Zen Leather- Hermès Collection Hermessence Cuir d’Ange

Notes: heliotrope, hawthorn, violet, narcissus, musk and leather.

And wow, I think, brilliant notes! Maybe this, this is ‘my’ J. C. Ellena fragrance. Ellena; an icon- and without a doubt a master of his métier, who puts Zen and grace in a perfume bottle, he draws you in. I want to love his perfumes. I try. It’s complicated.

Cuir d’Ange must be one of those perfumes that wears very different on all skin types, on me completely opposite to Victoria of Bois de Jasmin, this one wears for a substantial amount of time for a Hermessence fragrance, spraying it on skin in the evening, I could still smell the gorgeous reminiscences of it in the morning.

Putto by Rosso Fiorentino

Putto by Rosso Fiorentino

I have been wearing this for almost a week, and its unfolding has not been easy to put into words, or even how I feel about it, I kept spraying, sniffing, reapplying, sniffing, taking in the aura of the fragrance.

The first sniff was delightful. On as close to a summers day as one gets in late September, the scent unfolded with great beauty and a sunny presence, but consequently I kept getting an opening note which I can best describe as the scent of my childhood’s finger paint. I have no idea if finger paint smells different now, but a plastic-paint like scent, I can almost smell the primary colour of yellow and see the rough, slightly grainy structure stuck on paper and children’s hands. And I suppose it makes sense, even if my senses scream FINGER PAINT- my mind can think that perhaps a rather poisonous narcissus is to blame? This stage does last for quite a bit, and only after over half an hour, does this note slowly give way for a softer leather note underneath. The leather is neither butch as Bandit nor as lady-like as the leather in Bottega Veneta, I am in fact reminded of another fragrance, which at least on my skin is definitely related, albeit, a completely different animal in sillage, structure and atmosphere; Serge’s Daim Blonde.

Melozzo da Forli Angel with lute

Melozzo da Forli Angel with lute

On the tester there’s an obvious soapy violet note, which is completely lost on my skin, and I’m also deprived of a softening into a cosy almondy heliotrope as the notes had me assuming. I would have thought a bit of jasmine had worked its way into the heart; at least I can almost grasp a sense of a floral leather. As this stage of Cuir d’Ange mellows and deepens, I get a sense of an apricot suede, camel tanned, smooth and soft, and it blends with the skin until it reaches a ‘my skin but better’, and stays there for an (Hermessence-) eternity. When it reaches this point I want to run out and buy it, but I spray again, and get uneasy…

The angel skin I end up with is divine, but I fear that first finger-paint angel. My relationship with Cuir d’Ange might be Zen but it stays complicated.


*Read also this wonderful review of Cuir d’Ange by Denyse at Grain de Musc

**This time no own-illustrations apart from the photo, as I couldn’t face the angels, finger painted or otherwise.

10 thoughts on “Zen Leather- Hermès Collection Hermessence Cuir d’Ange

  1. Hmmm, Asali the Lemming Slayer 🙂

    It’s not looking good. I really don’t want poster paint and Daim Blonde is too cloying for me. The Hermessences aren’t cheap though so no great loss. I’ll still try and get a sample when I can but it can wait. Too bad it’s not all angel skin all the time on you. I wonder if it is the narcissus.

    Is there no JCE that you like? I love Osmanthe Yunnan and the recent Eau de Mandarine Ambree.

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to. (feeling bad) Well, Daim Blonde is not cloying on me, so maybe it’s just a skin issue and you’ll love Cuir d’Ange. And it’s not that I don’t like the Hermessence line (or other JCE’s), it’s that I don’t love them, even if I want to.

      • Don’t feel bad, I was only pulling your leg!

        I never had my heart set on it.

        I know what you mean about the difference between liking and loving a perfume. It’s a hard lesson to learn only to buy those in the second category.

        • Good to hear 🙂
          Isn’t it just, and because of that dry down I wanted so badly for this to be love, but no…

  2. I’ve never used finger paint – it wasn’t available when I grew up so now I’m very curious to smell Cuir d’Ange. Even though I actually dislike Daim Blonde (to the extend that I marked it in my database as not to test it again). We’ll see how it goes once I have a chance to try it.

    • I am very curious about how other people will like it, and how it turns out for you. I have a feeling it could be very different, at least when I read what bois de jasmin gets out of it. I don’t dislike Daim Blonde, but I know what you mean, it’s probably how I feel about Arabie and Chypre Rouge, my nose gets anxiety attacks just mentioning those two.

      • It’s interesting: I liked both. I mean, I didn’t love them and still have to go back to my samples and test them more but the first impression was positive. But Daim Blonde and Cuir Mauresque are definitely not my Lutens.

        • Hm, interesting. Now I need to try Arabie and CR again, because those two were on my imaginary ‘never try again’ list, but that was a very long time ago, and tolerance change so much over time I find. Cuir Mauresque was a bit much for me too.

  3. This one looks as though it would be complicated at best for me too! Am not mad on heliotrope and Daim Blond was all wrong on me – I likened it to the perfume equivalent of that cacophonous ‘white noise’ that is used to disorientate prisoners. It was kind of raspy in the wrong way. But on the plus side, ‘apricot suede’ sounds delightful in theory. I just feel I might have issues with Cuir d’Ange at every turn. I wonder if the finger paint note could be the heliotrope – was it a bit plasticky or Playdoh-y at all?

    • That’s something of a description, I had no idea Daim Blond was so unloved. To be honest, I don’t get almondy heliotrope from Cuir d’Ange, yes, more like plastic, and also like play-doh, but when I see a play-doh note referenced, it’s always almondy/ sweet, which is not the play-doh I remember, I remember plastic… Do let me know how you fare when you get to test it 🙂

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