My oldest daughter sniffed my sample of Russisch Leder and said, “it smells like some nasty thing the dog would roll in.” She´s always looking for a more poetic way to say my perfume is disgusting. But it never stops her from smelling something; in fact, there´s a certain Fear-Factor thrill to sniffing mom´s perfume which she clearly enjoys. (Number Two daughter, on the other hand, has never forgiven me for CB Musk.) This post is partly inspired by a recent blogversation in which the idea was raised that one can own too much leather fragrance. I, March the Maleficent, am puzzled by this concept and cannot make sense of it, although it appears to be written in English. That is like saying “too much wine.” Or too much air. You can have enough of something (for instance, rose fragrances – I have five or six and I´m done, thank you). But there is never too much leather, and here are a few that, while not new, are new to me. An aside: all of these were gift decants that appeared on my doorstep. Where would perfume addiction (and blogging) be without the sharing of samples, particularly the rare, the unusual, the vintage and the otherwise-impossible-to-get? I am amazed at the generosity of some of my fellow perfume fans (you know who you are!). Anyway, on to the post…
Farina Gegenuber Russisch Leder does, in fact, smell like something my dog would roll in, and if I could get my hands on a bottle (hope springs eternal on eBay) I´d roll in it too. Notes are bergamot, lavender, lemon, petitgrain, basil, fern, vetiver, cedarwood, patchouli, carnation, aldehyes, leather, moss, musk, civet, castoreum, vanilla, labdanum. Okay, take in those last few ingredients in that vintage formulation – because Russisch Leder is a filthy, rank juice, and if you ever see it on eBay, don´t buy it, because it will give you nightmares and make your nether parts shrivel. (While you are not bidding on Russisch Leder, you can amuse yourself by typing “leder” into the search engines of eBay – the mind boggles, really.) I’m in awe of the amazing morph from the “classic cologne” petitgrain-bergamot-etc. opening of the topnotes into Skankapalooza, with strong notes of leather and musk before the civet rears its dirty little fanny.
Le Labo Patchouli – It bears a resemblance to the newer version of Kolnisch Juchten – smoke, some leather, not much development, no discernable patch. That´s the whole story, and sometimes short stories are the best stories. A winner for your smoke and leather fans. You might not need both LL Patchouli and the new KJ, but you definitely need one of them. By the way, here´s Judith´s Special Sauce: Le Labo Patch layered with Lonestar Memories and CB Musk. Caution: I cannot be held responsible for neighborhood dogs following you down the street, howling.
Santa Maria Novella Nostalgia – my own answer to Bvlgari Black, which I admire as a concept, but I cannot get past the sex-shop rubber in the opening. Nostalgia is a wonderful amalgam of leather and car-repair-shop that dries down into a moderately civilized “men” scent. One of the weirder things I have smelled that turns out to be quite wearable, and a significant departure for the genteel SMN line, along with Kyoto.
Santa Maria Novella Peau d´Espagne – is this really from 1901? What were those people up to? Why did it take me until 2006 to discover it? Unlike some commenters on Basenotes, I get no “Tabasco” note – it´s pure, unadulterated leather to me. It´s refined and genteel, but not quite so expensive smelling as…
L´Artisan Bottega Veneta Intreccio room spray – I have a sample of #1, not #2 (both are available on lusciouscargo.com). It is a room spray but don’t worry, your arm won´t fall off. I am assuming the name refers to the distinctive intrecciato (woven) style of the Bottega handbags. I believe the scent (this is a candle too) was created by Olivia Giacobetti, and it is supposed to smell like an old farmhouse, with a library, old wood and new-mown hay. To me it smells more like burying your head inside a brand-new luxe leather purse, an opinion I´m going to confirm with my next trip to Saks (do you think sniffing the handbags will prompt a call to security?) The most luxury-leather fragrance I can think of.
What are your favorite leather scents, and why?
PS– if you care, my list of tolerable roses: SL Rose de Nuit, 100% Love, Malle Une Rose, Rosine Ecume and Homme, OJ Ta´if, the loathed TDC Rose Poivree, Paestum Rose, and Creed Fleur de The Rose Bulgare. (Wow, nine!) In general, nothing brings on a migraine quite like a prominent rose note.