Love at first sniff. A limb-twister.
Usually I test on the front of my hand. While this area does not have a strong pulse point to warm and therefore dissipate the ‘fume, it is easier to sniff this area compared to continually limb-twisting your inner wrist to your nose. And of course your skin heats the molecules slowly on the front of your hand so you can understand and appreciate the development in slow motion.
For some reason in the case of Cuir 28 I pulse pointed it straight to the inner wrist and then spent the next 7 hours limb-twisting. An opening like no other; the top notes are sticky, tarry and resinous with what smells like a combination of helichrysum, sarsaparilla, licorice root and a suspicion of the methylphenolic smell of distilled creosote. Le Labo are only ‘fessing up to 6 out of the 28 ingredients which are:
animal notes, leather, wood, musks, vanilla absolute, vetiver
Cuir 28 is from Le Labo’s City Exclusive range which means it is only available in Dubai. Periodically they make these scents available internationally and right now is one of those moments. This is the 3rd moment in Le Labo history and these moments seem to happen every 2 years.
In theory I like the idea of journeying and buying scents that are only available in the cities I have visited. However I do not want my holiday plans arranged by Le Labo releases. I can’t see Le Labo or anyone else releasing a Luang Prabang, Vientiane or Trat scent in the near future.
Le Labo City Exclusives, Tom Ford (London), Guerlain (Tokyo, Shanghai et al) and Bertrand Duchaufour’s Mon Numero series for L’Artisan are all exclusives only available in a certain city and in L’Artisan’s case a certain shop in a city. I have wondered what people who actually live in the city think of the scents.
Dubai people, what do you think? I imagine you would be pleased with this scent which has echoes of Tuscan Leather, Black Afgano and even Fate Man. It is not a copy of any of these but would appeal to people who appreciate strolling through that Eastern neck of the woods which is dark, brooding and assertive. In this case the woods are heightened into a manilla (man-vanilla) leather that is smooth and delicious without being anywhere near gourmand. This leather is neither tame nor wild; it is in the process of being tamed and the vetiver is smoked rather than smoking. The top notes are the heart notes and continue to the drydown making this a remarkable linear scent which neither tires or bores. Your opinion may be entirely different. I am looking foward to what Kafka will write about this one.
Michelyn Camen from CaFleureBon succinctly says:
My mate Hamish thinks:
This is definitely a nice oriental fragrance and it is substantial in the Middle Eastern fragrance tradition.
Hamish also wonders:
I didn’t immediately get the leather in Cuir 28, but this is not that unusual for Le Labo. They are known for naming their scents after a supporting player rather than the lead. I know leather in perfume is an artificial construct like amber, so it is made of a chord of notes. There is no one ingredient that smells of leather. Usually when I imagine a leather perfume, I think of birch tar and I don’t detect it in Cuir 28. Le Labo already has a wonderful birch tar and vanilla scent, and it’s called Patchouli 24. I think the texture evoked in Cuir 28 is not a newly tanned saddle or motorcycle jacket, but more the finest lambskin gloves. While I really enjoy Cuir 28, I can’t help but be a little disappointed that Le Labo didn’t release something as daring as Patchouli 24 – more like that motorcycle jacket.
Is this a leather created without birch tar? What other examples are there of leathers created without it?
Well, there is the question; Birch Tar or a synthesized Coal or Wood Tar (creosote)? Creosote itself has been a banned substance in perfumery since 2003.
Also at first sniff, besides love, I thought that the Perfumer was Karine Vinchon Spehner. I was wrong! It is Nathalie Lorson. This is the second time this year that I have immediately liked something new then later discovered her to be the one responsible for such delight. Me and Nathalie go all the way back to Encre Noir and onto Autoportrait and now Cuir 28.
Nathalie Lorson created one of my best-loved ‘fumes, the warm masculine vetiver that is Encre Noire from Lalique.
Autoportrait is Encre Noire released from the woods and flying above the clouds. The vetiver smells like the roots have been washed by a waterfall leaving a clear hint of something that is usually more vegetal.
Cuir 28 is a sticky leather vetiver which I will be rocking into the weekend and possibly to Monday morning.
If you like the birched out Lone Star Memories, the gasoline pumped Knize 10, the smokin’ elegance of Tuscan Leather , opening the treasure chest of aromatic molecules that is Fate Man, the sticky hash oil turning into smoke of Black Afgano, or the dry dry wind of Chergui then Cuir 28 would be a welcome addition to your wardrobe. How’s that for a 7 day scent plan? You’d be running to florals the week after, searching for Bluebells and bunnies in the Jo Malone meadow or reconsidering your firmly held position on calone.
Kafkaesque – Chergui
Kafkaesque – Black Afgano
Nathan Branch – Encre Noire
Perfume Shrine – Tuscan Leather
Kafkaesque – Lone Star Memories
Australian Perfume Junkies – Chergui
CaFleureBon – Cuir 28 – heavy leather
Australian Perfume Junkies – Autoportrait
What Men Should Smell Like – Encre Noire
Cocktails and Cologne – Knize 10 – like a smack across the cheek with a leather glove
Le Labo City Exclusives
The City Exclusive scents are a tribute to some of the cities that Le Labo has boutiques in.
This is the first time that Cuir 28 is available internationally. Like the others listed below the availability is from today, September 1 until October 15, 2013.
Review links are all by Olfactoria’s Travels unless noted otherwise.
Chicago – Baie Rose 26
Dubai – Cuir 28 – CaFleureBon
Dubai – Cuir 28 – Persolaise
London – Poivre 23
Los Angeles – Musc 25
New York – Tubereuse 40
San Francisco – Limette 37 – The Chemist in The Bottle
Paris – Vanille 44
Tokyo – Gaiac 10
Perfume Oil $US240
Travel tube kits and refills are also available – see website.
Available on the Le Labo website and at all Le Labo Boutiques.