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  1. #1

    Default What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    And what do they put in frags to make them smell like leather in the first place? Does leather even have a smell, other than the chemicals they use to cure it? If I wanted to smell "pure" leather, what would I smell? A leather sofa? The inside of a leather interior car? A cow?

    What about scents like Bel Ami? People always say they are leathery, but there is no leather listed in the notes. Is it more of a leathery feeling that's produced from the compination of other aromas? Magnetism is supposed to have leather in it, but I smell no such thing.

    With most other notes (ie patchouli, vetiver, tea, etc) you know exactly what you are smelling when you smell it, but leather to me is a lot more vague.

    So basically...how do I define leather in a frag?
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  2. #2
    Thrax
    Guest

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Well I can say that I havent smelled two "leather" scents that smelled the same or even remotley similar. Perhaps this is just different company's attempts to "re-create" a leather like smell.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Ok, let me give my 2 cents here...
    Leather smell is impossible to put in scents using real leather. To be clear, they don't put the leather in infusion to obtain its smell. Besides, they try to re-create the leather smell using things that combined together give the idea of the smell of leather: birch, cistus, castor oil just to name some natural ingredients and, obviously not to name some sinthetic molecules etc... It's more an abstract idea of leather, a feeling of it.
    Said that, what leather smell they try to recreate? Is it really so important? I mean, also in nature we have very different leather smells according to which kind of leather it is (cow, horse, deer, ostrich etc...) and according to how it's tanned. So, again, everyone tend to recreate I guess the smell that better suits their taste and the allure they whant to recreate, the sofas and chairs inside the neoclassic hall of an Hotel, the unpicked interiors of a mustang losing oil, etc...

  4. #4

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    I'm no expert on this, but I believe it's the tanning/curing chemicals
    that give leather most of its smell. And it's these chemical smells that are
    used in leather scents.

    Hopefully scentemental will chime in here with a more erudite answer.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    I'll add that "leather" scents rarely remind me of actual sofa leather.
    I like them nonetheless.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Some scents really smell like leather to me - Nostalgia, Cuir Mauresque, Dzing!, Antaeus, Knize Ten, REL to name a few. Other scents get tagged with the leather appellation and I swear I don't get it. Eau d'Hermes, Baladin, Vendetta and many other I'm forgetting - those scents hint so abstactly at leather that I don't even begin to get the allusion unless I bend over backwards looking for it.

    And yes, there are a lot of different leather smells, from sofa to handbag to new shoes to old gloves to car seat to raw hide - each of those things evokes a very specific image of leather, and if a scent succeeds in evoking that feeling, it's a leather scent.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    What is going on? This is the 2nd post I've seen talking about Antaeus as a leather fragrance! It does just go to show how different noses pick up different things ... to me it's a dry-but-full rose and patchouli set amidst fir and herbs, with that magnificent beeswax core. No leather

  8. #8

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Well, first is leather and how they make it.
    To soften dried leather - they used birch tar and fat of sea animals - that`s how Russian Leather was made and smell like.
    One more thing - Spanish Leather was made to be perfumed by spices, flower oils and animalic notes (I remember rose, jasmine, myrrh, civet, amber, opopanax - but I`m sure that it was much more). So cachets and gloves get a smell not only of leather, but also of spices and flowers.

    I believe that first perfume with birch tar was Chypre by Coty.

    Also there was a chemical derived from coal - quinoline, which was used for leather smell. I have no idea what chemicals are using now.

  9. #9

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Cuiron, that fragrance that always is being said to be all about leather, is to me not about leather at all. It wasn't when I first tried it when it came out and still isn't (Knize Ten wasn't either when I first tried it, but that has changed now).

    On my blog I just recently wrote a review of Knize Ten and in the comments, Concord said this (in Swedish though): Isobutyl quinoline! It is the chemical Knize Ten, Cuir Mauresque, Bandit, Tabac Blond etc. all share.

    He also gave me this URL: http://www.iff.com/Ingredients.nsf/0...25699300398A60

  10. #10

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Quote Originally Posted by trumpet_guy
    I'm no expert on this, but I believe it's the tanning/curing chemicals
    that give leather most of its smell. And it's these chemical smells that are
    used in leather scents.

    Hopefully scentemental will chime in here with a more erudite answer.
    I can't give a more erudite answer than Magnifiscent's answer, which is exactly correct word for word. As far as I know, no real leather or leather tanning/curing products are used in the manufacture of leather-based fragrances. The various scents of "the tanning/curing chemicals that give leather most of its smell" are a naturally and aromachemically recreated smell in the manner describe so well by Magnifiscent.

    scentemental
    Last edited by scentemental; 1st September 2006 at 12:42 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    I'm so used to that lovely warm birch tar smell that I got a real shock last week on sampling Creed's Cuir de Russie, which smells of warm cows. (My grandfather was a farmer - it's a smell I remember fondly.)

  12. #12

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    WHen I smell a leather scent I get the ditinct smel of.,,leather!

    Dzing, Cuir de Russie, Spanish Leather, Cuiron and others all smell like leather to me. Do the smell like the same leather? No. I own 2 leather jackets and one suede, and they all smell different but there is no mistaking that they smell like leather.

    I've smelled sun cured leather (I was told it was not cured with chemicals) and there was still a strong note that I could smell in my leather jackets.

    The reason they make frags smell like leather it is a very masculine smell. There is a reason that women love men in leather jackets, and it's not just the way they look! Every girlfriend I've ever had will bury her face in my shoulder and sniff when I wear a leather jacket.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental
    I can't give a more erudite answer than Magnifiscent's answer, which is exactly correct word for word. As far as I know, no real leather or leather tanning/curing products are used in the manufacture of leather-based fragrances. The various scents of "the tanning/curing chemicals that give leather most of its smell" are a naturally and aromachemically recreated smell in the manner describe so well by Magnifiscent.

    scentemental
    This explanation seems a bit off to me. Most of the chemicals used in curing leather are either a) hazardous without much scent or b) natural materials that don't have much scent (ok ok, yes a cow's brains have a scent, but it's nothing like the scent of leather). Now, if you sniff a piece of fresh leather, it *does* have a scent. It's also not extractable by normal means, since soaking leather in oil does not make the oil smell "leathery", and you can't very well distill leather .

    Usually what perfumers do in this case is create an "accord", a blend of natural and/or synthetic scent molecules that smell like the real thing, but do not necessarily have anything remotely like the same chemical compositon as the real thing's scent. By their nature, accords for things with scents that aren't extractable will be variable. One might smell just like leather to you on a strip, and nothing like it on your skin. To a friend of yours, it might do the opposite. And if it's created to match the scent of a very particular kind of leather, well...

    I find it's best to think of such notes as a perfume within a perfume.

    Emily

  14. #14

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    The explanation is not "off"; your ability, in this case, to read carefully is off.

    If you read my post and Magnifiscent's post carefully, you are claiming EXACTLY what we already claimed.

    scentemental



    Quote Originally Posted by Torrilin
    This explanation seems a bit off to me. Most of the chemicals used in curing leather are either a) hazardous without much scent or b) natural materials that don't have much scent (ok ok, yes a cow's brains have a scent, but it's nothing like the scent of leather). Now, if you sniff a piece of fresh leather, it *does* have a scent. It's also not extractable by normal means, since soaking leather in oil does not make the oil smell "leathery", and you can't very well distill leather .

    Usually what perfumers do in this case is create an "accord", a blend of natural and/or synthetic scent molecules that smell like the real thing, but do not necessarily have anything remotely like the same chemical compositon as the real thing's scent. By their nature, accords for things with scents that aren't extractable will be variable. One might smell just like leather to you on a strip, and nothing like it on your skin. To a friend of yours, it might do the opposite. And if it's created to match the scent of a very particular kind of leather, well...

    I find it's best to think of such notes as a perfume within a perfume.

    Emily
    Last edited by scentemental; 1st September 2006 at 07:59 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    It is interesting that a well-known perfumer chose the name "Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier" ("Master Perfumer and Glovemaker") for his house. If my reading of history is correct, many early perfumers were engaged in the business of making personal leather articles, such as gloves and other clothing, less tanned-smelling and more agreeable to the nose.

    So I guess, in perfumery at least, that "leather" includes both the smell of leather and the smell of the perfumer's aromatics used to cover up that smell. Birch and cistus (aka rockrose or labdanum, a plant-derived scent reminiscent of ambergris) are certainly prominent in many of the formulations called "leather," and many national styles use variations, thence Spanish, Russian, etc. leather scents.

    By the way, in his fragrance guides, Michael Edwards uses the classifications "Dry Woods" with the French equivalent "Cuir Boise" (woody leather); later, I seem to recall (I don't have the book in front of me, so I may be mistaken) he changed this to "Leather Chypre." It would seem that woody notes (like birch) and chypre characteristics (citrus with woods and oakmoss) are both part of a perfumer's picture of leather.

    Any other hints?
    Last edited by JaimeB; 1st September 2006 at 08:01 PM.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    I think it is all in the perception of the perfumer. To me there have only been a couple frags coming close to what I think connote leather.

    (1) English Leather. It doesn't really smell like leather at all actually, but more like saddle soap, once you get past the citrus. I think this might be what Equipage was going after.

    (2) Essential Oil Company - Leather. It just smells like leather as you would get from a leather jacket. I put this, black pepper and carnation in an olive oil soap and it smells just delightful.
    MisterK / Vicomte de K / K
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  17. #17

    Default Re: What IS leather? A bunch of confused questions

    Leather is a stong note to me. I dont mind it in my fragrances as long as its not overpowering. Its best to me when it doesnt stand out. As has been stated by others, leather can make me think of an older fragrance. Anyway, I dont think it would be out of the question to smell a leather sofa. Try a genuine leather coat. Lately, Ive been buying spices such as ginger, cinnamon, nutmet and clove from my local grocery. This gives me a very good indication of these notes without actually having to buy oils.

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