The name says it all - pepper and leather.
They're a good match - the dusty, dried wood aspects of pepper and the animal feel of leather. It produces a cool viscerality. The balance of this fragrance is more about the pepper than the leather, so it's more mineral and wood than animal. In the beginning and midnotes, the combination is fairly sensual, and I found myself sniffing my wrist a lot. As it dries down its character gets thinner. When some of the notes fade away, the leather, which was never big or sturdy, joins the pepper, becomes more mineral. The whiffs I get of it along the way still have a dry sensuality so I can't entirely diss this stage. Eventually though, the end becomes simplistic, predominately pepper. The civet never emerged on my skin. The best part isn't long-lasting, and enters the dry down to pepper after a few hours.
This fragrance is primarily about these two elements, so it may feel lacking to those who need more to ring their bell. For those who love the note, Piper Leather will probably feel satisfying and coolly sensual. I need a little more to be able to wear this on me, primarily because I keep seeing it as a masculine scent - I keep wanting to smell this on a man, not myself. Also, I wasn't enchanted with the end, it became too much of a one-note pepper. There are plenty of fragrances now that fade out disappointingly, where the opening and mid note are all you get. I've heard the term front-loading of perfumes - to me Piper Leather is a case in point.
I stumbled upon the Illuminum stand in a popular department store in the UK and managed to smell all of their current offerings. For me, one of the standouts was Piper Leather, in fact I bought a bottle (for much less the RRP).
The dry down for this fragrance is lovely - musky, yet fresh and leathery. The leather note is hard to detect and the opening is pretty heavy on the pepper and coriander. I don't own anything that smells like it and I haven't had the chance to sample Cuiron. I wouldn't describe the scent as unisex - it's definitely masculine but non offensive (unlike some leather scents). If you're looking for a distinctive leather scent I would look elsewhere, however if you're after something that is fresh, spicy, masculine and well blended I would definitely give Piper Leather a try. It's perfect as an autumn/winter scent. It's quite versatile and it's one of those fragrances that you will want to reach for often.
Longevity - 3.5/5
Smell - 5/5
The coriander is a bit pushy at first, while the proclaimed civet in the base is non-existent. What remains is a solid peppery-resinous-leather accord that is very much along the lines of Helmut Lang's defunct Cuiron. Fans of the latter should be heartened.
Yet, as with Cuiron, I find Piper Leather lacking: in humour, passion, charm, or ingenuity. It smells good, but it doesn't thrill me, and I want something more than just 'dependable'.
I tried this fragrance recently and I reallly like it; of the Illuminum range this one and Arabian Amber are the standouts for me. I'm not too keen on their Oud range; I find the oud notes are buried too far down for my liking, but I very much like Piper Leather.
Unlike other reviewers I can pick out the leather note right away, along with pepper and what appears to be coriander. It's definitely much more of a masculine scent although it's claimed that the entire Illuminum range is unisex by design. Piper Leather is a great evening/winter scent, rather than being summery and light, but it turns heads in the right way; it projects a certain masculine confidence.
Definitely a keeper for me.
Cuiron. Piper Leather is almost a literal reproduction of the soft peppery-suedey accord of the sadly discontinued Helmut Lang's Cuiron. If for a few aspects it may sound as a total rip-off, now that Cuiron have become extremely rare and you have to pay up to $250 for a bottle, Piper Leather is the only plausible alternative available on the market. Nice projection and good lasting power.
If you already own the Helmut Lang, stick with it, otherwise Piper Leather is an extremely valid alternative.