Cuir D’Iris has a brilliant leather opening. It smells like the leather used in Oud Cuir D’Arabie – that photorealistic, rough leather with that barnyard, medicinal, almost oud-y edge to it. The iris merely is a texture to begin with – a powder that adds a dusty, “old-book” style accord to the leather, turning it paper-y. Once the scent of dusty libraries and worn, handled leather becomes more prominent and familiar, it sticks with Cuir D’Iris to the end, and smells like what In The Library should have been.
The iris’ rooty and earthy feel gets more obvious as time goes on and the leather begins to settle a touch, the scattering of talc cleaning up the rough opening but still smelling like it is trying to disguise the soiling underneath. Cuir D’Iris gets warmer as an amber/vetiver combo joins in – the vetiver intensifies the orris root and the amber smooths out the leather so that the balance becomes a little more steady between the two leading notes.
The relatively linear development only gets sweeter and creamier as time goes on – the amber turns more vanilla-heavy, reminding me of the vanilla/leather of Cuir Ottoman, only this leather stays true to the tanned-hide stench where the Parfum D’Empire rounds out into a suede. The talc powder note gets stronger and stronger as the iris takes over (and is later joined but a subtle smoke of slightly metallic incense); the fragrance seems to be an ongoing battle between which note can be stronger – but it’s seamless and not at all uncomfortable.
The sweet powder under the still animalic leather lasts on the skin in a lightly fragrant layer that remains full of interest until the end – and whilst I prefer Cuir Ottoman’s more opulent leather/incense/iris/amber/vanilla combo, and also Parfumerie Generale’s other standout leather Cuir Venenum, Cuir D’Iris still has a solid place amongst leather fragrances and is another fragrance from the PG house that I could happily wear.
Cuir D’Iris 50ml EDP Parfumerie Generale – £81.50 Les Senteurs