This is a palimpsest of a scent; several genres and styles overlaid on top of each other. There’s an anisic herbal aspect, a strong hay note, a polite leather, and a glowing, neon-violet forcefield effect that buzzes and flickers around the scent from start to finish. CPF builds an encompassing aura, but one that’s well ventilated—impressively so. Associations are formed in my mind to Santal 33 (the dill), Iris Ukele (the “purple”), and even aspects of Bel Respiro (crispness)—but these (the latter especially) are incidental connections that stem from the fact that the scent has so much going on with it. But I also draw connections to chalky violet candies—a sweet, fuzzy kind of quality that seems almost effervescent.
This stuff is truly genre-bending and strange, but it’s somehow cohesive, palpable, and perhaps even a tad too polite. I think I'd be hard pressed to suggest it as a leather-centric perfume, and I’m not sure that I'd wear it often myself, but it’s definitely one that deserves some attention. I respect it more than I like it.
I have been on a violet quest of sorts, and CPF was on my list to try.
It starts with a burst of violets and lilies, which smell fantastic. A green, stemmy note appears which persists into the drydown and base. I can barely detect any leather, or any of the other notes listed. There is an occasional whiff of hay and vetiver, but the overall impression is one of a mixed floral and green note.
This melange does last, at least 4-6 hours, but remains extremely close to the skin. It is pleasurable to catch a whiff of this in passing but the effect lacks enough depth to be satisfying. It comes across as a very personal scent, for the wearer only. I really liked this concept but wanted more, namely a better appreciation of the other notes. It is for this reason alone I cannot justify the cost of a bottle.
The sillage and softness wouldn't bother me if I could just smell more of what was listed in the pyramid. A shame. Looking at the other reviews it is apparent that these notes are there for the lucky few. I envy them that.
Heeley’s Cuir Pleine Fleur is one of the most refreshing and original leather scents on the market. Whereas most leathers I know rely on the balsamic, animalic warmth of labdanum* for part of their tanned hide effect, Cuir Pleine Fleur marries birch tar to a cool woody floral accord based on iris root, vetiver, and violets. The result is uniquely crisp, buoyant, and translucent.
Cuir Pleine Fleur’s violet note is beautifully modulated and occupies an ideal position between too sweet and too harsh, too fussy and too heavy. The composition accentuates vetiver’s licorice quality – enough to suggest anise or fennel seed. The best black licorice I’ve tasted has a savory, salty quality about it, and the vetiver-and-violet accord in Cuir Pleine Fleur is likewise strangely briny as well as sweet. An iris note with an olfactory texture somewhere between powder and custard makes the ideal binder for the leather, violet, and vetiver, while rounding off all possible rough edges for a sleek, suave effect that’s the equal of Chanel at its best.
Wearing Cuir Pleine Fleur the other day, I felt a sudden shock of recognition, as if I’d smelled something very similar before. After sifting through memories and some side-by-side sniffing, I surprised myself with the discovery that Cuir Pleine Fleur’s green, woody violet accord relates closely to, of all things…Grey Flannel. Preposterous? Not at all! Grey Flannel’s woods and violet may be more angular and far heavier, but the similarities in content and structure are real. Cuir Pleine Fleur is light and lithe by comparison, a young hoofer to Grey Flannel’s mature ballroom dancer, but the two know plenty of the same steps.
Unlike Grey Flannel, or many of the late twentieth century leather chypres, Cuir Pleine Fleur is never loud. Cuir Pleine Fleur’s drydown travels its own path, lined primarily with vetiver and lingering leathery notes. The scent is moderately potent over the first three or four hours wear and persists as a skin scent for a reasonable time thereafter. Innocent of any bluster and exquisitely poised, Cuir Pleine Fleur ought to work for either gender, too.
*Labdanum is one third of the basic chypre accord, and thus perforce plays a large role in all classic leather chypres.
One of my favourite fragrances ever since the very first moment I first smelled it, and one of my favourite leathers ever too. A marvelous, pastoral, mellow rendition of suede, with a lot of hay, a countryside landscape in a dense, crunchy, warm ochre colour, like in a Van Gogh painting. The "realm" is the recent wave of softer, more delicate leathers, like Cuir Ottoman (another all-time favourite of mine), centered on a silky, dense, rich suede note, which here is developed in Heeley's signature linearity with a remarkable balance between earthy/rural vibes, and a transparent, aerial, slightly shady and contemporary dimensionality. All sounds and smells with perfect clarity: a mossy vetiver/oak side, a delicate floral side, a crunchy green accord, a bunch of spices (notably pepper and clove), an incense breeze, an initially waxy base, and an overall warm, evening-like transparency, like a lazy afternoon in the countryside chilling with your back on a hay ball. I love this fragrance also because it does not shout and does not "wow" you at first, but it slowly captivates you, and most important, smells terribly good and versatile. Heeley's style is at its best here, the linearity and the clarity are perfectly executed, and as Darvant suggests below, I also detect a similarity with Iris de Nuit. A quite unique example of a lively, delicate leather scent that is not simply "light" and above all, not "dull", with a specific dense personality (which has its very nucleus in a tiny, but vivid heart of castoreum and rose). Sophisticated, subtly distinctive, highly safe and wearable – and also, decently priced.
Enchanting and addictive. It starts off with some sharpish top notes, some violet leaves and maybe some birch tar - reminds me at this stage of a smooth leather married to an aftershave base. Just when I think this will come off as too masculine on my skin, it morphs into a gentle leather or soft suede more like, supported by flowers whose notes I cannot discern. The dry down is gorgeous and reminds me a lot of the original Fahrenheit, which I also loved (and I think a woman can wear, no problem). It is not a sweet fragrance, and although the leather is not a butch one, I think it is truly unisex. The longevity is good (6+ hours on my perfume eating skin) and the sillage is quiet but present, in that I can catch whiffs of it as I move around, so I know that others can too.
A very wearable, classy, floral leather that can be enjoyed by men and women. It is a scent that I imagine can be used in both formal and casual settings. Sorry if my review is not glowing - I love this, I really do, but I have been up all night and dog tired, that's all! I do want to say that this is a glorious scent and I would like a big bottle of it, please. I have a few more leathers to test, but right now, this, Cuir de Russie, and Rien are at the top. Diametrically different, these two, but I think a body needs at least two different leathers, depending on where you are going and what you are doing.