40 days and 40 Nights of Fragrance Notes: Leather
Hide and Seek: Leather Note
By Melanie Parker
Leather is a traditional note that evokes instant thoughts of luxury. To me, leather scents are reminiscent of the best quality handbags, shoes, riding boots, and that intoxicating new car smell. Cuir, which is French for leather, is the base for many unisex scents.
Leather’s best friends are oud, which is a resin from the Aquilaria tree, oakmoss, citrus, and tobacco. It also pairs well with heady florals.
The mother of leather scents is Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, which marries iris, jasmine and ylang-ylang with buttery leather. The father of leather scents is probably the luxurious Hermès, which began life as a French saddlery in 1837, and has many fine leathers in its stable, including Equipage, Bel Ami, Calèche, and Kelly Calèche. Somehow, Hermès manages to bottle a Birkin and for that, it belongs in the fragrance Hall of Fame.
One interesting leather scent story comes from the origin of Creed’s Royal English Leather. As Creed’s first fragrance, Royal English Leather was ordered by King George III in 1781. Creed was the king's glove maker and he scented the king's gloves. The king enjoyed the scented gloves so much he commissioned the house of Creed to make it into a body fragrance.
Another interesting phenomenon was the popularity of Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather, which had a bad boy reputation because it smells like blow. It’s some kind of mind trick that the scent smells like cocaine, because Tuscan Leather is “an original take on a classic leather scent. Saffron, raspberry, and thyme, open to olibanum and night-blooming jasmine,” while “leather, black suede, and amber wood add an intricate richness” according to Katherine Holmes, a spokesperson for Private Blend, Ford’s fragrance line.
Some leather scents worth sniffing:
Bernard Chant’s Aramis
Caron’s Tabac Blond
Chanel Cuir de Russie
Christian Dior Diorling
Christian Dior Leather Oud
Creed Royal English Leather
Estee Lauder Azuree
Eyody’s Cuir Blanc (White Leather)
Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather
Guerlain Habit Rouge EDC
Le Labo Patchouli 24
Montale Oud Cuir d'Arabie
Parfums de Histoires 1740
Robert Piguet Bandit EDP
Serge Lutens Sarrasins
S Perfumes S-eX
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris
Liz Zorn's Cordovan Rose
Hide in Plain View by Denise Hamilton: http://www.latimesmagazine.com/2011/01/image-uncommon-scents-hide-in-plain-view.html
Sniff Test by Geoffrey Gray: http://nymag.com/news/intelligencer/35827/
Reviewer: Melanie Parker
Graphic Credit: Melanie Parker