Cuir – Mona Di Orio

Cuir opens with a gorgeous bitter absinthe/wormwood smell, a hit of pepper – quickly followed by a rough, smoky leather – so smoky it almost becomes “ashtray”-like, only much more perfume-y than that. The leather is castoreum-heavy, maybe too much so. By that, it’s not particularly animalic, and I definitely don’t find Cuir challenging, it just comes across as a very simplistic and straightforward leather note.

Another hint towards the castoreum is that it pushes forward a peanut note on my skin… I know, that sounds wierd – but Cuir begins to smell as it dries down (which is very quickly as the top notes vanish before you even catch them) – almost like a peanut satay. It’s not spicy or curried, just a subtle peanut butter and smoky leather smell. Now, I’d be completely psyched if I read a fragrance smell like peanut butter and leather, but as it is, it’s extremely subtle and very straightforward – there’s not much else going on here.

Ok, so if I wanted to describe the leather that dominates this fragrance a little further, I’d say it reminds me of numerous things: peat for starts. It’s very similar to the peaty/smoky vetiver of Fumidus by Profumum – only much softer and quieter. I also get an ashy, charcoal smell – like a burnt out fireplace, but yet again – so tame and well-behaved on the skin that it smells more like the residue of smoke on your skin after a bonfire the night before. Specific I know – I’m just trying to expand on this!

The peanut and ash are what makes up Cuir until it finishes (with a hint of vetiver and a resinous note in the drydown) – practically whispering the whole way through its life. It pretty much smells like castoreum diluted in alcohol, with a drop or two of isobutyl quinoline… I don’t find Cuir complex, rich, or particularly interesting – but it’s a minimalistic, straight up leather that does smell good and that’s about all.
Thankfully, the smokiness is strong enough to cover Mona’s base which completely turns my stomach – particularly in her Vanille.

You can tell I’m not a Mona fan boy ey? I’m not – but this is my favourite fragrance of hers in the Les Nombres D’Or line-up. In honesty, I don’t find her fragrances particularly complex, original, or even interesting – the bottles are pretty, and I’m sure they’re nice enough quality – all light on the skin and completely harmless (at least to most people). It’s frustrating becuase, I really really want to like this brand, and I’ve been sniffing these desperately on the hunt to find a Mona I love. Cuir has always been the one that has attracted me the most and I have tried it on numerous occasions and have gone through more than 2 samples of this… I guess it’s not meant to be.
Cuir is the perfect leather scent for those who want a smoky/leather in their collection that is refined, and rounded into something smooth, neat, elegant? without the punch it needs to put it into “daring/challenging” territory. Stick with Lonestar Memories or even Fumidus.

Cuir Les Nombres D’Or 100ml EDP Mona Di Orio – £135 Lessenteurs

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20 thoughts on “Cuir – Mona Di Orio

  1. lucasai says:

    Nice review Freddie. I’m not much into Mona di Orio fragrances. Those that I tried didn’t work for me. Ambre was too cloying, Vanille was too sweet, only Musc was quite nice but definitely not FBW.

    • Ahh we agree! :D That’s cool lucasai. Yeh same here – I can’t say I found any of them “too much” – I especially didn’t find Vanille particularly sweet, it just smelt really “off” to me, it completely turned my stomach. She has this bizarre signature that as you said, is a bit cloying – without being rich? Don’t know how to describe it. Cuir is undoubtably my favourite, but not FBW for sure. Thanks for reading!

      • lucasai says:

        Lovely. I like when our minds think alike from time to time. Yup, there’s something in them that makes them cloying while they’re rather light. There’s something hidden richness in them. As you said, hard to describe.
        I think you’ll like my monday review, since a lemming for the scent was your doing.

      • Oooooh! :P I’ll be sure to keep my eyes peeled on your blog then. Sounds exciting.

      • lucasai says:

        I think you’ve just came up with an idea what perfume will be reviewed, am I right?

  2. Joaquim says:

    Thank you for your thougts Freddie!
    This is one of the few times that I don’t agree, for me the whole line of Mona di Orio is very interesting, even Musc and Ambre, that are not my cup of tea, in fact…Cuir was my first full bottle of the niche world (then SL’s De Profundis, Tauer’s Carillon Pour un Ange, and if the guys of CBIHP are polite enough to respond my e-mail, 2nd Cumming or Wild Hunt!).
    It can be a bit cloying, I find the smoke a bit overwhelming sometimes, but this is a hardcore scent, imho, I don’t find so much elegance, on me is a powerhouse, full of leather, castoreum and force, the drydown is softer and the smoke in this part is lovely.
    Curiously, for me if a word describes Cuir, Vanille and Oud, this is “rich”, but when I readed that you catch an “egg smell” in Vanille, this become the leader of the scent, and for now I can’t stand Vanille!

    • Hi Joaquim! I know, to be honest, I think I’m the odd one out not on board the Mona fan club. I wish I got what you got out of it – but for me there are just, such greater leather scents out there. But of course, it’s all personal and that’s whats interesting about perfume.
      As I said, I like the smell of it – but that’s all :(
      As a first bottle of niche, that’s a very impressive and interesting choice though I will say! Infact, the three you’ve listed are all incredibly unusual choices – you have an amazing nose.
      I don’t find it challenging or overhwelming or intesne on me :( It’s a very soft fragrance, even when lavishly sprayed, and I find the smoke very muted compared to say, Lonestar Memories, Fumidus, Patchouli 24, Tea – numerous smoke bombs.
      Are you saying you get the egg smell as well? Haha, I hope I didn’t put you off, but I’m thrilled that you also detect it. It’s there in full force on me from the first sniff, really stomach churning.
      Thanks for your thorough response Joaquim, enjoy Cuir, I’m sure it has a gorgeous sillage if it’s a powerhouse on you :)

  3. laniersmith says:

    The bottle is beautiful but it doesn’t sound like my kind of leather. I am an old fashioned guy stuck on Knize Ten that just socks me in the chin every time.

    • I’m very so-so with Knize Ten, I do like it – but there are so many wonderful leathers out there. But yep, Knize is a great classic, barbershop leather. I wish I liked this though becuase you’re right, the bottle is beauuuuutiful.

  4. Melis says:

    Hmmmm, I was thinking of getting the MdO discovery set as I have only sampled a couple of the now discontinued signature scents. I think I will maybe hold off for a bit as chances are that I won’t find them challenging enough. My favourite leathers are Lonestar Memories and Cuir Ottoman. I think the best description I can come up with is that I prefer fragrances that are “strangely beautiful”. They have to smell stunning, yet twisted at the same time. Otherwise, I find them boring.

    • Melis each time you write something I think of you more and more as my nose twin! What you described at the end is JUST how I feel about fragrances.
      Mona is nothing like that – Cuir is undoubtably the most challenging, but to a fan of Lonestar and the like, it’s not challenging at all.
      They are very carefully, and calmy composed fragrances, so that there is nothing harmful, scary, or twisted in there at all.
      Melis send me an email! I’m gonna send you some stuff :P

      • Melis says:

        Lol, that is the reason I hang out here!! Similar tastes and thoughts on perfume.

        You are so sweet and unbelievably generous. An email is on the way shortly :)

  5. Ana says:

    Yes I agree Cuir is not essential to the leather game.I’m really happy with my Dzing! and Montale Oud Cuir d’Arabie. Also,Absolue pour le soir has this naughty animalic leather feeling without really being a leather.

    • Dzing! and OCdA are brilliant choices Ana :D
      Absolue pour le soir I need to look into more, the first few times I was really turned off by it but I think I’d find it much more acceptable now – I do feel like I have all the honey fragrances I need in my life right now though :’) We’ll see.
      Thanks for reading! x

      • Ana says:

        I don’t get a honey feeling from Absolue. But I will test again. Heck I’ll drench myself in the stuff as I have a full bottle of this beauty.Hmm I really thought this fragrance will be right up your alley. Do test again if you can and let us know what you think.

      • Really?! Absolue is like, almost all honey to me, and cumin.
        I will be sure to test it again – but the intensity of the honey is hardwork, even though I love Miel De Bois – I actually like Absolue pour le soir on paper more than on skin – I think it’s just the notes it’s paired with. I dunno :) But yes, it’s on my sniff list again!

  6. Sara says:

    Can I swap skin chemistry with you please? On me Cuir is like being punched on the nose with a giant Gaulois cigarette.
    At least I have my beloved Bandit (which I don’t find particularly challenging, in case you are starting to think I am wussy). I like the snuggly leather in Chergui before it gets buried under an avalanche of sweeeet powder.
    Haven’t tried Cuir Ottoman yet, but will as soon as Parfums D’Empire make their sample sets available again – if they do – apparently they are bringing out a new line at the end of the year, so no samples till then. Anyone who is considering a bottle/s might want to make enquiries – I don’t know if any of the following line is going to be discontinued…
    Haven’t tried Lonestar Memories either yet, I’ve just ordered a bunch of samples from Andy Tauer but it didn’t make the final cut, too many enticing possibilities (my first experience with Tauer – excited!)

    • I wish it was that interesting on me! Haha. No cigarettes here.
      Definitely try Cuir Ottoman, I still think it’s the best soft leather there is!
      OOOH how I’d love to try Andy’s from the beginning like it was the first time :P Which samples did you order? You’ll be blown away by them honestly.

      • Sara says:

        I got the Discovery Box (I’m going to be in Germany for a couple of days, so being the fumehead I am, thought ‘I can get a Discovery Box sent!’) – with Une Rose Chyprée, Incense Rose, Incense Extreme, Une Rose Vermeille, and Phi Une Rose de Kandahar. I was going to get L’Air du Desert Marocain but then saw the announcement of Phi and was so curious about the combination of notes. I emailed about when Phi was available and got an email from Andy saying it would be shipped out a few days after I leave Germany but in the circumstances he will make a sample up early for me – what a sweet man :)

      • Wonderful! Please let me know what you think of them. Those three roses are all wonderful!

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