Suede

La Parfumerie Moderne Cuir X

January 12, 2016
david_in_orrey_room_admiring

I have a hankering for La Parfumerie Moderne Cuir X that I just can’t shake. I’m on my third sample of it and the crush is still going strong. But like any crush, ask me to explain it and I can’t.

I mean, if pushed, I’d say it’s a beautiful modulated suede, its hints of rubbery saffraleine perfectly matched by a hint of smoke and a smooth, almost edible note that lands halfway between violet and plum, even though there’s no flowers or fruit in it. It has a modernist structure to it, meaning that it’s been streamlined to survive in space, free of any weighty flowers, powder, amber or resins. If I were to visualize it as a person, it would be Michael Fassbender’s character in Prometheus, David, a sleek android with a ferocious intellect and a perfectly smooth, whip-thin physique. Like David, Cuir X is a dove grey suede glove fitted tightly onto an industrial bone structure.

It’s probably nothing new under the sun. People seem divided into two camps – the “Meh, this is nothing special” camp and the “This is pretty damn special” camp, and neither seem able to articulate their reasons that well. But desire is irrational. I can only tell you that Cuir X wears like a slick of smoked single cream on my skin. It’s sexy. I want to eat myself when I’m wearing it.

But it costs €160. And for that type of investment, it had better be a long-term thing and not just a crush. I wouldn’t buy a horse or marry a man without first looking at his teeth, lifting his forelocks, and doing a thorough inspection of his undercarriage, so I’m going to do the same due diligence with Cuir X.

I mean, who’s to say that my desire for Cuir X isn’t just a flash in the pan? After all, I own many suede or “fine cuir” fragrances and at some point or another, I thought that I couldn’t live without them either. I don’t want to engage in anymore suede bed-hopping. I want a long-term commitment.

So. I’m going to test and re-test all the suede perfumes I own or once tested and wrote off, and if I still love Cuir X above all the others, I will buy it. That is a promise to myself. First of my list is a re-test of Parfum d’Empire’s Cuir Ottoman by the same perfumer (Marc-Antoine Corticchiato) – I had originally written it off, but if so many people say that Cuir X is basically a modernized snippet of Cuir Ottoman, then I owe it to myself and my wallet to give it another try (seeing as it’s about €40 cheaper).

A friend said that it is 96.5% similar to Cuir de Lancome at the top (which, honestly, it is) but then diverges towards the heart. I can confirm this – despite a similar top note, Cuir de Lancome is more floral and has a soft powder to it that Cuir X does not. But there are other suede perfumes. And lots of time. I have patience and an Excel spreadsheet.

Crushes are unreliable and desire can ebb away as quickly as it comes. Let’s see which way this goes.

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16 Comments

  • Reply Starblind January 20, 2016 at 1:24 am

    Hi, Claire,

    I so enjoyed this review! I’m dying to know if you’ve compared Cuir X to Cuir Ottoman yet, and if so, what your thoughts and impressions are. I love CO, although its projection and longevity leave something to be desired. Just how different or similar is Cuir X? I haven’t yet tried a sample, but may consider heading off to Barney’s if your crush is still in full swing! :-)

    • Reply Claire February 2, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Hey Starblind! Thanks for commenting. You know what, I have a rather large sample of Cuir Ottoman winging its way to me as we speak, so I will do a side-by-side when it gets here and let you know. People whose opinion I respect tell me that they are very similar, only that Cuir X is less sweet and altogether less oriental than Cuir Ottoman. But I don’t mind a bit of sweet or oriental, in fact quite the opposite, so I am expecting that my hankering for Cuir X will soon be put to bed. We will see!

  • Reply Spring has Sprung: Linden and Lilacs – Fragrance Daily May 15, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    […] – styrax perhaps – reminds me of another fragrance from La Parfumerie Moderne, namely Cuir X, which is something I’ve developed a mild obsession with. The slightly bitter suede is needed […]

  • Reply MrsDalloway January 8, 2017 at 6:18 pm

    Did you buy it in the end, Claire? What ended up as your top suede? I’m on the third wearing of my sample and the crush is growing for me too. And for Désarmant too (credit card weeps).

    I do have two bottles each of Cuir d’Ange and Cuir Pleine Fleur, and one of Cuir de Lancôme, so it’s hard to argue I need it, but but…

    • Reply Claire January 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Mrs Dalloway! It’s a pleasure to see you here! I still love Cuir X, but my fever for it has passed, mercifully. My itch for it is too comprehensively scratched by perfumes I already own and which you’ve mentioned, such as Cuir de Lancome, Cuir Ottoman, Cuir d’Ange and Cuir Pleine Fleur, and I would add Donna Karan Signature to that line up too. So, I just can’t justify the expense to myself. Recently, I’ve also been keen on the new Cartier, L’Envol, which has a huge violet leaf and doughy suede presence – have you tried it? To be completely honest, though, if Cuir X were priced more reasonably at the 80-90 euros mark, I would have bought it already, thematic overlap be damned. I just don’t think it’s different enough to justify the full 160 it goes for, and I’ve never found one on discount. Now, I am very interested in milky suedes, and I would love that aspect of Osmanthe Yunnan taken one step further, so if you stumble upon something like this, please let me know! Milk and smoke on suede would be my dream. I’m surprised to hear you are taken with Desarmant as I wouldn’t have pegged you for a lilac lover at all! But yes, I agree, something very tender and melancholy about that one, as if Apres L’Ondee had been re-done with lilacs instead of violets and heliotrope.

      Cheers, Claire

    • Reply Claire January 9, 2017 at 8:57 pm

      Mrs Dalloway! It’s a pleasure to see you here! I still love Cuir X, but my fever for it has passed, mercifully. My itch for it is too comprehensively scratched by perfumes I already own and which you’ve mentioned, such as Cuir de Lancome, Cuir Ottoman, Cuir d’Ange and Cuir Pleine Fleur, and I would add Donna Karan Signature to that line up too. So, I just can’t justify the expense to myself. Recently, I’ve also been keen on the new Cartier, L’Envol, which has a huge violet leaf and doughy suede presence – have you tried it? To be completely honest, though, if Cuir X were priced more reasonably at the 80-90 euros mark, I would have bought it already, thematic overlap be damned. I just don’t think it’s different enough to justify the full 160 it goes for, and I’ve never found one on discount. Now, I am very interested in milky suedes, and I would love that aspect of Osmanthe Yunnan taken one step further, so if you stumble upon something like this, please let me know! Milk and smoke on suede would be my dream. I’m surprised to hear you are taken with Desarmant as I wouldn’t have pegged you for a lilac lover at all! But yes, I agree, something very tender and melancholy about that one, as if Apres L’Ondee had been re-done with lilacs instead of violets and heliotrope.

      Cheers, Claire

  • Reply MrsDalloway January 10, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    Oh, I haven’t tried L’Envol, must do that – it sounds great. No, I never have gone for lilac scents but is is rather beautiful. I can’t really justify getting either at the moment though, so am fighting the urge too. 80-90 euros would be perfect!

    I will just keep wearing my samples for the moment. Problem is I tested them after testing various Puredistance and found them nicer and comparatively bargainaceous…

    • Reply Claire January 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Aha, I know that feeling! After 300+ for 60mls, 160 euros for 100mls seems so reasonable! Practically free, using perfume math :-) What I did was put my sample of Cuir X away for a little while, tested and wore my other suedes, and then went back to test the Cuir X – I still love it, but I don’t see it quite as urgent as I did at first. Oh and please let me know of L’Envol when you try it!

    • Reply Claire January 10, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Aha, I know that feeling! After 300+ for 60mls, 160 euros for 100mls seems so reasonable! Practically free, using perfume math :-) What I did was put my sample of Cuir X away for a little while, tested and wore my other suedes, and then went back to test the Cuir X – I still love it, but I don’t see it quite as urgent as I did at first. Oh and please let me know of L’Envol when you try it!

  • Reply MrsDalloway January 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    L’Envol is pretty good, isn’t it? Could easily be say an Atelier Cologne for a lot more. Whereas presently House of Fraser has gift sets in the sale with 80ml plus deodorant for £56. I like it a lot better than Stash, which is getting mystifying love on the blogs. Was glad to see you weren’t too keen on that one either!

    • Reply Claire January 14, 2017 at 11:51 pm

      L’Envol is pretty good alright! Stash bothers me a bit with that bitterish Iso E Super / cedar note upfront, but the creamy, synthy sandalwood drydown smells pretty good on my coats and scarves, so it is growing on me! It actually reminds me more and more of a cross between Kyoto and Santal 33. I’m wearing something at the moment that could possibly be in the same wheelhouse, Sybarite by Cloon Keen Atelier, the fragrance house from Galway – have you ever come across the house? Bloom carries the range, I believe. I love their Castana, a milky chestnut and vetiver not a million miles away from Bois Farine, which, if I remember correctly, you also like? Sybarite is a cool, green sandalwood with herbal incense and the same milky, wheaten note I get in Castana, only more ambery. I think the aesthetic of the line – transparent, cool, woody – might be down your alley.

      • Reply MrsDalloway January 15, 2017 at 8:04 am

        Oh yes, I do love Bois Farine and Castaña is definitely on my to-try list. Do you find it to have similarities with Vétiver Tonka too? I had a bottle of Lune de Givre but went off it and sold it on. I will look out for Sybarite too.

        For some reason it was the drydown of Stash I particularly hated but can’t pinpoint why. I am in a very small minority on this one!

        • Reply Claire January 16, 2017 at 11:23 pm

          No, actually I think that Deadidol on Basenotes also had the same reaction – he liked everything except for the drydown, which he said was marred by obnoxious sandalwood synthetics. But different people are obviously sensitive to different synthetics – the fake sandalwood doesn’t bother me at all (actually I enjoy it) but you’re the second person I’ve met who can’t stand it! Usually for me, it’s something woody ambery, one of those aromachemicals added to give potency and radiance – those I can’t bear but others don’t even notice them. A scientist friend explained to me that once your nose locks in on one particular ingredient or aromachemical, it can be very hard to unsmell it and even small amounts of it can seem too much. Castana gets compared to Vetiver Tonka a lot, but I don’t think the vetiver component in Castana is anywhere near as strong. Maybe the creaminess of texture of what links them? I am curious about Lune de Givre – why did you sell it on? I am also interested in Bataille des Fleurs and the new Assam one – please let me know if you’ve smelled them!

          • MrsDalloway January 19, 2017 at 7:20 pm

            It is strange, isn’t it? Interesting explanation. I liked the beginning and don’t suppose I’d hate the dry down if I smelt it on someone else. It was just not good on me.

            Lune de Givre- the first couple of times I tested it, I thought it was good but ended up a bit musty. But it still intrigued me and I ended up buying. Terrific box too. And I really liked it for a bit but ended up not wearing it much, and when I did the mustiness was back. The particular combination of iris, angelica, ambrette and galbanum? I love most of them individually in other scents (don’t know about angelica and not keen on iris solo). I’ve not tried any others from the line but definitely will.

  • Reply Rachel January 23, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    Is something up with your blog? On the main page I see no posts since the one about Dusita, and no archive for January. I can see this post only because it shows up in “recent comments.” Maybe it’s just me, but I thought you should know.

    • Reply Claire January 24, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Hi Rachel, the blog is on hiatus – thanks! Best, Claire

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