Perfume Review- Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque: Classic Sex Appeal

Serge Lutens perfumes tend be polarizing. Leather perfumes are also polarizing. Throw the two together and…. Whoa, mama! Yet, I find myself entranced by Cuir Mauresque (“moorish leather”) from The Master. And I don’t even particularly like leather perfumes! This one, though, has just shot up the list to equal Chergui, my previous favorite Lutens, and may even surpass it by a faint whisker. Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque

One reason may be the fact that Lutens puts Cuir Mauresque in the “Sudden Sweetness” category, alongside Chergui and Musc Koublai Khan. In fact, it does represent a line between those two scents: more spiced, ambered and floral than Chergui, but less musky than Musc Koublai Khan. Yet, in terms of descriptions, Lutens essentially settles for “Moorish” and “leather” as the basic gist for the perfume. It was created in 1996 with Lutens’ favorite perfumer, Christopher Sheldrake, and is a unisex scent for both men and women. Originally, it was released only as a bell-jar fragrance exclusive to Lutens’ Paris Palais Royal salon and was not available for export. In 2010, however, it was made available in the US and worldwide.

I think the reason why I enjoyed Cuir Mauresque so much is because it is not really a leather scent on my skin. Instead, it’s a swirling, seductive jasmine, amber, animalic civet, and spice perfume which just merely happens to have leather undertones. It is a gloriously classique scent that strongly evokes Jean Desprez‘ legendary Bal à Versailles to my nose, though others seem to place it between the equally legendary Tabac Blond from Caron and Knize Ten from Knize.

Fragrantica classifies Cuir Mauresque as a “Leather” and says:

It represents a blend of leather wrapped up in jasmine and sweet spices to make a true Arabian aroma.

Notes: [Egyptian Jasmine] amber, myrrh, burnt styrax [resin], incense, cinnamon, aloe wood, cedar, civet, nutmeg, clove, cumin, musk, mandarin peel and orange blossom.

Cuir Mauresque opens on my skin with a richly heady mix of orange blossom, mandarins, musk, amber, resinous myrrh, nutmeg, cloves and a dry, earthy, (but not skanky) dash of cumin. There is the merest whisper of smoke and incense. Even fainter is the subtle impression of something flowery dancing at the very furthest edge of the notes. There is also, however, that slightly camphorous, chilled note which seems to be Christopher Sheldrake’s signature in many of his perfumes. It is subtle and evanescent on my skin — absolutely nothing like the mentholated, almost rubbery, slightly burnt, camphor note in Tubereuse Criminelle or, to a much lesser degree, in Borneo 1834.

Clove Studded Orange. Source: DwellWellNW blog at DowntoEarthNW.com

Clove Studded Orange. Source: DwellWellNW blog at DowntoEarthNW.com

The predominant notes, however, are musky orange, nutmeg and cloves. It’s surprisingly sweet, but there is nothing cloyingly about them. It’s also definitely not gourmand. I think the fruit, the dryness of the spices, and the woody elements cuts through the sweetness, as does the floral note. As the minutes pass, that last note becomes stronger and stronger. It’s jasmine — sweet, heady, and musky but not indolic, sour or over-ripe.

CognacAt first whiff, I did not detect any strong leather note except, perhaps, as just a vague, subtle, ghostly sense. Even then, I wouldn’t bet on it. Ten minutes in, however, there is a definite impression of uber-expensive, luxury car interiors, though interiors doused in very aged cognac. Yes, cognac. There is a definite sense of the dryer, almost woody, nutty aspect of really expensive cognac, as opposed to something sweet, boozy rum. It adds great warmth to the leather which takes on a very creamy, dark, rich feel. It’s more akin to a really old, dark brown, leather jacket than to the scent of a new Chanel purse. There is no impression of coldness nor of soft suede, and most definitely nothing evoking dead animals, barnyard manure or raw animal pelts as some leather fragrances are wont to do.Bal à Versailles

Twenty minutes in, lovely jasmine is the predominant note. It is sweetly spiced and slightly musky, underpinned by that very subtle leather note that has a faintly dirty, animalic, musky element to it, thanks to the civet. I have a definite impression of vintage Bal à Versailles with its heady florals wrapped in amber, musk, civet and resins. I’m not the only one; on Fragrantica, a large number of people seem to think the same way on the Bal à Versailles page. That said, Cuir Mauresque is nowhere near as animalic as Bal à Versailles and not one millionth as skanky. It’s softer, lighter, more spiced, less powdery and without any sweat, fecal or “piss” undertones.

Jasmine

Jasmine

It’s a lovely scent and narcotically heady in that first hour but, also, somewhat indolic. That’s where I fear it will trip up a few people, since indoles can be very tricky depending on skin chemistry. (See, “Indoles” and “Indolic” in the Glossary linked at the very top of the page for more details.) On me, the jasmine is never sour, verging on rotting fruit, or urinous. Instead, the jasmine, orange blossoms and spices are warmed in a lovely way by the styrax resin, the subtle smokiness of the incense, the amber and the musk. But it is the added touch of that animalic civet which is the perfect, crowning touch. It’s not skanky like unwashed panties or unsettling. Instead, it just evokes old-school glamour and seduction.

An hour in, the leather is much more noticeable, as is the animalic civet. However, they both share the stage with the jasmine. To the side, as supporting players, are: honey; very light, subtle incense; and a touch of earthy cumin and dry cloves, with musk and amber undertones.

There is a very classique aspect to the perfume, one which even my mother noted when she smelled my arm. She absolutely adored it, couldn’t smell any leather, thought it had “depth” (her highest compliment), and called it “seductive and mysterious.” I was very taken aback, especially as my mother doesn’t like most of what I give her to smell — Neela Vermeire’s Trayee and Téo Cabanel’s Alahine excepted. Generally, her tastes range from hardcore orientals like vintage Opium, Shalimar and Cartier’s Le Baiser du Dragon, to the classique scents of things like Femme, Jolie Madame, Joy, 1000, Fracas and Bal à Versailles. I suspect that it is Bal à Versailles which led to my mother’s admiration for Cuir Mauresque….

Marlene Dietrich in her later years.

Marlene Dietrich in her later years.

The perfume’s very classique profile led to an interesting discussion when I asked what movie star she would associate with the scent. I kept imagining Marlene Dietrich in her older, less edgy, less hard and androgynous days.

Ava Gardner.

Ava Gardner.

My mother said, flatly and point-blank, “Ava Gardner.” Hardcore glamour, oozing sex appeal, a forceful personality to be reckoned with, and mystery. I countered with the mysterious, seductive, exquisite Princess Fawzia of Egypt. My mother still said Ava Gardner. We both finally settled on agreeing that there was nothing about this scent that could evoke someone cool like Grace Kelly, obvious like Bridget Bardot, or the girl-next-door like Doris Day.

In modern day terms, I thought of Halle Berry in her Bond girl role but that’s not quite the right fit. I can’t really think of someone who does represent the scent for me, not in today’s movie world. Cuir Mauresque isn’t symbolized by a Gwyneth Paltrow type, nor a Jennifer Aniston or Anne Hathaway. This is a perfume for a very strong woman (or man) with a slight edge, a bit of toughness, who radiates seductiveness and mystery, and who entrances as much by the enigmatic gaze as by her long legs or his broad shoulders.

Sometime at the second hour, the leather note does become more apparent but it soon vanishes with the return of the fruity-floral, musky civet, and amber notes of Bal à Versailles. Cuir Mauresque is significantly lighter and less animalic, while also being more tinged by smoke, but the resemblance is noticeable to my nose. The appearance of some sweet powder doesn’t change things as that, too, was in Bal à Versailles. Here, it’s not like baby powder or even like hardcore Guerlainade. It’s hard to describe, but there is a balmy, sweet aspect it.

By the end of the third hour, the perfume is all fruity-florals with honey, resins, musk and faintly powdered vanilla. The leather notes — to the extent that they are there — are very subtle and more like soft suede. Creamy, light and beige. Eight hours later, almost by the end of its duration, Cuir Mauresque turns into nothing more than lovely honey and dried fruit. The dry-down in all those last hours is warm, sweet, and truly cozy. Interestingly, the sillage on Cuir Mauresque was not particularly high. It was noticeable in the first hour, then dropped significantly and became close to the skin by the third hour. Others, like Angela at Now Smell This, have also found the perfume to have persistent longevity but to be “quiet” with moderate to low, sillage. I very much agree.

As you might tell from some of this review, I didn’t find Cuir Mauresque to be a very leather fragrance. I did, however, to be extremely approachable and versatile, not to mention seductive, mysterious and, in the final hours, as cozily delicious as a cashmere  blanket. I’m not surprised at all that, according to Luckyscent:

the master himself [Serge Lutens] has gone on record saying he doused himself in [it] on the rare occasions when he goes out. And considering the choice he’s got, that’s saying quite a lot.

He’s not the only one. The Non-Blonde wrote in 2009 that Cuir Mauresque was her “favorite” leather perfume, though the “less easily defined (and probably most controversial)” out of all the many leather scents that she has tried. She added: “I can’t get enough of Cuir Mauresque and tend to murmur sweet nothings at my bell jar[.]”

Angela at Now Smell This found it ” special — warm and cozy, intimate and spicy, different from my other leathers.” On her, the perfume “kicks off with a surprising note that offers a freaky insight into the rest of the fragrance.” It’s a sweet plastic note “that mingles with the fragrance’s leather to remind me of a 1970s faux patent leather purse.” That soon changes, however:

Lest you suspect Cuir Mauresque is headed down a path of discos, bondage, and Tupperware, think again. Cuir Mauresque warms into one of the snuggliest, most welcoming leather fragrances I’ve worn. Its mandarin peel and orange blossom work the way citrus does in baking rather. They keep the composition from cloying but definitely aren’t tart or bracing. The spices — and I’d include cardamom with the listed cinnamon and nutmeg — feel so obviously right with the medium-weight leather. Cumin and musk are just barely noticeable, but they push Cuir Mauresque away from bundt cake toward skin. Warm, luxurious, grandpa-cardigan-wearing skin — that is, if your grandpa has worn his shape into his Bugatti’s leather seats and has publishers clamoring for his memoir.

And Perfume-Smellin’ Things just went weak at the knees for Cuir Mauresque:

Along with Muscs Koublai Khan, I consider this to be one of Lutens’s most sensual, most seductive scents. Cuir Mauresque makes my mouth dry and my knees week. From the slap of pure unadulterated leather in the beginning to the warm, gentle caress of cinnamon and orange blossom at the middle stage, to the wonderful dark, ambery, leathery embrace of the drydown, Cuir Mauresque charmed, enamoured and enslaved me. This being a Lutens scent, it goes almost without mention that the woody accord of cedar and aloe wood (agarwood, the source of ouds) is executed in the most exquisite way; the wood here serves only as a background, but what a luscious, almost sweet background it is! I also adore the way a musk note is woven into the rich tapestry of the composition; even though never too evident, it is there at every stage of the development, adding the raw, animalistic accord that makes the blend all the more irresistible to me.

But, like many Lutens, the love is almost equaled by hate. For all the positive raves on places like Fragrantica or Basenotes, there are a number of negatives that evince pure loathing. Basenotes, to be specific, has 22 Positive reviews, 10 Neutral and 10 Negative. But the most searing, most scathing, and most amusingly repulsed review has to come from the blogger, Nathan Branch, who wrote:

in what seems to be a desire to be willfully obtuse, it contains a compound that smells strongly of piss — which, I suppose, if you’re into gay faux-biker bars and fetishistic watersports, you’d quickly associate with the scent of leather, but is this really the Lutens target audience?  […]

In Cuir Mauresque’s defense, the sour aroma of piss does fade as time passes, but it doesn’t fully go away, and I have to admit to not being particularly certain why anyone would reach into their perfume collection and think, “A-ha! Today I want to smell kind of like the windowless back room of a gay leather bar!”

Ouch! Clearly, the indoles in the jasmine turned extremely sour on his skin. But the degree of revulsion in that review and in a few comments on Basenotes led me to wonder.

So, I tried Cuir Mauresque a second time. I strained and strained to find something akin to the notes described but, no, I didn’t. Perhaps, during the second hour, there was a slightly sour note — but I’m pretty sure I found it only by the power of suggestion. Whatever it was, and if it was even there, it was extremely fleeting.

The funny thing is, on both occasions, Cuir Mauresque was not a very leathery scent for me. It was always a seductively jasmine, fruity scent with civet, spices, resin and subtle smoke. It just merely to have a leather undertone — and only on occasion at that! But, as the other reviews up above demonstrate, the perfume can take on a wide variety of aspects, from much more leathery, to notes resembling oud, and, alas, occasionally, also something urinous in nature. Clearly, this is one perfume that needs to be tried first and not purchased blindly, particularly if you have issues with indoles or leather. In fact, I’d say flat-out that those who don’t like either note — but who especially don’t like very heady florals or musky, animalic civet scents — won’t like Cuir Mauresque one bit.   

Those who do like leather scents, however, may be interested to know that Cuir Mauresque is repeatedly said to fall somewhere between the old leather greats: Caron‘s Tabac Blond and Knize‘s Knize Ten. Some people also bring up Chanel‘s Cuir de Russie, especially in the dry-down, but I see absolutely no similarity to the latter. On me, Cuir de Russie was pure horse feces cloaked in soap. (I was not a fan, but I recognize that I’m in a distinct minority on that one.)

In Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin & Tania Sanchez, Ms. Sanchez classifies Cuir Mauresque as a “Sweet Leather” and gives it a three-star rating, writing succinctly:

The great leathery classic, Caron’s Tabac Blond, receives the Lutens treatment — more transparent, sweetened with jasmine and dried fruit. Lovely, but somehow less, and no match for, say, Knize Ten.

I’ve never tried either, though I do have a sample of Knize Ten that I will get around to eventually. While I can’t compare Cuir Mauresque to the great leather classics of the past, I think that Ms. Sanchez’s 3-star rating is extremely unfair. My perspective is closer to that of PereDePierre who writes that it is “[a]rguably the best of the modern leather fragrances” and who considers it to be much more of an amber than a leather, one whose “most distinguishing feature is its combination of cinnamon and orange blossom.” I’d toss in jasmine and civet into that mix, but yes, I quite agree.

I also think Cuir Mauresque is a very approachable “leather” that is perfect for people like myself who have some difficulty with the category. But, most of all, I think it’s sexy as hell.

Details:
Cost & Availability: Cuir Mauresque is available on the Serge Lutens website for $140 for a 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle. It is also available in the famous Bell Jar for $290 for 75 ml/ 2.5 fl. oz. Barney’s, Luckyscent and Beautyhabit all carry the 1.7 oz/50 bottle for $140. I also found it on sale at FragranceX for $106.99 and I believe they ship all over the world. However, at this time, they only have 6 bottles left. In the UK, I couldn’t see it listed at either Harrods, Selfridges or Les Senteurs. In Australia, I found it on the Hot Cosmetics website where the 1.7 oz/50 ml bottle seems to be on sale for AUD $130 instead of AUD $196. For other countries, you can use the Store Locator on the Lutens website.
Sample vials to test it out can be purchased at Surrender to Chance and start at $3.99. Surrender to Chance also has a special Lutens sample pack of 3 non-export perfumes which includes Cuir Mauresques (Musc Koublai Khan and Ambre Sultan) and which starts at $11.99 for the smallest sized vials. Surrender to Chance has the best shipping rates, in my opinion: $2.95 for orders of any size within the U.S.. Unfortunately, with the US Postal Service’s recent price increase, international shipping has now jumped from $5.95 to $12.95 for all international orders under $150. However, price increases for international shipping have occurred across the board at most other sites, too. 

44 thoughts on “Perfume Review- Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque: Classic Sex Appeal

  1. To me, it’s a terrible smell not found in nature at all, nothing fruity, flowery, or spicy but industrial. An amazing smell, although the amazement is that someone else’s nose smells something pleasant. (Then again, some people don’t like body odor or gasoline and others do so I guess I can understand it from that angle.) oh, and like how cilantro tastes like soap to some people. Maybe there’s something in Cuir Mauresque that’s hideously vile to some but smells like … Flowers??? To others. 🙂

    • LOL. I had to laugh at your horror. 😀 It’s definitely a polarizing scent, Mary Beth! I’ve had some bad experiences with leather fragrances myself, so I sympathize. Do you have a favorite Serge Lutens? 🙂 Thank you for sharing your perspective and for stopping by.

      • I like a lot of them: Muscs Khublai Khan, Rahat Loukhoum and Fleurs d’Orangers stand out as very good. BUT! Chypre Rouge smells like vegetable stock, Cedre like grape soda with mothballs, and Chene like melon without the sugar or water or fruitiness. Serge’s perfumes are the only ones that have made me laugh out loud in surprise. (PS Diorling smells like dust. I might just not get the leather thing. Although Cuir de Russie is great.)

        • Skin chemistry is so funny, isn’t it? Cuir de Russie was a…. difficult…. experience for me. LOL. Your comment about the “mothballs” in Cedre makes me wonder if it’s the camphor note that made you recoil so much from Cuir Mauresque? Your original post mentioned gasoline, and there is definitely a touch of that aspect in the camphor note in Tubereuse Criminelle, but with Cuir Mauresque, I didn’t detect it. I didn’t have difficulty with it in Tubereuse Criminelle but that is not a Lutens that I would ever gravitate to — mostly because it’s not very versatile in my opinion (due, in part to that opening) and because I prefer my tuberose to be a little more traditional.

          I liked Fleurs d’Orangers! I haven’t tried the other two you mentioned, though I have MKK to test out at some point. I think he and Christopher Sheldrake are geniuses on an intellectual, abstract level, but there is no doubt that their creations tend to leave people split into two very polar opposite camps. 😀

  2. This is one Serge Lutens I don’t recall trying at Barneys and I am 100% sure I do not have a sample lurking around. This goes on the Barneys To Try List. The List is growing…Anima Dulcis [decant reserved], FM Dries Van Noten, SL La Fille de Berlin [decant reserved], Byredo Bullion, Byredo Infloresence [despite this having the dreaded muguet] and Le Labo Oud 27.

    • I’m so, SOOOOOOOOOOOOO glad you’ve reserved a decant of Anima Dulcis!! And I’m looking forward to seeing what you think of this Lutens’ leather, given how his other one (Boxeuses) tempts you so. How you react to Cuir Mauresque will depend a lot on how you react to indoles, in my opinion. Leather can turn sour on one’s skin, as can indolic jasmine. And this is a very polarizing scent, even by the standards of usually polarizing scents like Lutens. So, it will be really interesting what your reaction to this one will be. I think it will be key to test it on your actual skin, not on paper.

      On a side note, and OT, I know how much you love incense, Hajusuuri. So, I hope in terms of your list of things to try, you include Dior’s Mitzah as well. (See recent review). It’s glorious incense and labdanum. And I succumbed to a full bottle — ginormous though it may be! Please see if you can get a sample of Mitzah. An incense lover really needs to try it!

  3. It’s really amazing how differently we smell perfumes! I love Cuir de Russie and happily wear it as an easy but slightly off the ordinary scent. At the same time I dislike Cuir Mauresque and I know that it’s not just a wrong mood I tried it in since I own a decant of it (through a friendly swap, at least I didn’t pay for it!) and I keep trying. Nope. It smells dirty and unpleasant.

    • I think leather is a very tricky thing in perfume in general. And very polarizing in terms of how people react to it or to its treatment. We generally see eye to eye on other notes, from florals to orientals to other scents. Whether it’s L’Artisan Parfumeur, Neela Vermeire stuff, Datura Noir, Montale (to name just a few of the recent ones that I recall), we agree completely. But I’m not surprised that leather may be where we have differences. It can really change on a person’s skin. I think, for example, that I read somewhere that you liked the M. Micallef Royal Vintage? I couldn’t stand it! Turned into an ashtray on me for a good portion of the time.

      Leather is…. problematic. Indoles are problematic. Serge Lutens is in a class by himself being problematic. Put all those together and one is definitely going to have very split opinions! 😀 xoxoxo

    • You know, I’ve thought about it, Undina, and I think it was the civet that got to you! You don’t like animalic notes or musky animalic ones in particular, based on comments you’ve made to other perfumes with musk or animalic notes in them. On me, as on a number of the reviewers I quoted, it was mild but it must have been strong on you when you tried Cuir Mauresque! Or perhaps you’re especially sensitive to that note. Either way, the animalic underpinnings where much milder on me than (vintage) Bal à Versailles — which is considered one very dirty, skanky scent. So I think I’ve pinpointed why you hated Cuir Mauresque so much.

      Don’t ever try vintage Bal à Versailles, that’s my suggestion. It will probably keel you over! *grin*

      • I think you’re right about musky animalic notes and me 🙂 And yes, a while ago I decided not to look for a sample of Bal à Versailles since from all the reviews I read I didn’t expect to like it.

  4. ” Seductive, sensuous and mysterious ” I like the sounds of that :)…like a secret weapon:)
    Man, I love your reviews you have a way with words that draws me in every time!
    I enjoy a scent that is powerful and soft at the same time…one that makes people do a double take ( in a good way ). However, I’m not sure if I’ve ever tried a perfume with a leather scent though I do love the scent of buttery soft leather as well as worn leather too. Orange blossom is a scent I continue to surprised by in a good way! Its like vetiver never knew I was a fan of it until just recently. Anyhow, I do love amber and spices ( cloves, nutmeg etc), so already Cuir Mauresque sounds promising:)
    This is definitely going on my list for my next order from stc…once again you’ve sold me:)

    • If Cuir Mauresque turns out on you the way it did on me, I can totally see you in it. The problem is that leather is a damn tricky note and, as you might have gathered from the review, people can have VERY different experiences with this perfume. It’s not just the leather which can turn sour, but also the jasmines which can too. Combining them together is damn risky. LOL. And then throwing in Civet in there too, which can turn dirty and animalistic…. Oh boy!

      The differences on one skin can be even more drastic with civet and leather than with other notes, so I will be interested to see how this one turns out on you. This and Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour Le Soir…. both are ones that you might really love — or totally hate. LOL.

      • I wary about Jasmine as it usually is a hit or miss with me but it must be what it’s paired with that makes me either love it or hate it. I’m really hoping it doesn’t turn on me…I think I would be disappointed. lol
        However, after reading all the comments about this scent it just makes me want to try it even more!

  5. I probably mentioned that before, but I love your description of fragrances, Kafka. Especially Serge Lutens offerings. I love leather scents and in my opinion Tuscan Leather being the best for me, I’m tempted to try Cuir Mauresque. By the way, do you like Tuscan Leather? Its quite polarizing scent as well.

    • No, you never have mentioned it, sweetpea, and I’m chuffed as hell! That’s made my night! I haven’t tried Tuscan Leather yet. I was actually sitting here pondering if I should test TF’s Jasmin Rouge next, go with a Chanel Exclusif or opt for the crazily priced Puredistance M leather chypre by Roja Dove. LOL.

      It’s funny how leather seems to draw such a huge split in opinion, doesn’t it? And when you throw Serge Lutens in the mix….. As you can tell just from some of the comments to this review, a number of people HATED Cuir Mauresque, as did some at Fragrantica, Basenotes, etc. And, yet, you have some critics who go “weak at the knees” for it. How you yourself end up liking it, I think depends on how you feel about something like Jasmine. Not to mention, civet! Oh, especially that one given how “dirty” and skanky it can be to some noses. (How do you feel about animalic tones and musk?)

      From what I’ve read of Tuscan Leather, it seems to be a very different scent. Based on my memory of what I’ve read, I think it’s fruitier and sweeter, but also dryer, and definitely not as floral and ambered? I could be mistaken in my vague memories. Does leather ever go sour on you? If so, then combining it with something like a jasmine note (which can definitely go sour) and the very animalic civet may not be the best combo for you — but you should definitely try it to see!

      Off-topic, Mitzah is not being discontinued! And I succumbed to a full bottle for myself — no split involved! I updated my post with the details from the Dior Beauty Stylist who said Mitzah will remain as part of the permanent line but is just being removed from department stores as it’s technically an “Exclusif.” I’d love to know what you think of it if you order a sample from StC!. xoxoox

  6. I`m glad that Mitzah will remain in Dior line and I can`t wait for my samples from StC.

    I have several leather scents that I love and all of them work amazing on my skin. Tuscan Leather, Tom of Finland(more of a suede scent) and Bel Ami (often compared to PuredistanceM and much cheaper alternative) being my favorites, also I occasionally like TF White Suede. Tuscan Leather is a mix of strong leather notes and raspberry. Very luxurious fragrance and a true interpritation of high quality leather. Although it can be too masculine for some people.

    • Bel Ami used to be a favorite of mine when I was a child and my father wore it. I can’t conjure up the precise details of the scent now, as it’s been many, many years, but I do have a sample that Kevin sent me. I had no idea that PuredistanceM was considered to be similar. Now I really have to get out my Bel Ami and give it a try before I do my PuredistanceM review, since the prices for the latter are….. jaw-droppingly high. Not as high as a Clive Christian, granted, but still. Ouch!

      I’m surprised a bit by the inclusion of Tom of Finland on your list. It was very mild, powdery vanillic on me — and I don’t associate you with a powder guy for some reason. It must have been much more suede than powder on your skin. Funny thing when I tested/reviewed it: I smelled vanilla-cherry soda at one point, I think. I thought it was intellectually genius to twist the real Tom of Finland’s stuff on its head and to evoke the symbolism of his message so concretely, but, in the end, it wasn’t for me. I’ll try to get to Tuscan Leather next week, because now I’m SO curious! 🙂 xoxox

      • I wasnt a fan of Tom of Finland at first. I tested it in summer and as you said it turned out to be powdery~rubbery scent. But I wore it couple of times last fall and I strated to enjoy it much more. Also I have to watch how many sprays I put. Less is more for me with ToF 🙂

    • Ross, you’re on my mind! 😀 I’m wearing Puredistance M and am quite in love! I don’t seem to have vintage Bel Ami, but clearly, I need to get some because you’re right, there are definite similarities, though I think Puredistance M is much, much richer, more resinous and more labdanum-heavy. But, wowzer! Anyway, leather thoughts from me to you. 🙂

      • Puredistance M is quite possibly the most masculine of the scents I own (a 10mL decant). I swear I accidentally bought it thinking I was getting Opardu. The leather is strong but never becomes animalic. That said, I’ve only used it once so far as I have to think twice about walking around smelling like the inside of a car with expensive leather seats.

        • See, on my, it’s actually NOT masculine at all. In fact, I’d hasten to say that Puredistance M is not a leather at all on my skin. It’s a floral chypre and then an oriental, both with leather undertones, but not a true leather perfume by any means. To me, its leather parts are exactly what I wanted Cuir de Russie to be. It’s simply magnificent. And the middle stage? TOTALLY like Cuir Mauresque for a few hours. It’s stunning, in all its stages, but thankfully, not leathery at all. In fact, it’s not masculine or butch either. Very addictive.

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  8. Jasmines don’t turn in any unappetizing way on my skin. Or at least they haven’t so far! It has been a long time since I smelled this one. Time to revisit 🙂 Thanks for the great review and for planting another one in my mind grapes (thank you, Tina Fey) 🙂

    • Mind grapes! LOL! I’m glad you liked the review but, even more, that you don’t suffer from problems with jasmine. Poor Cuir Mauresque hasn’t been getting any love here thus far. *grin*

  9. I’m curious to find out kind of musk is in Cuir Mauresque. I can’t really smell them though especially the larger size molecules. I think perfumers call them macrocyclic musks or something of the sort. I wonder if I am anosmic to them. I do love civet, if its done right. One example of civet done oh so right, is vintage Bal à Versailles. it is held back from going all the way raunchy as in reformulated Jicky.

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  13. Now I’m going off the wax sample so take it for what it’s worth, but this one is hitting all the right notes with me. But what a polarizing scent from the comments and reviews (I kinda like that :)). This is another fragrance labelled leather that I had to search for the leather. And Fragrantica main notes has leather by a longshot, so I’m obviously missing something here. And I’m not anosmic to leather in real life, or in fragrances such as Tom Ford Tuscan Leather, etc., but whatever my nose is expecting of a leather scent it strains to find in Cuir Mauresque. And it has nothing in common with Chanel Cuir de Russie, zero, zilch, not the same planet, nothing. I get a lot of incense at first and with the drydown it’s a lovely “snuggly” amber with some leather in the background (or am I just imagining it so I can pretend to be one of the cool kids?). And I get zero urine, nothing sour that I can even imagine as urine. I love Serge Lutens. Can’t remember one I didn’t like, so I’m an admitted fanboy. Great review Kafka. I love the images you choose, you have such a good eye for imagery to weave with your prose.

    • It’s definitely a whole different sort of leather than in Cuir de Russie!! For one thing, no birch tar in Cuir Mauresque, and that is the real key to the Chanel, in my opinion. And, for what it’s worth, I don’t think leather dominates C/M either; it’s also and most definitely a very snuggly amber in the drydown. I wouldn’t worry about your nose at all, Cohibadad. It seems damn fine and astute to me! I don’t experience urinous notes or painfully dirty, raunchy, animalic musk as some do — but it really comes down to skin chemistry. Our skins obviously don’t amplify that notes. 🙂 (Yay for us. LOL!) As for Serge Lutens, he’s one of my favorite perfumers and I’m a huge, huge fan of “Uncle Serge” as a person as well. So are many others here, so you’ll fit right into our little group, Cohibadad! 😀

      BTW, I’m glad to finally have another person who appreciates Cuir Mauresque on my side. And to have another orientalist here, as a number of my readers have polar opposite tastes. (Aldehydes, soap, iris, powder, dainty florals! lol) It’s nice to have someone who is a little more like my scent twin reading and commenting!

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