The skin is the breathing on the surface. Her scent is equally the most difficult and most easily perceived kaleidoscope.In fact, there is no real “skin extract” in perfume. Recalling the naturalistic scenes from “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” is delusional. There are birch tar and myrtle, cistus, muscone, styrax, isobutyl quinoline, cassia, juniper oil, castoreum, aldehydes, tobacco, black tea and whatnot, adding to the bitter, dusty or lacquered shades of the idea of skin. Whether you understand leather tanning and chemistry or not, skin attracts like gravity and pushes back like identical charges.
A friend had shared some time ago on the occasion of the most unpleasant scent that she had ever managed to sprayed out of a flacon, that leather perfumes were certainly made of freshly soaked flayed skin of a whole cattle herd in stale water from a public toilet puddle at 40 degrees. I know that it may turn that way for lots of people, but my story with leather scents is different. They surround me with attention and compliments, and I try to repay them properly. My recent discoveries inspired me to go back to writing. And it was A “Battle” because they competed hard for my interest. However, one of them prevailed in the end.
Red Queen – Sweet Anthem Perfumes. A droplet of thick red wine on the edge of a broken crystal glass. Drops of dew on the petal brims of a blood-red rose. A tear drop on the lapel of a black leather jacket, polished to specularity. Drops of blood on dishes brimming with fruit after a lavish dinner at the Red Queen’s, the moment when she cut the head off of a rebellious servant or ripped the heart out of a disappointing lover. Indirect heiress of Anglomania Vivienne Westwood. Scent of an alluring female warrior.
Rhinoceros – Zoologist Perfumes. The Canadian “Rhinoceros” is a powerful tonic – herbal, cool, rocker. Feels like drinking a glass of dark rum in one go, packed with useful greens – sage, thyme, oregano, and on top of all that – sprinkled with black pepper. Instead of sedation, your senses sharpen with this shot, the batteries are charged and the working capacity is restored beyond belief. An electrocautery is welding the ingredients and sharp metal-smoldering streak leads me by the nose to the ostensible calm in dusty suede and hay. A samurai. Why cannot every man be scented like that?
Cuirs – Carner Barcelona. Perhaps the most complex fragrance of the “leather” series I explored. The most complex, but also the warmest. This is Elizabeth at the moment she is waiting Felipe on the quay, at the end of “Eat, Pray, Love.” This is sweetened floral skin, sun-baked skin, further softened by the rare woods, musk and amber. Depending on the mood and activity, I can catch a whiff of clove, violet and even of a sweaty trail that is not bad, but on the contrary. As if I had just successfully completed a difficult task and I am tired but happy. Yes, just like Liz at the Finale. A complex piece of art. Interesting and sophisticated perfume, that cannot be worn anywhere, anytime and by anyone. Noble as the warrior queen Rani Durgavati.
Hermessence Cuir d’Ange – Hermes. If there must be a specific note from which I could be obsessed with, it must be the Violet. As I have mentioned and emphasized this more than once, however, not every single violet scent has the potential to become mia inamorata. But I have not yet smelled a violet-leather combo that cannot lift my senses to an “over-contentment” level – Jolie Madame, Cuir Amethyste, Bandit, Putain des Palaces, Black Saffron, Violet Blonde, Nightscape, Sous Le Toit de Paris … I had some doubts about “Angel’s skin” (fr. “Cuir d’Ange”) at the beginning, because I was a bit put-off by the piercing bitterness I felt at the first burst. It reeked of raw, untanned skin, of harsh, dentist’s drill, of forced tires and gearbox! I covered it with my sleeve and forgot about it until I took my clothes off to sleep.
Then I realized that I had rushed to conclusions. Over the past several months I couldn’t stop thinking about this perfume, I kept the droplets left in the tester vials and I was waiting for the moment I can afford it. And when I finally got it, I managed to drain 3/4s of a 15 ml vial for about a month of almost uninterrupted wearing. The last quarter I hide like a rare pearl and dare not use it until I buy another bottle, if possible of 100 ml … Enough about my anguish. Cuir d’Ange opens hammering like “Baba Yaga” by Mussorgsky and Ravel, but after ten minutes it caresses the senses like “Morning” by Edvard Grieg. The leather inside is soft light suede, the violets are mild powder, and the balanced minimalist musk with homeopathic patchouli of Jean-Claude Ellena completes the composition in a gentle embrace, thanks to which I lived through half the winter, with all its tense moments so far. Quiet and captivating unnoticeably like a ninja.
Meredith Smith for Red Queen;
Paul Kiler for Rhinoceros;
Sonia Constant for Cuirs;
Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermessence Cuir d’Ange
Photos and illustrations:
theinquisitiveloon.wordpress.com; sweetanthem.com; youtube.com; snopes.com; zoologistperfumes.com; carnerbarcelona.com; blurrysweetbliss.com; usa.hermes.com; photobucket.com