Many people think of deep autumn as the perfect time to break out the leather boots and leather jackets. Us? We revel in the smooth elegance of leather perfumes.
Ah, the scent of leather. It brings so much to mind: the feel of soft suede, the elegance of a new luxury car interior, the romance of a dusty saddle, the exquisiteness of an old leather-bound book. The scent of leather seems to trigger a primitive attraction in humans, perhaps dating from the time when leather was a necessity that kept us alive and warm. Now that it's no longer a necessity, its scent has come to signify luxury in a way that few other scents do.
Leather perfumes can be feminine or masculine or both (or neither in particular). They can be dark, brooding, bitter, sweet, gourmand, pretty, rugged, heavy, or gentle. Some scents zero in on leather; others use it as a springboard for a composition focused on something else entirely. This month's Olfactif collection shows the delightful range of leather as a perfumery note, with three gloriously rich scents that have captivated perfumistas everywhere.
Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal. Just try to stop smelling your wrist after you've sprayed Cuirelle. It's as smooth and seductive as the softest suede gloves, and it positively glows in the bright tones of warm honey and cinnamon. Spicy incense and smoky woods balance the sweet rich notes of the opening, creating a composition with cat-like flexibility: perfectly at home on a man or woman, day or night, and addictive in the very best possible way. For us, Cuirelle is one of those scents that is so wonderfully blended that looking for individual notes feels unnecessary -- or perhaps like doing so would be missing the point. It's a leather abstraction with a "wow" factor, and it's simply gorgeous.
Dzing! by L'Artisan Parfumeur. Ask any long-time perfumista for a list of favorite leather scents, and there's a high likelihood that Dzing! will occupy a top spot. The story behind Dzing! is part of its allure: Perfumer Olivia Giacobetti created an olfactory interpretation of the circus. (Note the scantly -- and delightfully -- clad circus performer straddling a tiger on the front of the bottle.) So much of the circus is here: the leather from the horses' saddles, sawdust from the beams that hold up the Big Top, the sweet caramel apples for sale. It's a perfectly successful execution: a fun, humorous, comforting, and ever-so-slightly weird spectacle -- just like a night at the circus.
Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Créations. Neela Vermeire caused a stir in the perfume world when she released her first three India-inspired, Paris-created fragrances, and now her fourth scent is proving that her capacity for artistry and imagination is near boundless. Ashoka is inspired by the life of the Indian emperor of the same name, a leader who ruled by the sword but ultimately renounced his own violent ways. Just as he turned to compassion and benevolence, so does the scent journey from fierce to soft, but never losing its quiet strength. Get ready for a good amount of fig and leather -- and if you don't have a lot of experience with those notes, prepare to be delighted with this new release.
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