Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of L'Art et la Matière : Cuir Beluga by Guerlain

Total Reviews: 30
It smells not exactly like suede, but it smells like a high end store that sells suede. It's delicious, opulent, and a little smokey. There's a lot of depth to the scent. It's also quite long lasting.

I'd call this perfume is my long lost love. I discovered it in an Oliver Polge sampler set and it sent me down a rabbit hole of trying any and all Guerlains, but no other was as lovely.

It became my most expensive perfume buy last year and I was initially disappointed at the new bottle. Fresh and from the atomizer, it has a very bright amaretto note. It made me worry that there was a reformulation or even that my initial sample had been compromised. Luckily, a knowledgeable friend suggested that I try decanting into roller ball bottle and apply that way. It really does smell better dabbed or rolled on compared to the spray. Also, now that the perfume has aged a year it has definitely settled down to match my original decant.
19th October, 2017
Another impossibly beautiful Guerlain masterpiece. If you've made it this far into your Guerlain research, and you haven't sniffed Cuir Beluga yet, you still have at least one extreme treat to look forward to. At exactly the moment at which you've decided that Guerlain can't add anything new and pertinent to the vanilla/Guerlainade conversation, along comes Cuir Beluga to blow the doors wide open again. Layer in gorgeous suede/leather notes, with an extraordinarily beautiful powdery effect on top, a little heliotrope sheen in the middle, and you have another excuse to praise the gods of fragrance. Cuir Beluga is a bona fide masterpiece, one of Guerlain's crown jewels. High likelihood you'll fall in love. It's pretty irresistible. Don't overthink, just surrender to the loveliness of Cuir Beluga.
05th May, 2017 (last edited: 07th May, 2017)
After seeing that Guerlain's L 'Art et la Matière collection included another vanilla-dominant fragrance (in addition to Spiritueuse Double Vanille), I had to try Cuir Beluga, and on the whole, it did not disappoint.

I'm not sure I have much to add beyond concurring with the consensus---CB is, to me, a vanilla-dominant fragrance with elements of powder, leather, and perhaps even the amber note that is listed. Comparing it to SDV, CB is more limited on projection and longevity, less the burst and chorus of vanilla (that SDV is) and more so a symphony of mixed instruments, the most dominant of which is the vanilla. As others have noted, CB is safer and more work-friendly than SDV for the reason that the vanilla projects somewhat less, but CB is still a strong composition with respect to the performance expectations of a high-end EDP.

Comparisons of CB to Tonka Imperiale have less merit, given the absence of the vanilla overlap that CB has with SDV.

Overall, Cuir Beluga is a fantastic unisex vanilla-dominant fragrance that should be tried by both vanilla-lovers and lovers of SDV alike. Given that I already have SDV and TI, I'm not sure I'd opt for a bottle unless I got a special deal, but even though I love both SDV and TI, I'd still encourage others to perhaps try CB as they may like it more, especially given the cost of the items in this collection by Guerlain.

9 out of 10
15th March, 2016
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True luxury never shouts. Cuir Beluga is perhaps the smoothest, richest, and most refined vanilla-dominant fragrance I own. Wearing it makes you feel like you’re being rubbed down with a silk cloth by a butler. It is rather minimalistic for a Guerlain, and doesn't evolve much, but when something smells this good, I couldn't care less. At the opening, I get a brief flash of a mandarin-tinted liqueur – Grand Marnier perhaps – before we slip into a warm bath of silky vanilla, suede, and heliotrope, a sort of luxury-car-on-cruise-control gear where the perfume will stay for most of the ride.

This is a Guerlain vanilla that’s been through several filters. It is recognizably the Guerlain vanilla used in Shalimar, but here it’s been double-strained through a muslin cloth to remove all the impurities that give Shalimar its famous ‘burning tires and soiled nappies’ edge. The heliotrope gives up its faintly almond-like flavors to the putty-like cream, but it is like a paste of pulverized almonds rather than the full-on fudge of marzipan. The almond accents here are of the most pale and refined sort – unsweetened, and reminiscent only of the naturally milky, mild flavor of the nuts themselves. The texture is both buttery and powdery, like the inside of a white chamois leather glove that has been dusted with talcum powder so as to ease a lady’s hand in without any vulgar pushing. The suede is accented with a dusting of anise, which adds a faintly savory, almost salty-metallic feel to the fragrance. These salty, skin-like notes are what conjure up the feel of a true, fine ‘cuir’ here, and save it from being just another gluttonous gourmand scent. This is a fragrance that is drop-dead beautiful, and I get a lot of pleasure from wearing it. Inarguably over-priced, yes, but I can’t seem to find anything that comes close to it.
12th November, 2014
Quiet perfection.

From beginning to end, this fragrance speaks of luxury. Like white suede chamois gloves or the soft white leather interior of a luxury car, it doesn't get any better than this.

Initially I get a very delicate, sparkling mandarin orange balanced by aldehydes. The soft, vanilla-heliotrope background is joined by the dry, honey-like texture of immortelle flower. Followed by Amber and more vanilla in the dry down.

This is a minimalist composition of only 15 ingredients, this is very different for a Guerlain fragrance (most of which are very rich and complex). I think that whilst this is minimalist, it speaks of quality all the way through.

A beautifully balanced, quiet, sweet and soft fragrance which really lets people know you have taste. In a class of its own, really.
07th August, 2014
Finally I have the privilege to test on skin this heavenly rare potion, one of the great luxurious leathers of the worldwide olfactory panorama and one of the holiest examples of the Guerlain's historical "Grandeur". Cuir Beluga is holy, "palatin" and aristocratic, the best quality of smooth immaculate (extremely polished) leather around which is in this case treated, depurated and gentled by a magic whiff of historical Guerlinade as it uses to perform "soaked" of indolent hesperides, starring eliotrope, nobiliar patchouli, star aldehydic dust, may be orris root and luxurious amber/vanilla in to an ideal mix combining all together the original Heritage, the new Shalimar Parfum Initial, Etro Heliotrope, a touch of Derby, a tad of Grossmith Phul-Nana, a whiff of the vintage Habit Rouge's (and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle's) final patchouli veined powder and the Chanel Cuir de Russie's sacre dry down. Probably secret hints of almond, rose, iris, musk, petitgrain and ylang-ylang take harmonically part to the swirling dusty/translucent liturgic ceremony. Yes, the leather is not hefty or animalic (you don't feel the tannery atmosphere) but almost shy and silky like the best quality of chamise. The luxurious powder is immensely complex, spicy, oily, leathery, incensey, floral, balmy and rooty-earthy and "shipwrecking is so sweet in all that sea". The leather unveils by soon its vaguely liquid/hesperidic/salty magic undertone, makes along the trip itself to be caressed and cuddled by all that classic white dusty Guerlinade standing finally out as the most velvety example of balmy-eliotropic suede ever inhaled. This fragrance is over the top.
24th June, 2014
This opens with a gorgeous creamy vanilla coupled with a leather suede note. Within this are hints of the citrus mandarin note and I must say this is lovely.

As time passes a amber note gives the vanilla that extra full body sweetness but never overwhelms. Also within this beautiful composition floral notes can be detected. Giving the fragrance a extra layer of complexity.

To sum up a exquisite enigmatic amber vanilla fragrance that has hidden facets of leather and florals just waiting to be explored.
12th June, 2014
Genre: Leather

I was surprised and delighted at once at how deeply Cuir Beluga satisfied my nose. Very rarely will I inhale a scent and know immediately that I’m going to love it. It happened with Dia, with Carnal Flower, and with Musc Ravageur, and now I can add Cuir Beluga to the list.

Cuir Beluga is the softest, smoothest, and most soothing leather I can remember smelling. It is in roughly the same comforting mold as Luntens’s Daim Blond, Armani’s Prive Cuir Amethyste, and Parfum d’Empire’s Cuir Ottoman, but I find Cuir Beluga more creamy and refined in structure than any of these. Most of the sweet, mild leathers that I’ve worn domesticate their inner animal with sweet fruit: dried apricot, plum, raspberry, or cherries. Cuir Beluga adopts a different strategy. It marries its buttery leather accord to an almost impossibly plush and voluptuous vanilla. (This is, after all, Guerlain!) Like so many strokes of genius, it appears obvious once accomplished, yet also so utterly “right” that it seems both inevitable and unassailable.

That the simple conceit works so well must be credited in part to Guerlain’s unparalleled treatment of vanilla. I’m not so sure that any other house could have pulled it off with such success. At any rate, the result is glorious, even if it is uncomplicated. The kind of poise and balance found in Cuir Beluga requires no extra adornment, and the scent’s construction represents what I think of as “classical” in the art of perfumery.

Wearing Cuir Beluga is like being gently wrapped in the most supple suede you can imagine. Myself, I prefer my leathers on the wild side - provocative or animalic brews like Knize Ten, Aoud Cuir d’Arabie, Eau d’Hermes, or Parfum d’Habit – but Cuir Beluga is a touchstone for that other, more civilized leather experience. I purchased a bottle on the assumption that it’s the only leather scent I could convince my wife to wear. ;-)
11th June, 2014
The opening is elegant, aerial and captivating, with a mellow, silky, sumptuous and super soft suede note sided with a subtle aromatic woods note, in a rich, dusty cloud of vanilla and talcum, blended with a floral-spicy heart (saffron, cumin?). If you inspire with more strength you detect a dry, dark far base, which may be the "below side" of suede, with anise notes and a bitter, crunchy, subtle herbal feel. Quite a deep scent, with a strong "dimensionality", rounded by a "Guerlinade" of aldehydic vanillin-orris. Also I agree with the references to Shalimar, this smells quite like a "futuristic" tribute. As minutes pass the green-suede accord emerges better, with a bittersweet, almost animalic feel dusted with a talcum-vanilla powder – unpredictable, but really elegant and quite sensual too, also because of a slight salty "skin" note. To sum up: a powdery suede-vanilla accord with spices and a slight metallic feel, developed in a translucent, aerial, deep, cozy richness, with a peculiar personality which i am not able to describe – just try it. Not a gourmand, though; it's all quite breezy and ethereal, don't expect any "thickness". Big promises which however, sadly, are then partially disappointed: in fact, after a while it just starts to "fall apart", many notes vanish one after another, like in a dream just before waking up, when "stuff" around you starts to disappear (actually it never happened to me as far as I remember, but in movies it happens often). And you end up with a generic, still nice but a bit "pointless" drydown of vanilla on a subtle metallic-suede base. Actually more than losing notes, it loses in depth and width. The drydown, however, lasts for ages and it's not bad. An interesting fragrance which for me, is worth a try. I tested the old version (darker juice), I am given to understand the more recent one is lighter and more delicate.

12th May, 2014 (last edited: 24th June, 2014)
I'm surprised there are few mentions of the heliotrope here. I get a strong wave at the start and amber as well. This feels like a safer version of L'Heure Bleue. Which could come in handy since LHB can get a bit intense for the uninitiated and is difficult to wear when you're out and about. There is definitely vanilla, too. The mandarine I'll take on faith, since I can't pick it out. But over the course of the fragrance the heliotrope and amber amplify and combine in a symphonic orgy. It is a joy!
05th May, 2014
best creamy vanilla there is :)
such an authentic replica of what creamy vanill is :)

i love everlasting flower, the leather here is probably meant to keep it in check, this doesnt turn into sweet cake :), absolutely georgeus,with 100% femminine DNA :)
14th October, 2012
I bought this after doing some sniffing around on a trip to Las Vegas. I was going in looking for Tonka Imperiale and Double Vanille. To my surprise the lady working the boutique told me to spray Cuir Beluga on wait 5 minutes and I would fall in love. She was right! Two thoughts came to mind. 1 even though this is listed as feminine, to me I get a boozy note that makes it seem manly to me. 2 I immediately thought of New Harrlem as some what close to this but obviously not the same. After I thought of New Harrlem I knew I was going to buy Cuir Beluga to replace New Harrlem as my gourmand in my collection. Yes it's that damn good! So I sprayed that on my arm around noon, took a flight back home late evening and got home at 1030 and it was still going strong! Never have experienced longevity like that.
25th June, 2012
Cuir Beluga by Guerlain - Upon application, one is treated to an entrancing melange. Sweet, orangey mandarin, along with its lovely, soft, floral hints, commingles with an everlasting flower, which proffers its syrupy, herbaceous, hay-like sweetness. And, magical aldehydes lift the captivating blend, adding an effervescence to the citrus and luster to the floral, as well as a soft, vanillin undercurrent. A burnt-sugar phantom can be sensed. Transitioning to the heart, heliotrope shrouds the opening with its cherry-vanilla and faintly almond aroma and powdery aspect. A luxurious and sensual, Spanish-leather illusion, reminiscent of the spice, citrus and floral components used in its tanning process, serves as a light underpinning for the delicate heliotrope. Segueing to the warm base, a sweet, almost creamy and floury vanilla, an aroma somewhat akin to vanilla custard combining with a pastry delicacy, interplays with a balsamic and warm amber. The sumptuous leather is still in the background. And, an impressive drydown ensues. This select and demurely elegant composition is a cool-weather, unisex scent, with average projection and good longevity, 8-10 hours.
26th March, 2012
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oh boy!!! i love this scent. i'm very fond of Mr. Polge and his work. this scent reminds me of dior home intense at certain points throughout the fragrance. of course without the added iris note. nevertheless it's one worth checking out for both male and female parties looking for a great fragrance that's both intimate and charming

i get cocoa and soft leather/suede. slight powder creeps in throughout the mid. an amazing take on a soft leather
28th February, 2012
Like Cruel Gardenia, Cuir Beluga seems to use the main note just as an excuse for a luxury smooth fragrance. This line seem to have a powdery secondary theme on most of the fragrances, and on Cuir Beluga this is showed by a vanillic sweet flower aroma that only shows a hint of leather sometimes; it`s not your classic, dry leather, it`s more of a suede accord that stays on the background of the sweet flowers and powdery ambered vanilla. Cuir Beluga, in some aspects, seems to be a homage to Shalimar, and it`s a pleasant scent to be worn on a winter day.
04th July, 2011
An opulent billow of vanilla pod infused-icing sugar and pulverised almonds, Cuir Beluga wears like a velour bathrobe, abundantly heavy and soporific in its pampering luxury, keeping one alert only with its leather trim of myrrh-like astringency. Minimalist in every regard other than its potency, it lingers beyond all expectations with a burnt sugar incandescence that greets you in the morning like a stretched-out purring kitten insistent upon adoration.
17th January, 2011
kewart Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Pure class and olfactory heaven!
This is a masterclass in perfumery and so expensive I
only have a small sample, which I shall attempt to make
last for as long as I can.
Cashmery,snuggly, sensuous and so much more.
When I win the lottery, this will be top of my wishlist.
10th June, 2010
Perfumer Oliver Polge and part of the L’Art et la Matière collection . I'm fortunate to have come across a sample from dear Elena of White leather - the softest most luxurious white leather is what this fragrance is - subtle ,sweet ,lightly powdery with 'that' vanilla. Beautiful. Somehow it makes me think of Marilyn Monroe.
12th April, 2010
BayKAT Show all reviews
United States
Now here is a leather I can wear with love. I got a sample via the guerlain rep who thought I would like to layer it wiht my Bois D'armenie. I find it works well alone quite nicely. It's a very high quality scent, just a little is enough to last all day, and it never fades. I'm one that loves the vanilla note common to Guerlains, and mixed with the orange and leather this really pops for me. hmmm.... just may have to get it
27th February, 2010
Cuir Beluga is a definite leather scent. Perhaps most people have been used to leather being a bit more harsh, and that's why they claim they can't smell the leather in CB. I can see how someone might consider CB to be suede, but it is definitely leather nonetheless. It is a very soft, sumptuous leather that has great tenacity (a good 15 hours on me). The leather note in Cuir Beluga is every bit as elegant and satisfying as some of the finest in modern perfumery, and that includes Chanel's Cuir de Russie. I find it more unisex than the Chanel in any case. I think it is at least a contender for my favorite from L'Art et la Matiere. I disagree that the scents from this line are so similar that you only need to own one.
23rd February, 2010
Where's the leather? I get lots of vanilla-ish, almond-y notes here, but cannot detect the leather. The offerings I've sampled thus far from "L'Art et la Matiere" by Guerlain are so very similar...I don't see the point in owning more than one. Angelique Noire is the vanilla/almond I've chosen, and can therefore easily due without Cuir Beluga and Bois d'Armenie. Smell them all folks, then choose the one closest to your liking. Really, one will suffice. Thumbs up - for quality.
27th August, 2009
DawnLady Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Oooh - this is just gorgeous - so soft, sensual, enveloping. It doesn't smell like leather to me, so don't be put off if you think leather scents are not for you. The vanilla, heliotrope and I think the immortelle just blend so perfectly that it is reminiscent of the feel of a beautiful, soft suede against the skin rather than the smell. So luxurious and comforting - I want a big bottle (or two)!
27th November, 2008 (last edited: 06th December, 2008)
Tovah Show all reviews
United States
When I see the name, all I can think of is Leather Fish it's no wonder it took me so long to try this. Actually, trying it wasn't even my idea. A friend gave me a generous decant after I sniffed from her bottle and nearly fainted. This fragrance is absolutely stunning! The prominent notes for me are amber, aldehydes, vanilla, and what I think of as a "cashmere" accord. Cuir Beluga has a vintage feel, calling to mind classic, womanly aldehyde scents like No. 5, Shalimar, Emeraude, Arpège, Bois des Iles, etc. Cuir Beluga is a soft, gentle, airy scent even though it's so warm. I don't smell a bit of leather in this, and the most prominent note on me is "burnt sugar", not unlike the burnt sugar note I get from Flowerbomb. Cuir Beluga is romantic, gentle, and almost snuggly. I sniff myself and swoon.
18th July, 2008
I very generous blogger who goes by the name of "Ched" (Tangled up in L'Heure Bleue), a gifted writer, traveler, and devoted perfumista, sent me at least an ounce of this gorgeous, hard to get fume from Guerlain. I was completely smitten with its take on a soft, high-end luxury leather. The delightful drydown left me treasuring this ounce of sensually pleasing juice. I was so taken by its softness.

Does anyone know where I can order a LARGE bottle? Oh, please?
14th June, 2008
JaimeB Show all reviews
United States
I completely agree with Vibert on this. The immortelle (everlasting flower) and almondy heliotrope are the perfect foils for the soft leather of CB. The creamy character is due to these two elements, I believe. Immortelle is used to round out florals, chypres, and ambers. It possesses a syrupy, honeyed, and slightly nutty aspect with hints of tobacco and red berries. Not overly fruity, it piques the nose just enough to give the impression of a fruity richness while hardy revealing the fruit on a conscious level. Heliotrope's almond touch reinforces the nuttiness and adds a soupçon of cherry pie (again, subtly and just under the radar).

Amber and vanilla in the base, of course. Would this be Guerlain without them?
26th April, 2008
Marvelous . Very very fresh very very sexy--this one is pure genius.

5 gold stars
06th April, 2008 (last edited: 15th April, 2008)
CEH Show all reviews
United States
I appreciate the vanilla that tones down the leather. The mandarin note adds a little pizazz to the scent. It is long-lasting, too. It is a different leather than in Dzing or VIP, softer, more suede-like.
25th January, 2007
Quarry Show all reviews
United States
Oh. I'm getting it now. Yes, it's subtle. And because it's structured around a "simple, raw material" it smells more like just the heart or base notes of a fragrance. And that's fine, because often one prefers just one phase of a perfume. Pretty and comfortable, a whispering vanilla.

Nope. Un-uh. Negativo.

If you like, you can say I have pedestrian tastes and limited olfactory powers. Fine.

Leather is one of my favorite notes, and I'll continue to get my fix from Jicky, Dzing!, VIP Room, Cabochard, and Miss Balmain. By comparison, CB was cafeteria white bread.
30th September, 2006 (last edited: 13th October, 2009)
This one is marvelous. The best leathery scent created ever. There is nothing to make you think about animal skin or to cause resistance but pure and powdery aroma of leather that softly envelop you with shimmering and subtle hint of vanilla, which reminds me greatly of Shalimar.
I have never found leathery note could be so intriguing untile I met Cuir Beluga. Though it is too expansive to own, I am glad that Guerlain has had a modern/new masterpiece like this in their product line. It is an avant-garde yet elegant scent that retains the beauties of complex in Guerlain’s tradition; truly a class!
22nd February, 2006
Waouh...the only one exclusive guerlain that deserves its price!A white leather,lots of vanilla,amber,very powdery,sweet and gentle,as beautiful as SHALIMAR and l'HEURE BLEUE reunited,much more better than the poor "PLUS QUE JAMAIS GUERLAIN",and the others exclusives(ROSE BARBARE is a Honey Rose,the same honey we know from l'INSTANT,and less disappointing than ANGELIQUE NOIRE wich is a kind of NARCISSE NOIR OF CARON with less sensuality),it creates a wonderful aura around you,so pure yet sensual...
A true masterpiece...what a pity,it is so expansive and maybe the last true olfactive piece of art from guerlain(LVMH didn't help...).
Try it in the instant...:)
24th July, 2005