Perfume Directory

Cuiron (2002)
by Helmut Lang


Cuiron information

Year of Launch2002
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 313 votes)

People and companies

HouseHelmut Lang
PerfumerFrançoise Caron
SupplierQuest International
Parent CompanyHelmut Lang
Parent Company at launchProcter & Gamble > P&G Prestige Beaute

About Cuiron

A leathery musky scent, with leather running through top, middle and base notes. The amber glass bottle is replica of an antique Viennese apothecary bottle.

Cuiron fragrance notes

Reviews of Cuiron

I don’t know the original Cuiron, but the consensus is that the new version is very close to the original. Not 100%, but the shape and the intent are the same. Cuiron’s reissue was hotly awaited but following the curse-of-threes in perfume releases it was somewhat overshadowed by its siblings Helmut Lang EDP and EDC.

The timing of the reissue was awkward. As a 2014 version of a 2002 perfume, it’s neither new nor vintage, so it arrives with two strikes against it. One, it’s a reformulation and, two, even if the restoration is flawless, it’s not old enough to be retro, just out of fashion.

I imagine that even when it was first released Cuiron was neither fish nor fowl. Ostensibly leather but actually more woody than anything else. Largely synthetic but not unapologetically so like many other millennial niche perfumes (eg. Comme des Garçons, l’Artisan Parfumeurs, Etat Libre d’Orange). Minimal but a little fussy. From the perspective of 2014 the neither/nor bit is magnified, giving Cuiron a house-of-mirrors quality that makes it seem endlessly referential.

To wit: Cuiron shares the hissy, gasoline topnotes of a few power-masculines that preceded it, namely Hermès Bel Ami and Dior Fahrenheit. Even Chanel Antaeus for that matter. It manages to find the neutral territory between the plush of Knize Ten and the starkness of ELDO Rien. Cuiron’s synth-woodiness narrowly misses the over-reliance on Iso-E Super that many of the era fell prey to, yet it hints at the freeze-dried hollowness of the norlimbanol beasts that would follow. Cuiron’s shiny, metallic topnotes are oddly reminiscent of Guerlain Coriolan, linking it to the generation of lost masculines like Paco Rabanne Ténéré, Givenchy Insensé and Jacomo Anthracite. It’s freaky how many other perfumes Cuiron brings to mind.

It’s arguable that Cuiron lacks individuality or identity. It’s not as specific as some other leather perfumes but it fits the straightforwardness of the Lang aesthetic. For those attuned to the quiet detail of the brand’s signature minimalism Cuiron was probably fairly loud but it was less bombastic than the power-fragrances and brassy fougères that preceded it.

The reissued Cuiron doesn’t suffer from reformulation, but expectation gets the better of it. The original edition gathered a cult following, especially after it was discontinued. In 2002 Cuiron would have been the star of a rising niche wave. In 2014 Cuiron faced more competition and a more informed perfume consumer. It will be interesting to see how Cuiron survives in this new setting.

20th June, 2016
I bought the reformulation recently and am not familiar with vintage. This certainly is a beautiful leather for discerning noses. The quality is fantastic. Great for work. Projection is on the soft side so it will be lost in a lot of other environments.
22nd March, 2016
Owned a bottle back in 2004....Stunning fragrance...gorgeous leather......Came out of the coach and horses and walked over the road and the only time this has ever happened,a lady on her own said" oh what have you got on that smells so good" im para phrasing from memory but im not exagerrating!...
Lush,glorious scent,.(sorry not to good on notes)but the leather was simply stunning....Wish id brought 5 bottles had i known it was no longer being made..
26th July, 2015
This review is for the reissue.

The opening is light, transparent, only vaguely citrussy with perhaps some aldehydes. To begin with, the leather is on the "faux" side, conjuring the smell of a new car with vinyl seats, & a cheap lemon-scented air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror. Some people love the smell of a new car; l personally hate it. After fifteen minutes or so, it all smooths out into a more realistic but soft, subtle, suede-like leather, with a faint touch of incense. After four hours, it's faded to a rather clean & nondescript base, & overall it lasts eight or nine hours before disappearing.
For me the middle phase of this one is a fairly acceptable rendition of leather, but it's too cold & distant, lacking any kind of warmth or charm. lt's also one-dimensional & rather dull. l prefer my leathers far more complex & animalic than this, but if you shy away from anything too dirty or complicated, this could be just the leather for you!
31st March, 2015
I'm trying, but not quite getting the appeal of the legendary Cuiron. It's got a lot of soap and talcum powder on top, vaguely flavored with unremarkable citrus, eventually drying down to a nice, slightly wood suede note. It's quiet and kind of weak, with only the powdery soap really standing out.

Given time, it ends up as a spot on my arm that smells just a bit "cleaner" than the rest of me.

I can see how, in a 2002 sea of Le Male clones and cheap aquatics, Cuiron would smell immensely different and interesting, but it really can't hold a candle to the truly great leathers like Kolnisch Junchten or Creed's Royal English Leather, or even the current crop of interesting niche leathers. Meh.
12th February, 2015
Vintage Formulation:

Notes: plum, “fluid” leather, fresh notes, “sensual” leather, suede notes, “noble” leather.

A revered cult-classic, one which is rightfully mourned throughout the fragrance community and one rightfully deserving of its accolades. Personally I have to admit, I’m rather late to the Cuiron party, haphazardly sampling it recently, knowing full well of its sacristy due to its almost criminal discontinuation (not to mention exuberant prices). Opening with a near translucent and opaque designer suede note on top of crisp effervescent citrus top notes (plum and mandarin). Simple, supple and captivating, I’m hooked already.

A reference leather in its own right, but far be it from the territory of bold classical icons such as Cuir de Russie, Knize Ten and Bandit. But rather pertaining to the realms of stark modern minimalism, made up on bone dry structures (whilst maintaining an air of class and luxury). More notably with all the edges rounded off to maintain a seamless, clean, minimalistic and plush composition, akin to a modern art-deco piece of furniture.

Sprinkles of pepper and some minor hints of a very subtle tobacco add some feint counterpoints, to what would be after the dispersion of the top-notes, a quite stark and nondescript suede/leather. Despite the supposed inclusion of a variety of different leather accords, I find the contrast between them rather unremarkable to comment on any real notable differences. Evolution is minimal, if not entirely linear, with a slightly powdery and squeaky clean musk adding some depth and support to the base.

At the best of times, it can be sometimes difficult to wax lyrical about a particular fragrance, when it’s portrayed with an understated minimalistic elegance. Yet on the other hand, it’s sometimes best to just revere in what can not be said.

Rating: 8/10
Longevity: 7/10
Projection: 7/10
Occasion: Casual, Semi-formal
22nd December, 2014

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