The bottom line is Cuir d'Ange starts off relatively impressive, but the lack of significant development coupled with the tenacious vanilla almond heliotrope gets mildly annoying over time marring the overall effect, earning it an above average 2.5 to 3 stars out of 5 rating and a neutral recommendation with a slight positive bias.
jtd

484 Reviews
jtd
jtd
Top Review    9  
Cuir d'Ange
2014 marks Jean-Claude Ellena’s 10th year as in-house perfumer at Hermès as well as his departure from the house. His final perfume for Hermès is Cuir d’Ange, released as a part of the Hermessence line that he created soon after his arrival to Hermès. Hermès was one of the first French luxury house to create a luxe-plus, high-cost line. Dior launched their Collection Privé the same year. Chanel followed with Les Exclusifs in 2007. Cartier released Les Heures in 2009.

The luxury on steroids bandwagon was the result of a number of tendencies in the perfume market but had one common goal: profit. The trends driving the escalation included the perfumer-as-artiste movement, a desire to reclaim the distinction that niche brands had stolen and demands for market growth. Each house sold the premise differently. Chanel touted its heritage. Guerlain used misdirection, rereleasing poorly selling perfumes in new bottles at high mark-up in line after line, from l’Art et la Matière and les Parisiènnes to Les Elixirs Charnels and the City Lines. The ongoing question is, how are the perfumes in the exclusive lines any more valuable than their less expensive counterparts? Luxury houses have long espoused convoluted and esoteric equations of worth to sell us their wares. The bottom line was: they created and maintained markets for ever more costly perfumes.

Rather than commissioning hired guns to produce a perfume at a time, Hermès had a more ambitious plan and brought in Ellena to reinvent Hermès’s perfumery starting with the creation of the Jardins series and the Hermessence line. It is valid to be skeptical of the charm of a contemporary luxury goods producer. The avarice of multinational corporations filtered through the haughtiness of top-tier tastemakers calls for suspicion at a minumum. Still, Hermès’s renovation was well considered and transparent, something refreshing in Fashion.

Ellena was the ideal choice. He had a proven track record of success with designer houses (Van Cleef and Arpels, Bvlgari and Cartier) and played a large part in defining niche perfumery with his work for l’Artisan Parfumeur, The Different Company, Amouage and Frédéric Malle. He had an enviable lineage, apprenticing in Grasse, studying at the new perfume school at Givaudan in the 1970s, following in the lineage of Edmond Roudnitska and being a founding member of l'Osmothèque. He brought expertise, talent, a proven track record and, importantly for a house whose currency is status and standing, prestige. The position offered Ellena the possibility to play a critical part in shaping the state of the art of contemporary perfumery and pursuing a vision. It was a rare opportunity for a perfumer. It was a match made in heaven.

But was it also a deal with the devil?

Ellena’s body of work for Hermès defines the states of art and elegance. But it could be argued that Hermès’s explicit focus on finery, exclusivity and branding were a set of golden handcuffs for Ellena. Ellena’s minimalism and Hermès’s refinement might seem like a perfect match at a glance, but the incongruity is implicit. The company’s pristine objets are impeccable, but conceptually fussy. They stem from the decorative arts, but serve as dull finery and symbols of bourgeois prestige. Ellena’s minimalism is deliberate and rigorous, not a superficial style. His work is the result of years of contemplation and effort on the nature of perfumery. In a line of work where chasing the next brief defines long-term planning, Ellena’s body of work demonstrates a coherent vocabulary and philosophy.

So is Ellena’s work for Hermès restrained or constrained? The brand’s sheer, radiant perfumes with their controlled range of dynamics are thoughtful successors to perfumes like Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert (1992) and Osmanthus (2001) for the Different Company. But this is also the perfumer who made highly orchestrated perfumes such as Van Cleef and Arpels First (1976), l’Artisan Parfumeur l'Eau du Navigateur (1982), Rumba (1988) for Balenciaga and Amouage Dia (2002). Was this side of his work set aside during his tenure at Hermès? Will Jean-Claude Ellena step out of his rue du Faubourg St. Honore closet and live large starting in 2015?

Only the future will tell, but Cuir d’Ange provides an enticing hint.

Cuir d’Ange takes a full step away from the tone of Ellena’s prior work for Hermès. It is as composed and edited as the others in the Hermessense line, but it is far more lyrical. Where the majority of the Hermessence line are defined by a dispassionate understatement, Cuir d’Ange has an expansiveness, a brio that is almost startling. Ellena is known for having fine-tuned the narrowly evolving, quietly radiant perfume while at Hermès. He made perfumes that were not static but were largely linear. Cuir d’Ange has sweeping topnotes and a range of dynamics that are akin to those in Calèche, a perfume made by Guy Robert for Hermès in 1961. Cuir d’Ange simultaneously fits the brand’s legacy and Ellena’s oeuvre like no other perfume he’s made for the marque. It has a foot in the past and reaches into the future without sentimentality or contrivance.

(The relation of Cuir d’Ange and Caleche is conjecture, but it isn’t without precedent. Ellena’s Dia for Amouage was a response to Robert’s Amouage Gold [1983], the perfume that launched the Amouage line.)

Cuir d’Ange is a floral-leather, a category that existed before Hermès produced its first perfume. The nod to historical genre tells me that Ellena intends to work with, if not within, tradition. The specific floral quality of the perfume is unexpected. It is bitter and dusty with an herbal, soapy quality reminiscent of Ivoire de Balmain. The scent is strong and specific yet detached. Cuir d'Ange smells more specifically like suede than most leather perfumes, but suggests that the scent comes from objects in a nearby room. Despite the olfactory realism the perfume is abstract and it defeats the expectation of how a leather perfume should play out. It’s neither smokey nor woody and it never warms or sweetens. It becomes hushed over time, but stays soapy and cool, hovering just off the skin without ever becoming a ‘skin scent’ as most leather perfumes do.

Ellena’s work is both literate and legible. He uses a systematic and ordered approach to make expressive if subtle perfumes. His perfumes reveal a coherent aesthetic that can be read. He has both a sense of history and an intimate knowledge of the most recent innovations in perfumery. He is poised to leave Hermès into a wide open future and I’m keen to see what he’ll choose to do next.

from scenthurdle.com
2 Replies
ColinM

516 Reviews
ColinM
ColinM
Very helpful Review    6  
Majestic!
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 below-mentioned similarities with 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...).

8,5-9/10
10
Scent
Rickbr

190 Reviews
Rickbr
Rickbr
Helpful Review    5  
Ellena's Masterpiece
I guess that i will never know if i really love or get indiferent towards Jean Claude Ellena current work because when i think he has become repetitious here comes one of his creations like Cuir d'Anges that touchs me on my emotional in a way that my past critiques seems useless.Like all of his creations, there is a recurrent vibe that if you look on for some time you will be able to identify the similarty with one or more of his previous works. However, in this one there is still something new and i think it's quite interesting the effect he has achieved here for me: the framing of a classic aroma into a modern, minimalist, but not dull shape. Cuir d'Ange reminds me of the classic Cuir de Russie aroma and i suspect that there is some birch or some material here with a birch like aroma causing this impression. It's the first thing that i notice, the lustrous, waxy leather, of polished new boots, an aroma that for some reason reminds me so much of the tailoring workplace of my paternal grandfather. It's so interesting to me that Ellena puts its idea inside of his mineral and vegetal aroma, used mainly on Voyage d'Hermes and on his The Different Company Bois d'Iris. It's like this base is playing the light and brigh side of the Cuir de RUssie aroma that would be made mainly of classic citrus note. Cuir d'Ange also has that oily, gasoline-like aroma that you get in classic Fahrenheit formulations, but at the same time he has that chic floral leather aroma of Kelly Caleche, that here shows itself in its iris, leather and narcisse nuances without the fruity and rose nuances. Altough being minimalist, Cuir d'Ange seems to me complex, harmonic and thick and it's one of the best Ellena works that i have smelled on this last years. This i would gave 5 stars of five, it's flawless and brilliant.
9
Scent
7.5
Longevity
5
Sillage
10
Bottle
Cumulnimbus

76 Reviews
Cumulnimbus
Cumulnimbus
Helpful Review    3  
Modern and perfect version of classic dusty suede/leather
Cuir d'Ange on me is a beautiful soft light creamy bittersweet still bright leather/suede scent. I really love leather note and here it appears with an original, elegant and I would even say happy tender twist. I really appreciate this aspect of it as my other favorite leather perfumes are a bit blue and gloomy as Jolie Madame or Gomma. Cuir d'ange is playfull in comparison but still holds their dusty classic feel.

Absolutely perfect and exquisitely blended perfume, which works as the softest and most alluring suede/leather layer over my skin. Delicate, genderless and attractive.

Definitely an everyday perfume, almost a skin scent after the first hour, discreet but with a decent longevity of 6/7 hours,which is good for Hermessance standards. I'm happy this one stays on my skin one or two hours more than other ones of the collection which I find too weak.
9
Scent
DemonHead

18 Reviews
DemonHead
DemonHead
Very helpful Review    5  
Ethereal leather
This October, we are honoured to receive more prose from the perfumed pen of Hermès nose Jean-Claude Ellena, as the house gives flight to Cuir d'Ange, the twelfth creation in its exclusive Hermessence line.

In 2014, Jean-Claude has found his muse between the pages of a book - one that has touched his life profoundly. Twentieth century French writer Jean Giono refers to 'angel leather' in a passage from the book "Jean le Bleu", and it was from there that Ellena's inspiration took seed.

"Two words, two smells: the smell of angels, the smell of leather, and already the name of a perfume".

In keeping with strong House traditions, Cuir d'Ange is devoutly Hermès through and through... it tips its hat to the historic Hermès scents of the 1950's, whilst in the same breath feels strikingly contemporary. If one were asked to trace its ancestry, one could not look past the cardamom-laiden citrus flight of Eau d'Hermès, and the delectable bittersweet leathery qualities of Doblis. Moving forward along the timeline, the floral/leather treatment of Kelly Caleche springs to mind, though Cuir d'Ange feels a little more mature and sophisticated. I wonder too, if Ellena has borrowed from his recent creation Épice Marine, perhaps with a rearrangement of it's salty ozonic accords included here to suggest vast and infinite space overhead. After all, is that not where angels reside?

Cuir d'Ange darts between the ethereal and the earthbound. It's enchanting florals - heliotrope, iris, violet and daffodil - steal glances through a more grounded leather/musky veil. The sandy pink calfskin lid and nude blush hue of the flacon communicate a certain tenderness... the napped suede caress of an angel, maybe.

Two words is all it took for Ellena to make tangible a scent that is genderless and appealing, and observes the traditions of the House. As an author of perfume, his words are his smells, and here he has written a poem of unearthly beauty and the sublime.

Statements

TagazeuTagazeu 2 years ago
9
Scent
9
Longevity
9
Sillage
9
Bottle
Buttery suede with hawthorn and orris undertones.
On a hot day it becomes more balmy and ambrette seedy.
The most perfect suede perfume!
HermeshHermesh 5 years ago
9
Scent
5
Longevity
5
Sillage
10
Bottle
Very delicate and fine leather - unlike so many "loud" leather scents. A pleasure !!

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