Tag Archives: Cuir

My Favourite Bottled Leather – Cuir de Lancome

Hand me my leather…

Top notes of mandarin, bergamot and saffron, middle notes of hawthorn, jasmine, ylang-ylang and patchouli, base notes of birch, orris and styrax

Why was Cuir de Lancome discontinued so soon after its release in 2007? No doubt it didn’t appeal to the average Lancome customer. I know when a “civilian” friend of mine sniffed it on my wrist she didn’t say a word. She didn’t have to, the look on her face said it all. This tarry beauty was a beast to a fan of spring florals and D&G’s Light Blue.

However, to many of us who love leather, Cuir de Lancome is hide heaven. I’m sure if it had been released by a niche brand it would still be going strong. My EdP is down to about a third and I feel anxious at the thought of having to open my sealed back-up bottle.

I bought Cuir de Lancome for about £25 four years ago and the second bottle for about £35 a couple of years later. I’ve just checked on that same auction site and there’s one 50ml bottle for sale in the UK with a Buy It Now price of £90. The ones in the States aren’t much cheaper.

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For me, the reason Cuir de Lancome is so great is that combination of smoky birch tar, saffron spice and tender florals at its core. The saffron and flowers meld into the leather making it butter soft and super sophisticated. The contrast of one accord against another makes it addictive and I can’t get enough.

It leans more feminine than your average leather fragrance. It’s not a heavy-hitter but has enough throw for me to pick it up as I type – plus it lasts for ages.

Who doesn’t love the smell of an expensive leather handbag which has softened with age?

On days I wear it, like today when it feels cold figuratively and literally outside the front door, Cuir de Lancome warms, comforts and protects me.

 

You can read my full review from Olfactoria’s Travels here.

 

Do you have a favourite leather fragrance?

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Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir  

Peach skin suede…

Naomi Goodsir is an Australian designer whose hats look as cool and striking and as her fragrances smell.

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Cuir Velours (Velvet Leather) was released in 2012 and includes notes of leather, tobacco, rum, cistus labdanum, incense and immortelle.

Despite the “Cuir” in the name, I get a refined suede rather than tough leather. There is nothing that reminds me of tanning fumes or birch tar and I don’t get any smoke. For the most part, both the aroma and texture is akin to velvety peach skin.

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On opening, the muted suede is drenched in fruity, boozy, syrup. At this stage it lies somewhere between Boxeuses and Bottega Venetta. I presume it’s the immortelle and rum that’s creating this effect, but it isn’t too spicy or harshly alcoholic.

It’s all a bit too sweet and boozy for my taste, but the whole feel is very smooth and luxe. It doesn’t shout and there are no rough edges.

If you love gourmand-inflected suede scents then I can imagine it verging on the addictive. It’s easier to wear than other fragrances in this category because while it is sweet, it’s not domineering.

It may also appeal if you have a fondness for cosmetic perfumes. As it settles, Cuir Velours throws off a beauty balm like quality which now reminds me of Ramon Monegal’s Cuirelle but without the honey. It’s that face-powder-mixed-with-cold-cream-on-suede effect which adds softness and an increased level of comfort.

I start to enjoy it a few hours in, when the booze has completely evaporated and the sweet syrup has dialled down a few notches. Now it really feels velvety soft and creamy with that “Your Skin But Better” vibe. I get some labdanum in the far drydown which only adds to that feeling.

For a fragrance layered with so many traditionally bold accords, Cuir Velours winds up being surprisingly low on projection.  I have to get  close to detect it, but when I do it’s inviting and rather sensual.

 

Woman in cape and leather boots

In style alone, it’s reminiscent perfumer Julien Rasquinet’s other creation for Naomi Goodsir, Bois d’Ascese and his Russian Tea for Masque Milano. They all have a striking yet subdued profile and seem to cling to the skin.  However, I would say that Cuir Velours leans more feminine than either of those two. Longevity is very good as it quietly lingers for hours.

It’s a low-key, sweetened suede with a cosmetic twist which would be equally appropriate at the office as on a date. Perfect to wrap yourself in on cold days when the chill wind threatens to get into your bones.

Cuir Velours is a fragrance to live in and make your own, like a second skin.

 

Have you tired Cuir Velours? Would you recommend I try Naomi Goodsir’s Or du Serail?

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