In the Search for the Perfect Leather

 

It was one of the first cool days of the last fall. We were driving home after a pleasant evening at our friends’ house. I kept sniffing the air thinking to myself: I haven’t noticed before that my leather jacket smells that nice… Too nice… What’s going on?

That’s when I realized that the smell was coming from a blotter sticking out of the vent grid where I affixed it several hours earlier.

 

Tom Ford Tuscan Leather

 

That evening before going to the party I stopped by Neiman Marcus to sniff several perfumes. I didn’t want to put anything on my skin to avoid arriving to the party smelling like a perfume counter. So after sniffing from a blotter Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather (I missed it somehow in my previous tests) and talking for a while to the SA I asked him: “How does it develop on the skin?” thinking of asking next to make me a sample. In response he silently took a fresh blotter, sprayed it with Tuscan Leather and handed it to me… I was so amused that all I could do was to thank him and leave.

I think that Tuscan Leather is a gorgeous masculine fragrance. Can a woman pull it off? Of course! I would have worn it myself if I haven’t had somebody else to put it on. My vSO likes it so I’ll use a decant I have on him. And then I’ll want more.

I like leather perfumes but do not own too many of them. Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d’Empire – a bottle that I bought for my vSO (he likes it a lot) but he doesn’t mind sharing.

The only full bottle of a “leather” perfume that I have for myself is Cuir de Russie by Chanel. It’s such an elegant perfume!

 

Chanel Cuir De Russie PdE Cuir Ottoman

 

Tabac Aurea  by Sonoma Scent Studio doesn’t smell too much of leather but it’s a very pleasant dry woodsy scent that works well on my skin in cooler weather. Once I’m done with my 2.5 ml spray bottle I’ll probably get a purse spray.

Boxeuses by Serge Lutens – one of my Bikram yoga favorites and recently I discovered that I liked it as a sleep scent as well. I haven’t tried wearing Boxeuses sprayed but once my roll-on sample is empty I’ll want a decant of this strange and interesting perfume.

Another Serge Lutens’ leather perfume, of which I have a decant already, Cuir Mauresque unfortunately doesn’t work for me. I tried to wear it several times and still no. It smells harsh, dirty and somewhat unpleasant on me.

I reviewed Scent No.16 Tomato Leather by Cognoscenti a couple of months ago (You say ‘Tomato’, I say ‘Leather’). I still like it but I’ll wait for Cognoscenti to release their perfumes in a smaller bottle.

I didn’t like Traversee du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur when I first tried it but it grew on me. It wears nicely in warm weather and one day it might join my collection.

Another perfume I wasn’t a fan of initially – Bottega Veneta. Last year when everybody praised it I just shrugged my shoulders. What changed my mind was me testing recently Cuir Amethyste by Giorgio Armani. It started harsh and too leather-y to my taste but then mellowed down to a very smooth and buttery suede accord that reminded me of Bottega Veneta. I thought I found another smell-alike for my Déjà vu series but while I was trying to compare notes (there are just two in common among declared) I found out that the same nose, Michel Almairac, was behind both. I’ll see if I need more of Bottega Veneta Parfum once my mini bottle is gone.

Cuir de Lancome by Lancome – everybody seems to love this one. I want to like it but I’m not sure if I do. Sometimes I think that maybe my sample is off.  Nevertheless, I want this bottle in my collection – not that there was any logic in that.

 

Leather Perfumes Samples

 

Other perfumes with prominent leather that I’ve tried and liked: Cuir Beluga by Guerlain (it’s growing on me, I want to get a decant to test more), Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal (starts a little too sweet but develops nicely; needs more testing preferably from a spray bottle), Napa Noir by Six Scents (I had a tiny, one application sample, but I liked what I smelled), Lonestar Memories by Tauer Perfumes (have to get a new sample since the one I have become too concentrated as a result of evaporation) and Vanille Cuir by M.Micallef (something appeals to me in this fragrance; I’ll keep testing it and see if I want to werat it).

Perfumes that didn’t work for me: Leather Oud by Dior (it’s nice on my vSO but a little too much on me), Songe d’un Bois d’été by Guerlain (it’s too harsh on my skin; I find something pleasant two-three hours into the development but I won’t wait for that long to enjoy my perfume), Mon Cuir by Ramon Monegal (a strange combination of leather and what I think of as a traditional men cologne) and Kelly Calèche by Hermès (I can smell no leather at all. Do I have a wrong sample?)

What is your favorite leather perfume?

 

Images: my own.

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What Happens in Vegas… Part I: Guerlain – Mission Accomplished

While helping Birgit with charts for her Monday Question: Guerlain or Chanel? I was fascinated by the list of perfumes from Guerlain that respondents named as their favorites without which they couldn’t imagine their Perfume World. That was when I realized that I’d tried merely one third of all perfumes that others loved.

There is a Guerlain boutique at San Francisco Saks. It’s not too far from where I live but even a 30 minutes drive combined with the cost of downtown parking makes it an unlikely place I’d go casually to try one perfume after another.

That’s why when I realized that during my birthday trip to Las Vegas I would be staying at the hotel that hosted the only stand-alone Guerlain boutique in the city… wait… or was it that I booked my stay at the hotel because of that?.. Anyway, I thought it would be a chance to try all those perfumed wonders and asked for an advice.

As you might have noticed already, I like numbers. So here are some relevant to the topic:

  –  28 perfumes were suggested for testing and 14 of them were mentioned more than once;

  –  The most popular suggestion (7 voices) was Chamade;

  –  On this trip I smelled 14 perfumes from the list and tried some on the skin;

  –  3 days are not enough to do justice to what a great perfume house has to offer (duh!).

Las Vegas Guerlain Boutique in Palazzo

Once checked in, I immediately embarked on my mission. I went to the Guerlain boutique and explained my intentions to the SA who greeted me. He was professional and helpful but somehow we didn’t “click”. I might be wrong but I guess he didn’t think I would end up buying anything. Nevertheless we went through a number of bottles, I chose two to try on my skin and went on with my vacation. I came back the same day and then the next one, and the next – and everything repeated.

I didn’t try Chamade this time because I tried it before and liked, so it was my back-up plan (together with Vol de Nuit) – I decided I would try these two and choose one of them if I wouldn’t find any other perfume that I’d like more. I still plan to seek samples of Chamade and Vol de Nuit to figure out if I can go with the EdT, EdP or need an extrait. But all those who suggested this perfume were right: I like Chamade.

Suzanne, your bet on Samsara extrait would be safe: you were right more than you could imagine (but it’ll be a separate post next month – “How’s that for mysterious?” ©Natalie).

Out of those perfumes that I tried on the skin two were a definite No: Nahema (“old lady perfume” on my skin – sorry to everybody who loves it) and Sous le Vent (I might try it again one day but this time it wasn’t close to what I was looking for). I need to test more Angelique Noire, Cuir Beluga and Bois d’Armenie: I liked them all but it wasn’t love. At least not yet.

Las Vegas Guerlains

And then I took a blotter, inhaled and thought: This is the one! Probably you know that feeling when you smell a perfume and immediately like it. You do not need to work on it, learn to appreciate or let it grow on you. You just like it. That was what happened to me with Cruel Gardénia. It is extremely beautiful and the moment I smelled it I wanted to have it in my collection.

I wore it twice and even though I had one more day to decide (or try more perfumes) I felt it would be right to get my birthday bottle of perfume on the actual day of my birthday. When my vSO and I went to the boutique the guy who was helping me previously (you see, I don’t even know his name since he’d never introduced himself!) wasn’t there. I felt a little bad since I usually try to be fair and buy from those SAs who helped me. But in this case it was for the best: Jorganne, who was there and helped me with my order, was just a right person for me. It was a very pleasant shopping experience including a hand-written card from Jorganne that came in my package (I had to have it delivered since we had only carry-on bags). Guess where I’ll be buying my next bottle of Guerlain. And I have no doubts there will be more.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

And finally, please meet Elena from Perfume Shrine – a Godmother of the first Guerlain perfume bottle in my collection. She was the first to suggest Cruel Gardenia and she wrote a beautiful review for this perfume. An honorable mentioning: Asali who seconded that advice.

Images: my own