I should think the overlap between jewellery and fragrance is fascinating for perfumers to explore, and Bertrand Duchaufour certainly seems to have had a great deal of fun with the trio he's composed for Ann Gerard's scent debut. Always eager to explore his profession's past, he seems to have used Chanel's No 19 as the inspiration for Cuir De Nacre. But in order to give this impeccably white iris an intriguing twist, he's turned to one of his own creations: the metallic steam accord running through this scent's composition feels like its come straight from his Sartorial for Penhaligon's (which was, of course, an homage to a different form of fashion-world craftsmanship).
The effect of these two elements coming together is highly commendable. The iris is as luxurious and aspirational as it should be; the steam catches the light and crackles with near-imperceptible flashes of electricity, not unlike the eponymous mother-of-pearl glinting beneath a ray of sunshine. A leather note comes through too, but it's subtle and - there's that colour again - extremely white, as though wishing to draw attention not to its visual appeal, but to its downy, suede-like texture. Indeed, it's this ivory sheen that is CDN's most endearing feature, a delightful olfactory evocation of a picture-perfect figure clothed in milky wool, standing against a backdrop of freshly-fallen snow. Countless modern mainstream releases are described with the word 'creamy', but their allure is decidedly semi-skimmed compared to that of Cuir De Nacre. A languorous thumbs up.
As it happens, 'creamy' could also be applied to Perle De Mousse, another Duchaufour creation for the same house. This one sees the maestro delving into Diorissimo territory and emerging with a bunch of tiny flowers displaying the sort of paradoxical contrasts of which only perfumery is capable. They're pale and unblemished - you can almost see the little bell shapes hanging off the stems - but they also convey darkness, as though they haven't lost all contact with the mossy earthiness which gave birth to them. The reference to Roudnitska extends into a green, stewed vegetable component, which then settles into smooth, bejewelled, floral luxury. Another must-try, especially for fans of Vero Kern's Mito.
[Reviews based on samples of extrait provided by Bloom in 2013.]