Cuir D’Iris – Parfumerie Generale

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

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24 thoughts on “Cuir D’Iris – Parfumerie Generale

  1. lucasai says:

    I’ve been really curious to try Cuir d’Iris, but no luck so far. Don’t know why PG distributor in Poland doesn’t have it in its offer.

  2. Iris and leather, I know that you’re a happy man!

    • Haha! Yus indeed – unfortunately there isn’t quite enough else going on here to make me swoon, it is what it is – a simplistic and easy to wear composition in a theme I love – but I do crave a little bit something special in there!

  3. I love me some PG. And I really love that they have 30ml bottles available of almost everything on their website. Great review! Just in time for the holidays :-)

    • I know I only discovered about the 30mls recently!! I hope they sell them in the store in Paris, I’m gonna pick me up a few of them! :D

      • You should! They’re gourmand-y ones are just too delicious to not!

      • I know! I’m one of the few who seem head over heels for Musc Maori (adoring my bottle of that) and feel like I need to grab my hands on Tonkamande and Aomassai!

      • I love Musc Maori. There are people who don’t?! It’s like wearing Almond Joy or a Bounty Bar but better. It makes me want to eat my arm.

        Dhjenné is the one rocking my world right now. I spent some time in West Africa when I was in university, and the smell reminds me of it AP’s Timbuktu does too, but Dhjenné is much more wearable.

  4. laniersmith says:

    When I am not under the spell of some overblown oriental …. I love a good leather. On occasion I have been known to layer Mitzah over Leather Oud… well just once really. It almost knocked me over. But what a way to go. Wonderful post!

    • That combo sounds FAB! I’m getting more and more drawn to LO the more I try it. Thanks dude :) Needed to write about something easy and enjoyable as I get back into the swing of things.

  5. Undina says:

    Cuir d’Iris sounds really good in your description. Too bad nobody carries this brand around here: so far I haven’t had a huge success with their perfumes so I won’t invest more money into testing them. But when I get a chance I’ll try this one for sure.

    • It is good – but not good that no one carries the brand near you :( I have a pretty big success with them, really really enjoy this guys work. Be sure to get your nose on it when you can along with numerous other standouts in the house :) Thanks for reading Undina.

  6. scentbound says:

    I tried this about a year ago and I found the raw leather/iris combination very interesting. To me, it was a very much skin scent. It took some time getting used to but once it grows on you, it could easily become a signature fragrance. Thank you for the great review.

    • You’re right it definitely becomes a skin scent too – I think whenever I use the word “papery” that’s kind of what I mean :P I think it’d make a great signature fragrance, simple, light, recognizable and enjoyable. I used to think Cuir Ottoman would be my signature but it’s far too rich for regular wear – CDG EDP 2011 hits the signature spot for me, but I’ve over done it with regular wear and am taking a little break from it over the winter. What’s your “signature”?

      • scentbound says:

        I agree, for a scent to become a signature scent it must be versatile and appropriate for regular wear. I think it also has to be interesting so that it doesn’t get boring quickly after wearing it for some time.

        Lately I’ve been wearing Santal Massoia by Hermes. I haven’t designated it as a signature fragrance but it may as well be. I don’t see myself wearing it in the summer because it may get a little too sweet. I do like it very much for fall/winter though.

        Before I used to wear Terre D’Hermes a lot. I used to buy bottles and bottles of it but then, as it usually happens, I got tired of it and I haven’t touched it for over a year.

        Never tried CDG EDP 2011. What is it like?

      • Ahhh our taste differs greatly there :P I’m not at all a JCE fan – his work I just don’t understand. But I envy those who do becuase the Hermessence line is a dream if you get along with his perfumes – for me though, they’re like my anti-perfumes :P
        Yeh it’s easy to overwear a fragrance and tire of it.
        Comme Des Garcons EDP 2011 is a hyper clean avant-garde fragrance that starts with an aldehydic saffron, the florals (lilac mainly) are powdery, soapy and almost smell like laundry powder, and are heavily undercut with a super synthetic industrial glue smell – I love it, one of those fragrances I can wear whenever :)

      • scentbound says:

        JCE’s recent work is very subtle and linear. Speaking of Hermessence I really like only 2 or 3 fragrances from the line: Tonka Vetiver, Santal Massoia and Poivre Samarcande. Everything else is good but not worth a bottle. I used to wear CDG’s Man 2 and Wonderwood. Man 2 was a great candle smoke scent, I loved it on a cold rainy day. Wonderwood was also very interesting and I used to get a lot of compliments from it. What do you think of the Agarwood trend that has been going on for the past couple of years? It seems like everyone is doing something with agarwood – even conservative houses like Creed have an oud scent.

      • Exactly – subtle and linear isn’t my thing. And I also struggle with how highly synthetic it all is. I like my dose of hyper-synthetic fragrances, but mainly when it’s a piss take, like the CDG’s for example. The mainstream CDG releases haven’t really been my thing – I can appreciate CDG Man 2 though, it just didn’t work on my skin.
        I think it’s expected that Creed had one – the wierder things are like… Coach has an oud out now? And Madonna’s new fragrance has an oud accord – now THAT is going mainstream. To be honest – I’ve hardly paid attention to it (as you can see from my blog really) – I think people just went crazy over it as the synthetics went mass market and easily accessible and they smell good. There’s just as many roses as their are ouds, so I don’t see a problem with there being plenty of choice – it’s just people are doing little to be creative with the note. I struggle more to understand everyone pairing it with rose or amber or incense. Ok so one of my favourite oud’s is Oud Luban and yes that’s oud/frankincense… but creative works like Sepia (oud/strawberry/indole/labdanum…), and Shiso (oud/clove/green pepper/cinnamon…), Petroleum (oud, aldehydes, civet, marine notes…)… now THAT’s creative oud perfumery which I love :)

  7. scentbound says:

    JCE is big on synthetics – particularly Iso E Super. Some of his stuff is loaded with it. I don’t mind it but it’s not my favourite either. I see it almost as cheating – you put it in to finish off your fragrance if you can’t think of how else.

    I just put up a post on some ouds. I can’t say I particularly like any one of them…maybe except Oud Wood and by Kilian’s Arabian Nights. I didn’t know Coach has an oud scent too. Not surprised. This oud craze must be driven by some high quality synthetic they’ve discovered.

    I agree with you about oud and the lack of creativity in most mass marketed ouds. The incense and rose are traditional matches for oud in Middle Eastern perfumery. If you are familiar with some of the Arabic perfume houses and their releases, you’ll notice that there is almost always either oud and rose, oud and incense, oud and frankincense (as you mentioned in Oud Luban). Jo Malone has Oud & Bergamot, which is not bad.

    I’m curious to try Shiso – the notes sound very interesting. For the past year I’m really curious about fragrances with raspberry – Blood Concept – O, Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather, D&G pour Femme (kind of boring but like picking out the raspberry accord in it).

    • Yeh I’m not really an Iso E fan – it smells sweaty D:
      I don’t think it even needs to be high quality synthetic – that’s the stuff Kilian and the like I’m sure are using, there are cheaper alternatives out there.
      Well rose/oud is like rose/patchouli – yes it works, but you only need a few good choices on the market and then move on to something else. Ah well :) There are great examples out there, Oud Ispahan is probably my favourite rose/oud combo. But then again, I’ve never worn it on skin, little interest in it but I’ll probably grab a bottle one day.
      Yeh I heard Jo Malone has a mango/oud as well, no THAT sounds good – shame I don’t like Jo Malone :(
      Yeh Shiso is amazing – not particularly oud heavy, but a stunning fragrance. Having said that – it’s not at all to my taste and I could never wear it but it’s an impressive piece of work.
      Yeh I like raspberry, Secret Garden by Aftelier has my favourite raspberry note although it’s not overtly prominent. Also I tried Impossible Iris by Ramon Mongeal recently, that was a good iris/raspberry.

      • scentbound says:

        Jo Malone is okay. I find that her fragrances start off great and the fizzle off in half an hour. Take Vetiver Cafe (I think was the name) for example: starts off great just to dissipate within an hour.

        I just found out about Ramon Mongeal a couple of days ago. How do you like the line?

      • I haven’t really explored RM in depth but I would like to – I’ve only tried the iris. It’s such a big startup line which throws me off a bit but I’m sure I’ll get around to exploring them soon. I love the bottles so much though!

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