The only fragrance Serge Lutens wears himself... Morocco in a bottle!
Cuir Mauresque or "Moorish Leather" is a very typically brilliant perfume creation from the house of Serge Lutens, under the direction of the brilliant Christopher Sheldrake.
The reason this composition is so brilliant, is because there is no leather in the notes! Leather "extract" itself does not exist in perfume making... much like the note of "amber", it is up to the perfumer to create the "illusion" of leather in a fragrance, and that is what Mr. Sheldrake has done brilliantly here.
The fragrance opens up with a beautiful, heady combination of orange blossom and cumin, with indolic jasmine and a hint of tuberose (similar to another Lutens creation: Fleurs d'Oranger). Then the nutmeg, cloves and "burnt" styrax come in, with a good dose of civet and resins, all of which creates the impression of a "leather" note... and what a note it is! The leather here instantly takes me to Morocco, where leather hides are tanned using citrus oils and sweet musks... it's really quite something!
Cuir Mauresque is a beautiful fragrance, if you want to "get" or "understand" what Serge Lutens is all about, this should be the first place to start. It will not be for everyone, but if you really appreciate the art of perfumery, you will see this one as one of his best, recalling the great leather "classics" such as Caron - Tabac Blond or Fracas. It's also very sensual and sexy in my opinion... and would smell totally seductive on any classy gentleman or lady. In fact, this is the only fragrance that Serge Lutens wears himself! Wonderful! For me, this is Morocco in a bottle...
I feel tentative about reviewing Cuir Mauresque because it seems to do something different every time I wear it. On one wearing it will be a relatively sweet leather with a honeyed oriental twist. Another it will be dry, with earthy vetiver overtones, a touch of smoke, and a distinctly "nutty" drydown. It's always gratifying and sophisticated and never indulges in the diabetic-killing sweetness that turns me off of some other Sheldrake/Lutens scents. It just likes to keep me guessing.
Cuir Mauresque is a well-blended scent. So much so in fact, that I have trouble dissecting its structure, no matter which of its many moods it's in. Though it lasts well, I don't get much projection or sillage from it, so it works mostly as a skin scent for me after its first few minutes.
Cuir Mauresque is the "holy grail" of leather scents for many, but not for me. I prefer my leathers more rude or gamy: Knize Ten to Royal English Leather, Eau d'Hermes to Daim Blond, and Aoud Cuir d'Arabie to Cuir Mauresque. That said, Cuir Mauresque is clearly a top flight leather fragrance that's worth exploring for anyone with an interest in leathery scents.
A great leather based fragrance with classic vibe at the opening and very beautiful modern leather scent in the dry down and base.
The opening is sharp, green and almost soapy leather scent which quickly reminded me of classic leather based fragrances like "Polo" by "Ralph Laurent".
The leather here is not smoky and dark. it's green and sharp/spicy because of clove note. as I said the opening reminded me of Polo but this one smell much better with better quality and more pleasant smell.
In the mid that sharp and green scent settled down and the scent become sweet (but not too much) and now the leather scent changed to modern scent. I can smell something like cinnamon as well and it's beautiful.
In the base you have a very smooth and beautiful leather scent which is sweet and a little smoky and it does have some animalistic feeling too but it's in the background.
Good projection and longevity.
One of the best from the house.
I had so high expectations about this, I was thrilled and couldn't wait for a good old Arabian, dry and dusty leather. And instead... now, I don't know if I am having an issue going on with my nose, or if this has been reformulated, but I absolutely don't get the slightest hint of leather. All I smell is a creamy, powdery, waxy chypre accord with a prominent tonka note and some buttery floral notes - like iris sometimes smells. Which then evolves towards a more balsamic/fruity direction, still on a waxy base, so with a general "richness". Quite dense and baroque, not bad (but not good either, if you ask me), even almost slightly close to L'Heure Bleue, but... cuir? Anyone?
Wow. After sometime waiting for this one, it finally arrived. I've got to say that this is the most original and different scent I've ever had. It has a sweet syrup note in the begining that stays for about two hours. Those two hours are strange in a positive way. But then the leather appears and makes the fragrance simply wonderful and different.
03rd March, 2014 (last edited: 15th September, 2014)
The sweet note in Cuir Mauresque is problematic to me, and eliminates it as a leather I will wear, even though I don't find CM objectionable. The problem with this note is it turns to sugar on my skin - thin, non-blending, distinct. I'm familiar with this particular note - it also turned shallow and somewhat shrill in Tabac Blond and L'Air de Rien, both fragrances known for sensuality and depth. This note has the same effect in Cuir Mauresque.
The leather sensuality in this appeals to me greatly, the tarry and animalic depths, but these juxtapose poorly with such a shallow sugariness, nor is there any merging of them to my nose, but a distinctness of notes. It becomes perfumery 101 on my skin instead, a study in note placement rather than a cohesive perfume.
I understand the vagaries of perfume chemistry - there's no need to angst over the good fragrances that run afoul of our personal chemistry. It doesn't make them less, only not a match.
13th January, 2014 (last edited: 21st January, 2014)