Hermes Muguet Porcelaine ~ fragrance review

lily of the valley

“There’s so much subtlety in lily-of-the-valley that I’ve often dreamed of sublimating it. I dived right into its fragrance in order to reproduce the beauty and supply voluptuous quality of this flower which is fragile as porcelain.” Jean-Claude Ellena

Muguet Porcelaine is the latest to join the Hermessence range at Hermès, and the choice of subject, lily of the valley, was something of a surprise, to me at least.1 Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena widely cites perfumer Edmond Roudnitka as his mentor, and Roudnitska, of course, made Diorissimo, surely (if you think otherwise, don’t tell me) the reference lily of the valley.2 It struck me as highly unlikely that Ellena would wade into those same waters, so I was expecting a sort of meditation on lily of the valley, not really a soliflore or even something I’d necessarily recognize as lily of the valley.3

But no, surprise surprise, what we have here is exactly what the name suggests…

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Hermes Cuir d’Ange ~ fragrance review & quick poll

Hermès Sac à Dépêches

I said when I reviewed Épice Marine that a new fragrance in the upscale Hermessence range from French house Hermès always makes me happy, even when I don’t love the juice. Part of the reason is that they rarely bore me, and another factor is that the relatively easy availability of the 15 ml bottles means I can get some if I want it.1 So the news of the latest (and the 12th in the series), Cuir d’Ange, was welcome, although I find now that every new fragrance from Hermès brings with it a little twinge of anxiety: will it be the last from house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena? (Please, Mr. Ellena, don’t retire just yet.)

I tend to divide the Hermessences into three categories: the few I don’t care about at all (sorry, Paprika Brasil), the few that I need in 100 ml (Osmanthe Yunnan!), and the rest, which I generally need in 15 ml (Vanille Galante, for instance). Sometimes I’m wrong, of course; I think I’m now on my third 15 ml bottle of Vetiver Tonka and my second of Rose Ikebana, and I’m heading fast towards another bottle of Brin de Réglisse. Cuir d’Ange, for now, is going in the 15 ml category — I’d like to own some but I’m not at all sure I’d run through 100 ml…

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