Cuir Cuba Intense by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur

Hey Posse, Way back in 2015 Cuir Cuba Intense was already on my To Buy List. Interestingly, at that time we were just doing up the apartment we now live in and I was on a bit of a No Buy. Now we are renovating a new investment and I’m trying to keep the perfume shopping to a minimum again. Fortunately, over the last couple of months since starting back at work I’ve gone Spaz-LaLa on the perfume buying. So there’s still heaps to talk about that’s new in the collection. Also, there might have been a RIDICULOUS Surrender To Chance order recently. SO MUCH new stuff I’ve yet to try.

We have a couple of excellent importer/retailers in Australia now. One of them, LKNU carries quite a lot of the Nicolai range. I was down in Melbourne a few months ago and resniffed Cuir Cuba Intense. Yep, bought it.

Cuir Cuba Intense by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur 2014

Cuir Cuba Intense by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Licorice, Star Anise, Mint, Sicilian Lemon
Heart: Cumin, Lavender, Coriander, Magnolia, Geranium, Ylang-Ylang
Base: Tobacco, Hay, Civet, Patchouli, Cedar, Liatris

It is such a shape shifter, depending on the day I wear it. Today as I’m writing for you in the cool of an autumn morning the minty liquorice opening was subsumed by a deep tobacco woodiness. Like we went straight to the base. It was quite different to previous wears. Once the initial burst died off then I started to smell some floral and herbal nuance. The whole ride seemed much more earthy and heavy.

Usually that liquorice with a hint of cool mint takes the lead. Maybe because I’m writing about the fragrance I’m more focussed on what’s happening? I don’t know.

So the ride is lovely and through the heart there’s a lovely nod to many of the drug store masculines of yesteryear. It’s the lavender sitting pretty with the herbaceousness. Strangely, for a leather fragrance, it does have leathery aspects that’s not how it wears for me. Not as the main, stand out, punch you in the face note anyway. It’s also not in the way Bandit or Cabochard give me leather, not even how Bottega Veneta EdP does. I love how Patricia de Nicolai has woven leather in so seamlessly, it’s not harsh nor is it suede like. This is a different interpretation of the genre. Also a good bet for people who are usually leather averse.

Dry down is a patch/wood/tobacco melange that quietly pumps away for hours, hinting at leather. Totally unisex but leaning towards traditional modern masculines.

Cuir Cuba Intense by Nicolai Parfumeur Createur

I’ve not been to Cuba and I’m not sure how the leather there smells but if Cuir Cuba Intense is anything to go buy, I’m going to love it.

Have you tried or does Cuir Cuba Intense sound good to you?
Portia xx


  • I read your whole blog. And like you, I have a perfume blog.

  • Neva says:

    I have Cuir Cuba Intense since it came out. To me it’s liquorice and humid tobacco, no leather. It is not an easy perfume and I haven’t worn it a few years. A spritz at the wrong moment/temperature and I felt sick. Last fall I gave it a chance again and it worked, pffff…was I happy! Fact is, this perfume is unique and classy in a certain way.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Neva,
      INTERESTING! We all have such different reactions to scent.
      Yours sounds visceral. I hope you get to really love it more often than not.
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    ‘hinty’ leather scents both beguile and annoy me. I love the punch of a leather-forward scent but confess to quickly getting bored with them (yes, even Chanel Cuir de Russie which, in parfum, is sublime) – but the hinties… I spend way too much time hunting for the leather, which insists on playing hide & seek.

    And ain’t nobody got time for that. Unless you’re reviewing a perfume. Then I got time for that!

    This sounds amazing, though. PN is a fave but her work is more intellectually a favorite – I find her scents difficult to wear ON ME (on others, they make perfect sense)


    • Portia says:

      Have you ever tried her candles or room sprays Musette? They might be what you’re looking for. It’s far less invasive.
      Portia xx

  • AnnieA says:

    Bought a small bottle before deciding it wasn’t for me. Too dude, probably. Fortunately was able to pass it along to a woman who did not feel that way. PdN is a nice outfit.

    • Portia says:

      AnnieA, I can see that happening. Also, I can see it happening after a few wears because every ride plays quite different for me.
      Portia xx

  • Filomena says:

    Yes, I have had a 30 ml bottle of that one for years and love it!

  • MMKinPA says:

    I sniffed the entire range in store in Paris, 2018. I recall thinking Cuir Cuba Intense would be a good choice for the husband/son. I love that Nicolaï offers 30ml bottles; just the right size for me and great price point. Everything is just so well done, one of my favorite houses.

    • Portia says:

      How I wish we’d been there at the same time in 2018 MMKinPA. I’ve never sniffed the whole PdN store. Michael & I did hit it after doing ELdO back in 2014 but our noses were well blown by then and we couldn’t really make out much of anything.
      Yes, 30ml at a reasonable price point makes buying them so easy.
      Portia xx

  • cinnamon says:

    Licorice, mint, lavender, coriander … uh, I don’t know. Maybe to eat as ice cream.

  • Alityke says:

    So not that osmanthus suede leatheriness nor the birch tar urinous take on it? Colour me intrigued

    • Portia says:

      Oh Alityke, if you like leather and want a very different look at the note then this might float your boat.
      Portia xx

  • Tom says:

    Spaz lala? I like that and am immediately co-opting it.

    Licorice I’m not too sure about..

    • Portia says:

      HA Tom! You’re welcome to Spaz La La. People will think you’re an Aussie though.

      I reckon licorice and you should be BESTIES!
      Portia xx