Cuir Velours opens with a super sweet immortelle note – not a hint of curry or space, all maple syrup and burnt sugar galore. A jasmine (I assume) throws off a bubblegum-like smell and a hint of orange blossom (I assume) gives it a kind of grape-soda vibe. If this is a leather, it reminds me of a mix between the drydown of Tubereuse 3 Animale and the opening of Cuir Venenum – however, it’s smooth, light and well-rounded.
A slightly boozy note up top reminds me of a good bourbon, it has a liquer-like consistency with just a touch of smokiness coming through from underneath. The leather is smoky but suede-like, the overall feel gives off a kind of Cuir Ottoman vibe only less aggressive. Some incense comes in pretty quickly continuing the smokiness, but it’s not at all “bonfire-y”, it’s much tamer than that – almost buttery all together.
There’s a mystery fruity quality to Cuir Velours that I can’t quite put my finger on, it’s soft like a peach note but sweeter like a strawberry. I dont’ want to keep mentioning the sweetness but for a leather, it definitely is. The fruits dry out giving way to a tobacco-like stickiness, a plum/raisin-like deep shade of fruit with a Lutens quality to it. This isn’t really my kind of thing but it smells easily wearable and all-round “nice”.
As it dries down the leather becomes more prominent with a slightly resinous/ambery undertone. A touch of vanilla – the golden immortelle still prominent, the suede is super soft and covers the skin in a sheer layer. The violet-coloured fruit notes just flickering in and out until the very end (tobacco). A little too well-behaved for me, but a great introduction to both leather notes and immortelle, done very well.
A harsh peppery opening starts Bois D’Ascese. A bone dry incense gives way to a beautiful smoke reminding me of the “dark side” of Vierges et Toreros by Etat Libre D’Orange (the bright side being a tacky white floral and plastic accord – awesome!). This smoky leathery scent is much more intense from the start, getting “fuller” and more powerful as it goes on but again, well-rounded and behaved, there’s nothing overly sharp jolting out. The pepper thankfully begins to become overwhelmed (not a huge fan of a pepper opening) and the bone dry, charcoal black leather and burnt wood becomes lead.
The fragrance stays pretty linear from here on, the smell of burning wood sticking to the skin like the residue on clothes after a bonfire only without the irritating screech. It manages to be smooth and reeking of a luxury fragrance whilst still having a challenging nature. This is what I expected from Mona Di Orio’s Cuir – and smells how many describe Cuir to smell like… well, smell this instead.
Ok, so admittedly, I prefer the Etat Libre D’Orange because I love the sweet plastic and floral accord soaked underneath this bitter smoke and wood (I mentioned this one twice now… yes they have similarities). But, for a straightforward interpretation of this kind of “accord” – you can’t get much better than this one. It doesn’t have the sweetness of Lonestar Memories (what seems to be a let down for most people who don’t enjoy the Tauer), it doesn’t have the flat animalic castoreum overload of Cuir (my problem), it doesn’t have the rancid pitch and cloying quality of Patchouli 24, and is much more upfront and enjoyable than Black Tourmaline… basically, this is nice stuff!
All in all, in a niche world heavily populated with very smoky fragrances (oh yes I forgot about you too CB I Hate Perfume)… this stands out as one of the best. It may not be for me (what’s going on with me these days?) – but I’d recommend it highly :)
Cuir Velours 50ml EDP Naomi Goodsir – $150 Luckyscent
Bois D’Ascese 50ml EDP Naomi Goodsir – $150 Luckyscent