Rose & Cuir (2019)
by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle


Rose & Cuir information

Year of Launch2019
GenderShared / Unisex
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 23 votes)

People and companies

HouseEditions de Parfums Frederic Malle
PerfumerJean-Claude Ellena
Parent CompanyEstee Lauder Companies

About Rose & Cuir

Rose & Cuir is a shared / unisex perfume by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle. The scent was launched in 2019 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena

Reviews of Rose & Cuir

One of the best from Malle in some time ... I would say since Superstitious.

A peppery geranium-'rose'accord on a base of leather. A bit preppy initially but with lots of depth, hint of berries - but apparently Malle/JCE didn't use any rose. The base is a smooth leather, isobutyl quinoline, that's used in Tuscan Leather, but here it is different - sharper and drier. The leather base is similar to the one in Arsene Lupin Dandy. Malle has lots of roses, and the ghost rose note in this one is a cross between something like Portrait of a Lady and ... La Fille de Berlin. It's less retro than Superstitious, but is still evocative - it strives to bridge the past and the present in a way Lipstick Rose does.

I always thought there was a gap in the Malle range due to the absence of a leather perfume. Here is finally a wonderful addition that fills that void. It is refreshing to see a bold perfume from JCE in contrast to his translucent Hermessence compositions. I like Rose & Cuir a whole lot more than many other recent ones from Malle. It is a perfect example of the qualities I love and appreciate in a good perfume - it is abstract, complex, distinctive and smells damn good.

28th November, 2020
The initial blast of knife-slicing bitterness, the mellow down is very slow, at the end there is a nicely balanced scent with good longevity. Don't read it as a male or female scent.
31st October, 2020
Every now and then, I smell something like this that gives me a jolt. But these days, I wait and see if my mind spits out a duplicate warning. Rose et Cuir by Frederic Malle is a big geranium-ash-leather bomb that immediately smells arresting to me, chock full of the bitter, crushed-stem greenery of Mediterranean kitchen garden scents like Un Jardin en Méditerranée by Hermes, or the opening of L’Ombre dans L’ Eau by Diptyque minus that scent’s screechy, burnt-jam rose that ruins the rest of the composition.

It didn’t bother me that I was able to ‘scent match’ the front half of Rose et Cuir so quickly, because a) the green topnotes are, for me, an improvement over what had gone before, and b) an interesting overlay of record vinyl, condom rubber, and cigarette ash rescues the greenery from the sort of simple naturalism that’s always affecting at first but eventually boring.

Without looking at the reviews, the second half was a challenge to place, but place it I eventually did. Cabochard de Grès. Voila. If you like the peculiarly ashy, meaty, acrid bitterness of that Cellier-esque leather (à la Bandit et al), then you’ll be in seventh heaven. Me? I can quite happily go without. Interestingly, though, despite the clear references, Cuir et Rose doesn’t feel derivative or jaded. It’s a gutsy fragrance that doesn’t feel particularly Ellena-esque (nothing ‘watercolor’ about it). Actually, it’s downright grimy.

I’m glad I didn’t cheat and take a look at the reviews for Rose et Cuir first, because since everyone and their cat identified the main building blocks of the scent right away, I can’t be sure that my nose would have landed on the right reference on its own. Because sometimes, you know, I see words like ‘ashy’ or ‘rosy’ or ‘metallic’ and I start to smell it that way too, even if my own nose says otherwise. The truth is, I’m very open to suggestion.
02nd April, 2020
Ok, to start off - this smells good. No doubt about it. BUT, it's essentially something from the Hermes line. I feel like they pulled an old project and tweaked it. Hermes would never release something with the chemical-leqther isobutyl quiloline (gasp!)

Anyway. There is no rose in here. Elena has used a mixture of leaves, stems, and blackcurrant. It's an impression of a rose at a very specific time in its lifetime. A nice illusion, but only that.

When that Diptyque-Baies-diluted-10x-topnote finally morphes into a drydown, it's a beautiful balance of chemical (Bandit), the harsh green aspect of the top/heart notes (Gentiane Blanche) and a slight licorice-y element. It's great. But too late. Very much an elegant perfume of 2009.
27th January, 2020
Love conquers all

It is difficult to write about Rose and Cuir without considering its nose and the history that comes before it. Its very name is suggestive of Jean-Claude Ellena’s Hermessences, a line for Hermès that epitomizes the minimalist style he is best known for, a number of which were named after two contrasting ingredients, "Vetiver Tonka," "Epice Marine," and so on. However, if Rose and Cuir’s name and short ingredients list have left you hoping for another light-wearing and pared-down “olfactory haiku,” it will surprize.

Rose and Cuir is a forceful fragrance. It opens with a bright, fresh rose briefly rounded out with berries and then heightened by pepper. After about fifteen minutes or so, the IsoButyl Quinoline kicks in. If you are unfamiliar with the note, think of the fantastically bitter and smoky opening of Bandit. This eventually dominates the scent. For a couple hours following, Rose and Cuir remains a harsh leather wherein the rose and other notes like vetiver all play a supporting role. On one wearing, the aggressive gasoline tinge of the leather became so commanding, the rose was barely discernible, and yet it still provided a major tempering influence to the leather’s brusqueness. It’s like the cinnamon in your chili. You’d never guess it was there but you’d immediately notice if it was forgotten.

The scent slowly shifts its emphasis in the dry down. By the third hour, it is perceptibly a rose geranium and berry infused leather. And it is very much rose _geranium_. By the fifth hour, the floral note has come to the fore as the leather recedes to serve as a smoky foundation.

It’s a ballsy move to present a harsh note like IsoButyl Quinoline in such a pared down perfume. Take Bandit, which has a lot going on, adding creamy tuberose, animalistic musks and a symphonic host of other notes as a counterweight. It’s an elabourate costume, the whole nine yards of SM leather: the cage harness, the overbust corset, the skin tight pants, the lace up thigh high boots. If Rose and Cuir is a domme like Bandit, she’s waxed every inch of her body and is wearing naught but a pair of Louboutin So Kate stilettos. While tapping the ashes of her cigarette onto your tongue.

If you can set aside your expectations of watercolour transparency that typifies Ellena’s previous fragrances, you will find the simplicity and dynamism of the Hermessences is still evident with Rose and Cuir. Here, Ellena has paired two contrasting notes and let them play off each other. Rose is luminous and uplifting, guileless and sanguine; Cuir is sharp with shadows, dangerous and brooding. But if this is a haiku, it is not one of serene, zen-like contemplation, but of stark, noire-ish drama.

Personally, I adore the bitterness of IsoButyl Quinoline but I’m a maximalist at heart and I already have Bandit. Rose and Cuir will probably prove to be too challenging to rank among Malle’s more commercially successful perfumes but I am so glad it exists. Bravo!
17th November, 2019 (last edited: 18th November, 2019)
This is a God awful heavily feminine cloying fragrance.
Leather and rose in the most wince inducing combination you can imagine. It starts off a bit too sharp so you think 'Phew, let's see if it settles maybe some room for a more subtle leather woody dry down'. Not a bit of it. Just becomes more dandy and drier.
There are some of us who would call it a work of art. One basenotes reviewer of new perfumes described it as his favourite FM ever. For me that goes Angeliques Sous La Plui and above that in the number 1 slot : French Lover.
However I have worked out how I can hold my head high if anyone mentions Rose and Cuir being a FM creation and say, don't be ridiculous its a female fragrance. If you like this kind of thing Boudicea the Victorious do their own much nicer one which is more subtle and frankly less offensive.

Fragrance: 4/10
Projection: 6/10
Longevity: 7/10
13th November, 2019

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