David Jourquin Cuir Altesse & Cuir de R’Eve

Lovely. Ghastly. Intoxicating. Nauseating. I want a small bottle. I can’t wait to scrub the revolting mess off my body. Two completely antithetical reactions to two supposedly parallel companion fragrances, both created by Cecile Zarokian for David Jourquin. The first is Cuir Altesse. The second is Cuir de R’Eve. Both fragrances are eau de parfums that were released in 2014 and that David Jourquin describes as “women’s fragrances,” but I think Cuir Altesse is completely unisex, thanks to a strong similarity to vintage Lagerfeld Cologne, classic bay rum tobacco colognes, and vintage Shalimar parfum. Let’s start with the dreadful one first, so that I can block it out of my mind immediately thereafter, and then we can talk about Cuir Altesse at greater depth.

Cuir Altesse & Cuir de R'Eve duo. Photo via davidjourquin.fr

Cuir Altesse & Cuir de R’Eve duo. Photo via davidjourquin.fr


Source: Fragrantica.

Source: Fragrantica.

Cuir de R’Eve is presented as the “day version” of the “night-time” Cuir Altesse, even though it doesn’t have the same notes and smells completely different. Since I can’t abide the fragrance, I’ll skip over its long official description which can be summed up in a nutshell as “an ode” to the women of the 1920s. According to Luckyscent, the note list is:

Bergamot, baies roses [pink peppercorns], clove, heliotrope, orris, red fruit, patchouli, leather, vanilla.

Maraschino cherry via Wikipedia.

Maraschino cherry via Wikipedia.

Cuir de R’Eve opens on my skin with a deluge of fruity pink peppercorns, fruity purple-skewing patchouli, and candied cherries that smell like Maraschino cocktail cherries. The sticky, molasses-like goo is then blanketed by a thick layer of dusty, biting, pungent, and medicinal cloves. The sum-total result smells oddly rancid to my nose. Not only does it smell a little “off,” but it strongly resembles an oral disinfectant gargle wash that my dentist occasionally uses combined with Luden’s cherry cough drops.

Classic American holiday ham with cocktail cherries and brown sugar, spice, clove glaze. Photo source: desktopcookbook.com

Classic American holiday ham with a brown sugar, spice, clove glaze. Photo source: desktopcookbook.com

At the same time, the powdery, acerbic dustiness of the cloves mixed with the intense molasses sugariness also calls to mind a spice-clove-brown sugar glaze for a traditional American holiday ham. In fact, a few years ago, I actually tried a Christmas ham roast with Maraschino cherries and that sort of glaze at a holiday event, and it was almost as bad as the accord here. This is somehow even more unpalatable. The saccharine nature of the Maraschino cherries, the thickness of the pink peppercorn-fruitchouli goo, and the disinfectant-dental-dusty aspects of the clove feel almost suffocating. It’s sign of just how unbalanced the proportions are because Cuir de R’Eve is actually soft and airy in body, but the medicinal, pungently abrasive, and sickly candy aspects supersede its lightness.

Source: parisgallery.com

Source: parisgallery.com

It gets worse. The orris and heliotrope arrive after 10 minutes, adding a thick layer of floral-scented makeup powder with violet lipstick undertones. I find it so jarring next to the cloves (that keep making me think of dentists and Christmas hams!), the Maraschino cocktail cherries, and the pink peppercorn-fruitchouli goo. Technically, the materials feel smoothly blended, but their olfactory profiles are so mismatched that the overall effect is a cloying mishmash.

Things finally improve a little after 40 minutes. A little. The cloves settle down, losing their dental and medicinal vibe, although a strong dustiness remains when I smell my arm up close. The fruity molasses goop also loses some of its thickness. Now, Cuir de R’Eve is primarily an intensely sweet cherry fragrance infused with spices and patchouli, covered by violet-orris-heliotrope makeup powder. In the base, there is a tinge of something amorphous that — at a stretch — is nebulously “leather-ish,” but it is so minor and so muffled by the cloying, powdery sweetness that it’s hard to tell.

If Cuir de R’Eve had actual, strong, and pronounced leather to counterbalance the other difficult notes, I might have endured longer but I scrubbed it off after 45 minutes. It took some effort to last even that long. The first time I tried Cuir de R’Eve, I gave up after 10 minutes because I was feeling queasy. I mean that quite literally. This fragrance turns my stomach. After 45 minutes during the second time around, I was almost nauseous. I love heliotrope and don’t mind orris violet lipstick undertones, but the combination here in conjunction with the other notes and the suffocating nature of the fragrance was just too much for me. Some days I simply have far less patience, tolerance, and masochism to endure unpleasant fragrances all the way to the end. Cuir de R’Eve may not be the worst thing I’ve ever tried, but I find it absolutely awful.

A few people seem to like it, though. There isn’t a lot on Cuir de R’Eve out there, but its Fragrantica page has one passing, positive comment that reads in full: “A Lovely suède and vanilla scent, it last very long on my skin. It is a perfume that lingers around.” Mark Behnke, the former Managing Editor of CaFleureBon, also wrote positively about the scent on his Colognoisseur site. Feel free to read his description if you’re interested because I am cutting this short; re-living the scent memories is starting to make me queasy, and I want to forget about Cuir de R’Eve as soon as possible.


Source: Jovoy.

Source: Jovoy.

Cuir Altesse is ostensibly the evening version of The Fragrance We Will No Longer Talk About, but they couldn’t be more different. In fact, they are truly “night and day” apart, thank God. Cuir Altesse is an eau de parfum that comes with another long backstory about the 1920s and “women who love men’s perfume,” but some parts of this one are quite accurate in describing both the scent and its feel, in my opinion. First in Fragrance has the English version of the official copy, presented below in its relevant parts followed by the note list:

David Jourquin’s nighttime perfume for women, Cuir Altesse is a spellbinding melody that has slipped out of a Left Bank cabaret.

It sways to the soothing sounds of the jazzy heydays. Sensual and moving, this elixir hums with the husky tones of an inspired trumpet. A tribute to the poet’s muse stretched out on a wonderfully weathered leather couch, it blazes like the lightning in her eyes that sparkle with the power of a spicy, ambry cocktail. She sketches smoky arabesques in the air with the tip of her glowing cigarette… this elegant aristocrat is absolutely intriguing, all the way down to the tips of her unforgettably long-gloved fingers.

Source: topwalls.net

Source: topwalls.net

A unique, magnetic, rebellious character. The base notes assert the sensual, Cyprusy scents of leather, benzoin and oak moss, with an ambry vibrato and the round warm of vanilla. The heart notes surprise and stimulate the senses with rose petals and oriental scents including jasmine, patchouly and cumin. Masterful, sparkling orange explodes in a glorious grand finale topping the experience off with a bouquet of spices laced with cardamom.

Top Note: Orange, Pink Pepper, Cardamom
Heart Note: Rose, Jasmine, Patchouly, Cumin, Clove
Base Note: Vanilla, Coumarin, Leather, Benzoin, Oak Moss

Source: wallpaperscraft.com

Source: wallpaperscraft.com

Cuir Altesse opens on my skin with wave upon wave of smooth, expensive cognac mixed with some rum. The intensely rich booziness is poured over unlit Cohiba cigars that have been lightly layered with the sweeter, fruitier aromas of fragrant pipe tobacco and with the dry, spicy, woody, and sweet aromas of brown patchouli. Subtle veins of rose smudge the edges, along with an incense-like smokiness.

The Cohiba Behike, one of the best cigars in the world. Source: vueltabajo.com.ar

The Cohiba Behike, one of the best cigars in the world. Source: vueltabajo.com.ar

The tobacco bouquet is exceptional. There is the delicious aroma of tobacco leaves that are barely dried and bear a vestige of their former greenness. The spicy sweetness of gingerbread seeps slowly towards their center like a brown stain, but they’re also marked orange from the fruity mandarin brandy and brown from dark rum. The overall effect smells exactly like unlit Cuban cigars fragrantly filling up a humidor or cigar room.

At first, I was quite confused by the intensity of the aroma because Cuir Altesse’s note list makes no mention of any tobacco whatsoever, though there is a passing reference in the fragrance’s description about “the sultry scent of cigars.” Things became clearer once I re-read David Jourquin’s biography on his site. His fragrances intentionally seek to replicate strong childhood memories of family members wearing not only leather, but leather that was always imbued with the scent of Cuban cigars, spices, and patchouli. In fact, he writes that the trio of leather, Cuban cigars, and spices “are his mirror image, his roots, the many facets of his inner self.”

Source: leathernxg.com

Source: leathernxg.com

That leather arrives within minutes, and it’s a gorgeous note that is multi-faceted and rich. It immediately brought to mind was the scent of an old boyfriend’s expensive brown leather jacket: warm, musky, spicy, sweet, and golden, with hints of smoke mixed with cologne-ish, masculine floralcy. The second thing it evoked was Churchill. Bear with me for a moment.

Source: leatherchairs.co.uk

Source: leatherchairs.co.uk

The leather here is a supple, well-burnished, oiled leather that always makes me think of those old-fashioned, studded, leather armchairs called Churchill chairs, and of the aristocratic, members-only, British clubs that often have them. It’s an old, smooth leather that isn’t tarry or blackened with birch. Instead, it’s imbued with the quiet paperiness of old newspapers mixed with Churchill’s cigars. It’s the sort of leather that always bears a definite floralcy as well. Here, hushed breaths of jasmine and rose stroke its edges like supplicants at the attar of classic, conservative, masculine leather that’s been well-worn and bears traces of its owner’s scent.

Roughly 10 minutes into its development, Cuir Altesse changes. The rich colour palette takes on a creamy beige tint at the edges as a silky vanilla like crème anglaise arrives, seeping over the cognac, rum, tobacco leaves, and leather. A cloud of cinnamon-ish, golden resins swirls all around, but what is most distinct is an almost cologne-like touch, a whisper of the old days through spiced citrus and vanilla. It’s a very Shalimar and Habit Rouge vibe, both in their vintage greatness, except here there are also Havana cigars, expensive cognac, rum, and spicy patchouli.

One of my bottles original Lagerfeld in vintage form, not the reformulated "Classic." Photo: my own.

One of my bottles original Lagerfeld in vintage form, not the reformulated “Classic.” Photo: my own.

The end result reminds me a lot of the two Guerlains but, even more so, of Karl Lagerfeld‘s vintage Lagerfeld. (The original one, not the reformulated crap now labelled as “Classic.) Karl Lagerfeld created the fragrance as his intentional, express tribute to Shalimar, except he made a spicier, more overtly masculine, incense and tobacco version. Lagerfeld was not only one of my favorite fragrances for years, but my stumbling across a vintage bottle was actually the impetus for me creating this blog, and it was the subject of my very first review.

I love Lagerfeld, but Cuir Altesse may be even better. One reason why is purely technical; vintage Lagerfeld doesn’t always stand up to time and loses some of its mandarin, orange top notes. That may be why Cuir Altesse feels substantially and significantly more boozy on my skin. Another reason is that Cuir Altesse isn’t so strongly cologne-like in its opening accords, it feels more modern, and is better balanced on my skin, though, again, some of that may be due to the fact that it’s not a 30-year old fragrance.

There are other differences as well. Lagerfeld made me think of a leather shop nestled between a Turkish spice shop and a Turkish hookah-incense tobacco-ist. Cuir Altesse makes me think of British clubs with Churchill leather chairs but, most of all, of Havana nights where a speakeasy is filled with the fragrant aroma of unlit Cohibas, cognac, and rum. Yes, Cuir Altesse also has pipe tobacco, Turkish incense and hookah smoke, and the same “boyfriend leather jacket” as Lagerfeld. And, yes, the force of Shalimar vanilla leather is strong in both fragrances, but David Jourquin has somehow taken me on his childhood journeys to Cuba instead.

Hemingway in a Cuban bar. Source: hemingwaycuba.com

Hemingway in a Cuban bar. Source: hemingwaycuba.com

It’s an exceedingly classical leather blend that also feels very modern. Part of it is because there is a brightness about Cuir Altesse, an airy lift. More importantly, though, the booze, cigars, amber, and sweetness have been amped-up, while the classical cologne elements of brisk lemon and bergamot have been eschewed in favour of sweeter mandarin. Even that is reduced here, as though Jourquin and Cecile Zarokian were giving merely the briefest nod to the cooler, crisper, effervescent Shalimar/Habit Rouge top notes before twisting the orange into something almost entirely boozy and then skipping straight to Shalimar’s richer, spicier, more vanillic heart. That becomes even more apparent as Cuir Altesse develops. Roughly 40 minutes in, the vanilla surges forward to coat the leather, accentuating Shalimar similarities, except this is the smoky, darkly balsamic, styrax and resin-coated vanilla leather of very aged, vintage Shalimar parfum mixed with the more masculine Lagerfeld. It’s truly lovely.

Photo: my own.

Photo: my own.

At the same time, the spice mix, boozy cognac, rum, patchouli, jasmine, and rose combine to create a floral oriental twist on the traditional “barbershop” cologne opening. The cigar and leather grow stronger as well, deepening, turning muskier, as though they’d been warmed by the heat of a body in a way I can’t readily explain except to say it’s a damn sexy scent. It’s rendered even more appealing with the quiet curlicues of incense-like smokiness that work so well with the rich leather and the sensual curls of floralcy.

Captain's Bay Rum aftershave via rodolfogrimaldi.com

Captain’s Bay Rum aftershave via rodolfogrimaldi.com

Yet, for all the floral, smoky, vanilla Lagerfeld-Shalimar leather, Cuir Altesse maintains a firm grip on its more masculine side. Roughly 75-minutes in, the barbershop cologne vibe grows quite powerful. Something about it continuously reminds me of bay rum colognes, a composition where spices, booze, and citrus are infused with woody, bay leaf and often a heaping dose of spicy patchouli as well. It must be the indirect impact of the oakmoss, which I never detect in a pronounced, individual way, but it must contribute to the greenness that — in conjunction with the spices — feels so much like a “Bay Leaf cologne.” Whatever the actual source, the overall result is tough, hard, and bold, but also softly sensuous, bright, glamourously sexy, and polished. It feels more like something Yves St. Laurent would have done than Guerlain, if that makes sense.

Depending on how you look at it, Cuir Altesse is either very complex or straightforward. It takes a lot of notes layered in perfect proportions to create a bouquet of vintage Shalimar, vintage Lagerfeld, and bay rum colognes. Cecile Zarokian has done a wonderful job at seamlessly integrating so many overtones and undertones all at the same time, while also keeping each note clearly delineated in its own right. Everything sings in perfect harmony and balance where no one note ever fully dominates but works with the others to create a nuanced, rich, heady mix.

Source: 3dwallpaperstudio.com

Source: 3dwallpaperstudio.com

However, there really isn’t much more to Cuir Altesse beyond this on my skin. From the middle of the 2nd hour largely until its very end, Cuir Altesse merely fluctuates between a spiced, Bay Rum cologne and a Lagerfeld/Shalimar vanilla leather. The scent simply becomes smokier, spicier, darker, and boozier on my skin. Sometimes, the cognac, rum, and spicy patchouli outweigh the tobacco; sometimes, the cinnamon benzoin and dark resins are as strong as the vanilla, resulting in a thick haze of ambered goldenness that suffuses everything.

"Passion," by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com (website link embedded within.)

“Passion,” by Jaison Cianelli at cianellistudios.com (website link embedded within.)

At the start of the 7th hour, Cuir Altesse is primarily boozy leather and creamy vanilla lying atop a darkly resinous, smoky base and cocooned in amber. The patchouli and tobacco are still very noticeable, but they have retreated to the sidelines. There, they are joined by a new element, a subtle powderiness that descends upon the notes, just as it does in Lagerfeld. It’s a sort of tonka-coumarin Guerlainade accord, though it’s far lighter and more inconsequential in Cuir Altesse than it is in Lagerfeld. It barely puts a dent in the main notes which are finally blurring, turning more amorphous and shapeless. By the time the 9th hour rolls around, Cuir Altesse has transformed into a haze of spicy, ambered sweetness with only faint vestiges of something leathery, smoky, and bay rum-ish about it. It remains that way until it finally dies away, between 13.5 and 15.5 hours from its start depending on how much of the fragrance I apply.

Cuir Altesse has excellent longevity, good projection, and sillage that is initially quite strong. Using several wide smears equal to 2 good sprays from an actual bottle, the fragrance opens with about 4-5 inches of projection, and 6-8 inches of sillage. The scent is airy but strong enough to swirl around me even when I don’t move. It actually seems to grow when the bay rum kicks in and the booziness even grows stronger at the end of the first hour. Roughly 4.5 hours into its development, Cuir Altesse still projects a good 3-4 inches, though the sillage drops to about 5 inches. The fragrance turn into a skin scent on me a bit after the 7th hour, but it’s still easy to detect up close for a while to come. As noted earlier, it lasts at least 13.5 hours on me in total.

Source: topiphonewalls.com

Source: topiphonewalls.com

There isn’t much commentary on Cuir Altesse out there, but what I’ve found is positive to mixed. On Fragrantica, only two people have left reviews. “CLevol” calls it “heaven,” writing, in full:

Ah, this is heaven. Sweat [sic] leather! Love, love, love; this is a combination of leather a good cumin and a hint of pepper, like drinking Pastis in a warm night with your new leather handbag on the table, new that your big love will come soon. Chique, very sexy!

“Q80” is more ambivalent. He’s written negative reviews for other Jourquin leathers, but finds this one better, though he still seems a bit dubious, writing:

At last, there is a nice fragrance from this house beside the mandarine one! [¶] It is cardamom, cloves leather type of fragrance with some pepper and patchouli on aside as the pepper rises too much the calmer it goes! and i hope it keeps it’s balance so far cause the first sniff wasn’t promising but as it cools down it goes quite interesting. [¶] But i guess after all, the middle note now is quite sorry for being good for a little while on the top note! i guess right after these 5 fragrances… i lost hope for this brand for good.

Cardamom. Source: www.kitchenheadquarters.org

Cardamom. Source: www.kitchenheadquarters.org

In contrast, Mark Behnke of Colognoisseur said he was “smitten” with Cuir Altesse “from [his] first sniff”:

Cuir Altesse was designed to be worn by a woman in the evening but this has everything in it this man could desire in a leather fragrance, from my first sniff I was smitten. Since wearing it a couple of times I am no less enamored of it. I think if I was ever to ask for a bespoke perfume from Mme Zarokian the structure of Cuir Altesse is where we would start. Cuir Altesse starts with cardamom bolstered with orange and pink peppercorn. The cardamom is what stands out and it leads down into a heart of mainly jasmine and cumin. The jasmine is indolic and the cumin is its usual pungent self. Together this should be a nightmare but instead all of these rough edges turn into a sweet dream. By using rose to pick up more of the floral character of jasmine and patchouli to blunt some of the sweatiness of cumin the heart of Cuir Altesse is alluring. Vanilla partners the leather again but this time benzoin and amber add a bit of resinous sweetness; oakmoss adds the final grace note to everything.

Tonka beans. Source: Fragrance-creation.com

Tonka beans, the main source for coumarin. Source: Fragrance-creation.com

Trebor of the Scent for Thought blog has a very different view, calling Cuir Altesse a “brutal disappointment.” The main reason why seems to be the preponderance of the “marzipan” coumarin which he found to be “pretty much the prevailing note.” He hated that, though he’d seems to have thoroughly enjoyed Cuir Altesse’s opening stage which he calls “lovely”:

The opening is lovely, with a flurry of orange, spices and florals, alongside a mild leathery accent. And although this stage is fleeting, it’s both succulent and spritely while it lasts. However, after giving way to the mid notes, it all goes unexpectedly pear-shaped…

Marzipan almond paste. Source: vancouversun.com

Marzipan almond paste. Source: vancouversun.com

Initially coming across as anaemic, a bitter marzipan-like aroma rears its ugly head. As this aspect intensifies, one soon realises that it’s actually the coumarin… and far too much of it. So overwhelming is the coumarin that it takes quite a while for some of the other accords to sufficiently breathe (particularly the florals).

By the drydown, the coumarin has yielded some of its dominance but is still very much perceptible, with subtle hints of patchouli, vanilla and oakmoss being present. And while the marzipan-like aroma has largely subsided, the coumarin’s suggestive loukhoum properties continue to quietly pulsate.

It sounds like the Guerlainade-type elements took over on his skin. That might be a plus for some people, less so for other. It’s going to come down to personal tastes and skin chemistry.

Source: forwallpaper.com

Source: forwallpaper.com

For myself, I would wear Cuir Altesse in a heartbeat. I can’t get its mix of cognac, rum, Cohiba cigars, leather, spices, and delicious patchouli out of my head, and I keep sniffing appreciatively its traces on my cardigan sleeve and on my sheets. There are only two things stopping me from buying a bottle for myself. First, it’s not the sort of scent that I would want to wear every day. It’s partially because of the streak of Bay Rum cologne, and partially an issue of time. The chance to wear fragrances for myself (instead of testing) is so rare that I tend to turn to the ambers that are my main comfort zone. That brings me to my second point: the bottles are too large a size for occasional usage, at least for me. It’s a 100 ml or nothing. If there were a 30 ml option or if I could buy a 20 ml decant, I would leap at the chance (so if anyone is a splitter out there and interested in dividing a bottle, let me know) but 100 ml… no. There are exceedingly few fragrances for which I crave a full 100 ml, and this does not rise to that level for me. (That said, David Jourquin offers a good price for his refill bottles at €155… so splitters, let me know. Seriously. I want to buy some!)

I know sizing isn’t a big issue for other people, so let’s move onto the issue of gender. I think Cuir Altesse is fully unisex. As Mark Behnke said in his review, it has everything a man could want in a fragrance. But it also has unisex and feminine accents, too. While I find that it skews a hair more masculine than vintage Shalimar and falls squarely on the Lagerfeld side, I know a number of women who love the latter as well. Female bloggers like The Non-Blonde and EauMG have both written adoring pieces about vintage Lagerfeld, as did the commentators from MakeupAlley whom I quoted eons ago in that old review. Lagerfeld’s main issue for some, including one young man who wrote to me a while back, is that it has a very classical cologne vibe at first. (The young chap found it reminded him too much of his grandfather.) However, Cuir Altesse avoids that aspect of Lagerfeld by amplifying the rum, cognac, mandarin, and vanilla from the onset. As a whole, I think it’s a far boozier, warmer, more overtly floral, and ambered. Plus, it was made with women in mind, the sort of women who love to wear their boyfriend’s leather jacket in part because it bears traces of his masculine cologne. So, if you’re a woman, don’t let my mention of Bay Rum or colognes put you off, just as I hope men won’t be dissuaded by the Shalimar references. Really, it’s a great leather-tobacco fragrance for both genders!

Bottom line, a big thumbs up for Cuir Altesse, and a huge, shuddering thumbs down for The Other One.

Disclosure: My samples were provided courtesy of Luckyscent. That did not impact this review. I do not do paid reviews, and my opinions are my own.

Cost & Availability: I don’t recommend Cuir de R’Eve, so I shan’t go through the effort of providing extensive retail links but you can find it for yourself at Luckyscent, Jovoy, First in Fragrance, ParfuMaria, and a few other places. Cuir Altesse is an eau de parfum that I do recommend and it comes in two 100 ml formats. There is a leather-encased bottle for $265, €215 or €208; or a simple glass refill bottle for $210 or €178, but most places don’t have that option. The fragrances are a bit cheaper if you buy directly from David Jourquin. In the U.S.: Luckyscent is the exclusive Jourquin retailer, and sells Cuir Altesse in both formats, offers samples, and ships worldwide. Outside the U.S.: David Jourquin‘s French-language site sells the leather bottle for €208, the refill for €155, and a 5 ml decant for €8,90. Oddly, the prices are cheaper than on the English-language version of the website where the prices are €230 and €178, respectively. You can also buy the duo of Cuir Altesse and Cuir de R’Eve for €400. I do not recommend it. I don’t know if David Jourquin ships worldwide, because there is no shipping information on his site. Elsewhere, ParfuMaria has Cuir Altesse 30% off and on sale for €145, but there are only 3 bottles left. She ships worldwide. First in Fragrance has the leather bottle for €215, offers samples, and ships worldwide. Paris’ Jovoy has it for €208. Hungary’s Madison Perfumery shows the fragrance, but doesn’t have an e-store to buy it online. In Switzerland, you can find it at Zurich’s Suskind. The brand is widely carried in Russia, and one vendor is Ry7. David Jourquin is not carried in the U.K. or Canada, but it’s apparently available in Spain, Belgium, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe. You can try to use the David Jourquin Store Locator, but I thought it was completely useless because it merely showed dots on a map and gave no retail names. Your best bet may be sites like Luckyscent, First in Fragrance, or ParfuMaria, all of which ship worldwide. Samples: Luckyscent has samples for $5 a vial. Surrender to Chance doesn’t have either fragrance. The Perfumed Court has Cuir Altesse starting at $3.50 for a 1/2 ml vial. They have The Other One, too.

25 thoughts on “David Jourquin Cuir Altesse & Cuir de R’Eve

  1. I had veered away from my leather explorations, but this is calling me big time. I have a lucky scent order I want to make and will ask for a sample of Cuir Altesse. If I fall as you have then you may have a partner to split with. I will keep you posted in the coming weeks. It definitely sounds up my alley with the booze and vanilla touches. The lucky scent order I want to make while it’s free shipping to Canada is Phul-Nana. The 100 ml bottle. I mean it. I’ve been saving up and all other wishes, lists, potentials be damned. Since I got my sample I’ve been wearing it everyday. Everyday. I am one who changes colours, outfits, hairdo and scents on a daily basis. The only thing I don’t change is my jewelry. It’s all sentimental. It stays put. But Phul-Nana!? Oh orange blossoms and Amber of my dreams, with perfect sillage for my taste, and longevity and everything. I kept wearing it until it ran out. Then I threw the open empty vial in my purse to keep getting wafts. I’ve never experienced that with a scent before other than my first love of Fig and cassis by Jo Malone a zillion selves ago. I greatly appreciate George, and my flirtation with Houbigants very standard and expected orange blossom, but oh. Oh oh oh. So Cuir Altesse makes the free sample cut with that purchase and I’ll stay in touch.

    • How wonderful that you finally found your perfect orange blossom/amber scent! It sounds like Phul-Nana is more purely floral and orange blossom based on you than it was on me (more green neroli and with a lot of geranium), but it is a lovely scent in both instances and I can completely see why you’ve fallen for it so hard. Enjoy your future full bottle!

      • Cuir Altesse: beautiful scent on the opening but then on me went full-on Bay rum cologne with the beautiful cigars and booze hinted at on the sidelines. So. No bottles or splitting for me. Too bad. Really beautiful in the first hour. I’ll be happy to wear my sample until it runs out and I think if I go anywhere it would be a small decant from perfume court

        • Oh dear, Bay rum for you, too? It was too excessive on my skin as well, and that was one of the main reasons why a mere decant was sufficient for me instead of an actual bottle. But I was hoping that wouldn’t happen to others, especially since one of my readers told me on FB this week that he found the fragrance to be too feminine for his tastes.

  2. I’m glad I’ve come out of my funk to comment.

    I really have nothing to say about Cuir de R’Eve because you’ve said it all. Ugh
    But as for Cuir Altesse:
    I’ve passed over Cuir Altesse
    before, seeing it skewed too feminine, but seriously after reading your wonderfully descriptive and thoroughly tempting review; I am going to sample it now. I think I mentioned that I did wear Lagerfeld cologne way back and it was definitely vintage, not reformulated. And I love Shalimar despite that being more feminine.

    I have been reading all your reviews from the sidelines since my headaches have resurfaced, but have thankfully subsided. I really love your article on luxury perfumes [one of your best].
    As you know I’m always looking for great leather/tobacco fragrances. I almost blind bought Tobacco d’ Autore from First in Fragrance months ago because it sounded really great and I love Ambra Nera.

    Back to Cuir Altesse, I wouldn’t mind a large bottle. 😉
    Oh yeah- my partner loves his Arabian Oud Gentleman’s Secret!

    Kafka dear? I have a delicious ham sitting in my refrigerator with your name written in cloves and cherries waiting for you……:D 😀

    • First, I’m very glad to see you, Don. I was starting to worry at your long absence and, had I not heard from you by December 1st, I’d planned to intrude by sending you an email. I’m sorry your headaches have resurfaced. A friend who gets crippling migraines on a constant, almost daily basis is helped by Botox injections into her head (ouch!), so perhaps that may be something for you to consider the next time you get a long bout of the same thing? In any event, it’s good to see you again.

      With regard to the fragrances, I think I recall you mentioning Cuir de R’Eve to me a while back, and hating it. Well, I’m not surprised. lol.

      I’m glad your partner loved his birthday present.

      As for the holiday American ham, if it has that ghastly brown sugar-spice-clove coating on it, then… er… I think I’ll pass. 😉

      • Awe, you wouldn’t have intruded with an email, in fact I was going to send you an email to let you know why I “disappeared”! Believe me, I’ve considered Botox for migraines. I’ve had them for years and I’ve seen doctors who all seem to have different opinions as to what is causing them: some say my neck muscles; others say cluster headaches, migraines. I know for certain that when my insomnia is at a high, so are my headaches. But anyway..
        I made my ham today- without that glaze. I was joking about the cloves and cherries. Haha I think even you would have found it palatable. 😉 I am making a Creole bread pudding with Bourbon sauce tomorrow; not sure what you think of bread puddings. I mentioned your aversion of glazed ham to my partner and he said “sacrilege” to which I had say that Kafka was raised all over the planet, probably not eating Thanksgiving dinners every year?

        Being out of commission for weeks really set me back with reviews & new perfume releases. I would take quick peeks on here to see what was new. Now I have his Christmas gift to buy- another scent of course….too many choices!

        I’ve gone on quite enough for now; thank you for wondering where I was K. 😀 I hope you had a fantastic day if a gross all American ham wasn’t on your menu…..lmao.

        Don x

        • Uh oh- already a P.S. Cuir de R’ Eve was all the bad you described, from my sample, yes. :0

          Also Edward G mentions Kashnoir and I remember your referenced Shalimar with Kashnoir. I ought to smell that one.

        • Your feast sounds delicious, Don! And, no, I didn’t grow up celebrating Thanksgiving, but some types of ham roasts are nice. I hope your migraines stay away during the upcoming holidays!

  3. Absolutely fantastic twin reviews! I must admit, I really enjoy your negative reviews. It’s so refreshing to read honesty and honestly, you are darned funny when you hate a fragrance!!

    I almost gagged looking at the photo of the glazed ham with pineapple. It’s a smell I hated from childhood. My mother was a good cook, but sometimes she would make what she called an “All-American Meal,” and it usually included that gruesome canned ham, which she must have liked, for no one else did. Hey, I’m sure there are people for whom this is a fantastic smell memory!

    As for Cuir Altesse, I was really waiting for your review, and it sounds like it’s something I must try, though I have discovered I usually can’t abide by any leather fragrances, but maybe this one will change my mind. I sure am a sucker for boozy and tobacco frags! Then again, I feel the same way about 100ml bottles. I suppose they’re fine if you wear a signature scent, live in a huge house, and have a certain amount of anosmia.


    • Baked ham is not such a bad thing by itself, but that molasses-brown sugar-clove paste that they often cover it with is… gah! Your mother’s version sounds pretty unbearable, too, because it was a canned ham and they seem to be even worse somehow.

      100 ml bottles are definitely ideal for someone who loves a fragrance so much that they wear it daily or several times a week, but I have so much perfume and get to wear them so rarely that smaller sizes are more practical. I know a lot of other perfumistas feel that way, too. Most of us have more bottles than we can ever get through!

  4. LMAO. Thanks for the laughs Kafka. This review was especially funny to me because I fell hard for Cuir de R’eve. I bought a decant, and decided almost on the spot that I needed a full bottle so I went online and got one. Your pictures are hilarious, that ham, LOL. I am a gourmand lover, and also can’t stay away from leather, so for me this is a no brainer love it scent.
    Cuir Altesse on the other hand, I liked quite a lot in the drydown, but the patchouli in the first hour or two is what kept me from needing more than a sample.
    It just shows once again that skin chemistry and preferences can create varied opinions. De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est.
    I’m looking forward to reading another review where you trash a perfume I love, it’s refreshing in a way. 😀

    • LOL, you’re a great sport, Catherine! My apologies for trashing a fragrance you love. No, I’m not a gourmand lover, but the issue here at first was the strongly medicinal and dental disinfectant aspects of the cloves in conjunction with the sweetness. Plus, I really hate Maraschino cherries. But as you say, we all have different preferences, tastes, and skin chemistry. I’m genuinely and sincerely happy for you that you found a fragrance you loved so much from first sniff. 🙂 That doesn’t happen often, so I always think it’s wonderful when it does. It’s what we’re all striving for and seeking, after all. So, enjoy your Cuir de R’Eve! 🙂

      • I read your review again and it’s really weird that the opening you describe for CdR, is what I smell in the opening of C Altesse. Tootachingly sweet fruitchouli, sirup, cloves. It actually made me wonder if your samples might have been mislabeled. So now I’m wearing a spray of each on my hands, trying to smell what you describe, but it’s not happening. To me C Altesse is the ham, and CdR is the softer, subtler one, with maybe a hint of tobacco leaves. Perception is a funny thing.

        • I don’t think Luckyscent mixed up the bottles in preparing my samples. A friend who tried my vial of Cuir Altesse got the same boozy rum, cognac, tobacco, and Shalimar vibe I did. By the same token, a reader who has a decant of Cuir de R’Eve found it exactly as I did, and commented as such here. A second hated Cuir de R’Eve as well, though he didn’t explain the details. One of them also has a decant of Cuir Altesse, and he noted similarities to a Shalimar-like fragrance created by Cecile Zarokian for Laboratorio. You can read his comment below.

          Finally, I tried Cuir Altesse when I was in Rome this summer, smelling it in person at a perfume shop, and liking it along with one of the newer ones. I did not mix up the fragrances, and my samples were not mislabeled. It is, as you said originally, a question of tastes and perception.

  5. Due to my interest in Cecile Zarokian creations, I purchased a couple of decants of Cuir Altesse a few months ago and have been wearing it off and on since then. I agree that this is one that men could wear easily. I also tried The Other One, and completely agree with your assessment, minus the nausea.
    I have a fb of another Zarokian perfume, Kashnoir, which reminds me very much of Cuir Altesse. Both of them are dense, complex, and comforting. I loved this review!

    • I think Kashnoir reminds you of Cuir Altesse because it has such a Shalimar similarity. I know you remember my mentioning that in the Laborio Olfattivo review for the Patchouliful. I actually thought of Kashnoir when wearing Cuir Altesse because the two fragrances made me conclude that Cecile Zarokian really loves her vintage Shalimar. LOL. And good for us that she does!

  6. I tried Cuir de R’Eve. Once. Very briefly. Couldn’t bring myself to even try the other you reviewed. I have decants of two newer entries in this series from this house. Haven’t tried them and probably won’t. On to the swap list they go.

    • Heh, another strike against Cuir de R’Eve. I actually liked one of the newer ones when I tried it in Italy, but I can’t recall if it was Cuir Solaire or Cuir Caraibes. Ultimately, though, neither one blew me away enough for me to actually buy it after merely a store test, but it was the impetus for me to try these two leathers. How large are your decants? I might be interested in buying them so that I could test the fragrances properly and review them.

  7. I just received Samples of Cuir Tabac (meh) and Cuir Mandarine (eeew eeew eeew) with my FB of Patchouly Indonesiano. The Cuir Mandarine is seriously vile, IMHO. Smells alarmingly like vomit. Hell no!

    • I reviewed the Cuir Tabac a long time ago, and “eh” and “meh” sum it the little I remember of it. It’s not a fragrance with the character to leaves a strong mark. What I mostly recall was a core note (patchouli) that was extremely elusive, like “Where’s Waldo.”

      I’ve never tried the Mandarine. Something about its description/notes/prior reviews didn’t grab my attention for some reason. After your comment, though, I will definitely stay out of its way. Lol. Thanks for the heads-up and warning!

  8. It’s transitioning to soapy orange vomit in the second hour. Luckily it is far enough up my forearm that I can only smell it with contortionate effort.

    • Sounds like an ordeal. You weren’t tempted to try Cuir Altesse instead? Did the Shalimar-like aspects not appeal to you? BTW, did you like your blind buy of Patchouly Indonesiano from Farmacia SS Annunziata?

  9. Oh my goodness. I‘ve just tried Cuir de R‘Eve for the first time and was so struck by the similarity, for me, with old L‘Heure Bleue that I hotfooted it straight over here to read how much you love it — aaarghahahaha!

    You‘ve certainly given me pause, which is no bad thing because my Paypal is in credit at the moment and I /may/ have been on the verge of acting hastily… now I‘m going to give it a couple of proper wears before I think about purchasing.

    And that is always a good thing in any case, right?

    Cuir Altesse went acrid on me, sadly. And/or I just don‘t like boozy notes. I agree it’s a proper leather, though, unlike Cuir de R‘Eve.

    • With any fragrance — ANY fragrance — all that matters ultimately is whether YOU like it. Not me or anyone else. That said, I’m a firm believer in giving things a number of tests before deciding whether to splurge money on it. If your sample is big enough, I would also strongly recommend playing with quantity amounts, like applying a large amount on the same patch of skin, because quantity can greatly impact the nuances which are shown. All of that will give you a fuller and more accurate picture of what a fragrance is like, as well as how it would be if you were applying a full bottle without scrimping the way one sometimes might with a small sample.

      If, at the end of all that, you still love it, then BUY it! 🙂

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