I've learned that when it comes to Le Labo, I have to keep my expectations very low so that, sporadically, they could still possibly impress me with some of their fragrances. I approached Cuir 28 (their city exclusive for Dubai) without reading any of the notes provided by the brand so I actually didn't know what to expect. Well, it comes out that Cuir 28 is basically a leathery / synth woody, ambroxan prominent balmy thing that's kind of a mash up between Vetiver 46, Dirty English by Juicy Couture and Gucci Pour Homme I (Tom Ford era) with an extra dose of birch tar, some of the smoky vanilla already found in Patchouli 24 and an overall balmy vibe that's not so distant from certain aspects of Poivre 23.
A solid (and extremely common) accord that while smelling pretty nice adds absolutely nothing new to the table. Offensivley overpriced.
Easily one the nicest leather scents on the market at the moment, at least for the “straightforward leathers” part of the family. What I enjoy more in Cuir 28 is the perfect, “round” simplicity of the leather accord, which has basically nothing around “disturbing” it: it is indeed a bit tending towards freshness more than “dark harsh heaviness” like other leather scents, but overall it smells really bright, realistic, “purely leathery”. There’s vetiver, cedar, darker woody notes to provide a stout base with also a slight medicinal feel (like oud), then spices (cloves), a subtle veil of warm and dusty vanilla adding the right amount of “softness”, the usual aromachemicals used to build leather accords, a sprinkle of bright citrus, and that’s it. These notes are tightly blended to create “the” leather accord par excellence: a sharp, neat, meticulous “figurative” depiction of leather. A really well-balanced scent which is not too harsh, not too dry, not softly suede-ish, not excessively “smoky”, not “openly” synthetic... yet a bit of all of them: just soft, rich, high-quality finished leather. And ironically, Cuir 28 is so austerely simple, that (for the almighty power of “less is more”) it smells more interesting and fascinating than most of other contemporary leathers which almost always try to “add” something to leather (tobacco, fruits, flowers, oud...). It does not resemble to any leather scent; yet it does a bit to all of them, as if it was “a leather of leathers”, a sort of patchwork of all the leather notes taken from all leather scents (I get I am starting to write nonsense, be patient, it’s almost over). Plus, note that “simple” here doesn’t mean minimalistic or thin: Cuir 28 is rich, complex, fulfilling, almost “materic” in its realistic power: it smells solid and full of nice nuances, all perfectly connected to leather. Literally providing that feel you get by wearing and touching your favourite high-quality leather jacket: that warm, “masculine”, elegant, soft feel. It is obviously a bit dark, but dont’ imagine anything gloomy or dry: it’s dark in a warmer, laid-back, yet sophisticated meaning. Anyway: really good. Two flaws: much linear, and quite costly. But a must try for all leather fans.
The opening proves the name right: Straight into a modern storage room of new leather - synthetic but very nice. A convincing leather note. Then, wood and a bit of vanilla are added and towards the end a bit of a musky vetiver. Like previously noted in a review there is a change to a much less convincing second phase, but in my skin that only occurs a very short time before the end, and hence I am happy to give this one a thumbs up. A straightforward enticing leather scent with not much else of significance, but of high quality in its narrow approach. Very good silage and projection with over eight hours of longevity. A fine LL scent for autumnal times.
Starts out very industrial.
Adhesive chemicals mixed with tar & petrol.
Along the lines of Le Labo Patchouli 24 but no where as warm and enveloping.
More like the whipping gesture of Gomma mixed with Etro, Nostalgia & Xerjoff’s Hommage.
But the final touch is a vanilla, bonding it together peacefully.
It is no doubt typically eccentric – like Le Labo is usually.
It remains medicinal for a while.
Soon the musk appears and adds another dimension.
Its not an animalic musk. It’s a industrial workshop musk.
Smelling Cuir 28 reminded me of when I got lost in Suzhou many years ago.
I’d gone off the beaten path and found myself next to a huge factory. Where apparently petroleum by products were processed.
The middle bit is where the excitement deceases.
It turns into a glowing vetiver (very synthetic – not that that’s a bad thing but its certainly not natural smelling).
The tar, leather, musk and anything that added flair is now gone. Very similar to Jovoy – Private Label.
It’s a warm glowing single dimensional vetiver .
Its sad because I am from Dubai and have been waiting 3 years for this to come out.
I’m a big Le Labo fan. I own and enjoy around 10 and will pick up another 5 soon. I had high hopes for Cuir 28.
To summarize, it starts out nice. Not unique mind you, but nice. A superb middle and ending would've made this a winner. That, it lacked.
An unashamedly synthetic leather devoid of any ambery sweetness or musky animalic plushness. Instead, a dry leather is made drier and fresher by hefty doses of vetiver and woody ambers. (only in the far drydown there's a little bit of vanilla). The effect is a bit like rubber or some type of paint, and the composition would fit well in a CDG lineup. It's not up there with the leather masterpieces (Bandit, Rien, etc.), and as a city exclusive it is way overpriced, but good and fun.