Leather Perfumes for Cool Days

Elisa gives an overview of her favorite leather perfumes, from floral suedes to dark, smoky hides.

I don’t rotate my perfume collection seasonally; all [undisclosed number] of them are at my disposal year round on a big étagère in my closet. But if I did, here’s how the rotation would break down: ambers and orientals up front for winter; chypres and green florals up front for spring; white florals and beachy coconut scents up front for summer; and leather fragrances up front for fall.

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One recent Friday, I went over to a friend’s house for drinks; it was the first really chilly autumnal night, and we lit an outdoor fire and sat around it drinking red wine, wearing boots and scarves for the first time and making plans for Halloween. This is exactly when I start buying candles in bulk and craving all my smoky leather perfumes. Here are a few of my favorites for fall.

Floral Leathers

Elegant floral leathers are the ultimate for making me feel like a grownup (never mind that I actually am one). One of my all-time favorite perfumes period, Cuir de Lancôme is initially sharp with saffron, but it quickly warms up with iris, ylang, and a styrax drydown that gets better and better with time. In my mind it’s the exact caramel color of fabulous luggage. Mals of The Muse in Wooden Shoes has compared it to a perfumed silk handkerchief in a good leather handbag, and I agree.

Another old favorite, Donna Karan Signature is a complex floral that reads as an especially dry osmanthus – jasmine soap and dried apricots – but the overall effect is like dove-gray suede.

Does this all sound just a bit restrained for you? OK then: Roja Dove’s Diaghilev might be more your speed. You would absolutely mistake this for vintage if you didn’t know it wasn’t. Diaghilev is an opulent, animalic “everything” perfume (part floriental, part woody musk, with some fruit and aldehydes thrown in for good measure). Basically, it’s fancy-pants Bal à Versailles.

Sweet Leathers

Sweet leathers seem to accumulate in my collection; like dark roses, they’re just one of my go-to’s. Take Midnight in Paris from Van Cleef & Arpels, which was love at first sniff – much like Bulgari Black is as much about vanilla as it is about rubber tires, Midnight in Paris is as much about tonka bean as it is about leather.

I haven’t heard anyone talking about Cuir X from La Perfumerie Moderne, but it’s a good one, with the distinctly oily smell of old, well cared for leather and a soft, gently powdery amber background. It reminds me of another favorite, Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque, which is sweeter, and more abstract in its typically Lutensian complexity. Spraying tends to emphasize top notes, so I always dab this one on to get straight to the balsamic drydown.

And my vintage Guerlain Shalimar cologne always smells best in fall – it’s a little light and close to the skin for winter, but the bitter bergamot and leather against warm vanilla are perfect on chilly nights in October and November.

Dry Leathers 

Etat Libre d’Orange Rien is a beautiful, strange leather I fell in love with last year. It could almost qualify as a sweet leather, but a big dose of aldehydes scrubs it clean; it smells like expensive leather-scented soap.

For a few months, my husband was wearing Aramis every day, and I loved smelling it trail through the apartment as he got dressed and left to teach. I sometimes wear it myself, too – to my mind it’s basically Jolie Madame with less violet, a polished leather chypre in the isobutyl quinoline style. This aromachemical is drier than birch tar, and seems to have a bitter-green, chypre-like character of its own.

Another leather for men that is easy to borrow: Guerlain Habit Rouge. It’s not a million miles away from Shalimar, but the citrus opening is brighter and juicier, and the drydown more restrained, a woody-leathery skin scent.

What are your favorite leather perfumes?

Extra: if you can’t get enough of leather, we another list of interesting perfumes with this note–Of Horses, Leather and Perfume.

Photography by Elisa

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167 Comments

  • Michaela: Elisa, love this post. I’m with you about this unique Cuir de Lancome. Period. 🙂

    I love Shalimar but never knew the vintage cologne. Habit Rouge is always interesting. I’ll search and sample all the others, sounds so good.

    A very interesting dry leather I’d never wear is Memo Irish Leather. Ravishing, standing out, and totally masculine, if you ask me. October 19, 2015 at 7:32am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you Michaela! I didn’t love Shalimar until I found this vintage version — I found the leather so much more pronounced than in the current version. Now if I could only get my hands on some vintage parfum…. October 19, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Leather is not my favourite, but I love Cuir de Russie and Etro’s Gomma.
    What a great idea, a living fire, red wine and perfume talk! October 19, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, it got pretty warm again unfortunately and I want it to go back to being cold fire-weather again! October 19, 2015 at 9:55am Reply

  • Persolaise: Ahh… I can never read enough about my leather 🙂

    I adore Lancome’s Cuir, but I’d like to give a shout out to Knize Ten. It feels like it’s speaking to you from the 20s, and yet it’s modern too. Absolute classic. October 19, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Elisa: Oh yes, Knize Ten! It’s so rich. I think I gave my sample to my husband and he lost it somewhere traveling. I need to order another! October 19, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

      • Persolaise: :-O Naughty husband! October 20, 2015 at 4:14am Reply

        • Elisa: No more Knize Ten for him! October 20, 2015 at 9:38am Reply

    • Austenfan: Knize Ten is wonderful. It’s been a long time since I tried it, but I remember being seriously smitten. October 19, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

    • SilverMoon: Another vote for Knize Ten. It was one of those perfumes I loved on first sniff. As mentioned on a previous post, I promptly bought it for my husband (luckily he loves it too, so I get to smell it often). Another great masculine leather is Memo Irish Leather (again he wears it, I enjoy the sillage). Among the more feminine leathers that I have tried and really like are Chanel Cuir de Russie and EL Azuree (very different price points, but equally enjoyable to wear).

      In terms of autumnal perfumes, I really love Bulgari Black, OJ Tolu and Ormande Woman, SL Feminite de Bois, FM Noir Epices (although that is lovely in winter too). Having said this, like Elisa, I do not keep seasonal collections to hand. It is whatever I am in the mood for each morning after my shower. October 24, 2015 at 9:46am Reply

    • Danica Radovanov: If you like Knize Ten, Floris Mahon Leather is in the same style but it’s got floral and powder accents that make it very unisex. October 24, 2015 at 8:09pm Reply

  • Sandra: Doesn’t have a lot of leather – but I should dig out my kelly caleche. If the original caleche fell on my lap I would like that too.

    For fall I really love Journey woman, coco noir perfume ( not the EDP), Shalimar ode a la Vanille, Samsara, and lately noir pour femme. Though these are not all leather per se, I wanted to share my autumn delights! October 19, 2015 at 8:26am Reply

    • Sandra: Just dug out my kelly caleche- I have the pure perfume – there is some leather. Now I remember why I bought this , much better then the EDT October 19, 2015 at 8:59am Reply

    • Karen: I also like Ormonde Jayne Woman in chilly weather. Rarely see it mentioned, though. October 19, 2015 at 9:34am Reply

      • Elisa: Ormonde Jayne Woman used to get mentioned constantly on the perfume blogs, maybe it’s fallen off the radar a bit. It’s very fall to me, too. October 19, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

    • Elisa: I like Journey Woman for fall too — such a nice osmanthus fragrance. October 19, 2015 at 10:05am Reply

  • Nick: One of the leather scent that has starkingly etched into my mind is phenol. It is not really the kind of comforting leather, but rather disconcerting because of the toxicity. Therefore, few leathers have made it into my favourite list.

    I admire the leather floral combination in Chanel Cuir de Russie — the first leather perfume I have ever smelled. October 19, 2015 at 9:15am Reply

    • Elisa: Do you like Lonestar Memories? It’s pretty phenolic. October 19, 2015 at 10:08am Reply

      • Nick: Now that you have mentioned it, I have never sniffed it despite having the samples along with other Une Rose Chypre, Noontide Petals, something..Kadahar. October 19, 2015 at 4:35pm Reply

        • Elisa: Do try it! (And Une Rose Chypree is a total classic to me.) October 19, 2015 at 5:04pm Reply

  • Briony hey: How about Boxeuses? That’s a lovely autumnal leather. I’ve yet to try Lancome Cuir although I’d love to. I think it’s still available online – I’ll have to track it down. October 19, 2015 at 9:15am Reply

    • Elisa: I LOVE Boxeuses and it’s on my full bottle wish list. I mentioned it in my Fall Top 10 last year so I am trying to spread the love. 🙂

      Cuir de Lancome is a total modern classic. October 19, 2015 at 9:58am Reply

  • Celeste Church: I have a lot of leathers, but the only one I wear regularly is Chanel Cuir de Russie….It’s so beautiful the others just pale in comparison. The dry down is the best of all my perfumes. I do wear the Lancome Cuir as well, but sometimes, maybe I spray too much, and it makes me a little nauseous. It’s still my second favorite leather, though. I just have to be very circumspect with my spraying. We don’t get much of one here in L.A. but I love Autumn!!! Your article reminded me of that so thank you! October 19, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

    • Amalia: Hello! What type of Cuir de Russie do you have? I have the eau de toilette and I can smell it on me, only for an hour…so sad:( Thank you for your time. October 19, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

    • Elisa: You’re welcome and thank you for reading! October 19, 2015 at 10:09am Reply

  • Patricia: Ohh, leather! Some of my favorites are Cuir de Russie extrait, Boxeuses, Daim Blond, and Cuir de Lancome. Now all I need is a (faux) leather jacket to pull the whole thing together. October 19, 2015 at 9:33am Reply

    • Elisa: I left a lot of people’s favorite off the list by not mentioning Cuir de Russie! October 19, 2015 at 10:10am Reply

  • Ines: Interesting!
    I’m wearing Shalimar (Ode a la Vanille albeit) today and I’m loving it.
    It’s a typical autumn day outside. 🙂 October 19, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    • Elisa: I find fall weather very inspiring when it comes to both fashion and perfumes. 🙂 October 19, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

  • Karen: Thank you for this, Elisa. I learn so much here! October 19, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    • Elisa: Thank you! October 19, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

  • Danaki: Hmm…difficult to decide. It’s probably Daim Blond for me, and I always overspray. Must get the spraying right next time as it is a lovely Autumn soft leather/suede scent. The fruitiness is very comforting too.

    I spray Rien inside my handbag and on scarfs/sweaters as I’m allergic to it but love the fragrance 🙁 October 19, 2015 at 9:44am Reply

    • Elisa: Sorry to hear you’re allergic to it! I bet it smells great in a handbag though. October 19, 2015 at 10:15am Reply

  • Bastet: Another vote for Daim Blond. Leather notes often feel too sharp or harsh to me, but in Daim Blond its more like soft suede. One of my favorite fall fragrances. October 19, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

    • Elisa: I don’t really get along with Daim Blond I’m sorry to say; it smells too soapy on me. But another suede-like fragrance I love is Bottega Veneta. October 19, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

      • Briony hey: Oh yes, I forgot about Bottega Veneta. I managed to get my paws on the solid perfume in a lovely little compact in the Harrods sale once for half price. One of my best sale bargains ever. October 19, 2015 at 11:46am Reply

        • Elisa: Nice! I’ve never gravitated toward solid perfumes, but I gave my husband a solid of Volutes and it’s his favorite; it has surprisingly great sillage on him in that format. October 19, 2015 at 11:51am Reply

          • Joy: I had a small sample of the solid Volutes. I love it; it is nearly gone. But I don’t think they make it in the solid form anymore. I have looked and asked in the Diptique stores, looked on their website, and looked in Paris Diptique’s. It is somehow warmer and more enveloping in the solid. Quite right, it has great sillage. October 19, 2015 at 6:17pm Reply

            • Elisa: Yes, I’ve heard they stopped making it in that format too — really a shame as I feel different notes were emphasized, it was like it was a different formula. October 19, 2015 at 6:39pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Timely and lovely post Elisa, thank you! I was commando till reading it and ofcourse, then I knew, it had to be Cuir de Lancome.
    Other favourite leathers for me are Cuir d’Ange and Kelly Caleche. I hope to smell Cuir de Russie someday, I have a feeling I will like it very much. La Pausa is ofcourse foremost an iris, but it has a lovely leather note as well, at least to my nose, as does another favourite Dzongkha, iris, leather combined with cardamon and incense. October 19, 2015 at 10:14am Reply

    • Elisa: I haven’t managed to try Cuir d’Ange yet but it sounds right up my alley! Equistrius is another nice iris with a subtle leather note — I learned about it from BdJ’s own Patricia. October 19, 2015 at 10:17am Reply

  • laurinha: My current smoky leather fragrance of choice is 4160 Tuesdays Time to draw the raffle numbers.

    Enjoy Autumn, such a lovely, if fleeting, time of year! October 19, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

    • Elisa: I had never heard of that one and had to look it up — what a crazy list of notes! (linden blossom, metallic notes, marmalade and wheat; middle notes are coffee, leather and croissant; base notes are tobacco and vetiver)

      Is it anything like Jeux de Peau? October 19, 2015 at 10:28am Reply

  • AndreaR: Bandit, Bandit and more Bandit! October 19, 2015 at 10:40am Reply

    • Elisa: 🙂 Jolie Madame is my pick, but there’s always room for more Cellier! October 19, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

      • AndreaR: I must try that one. October 19, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

  • rosarita: Love Cuir de Lancombe but my favorite fall leather is Bottega Veneta, really anytime of year for this one. It’s become a lovely and reliable go to in my collection. Good to know that Aramis has less violet then Jolie Madame, it’s my least favorite note but I like that chypre feel too. October 19, 2015 at 10:59am Reply

    • Elisa: I really love Bottega Veneta in fall too and have some coming to me in the mail thanks to the NST swap! October 19, 2015 at 11:27am Reply

      • Michaela: Enjoy it! It’s such a beautiful perfume! October 20, 2015 at 3:33am Reply

  • Adrienne: Without wishing to sound rude and ignorant. Would someone please explain why coconut is considered a summer perfume? Perhaps the all pervasive Coppertone smell at the beach that overwhelmed everybody within a mile? Coconut is food and I don’t see anything erotic or delightful in wearing that smell. So what am I missing here? October 19, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

    • Elisa: It is absolutely the connection between coconut scents and sunscreen. Only holds in America — in France sunscreen is associated more with jasmine. October 19, 2015 at 11:28am Reply

      • Trudy: I’m certainly not a perfume expert but I believe coconut has sort of a tropical sweet note to it. Just a touch of coconut seems to blend well with white flowers (jasmine, gardenia, tuberose and the like). Some consider that to be a nice summer fragrance. October 19, 2015 at 11:37am Reply

        • Elisa: Coconut blends gorgeously with white flowers. Tuberose has a natural coconut facet. October 19, 2015 at 11:40am Reply

          • Trudy: Yes it does. I’m one of those who, at times, like this combination. I think By Kilian Beyond Love: Prohibited would be an good example.
            But back to leather….this is a new category for me but I am intrigued.. I have a sample of Guerlain Cuir Beluga. So far I think it is a little much for me. I have to try something more tender or softer. I am enjoying today’s topic and the recommendations in the comments. Making a list! October 19, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

            • Elisa: That’s exactly the perfume I was thinking of too! The post above links to my recent article on coconut scents, which includes a whole section on coconutty white florals.

              I find the leather in Cuir Beluga to be very subtle, to me it’s more like a vaguely animalic gourmand. I hope you find something from the list you like! October 19, 2015 at 12:00pm Reply

              • Karen (A): Cuir Beluga is really yummy! October 19, 2015 at 2:27pm Reply

                • kayliz: I was almost wondering whether it’d be cheating to mention Cuir Beluga and am so glad someone else has:) I’m a complete leather wimp but this is one I love.
                  Trudy, I find Cuir de Nacre (Ann Gerard), Perlerette (Volnay) and Bottega Veneta all very soft.
                  My favourite, though, is Misia. Can we please count Misia as a leather? for leather wimps? October 19, 2015 at 4:15pm Reply

                  • Karen (A): Just wear a pair of boots or carry a riding crop when you wear Misia and I’d say you can call it the perfect accessory to leather! October 20, 2015 at 6:33am Reply

      • Adrienne: Thanks for your careful thoughts Elisa about associated fragrances. I see what you are saying, but to me it is a food. I wouldn’t slather myself with peanut oil anymore than coconut oil. Just an olfactory block for me. It reminds me of sweat, sand and sunburn, and a welcome shower to wash it off…just as “spe” comments. I guess I just don’t want to smell like food..coconut, vanilla or chocolate. Much better on my tongue than my nose. I go for exotic, a little mystery, intriguing. October 19, 2015 at 3:25pm Reply

        • Elisa: I just don’t mind smelling like food personally 🙂 Though I do like food notes to be tempered by non-food notes (leather, flowers, patchouli, etc.) October 19, 2015 at 3:49pm Reply

    • spe: As someone who grew up in America, coconut smell is associated with a brand of suntan lotion called “Coppertone.”

      What’s the one thing you do after a daily of sun (and sweat and sand and greasy lotions)? Shower! And that’s what a whiff of these types of scents creates in me – a desire for the wearer to take a shower and clean-up.

      Obviously, I’m with you. For me there is nothing attractive about coconut in perfume. October 19, 2015 at 12:51pm Reply

  • Mals86: I have a real love-hate thing going on with leather perfumes – the ones I love, I really love. And the ones I hate, I really really cannot bear.

    I’ve stayed away from most of the (so-marketed) masculines, thinking they would be Too Much for me, or maybe Too 1970s Burt Reynolds on a Bearskin Rug. But I do love Midnight in Paris, and I’d wear that one myself if it weren’t so strongly associated in my mind with my older son, who does wear it. I really dig my tiny bit of Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, too. Love love Cuir de Lancome, love Jolie Madame, enjoy Dior Cuir Cannage (oddly, that one smells very Chanely to me, considerably more so than Cuir de Russie which is just absolutely horrifyingly Virtual Cattle Working Pen). Cuir Ottoman’s nice. I like Kelly Caleche but only in the edp – and it’s not very leathery, just a hint. Memoir Woman isn’t A Leather Fragrance, but I love the leather in it.

    Daim Blonde was soapy on me too. And unfortunately Cuir d’Ange was very fecal (what, there’s a poopy diaper stuffed into my leather handbag? ugh). Bottega Veneta has too much patchouli for patchophobic me.

    Still leaves me with several leathers to try! October 19, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

    • Elisa: Tuscan Leather is very nice — I wish I had some.

      Poopy?! Oh no, that doesn’t sound too appealing.

      I think of Bottega Veneta as more of a patchouli scent than a leather scent (I have to really squint to see the suede) so yeah, I can imagine that it wouldn’t much appeal to a patch-phobe. October 19, 2015 at 11:39am Reply

    • Tam: Yes Mals, I’m with you on many points. I do adore leather but find many of those with stellar reviews just don’t mesh with me for some reason. Kelly caleche is pretty, more floral than leather, Cuir d’Ange which I’m testing again because really wanting to get what everyone else is getting in it, is a big ‘ol screechy cumin bomb on me even after a long drydown and my son confirms this (“Smells like sweat, Mom”). Strange, as cumin is not listed in the notes. Maybe colder weather will bring out it’s best? Cuir de Russie is more amber and spice. Cuir Ottoman is just that..ottoman and i really like it, soft and leathery. Knize Ten, fantastic straight up cozy leather. Cuir Pleine Fleur is AMAZING on me. I love the swirls of leather, hawthorne, violet and herbs. Around and around it goes! I adore Santal 33, more feminine than masculine on me, it’s a potent leather with violets and a tiny bit of cedar. Must get more vintage Tabac Blonde! I remember LADDM as having a nice leather note to it and wonderful spice and papyrus!

      Chergui is a possibility, but maybe too sweet, more rummy and amber on me. Grand Cuir is more soapy herbal floral on me and Cuir Velour was enjoyable but mostly a musky scent on me.

      Still looking forward to Rein, Cuir de Lancome Jungle Elephant and yet to try Tuscan Leather! October 21, 2015 at 3:42pm Reply

      • Elisa: I seem to be the only person who didn’t get on with Cuir Pleine Fleur. I thought it smelled like Irish Spring, lol.

        Chergui and Cuir Mauresque are great layered together, by the way! It would probably be awesome with any leather. October 21, 2015 at 3:48pm Reply

  • limegreen: Another vote for Cuir de Lancome! 🙂 What a timely post, Elisa, thanks. I’ve been on a leather kick and sampling quite a few niche leathers. Most interesting so far:

    Byredo Accord Oud (light plum/blackberry, leather)

    Naomi Goodsir Cuir Velours (it was described to me as the smell of having just taken off a leather jacket and it’s really that effect of a smooth soft leather) October 19, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

    • Elisa: Ooh, I love plummy leathers — I will have to seek out that Byredo! October 19, 2015 at 11:37am Reply

      • limegreen: Do you other plummy leather favorites?
        The
        Byredo is on the light veil side, perfect for the warmish weather we’re still having. October 20, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

        • limegreen: That would be: Do you have other plummy leather favorites to recommend? October 20, 2015 at 9:40am Reply

          • Elisa: BOXEUSES! October 20, 2015 at 9:41am Reply

            • limegreen: 🙂 (must pay attention!) October 20, 2015 at 3:54pm Reply

          • Raisa: Chambre Noir by Olfactive Studio is a great plummy leather scent. October 21, 2015 at 9:43am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: My favorite leathers that I own have already been mentioned: Cuir de Russie, Kelly Caleche. October 19, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

    • Elisa: Kelly Caleche has never been leathery enough for me, but then I’m probably prejudiced against it because I never fall in love with Jean Claude Ellena scents. 🙂 October 19, 2015 at 11:52am Reply

  • Aurora: Thank you very much for sharing your leathers in the fall. It’s a great pleasure isn’t it to be able to reach for these richer perfumes again; mine are: vintage Cabochard and it’s another one which I think share some DNA with Aramis, the current Diorling (I really love that one blissfully never smelled any vintage) and Caleche. Shalimar I reach for in all seasons, different ages and strengths, like you I enjoy the EDC very much. October 19, 2015 at 12:12pm Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, Cabochard and Aramis are both by Bernard Chant! October 19, 2015 at 12:24pm Reply

      • Aurora: That explains it, thank you Elisa, and I didn’t know this perfumer: he’s responsible for 2 masterpieces, then. October 19, 2015 at 2:28pm Reply

        • Elisa: Also Aromatics Elixir! October 19, 2015 at 2:29pm Reply

          • Aurora: If he didn’t do anything else, he made history with these 3, I think. October 19, 2015 at 3:54pm Reply

            • Neisha: Don’t forget Azuree for Estee Lauder — which I believe is similar to Aramis. Another Chant creation from 1969, which is still available at most counters, but you have to ask. October 19, 2015 at 7:30pm Reply

              • Elisa: I mentioned that one somewhere else in this thread — agreed, very similar to Aramis! October 19, 2015 at 7:33pm Reply

              • Briony hey: Ooooh Azuree! I’d forgotten about that one too. That’s lovely. I knew there was another leather lurking that I loved. October 20, 2015 at 4:23am Reply

    • Mals86: I forgot Diorling! I only have a small decant and it’s of the recent stuff, but it’s really good. October 19, 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Mals: so glad we share an appreciation of Diorling, it gets forgotten somehow. October 19, 2015 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Mary: I love leather – perhaps it’s my favourite note for cooler weather. I have Cuir de Russie, but in edt, which, as Amalia says, is very fleeting.Tauerville’s Incense Flash opens with a powerful smoky leather note, but my favourite is Cuir Ottoman. I’ve finished my decant and do so wish they still made 50ml bottles. I keep checking on Ebay, but have had no luck as yet 🙁 October 19, 2015 at 12:17pm Reply

    • Elisa: I am dying to try Incense Flash!! I love the smoky notes in LADDM, too. October 19, 2015 at 12:25pm Reply

  • Emma: Grès Cabochard, Dior Diorling and Hermès Doblis all in vintage parfums. October 19, 2015 at 12:50pm Reply

  • spe: After an evening with my family (sophisticated and experienced with perfumes) going through my collection, I can now admit that leather fragrances don’t work for me. I’ve owned many, and admire them all. But they just don’t flatter me or my chemistry. October 19, 2015 at 12:56pm Reply

    • Elisa: No shame in having a category that just doesn’t feel wearable for you! Sometimes an ingredient just doesn’t sit right even if you like it on others. October 19, 2015 at 1:32pm Reply

  • Dominique: I also adore cuir de lancome and sometimes wear it layered with sjp lovely for a hint of white flowers with leather. I also enjoy the hermes Kelly caleche despite luca turin”s bad review of this fragrance. What do you think of Kelly caleche? October 19, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

    • Elisa: I am not a big fan of Kelly Caleche myself, but then I don’t often get on with Ellena. My favorite perfume of his is First, which is of course nothing like most of his work!

      I should try layering CdL with more things! Lovely is a nice idea. October 19, 2015 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Karen (A): Fun review, Elisa! Although leather isn’t a note I’ve been drawn to, I’m branching out from my roses (all roses, dark and light) and found a beautiful autumnal fragrance for me, Noir Exquis. I learned about a new perfume shop in Northern Virginia, Arielle Shoshona, and took a drive over there this morning.

    I had such a great time exploring some new fragrances, Arielle was a joy to work with, I tried a bunch of goodies on before deciding that Noir Exquisite hit the right notes. Hoping other BdJ people in the DC metro area can make it out to the shop.

    Also, decided since there are a couple other Karens posting, to add the (A) on to my name. October 19, 2015 at 2:22pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, I know Ari! She’s so great and I’m jealous that you’re close enough to drive to her shop!

      Rose is my favorite note; I’m trying to think of a good rose and leather fragrance…a good bet would be a rose oud where the oud has a strong leather facet. Nasreen comes to mind. October 19, 2015 at 2:34pm Reply

      • Karen (A): Well come on down! We are in the middle of gorgeous weather – cold nights and mornings, but warming up a bit during the day.

        Hmmm, I tried on my Rose Nacree du Desert the other day, but it felt not quite right – a little too sharp. PoaL is perfect for fall, no leather, but I like the syrupy richness. I’m not familiar with Nasreen.

        On Saturday we were at a park that has some Colonial reenactors – one woman was tending an open fire outside, and the smell from the fire was just perfect for the chilly, overcast day. October 19, 2015 at 8:13pm Reply

        • Katherine: Karen, so right – I wore PoAL yesterday – gorgeous and lasted all day -perfect for this crisp weather! And such a coincidence that just tonight I received several samples in the mail Rose Nacree du Desert is a contender for a more serious test. It was your passion for this scent that prompted me to order a sample. Thanks. October 19, 2015 at 10:04pm Reply

    • Katherine: Karen, We must be neighbors (in a manner of speaking)! Thanks for the tip about the perfume shop since I live not far from Mosaic and shop there occasionally! Will definitely swing by sometime soon. October 19, 2015 at 9:40pm Reply

      • Karen (A): Oh how fun! If you ever want to do a perfume sniffing/shopping at Arielle then coffee get together, email Victoria and she will pass on my email. It would be great to meet a fellow BdJ person in person, especially a rose lover! I smelled so darn good when I left the shop – my only mistake was leaving the card that had what I was wearing where (Like This, Bijou Romantic, Ashoka, Timbuktu, and Wildflower Honey were all on various spots on my arms and after running out of room I spritzed something on my ankle!). Each of the ones I tried worked really well, my biggest challenge was just deciding what to get.

        I hope Rose Nacree sings to you – although it may not be perfect for a fall day- or maybe it is, I can see it working beautifully for an evening out in cooler/cold weather. October 20, 2015 at 6:44am Reply

        • Katherine: Karen, What a lovely invitation! I’ll contact Victoria with my email address. (Thanks Victoria!)

          Hope it doesn’t change your view – but I’m just a rose lover in training… That said, PoAL is lovely (I need to be seriously in the mood because it lasts all day long). And after many months of indifference, I was suddenly enchanted by La Fille de Berlin, then quickly bewitched by Mohur (makes my heart ache it’s so beautiful). I’m taking a short perfume break but will test drive Rose Nacree soon and will update you. October 20, 2015 at 9:24pm Reply

          • Karen (A): Yay! And believe me, I’m a rose lover in training, too! My bottle of La Fille is just about empty, and I keep stretching out what’s left – although it is one I don’t want to be without. October 21, 2015 at 6:40am Reply

            • Katherine: (Karen, Wanted you to know I sent 2 emails to VIctoria – no joy. Maybe she’s very busy.) October 24, 2015 at 7:01am Reply

              • Karen (A): Hmmm, I was just wondering about this, too. Hopefully she will see this exchange in case your emails got lost in the nether world! If you don’t hear from her in the next few days, post again and we can figure something out!

                Replies to my comments aren’t showing up in my email, but I check the bottom of the BdJ page for recent comments – that’s how I saw yours. October 24, 2015 at 7:24am Reply

                • Katherine: Sounds like a plan. October 24, 2015 at 7:29am Reply

                  • Karen (A): Just saw Elisa’s comment about Victoria traveling. The other thing I thought is we can just plan to meet at Arielle’s. Weekdays are best for me, but if you work that might not be good for you. This wee, Thursday 29th is good – sure we can figure something out! October 26, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

                    • katherine: Karen,
                      Let’s wait for Victoria since I can’t make the date you propose. I can’t wait though!
                      K October 26, 2015 at 10:31pm

              • Elisa: Hey there, Victoria is traveling for a couple of weeks and taking an Internet break. I’m sure she will respond when she returns! October 24, 2015 at 1:26pm Reply

                • katherine: Thanks so much Elisa. October 26, 2015 at 10:31pm Reply

                  • Karen (A): Sounds good! October 27, 2015 at 5:39am Reply

  • Alicia: Elisa, thank you for your review. For the Fall I wear ambers and leathers. As for the leathers, as a casual fragrance for morning errands I use most often Bottega Veneta. For work (besides my usual staple Chanel #19, no leather but an abiding love) I tend towards Lutens Daim Blond. In the afternoon Jolie Madame. For a more formal affair in an elegant mood it is always Chanel Cuir de Russie. And then Bandit, whenever and wherever I really want to enjoy leather in forever fervor. October 19, 2015 at 2:26pm Reply

    • Elisa: I love that you distinguish between morning, afternoon and evening leathers! October 19, 2015 at 2:27pm Reply

  • Malmaison: What a lovely thread – leather perfumes are a particular passion of mine, perhaps because the incomparable Cuir de Lancôme was me ‘gateway drug’ to becoming a perfume addict!

    I also love Bottega Veneta and along similar lines recently sprang for a FB of Heeley’s Cuir Pleine Fleur. This is a gorgeous, light, violet-scented leather which billows around me in evanescent clouds throughout the day. Definitely not an assertive leather, like Bandit or Azuree (my spring leathers), but gorgeous nonetheless. I feel I can’t justify having both this and the horrifically expensive Hermès Cuir d’Ange … But oh, I do love the sample of Cuir d’Ange I prised from a reluctant saleswoman’s hands last week …

    And finally, I also very much enjoy my MPG Cuir Fetiche, much gentler than the name suggests, and with a very saucy leather corset around the bottle! Worth keeping on my dresser for that alone. October 19, 2015 at 3:02pm Reply

    • Elisa: Cuir Fetiche sounds wonderful, I haven’t tried that one! Will have to order a sample. October 19, 2015 at 3:50pm Reply

    • Karen (A): I want evanescent clouds billowing around me! October 21, 2015 at 6:42am Reply

    • katherine: Malmaison – I’m echoing Karen’s desire! Your description drives me to seek out Cuir Pleine Fleur. October 21, 2015 at 7:05am Reply

  • Joy: Elisa,
    Thank you for this intriguing review of leathers. You have inspired me to get out all of my leathers and go through them to see how they work in the fall for me. I began with Chanel, Cuir de Russie. I had tried it in the summer and possibly had too many choices that came with my order. Today I am enjoying it so much. At first it seemed to fade away after the drydown, but then came back with the leather floral combo. I think that I will have to get a larger decant of this. I love Bottega Knot, but wore a few dabs in the summer. I will have to try it for fall. I have tried Cuir de Lancome which at first I did not like with the burst of strong leather, but then the other notes came through and I began to really enjoy it. I thought I would love Bandit, but my sample seems thing and harsh. The same is true for Daim Blond. They both come across as the smell of leftover burnt ash in the bottom of an ashtray.

    My all time favorite has been Cobachard, Gres. My last bottle was from one of the discount websites. It is thin, more like a tincture of the original fragrance mixed with water. But, I love to spray it on to remind myself of how great it was. Many years ago, I used EL’s Azuree heavily. I loved it. Azuree and Aliage, (green), have been reformulated. I bought the Aliage. It is somewhat of a disappointment. I will tray a sample of the Azuree before I make a purchase. Habit Rouge has become a staple, and I just love it.
    For the first time in my life, and I’m sure, after many reformulations, I am beginning to understand Shalimar. I found it awful when I was young.

    So back to my testing of leather’s in Autumn. October 19, 2015 at 3:50pm Reply

    • Elisa: Azuree is another one of those better leather chypres like Aramis, but with more citrus. I love it on men!

      You’re like me with Shalimar. It took me forever to understand it! October 19, 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

      • Joy: I had a housemother in college in the 60’s who wore it heavily. She was an uncommonly, unpleasant person whose old black, satin dresses were either non too clean, or the combination of dry cleaning chemicals made this fragrance awful for many of us in my house. At least we could all tell where she was from the trail of scent, and we could turn on a dime and head the other direction. We had to take turns escorting her to dinner, then sit at her left hand. It put me of many a dinner. October 19, 2015 at 6:11pm Reply

        • Elisa: Ha!! I’m glad she didn’t ruin it for you entirely and forever! October 19, 2015 at 6:38pm Reply

  • Merlin: I think all my many loves have been mentioned, but I will repeat (just for the record)! Two on my wish list (waiting for a trip overseas) are Cuir Mauresque and Lonestar Memories. From the ‘classics’: Azuree, Cabochard (yes, the current one is thin, but somehow that thinness is part of its appeal…), Bandit and Jolie Madame. The underappreciated: Gomma. Modern: Dzing!(not an emphatic leather on me) Cuir Cannage, Byredo 1996. And two of my very favorites: SMN Nostalgia and Tobacco Toscano. October 19, 2015 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Elisa: Tobacco Toscano is very good and rarely mentioned! I actually find it very similar to Midnight in Paris (which is cheaper for those keeping score) October 19, 2015 at 5:05pm Reply

  • Trish: Kelly Caleche is my favorite floral leather fragrance. October 19, 2015 at 7:24pm Reply

  • Andy: Like so many others, I’ve been on a leather kick, especially loving the iris-leathers as of late. I too love Rien, and another favorite recently has been Cuir Ottoman. I was never really struck by it originally, but when I wore Gold Leather to a recent jazz concert on a whim, the cocktail of leather and rummy, plummy notes struck a particularly perfect chord. I was just about to repurchase a bottle of Bulgari Black, but you’ve convinced me to try Midnight in Paris first–it sounds like it might be a welcome change of pace. October 19, 2015 at 7:57pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh yes, you might find it a nice alternative in the same niche! Please let me know what you think of it if you try it! October 19, 2015 at 9:44pm Reply

      • Andy: Oh, also meant to comment, after seeing your note above. I’ve been loving the Tauerville Incense Flash, which I quickly bought a bottle of after I tried it. It isn’t quite as special as some other incensey fragrances in the regular Tauer lineup, perhaps (I would say it’s more linear), but I do love it. It’s equal parts leather and incense in the opening, rugged and sexy for sure, but cuddly too. It’s the kind of scent that makes me want to pull on a soft sweater and curl up with a blanket. And it lasts well too. October 19, 2015 at 9:53pm Reply

        • Elisa: Mmm! That sounds fantastic! October 19, 2015 at 10:02pm Reply

  • Christiana: Miller Harris L’air de Rein is my favourite leather!
    This scent makes me feel sexy.. October 19, 2015 at 11:07pm Reply

    • Elisa: I used to always confused Rien with L’air de Rien, but the latter is much more animalic, isn’t it? October 20, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

  • Carter: Vintage Lanvin Scandal is one of the greatest leather scents ever created. Horrible that it’s gone. October 19, 2015 at 11:42pm Reply

    • Elisa: Scandal was great! A sample passed through my hands and it’s probably the most realistic leather I’ve ever smelled. October 20, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

  • rainboweyes: So many lovely recommendations! I jotted down quite a few, Cuir de Lancôme seems to have many lovers here, I never had a chance to try it, though, I even can’t remember spotting it anywhere, isn’t it widely available in Europe?
    My leather favourites are: Ann Gèrard Cuir de Nacré, Parfums d’Empire Equistrius, Byredo 1996, Artisan Parfumeur Dzongkha, Parfums d’Empire Cuir Ottoman and Bandit. October 20, 2015 at 6:23am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Hi Rainboweyes, I will send you a sample of Cuir de Lancome! Are you back or are you commenting from a sunny place…? October 20, 2015 at 8:19am Reply

    • Elisa: CdL is discontinued but still pretty easy to find at various discounters. I mourn the day it won’t be, but I do have a backup bottle. October 20, 2015 at 9:36am Reply

    • SilverMoon: So many mentions of Cuir de Lancome. Makes me curious. I would love to try it. Like rainboweyes I have wondered where one can find it. Anyone know for the UK? Elisa , you mention discounters – are these in the US? October 24, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

      • Elisa: I would look around online and see what you can find. I’m not sure about international shipping, but I know you can find bottles on Amazon. Good luck! October 24, 2015 at 1:27pm Reply

  • Gentiana: You made me curious about Cuir de Lancome… On my wishlist: Equistrius (although it’s more about iris), Chambre Noire, En Avion….The first leather perfume I had the urge to buy a FB (and a back-up one, just in case… 🙂 ) is Bandit. After the totally scary first 10 minutes (when it’s as sharp as a blade), it get tempered and in about half an hour evolves to a gorgeous floral leather… I am hooketd. I have Cabochard, too, as a younger sister of Bandit, but in the actual rendition is linear and has no depth… Shalimar, yes, It is a big like for me, too… I never realized it is a leathery fragrance… Idem Traversee du Bosphore … Other leathers I am happy to smell (and happy to wear, if someone gives me a present): Daim Blond, Arquiste Alexandr, Cuir Mauresque, Cuir Ottoman, Tuscan Leather (and La Yuqawam – its clone from Rasasi), Cuir Fetiche MPG. October 20, 2015 at 10:40am Reply

    • Elisa: The older versions of Shalimar have more emphasis on the leather — I never even noticed it in the one on shelves now. October 20, 2015 at 10:51am Reply

    • Natalya: Interesting…I have to try yuqawam. Which One were you referring to, men’s or women’s? December 31, 2015 at 6:53pm Reply

  • Angela: I have come relatively late to a love of leather accords, but some of the leathers (that I don’t think have been mentioned above) include:

    Andy Tauer – rose vermeille. Although this starts sweet berry rose on me, it Morphes into a green citric rose with quite a bit of leather. However, I don’t think many reviewers have this expericence, so it might be skin chemistry dependent. ( there are many Andy Tauers that have more obvious leather accords, but I thought I would mention one that is less known for it).

    Avon 1966 Leather cologne for men. NOT Avon Black suede or Avon Black Leather. This is a dry simple leather (less sweet than Knize Ten). Almost a soliflore leather if that makes sense. but easily unisex for women who wear today’s men’s scents. Very plentiful and inexpensive on eBay. It is very different than Aramis leather which I think of as greener. (My skin chemistry doesn’t do as well with greener leather like Piguet Bandit either). October 20, 2015 at 1:10pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, how interesting that you pick up leather in Rose Vermeille! I never noticed that but my decant is gone so I can’t confirm.

      Another rose violet that definitely has a lot of (quite dirty) leather is Putain de Palaces. October 20, 2015 at 1:24pm Reply

      • Angela: Elisa,

        I will definitely try Putain d palaces. I haven’t exactly done well in sampling ELdO (MS, Tom of Finland, fat electrician, so I forgot about the others.

        I got the leather accord out of Rose Vermeille after a week of sampling, Rose Vermeille, Rose flash and PHI, all of which have some leather. The reason why I highlighted RV above is 1. RV is lighter and greener and actually dries down less sweet and rich IMO than Rose Flash, so I think it’s citric leather is easier to wear; 2. While I love PHI, it’s more about tobacco and rose and incense, so less about leather. I don’t think other reviewers mentioned the leather accord, though, so my experience may be skewed due to wacky skin chemistry or something. On one wearing of RV, I almost thought I got a blue cheese accord similar to JAR Gardenia. . ..so perhaps my nose is off kilter. October 20, 2015 at 4:06pm Reply

        • Elisa: RV is a little rough around the edges so I wouldn’t be surprised if you got different effects from different wearings.

          I really like the ELDO line — but if you’re going to sample a leather from them go for Rien. October 20, 2015 at 4:16pm Reply

          • Angela: Will order rien and PdP in my next Surrender to chance. . .

            Incense flash, as someone mentioned above has leather that is wearable and cuddly, yet somehow seems dry, industrial (so not cuddly in the sense of antique leathery armchair in the library).

            And, even though I have issues with green tinged leather, after years of being nervous around it, I finally clicked with Caron Yatagan. October 20, 2015 at 9:45pm Reply

            • Angela: And vintage tabac blonde extrait (which though extremely pricy, is less than uber luxury niche) October 20, 2015 at 9:47pm Reply

              • Elisa: Everyone is giving me serious lemmings for Incense Flash.

                And yes — Tabac Blonde! I was surprised how leathery it was. October 21, 2015 at 10:13am Reply

      • Gentiana: Ah… PdP jumped in my absolute top 5… how did I forget it! October 21, 2015 at 12:28pm Reply

  • Jennifer bookwyrmsmith: I guess that I’m the odd one out – I really don’t care for Cuir de Lancôme. I love harder Leathers like Cabochard,Azuree,Aramis,Jolie Madame,but suedes I don’t usually get . I like Kelly Caleche but more as a pretty floral. Cuir de Lancôme feels more like half of Obsession and if I want to smell leather-suede then I have to soak spray it and it has too much amber and herbs on me then . October 20, 2015 at 1:52pm Reply

    • Elisa: The material in the leathers you prefer is isobutyl quinoline — as you note it is “harder,” sharper and more bitter. Cuir de Lancome’s leather accord is saffron, birch tar and styrax, definitely softer. To each their own! (I agree that Kelly Caleche doesn’t have much leather.) October 20, 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

  • Marianna: Great list. Where would I find Cuir de Lancôme October 20, 2015 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Elisa: You can find bottles online, but if you don’t want to order unsniffed, you can order a sample from some place like Surrender to Chance. October 20, 2015 at 6:14pm Reply

  • Jennifer: I’m glad you mentioned Bottega Veneta Elisa, I just bought a full sized bottle of it yesterday and can’t wait for it to arrive from Overstock. They sell it for a great price, along with Daim Blond. Btw they have Midnight in Paris for a ridiculously low price. October 20, 2015 at 9:14pm Reply

    • Elisa: I have some BV coming to me in a swap but I bet I will end up with a full bottle eventually! October 21, 2015 at 10:14am Reply

  • Cath: Another leather afficionado here. I realize most of my collection has a leather note. Today I’m wearing Cuir d’Ange, whispery soft leather at its best. I also love Cuir Cannage, Cuir Amethyste, Bottega Veneta, Daim Blond, Cuir Ottoman, Cuir Mauresque, Boxeuses, Midnight in Paris … The list goes on and on and on. And when I’m in the mood for an edgier leather I go with TF Tuscan Leather or even Leather Oud. I can’t get enough of leather. October 21, 2015 at 12:33am Reply

    • Elisa: Leather fans unite! October 21, 2015 at 10:16am Reply

  • Lisa: I love this fragrances!
    So very cute and the arome is lovely. October 21, 2015 at 10:53am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: I own three Neela Vermiere perfumes and would love to own all of them. I can only afford one more at this time. It’s between Pichola and Bombay Bling. Any thoughts? October 21, 2015 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Elisa: I much preferred Bombay Bling to Pichola personally! I think you can find better white florals in other lines (for less cost). October 21, 2015 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Melissa Pham: Thank you for sharing. I’d like to try it. Hope to hear more from you. October 23, 2015 at 2:55am Reply

  • Angela: Forgot about the leather in Vol de Nuit (vintage EdC in the disc bottle is still reasonably priced on eBay or current extrait)

    Miss Dior vintage EdC
    Jolie Madame (Balmain square bottle) October 23, 2015 at 12:52pm Reply

  • ClareObscure: This is my 1st contribution to this (or any blog). Thanks for all your comments. Thanks, Elisa, for your pro input; I especially liked your info about ‘chemical composition’ in fragrances. As a mature lady, I’m often puzzled by the way perfumes react on people’s skin; seeming to differ wildly at diff ages,etc. Of course, perceptions of scents vary so much. 2 relevant topics in this issue were the odour of the college house mother; 2ndly, contributors talking about eventually understanding the nuances of Guerlain’s Shalimar. Thanks too, to the people who mentioned ‘sillage’. I recently learned this term from a lovely French lady who told me it means the fragrance aura emanating from a wearer of perfume. What a lovely word! October 25, 2015 at 7:53pm Reply

    • Elisa: Yes, sillage is a lovely word! Etymologically it derives from “wake,” like a ship’s wake — I love that connection! October 26, 2015 at 12:19pm Reply

  • ClareObscure: I too have so enjoyed this Leather extravaganza. I will look for some of the fragrances mentioned, try them and see how they smell on me. A few I have tried, enoyed and coveted are SL’s Daim Blonde, Aramis and Azzuree, Kelly Caleche by Hermes and a few other Serge Lutens perfumes. I really like leather, tobacco and woody amber notes in Daim Blonde. Definitely need some softness/feminine notes. Finally smelled SL Feminite Du Bois. Loved reading about it but had to give a big sample away to a grateful recipient.
    Although I’m already abbreviating, please spare a thought for us ‘new kids’ when you are giving initials out rather than the name of the perfume or a company name. Feel free to tell me this is a rooky technophobes issue, easily solved with a word in Google’s ear. Thanks for letting me know there are loads of fellow ‘Perfume Heads’ out there in cyber space. I’m not alone! Yay! October 25, 2015 at 8:16pm Reply

  • kayliz: Postscript:
    Ex-Leather Wimp here, soon to be proud owner of Cuir Mauresque. Love at first sniff. This may sound absurd, but it feels to me like an aged (vintage) l’Heure Bleue — as in the way a person ages, acquiring depth and scars, and perhaps raspiness and most certainly outward-looking confidence radiating from within, and and and… So much for my “no new bottles” embargo:) October 28, 2015 at 7:12am Reply

    • Elisa: Congrats on your new bottle! Cuir Mauresque definitely has an aged oriental feel. October 28, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

      • kayliz: Thank you:) October 29, 2015 at 8:13pm Reply

  • des esseintes: I adore Knize Ten! Leather doesn’t get better than that. L’Artisan Dzing has similarities with Bulgari Black, but doesn’t turn as sweet on me so I much prefer it. Then there’s Lanvin Scandale which obviously I don’t have much of as it was discontinued in 1971. Flawed top notes and all it’s a true beauty none the less.

    My favourite leather perfume material is the base Suederal. Both smooth and rough and pure leather. Also Safraleine with its saffron accents is amazing. November 2, 2015 at 3:23am Reply

    • Elisa: I do enjoy a saffron note with leather. Have you tried Fifi Chachnil? Great saffron/leather with rose and tobacco. November 2, 2015 at 8:52am Reply

  • Natalya: Nobody has mentioned it, but I am completely obsessed with Leather Krem by Soivholle. Not expensive and very addictive, at least to me November 18, 2015 at 1:46pm Reply

    • Elisa: Oh, I think Liz Zorn does great leathers. Meerschaum is another awesome one. November 18, 2015 at 1:57pm Reply

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