GREAT REPORT Dr G! I am totally green.........
When I read on Basenotes the announcement for a forthcoming London Perfume Lovers meetup whose theme was to be ‘leather’, there was really no question: I was going! And so it was that last night I found myself climbing the staircase at the swanky New Cavendish Club in Marble Arch. Any anxiety I may have had about walking into a room full of strangers was quickly allayed as Lila Das Gupta greeted me with a warm smile and the magic words: "Would you like a drink ?"
Glass in hand, I soon fell into conversation, the hot topic being the twenty or so bottles of perfume neatly arranged on the mantelpiece: Whilst many were familiar, some I knew by name only. As the last of the attendees (including Katie Puckrik) arrived for the sell-out event, we took our seats. Aided by her glamorous, iPad toting assistant Grant, Lila began her presentation with a brief history of leather perfumes, linking their development with the more archaic practice of scenting leather itself.
Our olfactory journey proper however, began in the ‘20s, with classics such as Knize 10 and Chanel’s Cuir de Russie. Leather is a notoriously polarising note, and reactions to the mouillettes being passed around encompassed the nostalgic (“it reminds me of my grandmother”) as well as the downright erotic (“oh my god, this is ssoooo seeexxxy”). Progressing through the decades, Lila was keen to demonstrate how shifts in the public’s perception of leather could be charted through the kinds of advertising used to promote such scents.
A blind-sniff, facing-off L.T.Piver’s Cuir against Dana’s English Leather marked the transition from a chronological to a thematic based approach to categorising leather fragrances: Leather-florals such as P.G.'s Cuir d'Iris in one camp, skanky, butch leathers such as Dior’s Leather Oud in another.
One of the real highlights for me however, was having the opportunity to smell some of the more common ingredients used in leather perfumes. These included natural birch-tar alongside synthetic aromachemicals like suederol.
The evening also included a Basenotes Fragrance Awards ceremony, hosted by Grant (replete with gold envelopes). With much hilarity, nominations for Creeds and Dior Homme were met with such questions as “Which batch code of GIT are you talking about?”. A poignant moment came when Mona di Orio was named as last year’s top perfumer, and Lila read out a message from Mona’s partner which spoke of her legacy. All the perfumes up for awards were laid out to sniff, and with the formal presentations finished, we were free to sniff till our noses could take no more.
A huge thanks to Grant and Lila for organising such a friendly, fun and informative evening. May there be many more to come!
Last edited by gandhajala; 23rd March 2012 at 03:23 PM. Reason: typos
GREAT REPORT Dr G! I am totally green.........
A Scent Rescuer
Every great perfume deserves a good home
thanks for a fabulous report on the evening. It was lovely to meet everyone there - as usual, it's the audience that makes it fun.
I'll be posting up a list of all the leather perfumes gathered together shorty. Cheers, Lila
Thanks for an awesome report, G.! I am curious to see that list of leather perfumes, Lila! I wish I could have been there, too.
Thanks for the write-up these things are always fun, it's great meeting real live human beings that you only knew from here.
As many of us were unable to attend, thanks for the super report Gandhajala and like Larimar, I look forward to seeing the list Lila
Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart; but the heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as a fragrant forest.
Who is Lila, besides being a new member? Which of the two ladies shown is she?
How many people altogether?
Thank you, wonderful report.
I wonder how I could convince my wife to move to London...
II est de forts parfums pour qui toute matière/Est poreuse. On dirait qu'ils pénètrent le verre.
great report G, wish i was there..
Wow G! That was fantastic. What a wonderful event!
Discover my Guest Reviewer Of The Day here
I've joined the group ran by Lila but I haven't had the time to attend any events yet. (I'm also really keen to get to one of Odette Toilette/Lizzie's events soon!). The irony of being so immersed in perfume-work that one can't find the time to be a fangirl! (Not a bad dilemma, I'll admit!).
There's some holiday coming up soon so if any events happen to fall on those blissfully quiter weeks I will definitely be there.
Thanks for the great report & pictures!
Bring one to Ireland
We just had the MTV awards in my city of Belfast. Is that a good selling point?
Top 10 at the moment:
4.Creed Royal Oud
6.Dior Homme Sport
7.Creed Bois du Portugal
10.Ralph Lauren Polo Blue
Bravo gandhajala! It sounds like you had a great time, resulting in a thoroughly enjoyable read for us. Thank you!
And while thy breeze floats o'er thee, matchless flower, I breathe thy perfume, delicate and strong,
That comes like incense from thy petal-bower; My fancy roams those southern woods along...
Christopher Pearse Cranch - Magnolia Grandiflora, 1875
I saw that too late and it was full. Thanks for the report and pics.
Last edited by galwaygirl001; 23rd March 2012 at 03:08 PM.
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My current favourites - Chanel Bois des Iles & Frederic Malle Iris Poudre
Great report G. I love that you explain that they went from a chronological context to a thematical one. When you contrasted them what stood out for you? Was there anything unexpected? More. More !!
Sounds like a good time was had by all.
Thanks for the report, Gandhajala! I enjoyed that. Lovely pics.
Loved it !
Nukapai - great to see you , P.
For sale. Carnal Flower and Vero Profumo Onda.
Fantastic, I am jealous I was not there;-)))) Congratulations!
Nice one, G . Thanks for a highly entertaining read - thoroughly enjoyed every word.
Sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening! Thanks for the report ...
I've trademarked the color bleu
On smelling the birch-tar, two things stuck me:
1. At high concentration, this is seriously potent: A tiny dab on the end of a mouillette was sufficient to scent the entire room.
2. It is far smokier than I had previously imagined.
From the perfumes available on the evening, perhaps Tauer's Lonestar Memories best captures that smokiness of birch-tar. More generally, Sonoma Scent Studio's Fireside Intense also comes to mind.
Looks like a lot of fun...!