La Parfumerie Moderne Cuir X

12th January 2016

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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20th January 2016 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! 🙂


[…] – 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 […]

8th January 2017 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…

10th January 2017 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…

13th January 2017 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!

15th January 2017 8:04 am
Reply to  Claire

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!

19th January 2017 7:20 pm
Reply to  Claire

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.

23rd January 2017 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.

15th May 2017 9:41 pm

What a terrific review, Claire! I feel a kindred impression of Cuir X. It definitely feels modern, and yet, there’s just “something about it” that keeps attention.

I’ve been kind of “caught” in a leather fragrance vortex. I’ve found a number of interesting leather fragrances, but I can’t quite pare them down to just a few. In the interest of keeping my collection “sound”, I don’t want to acquire too many variants of the same theme–leather. I’m trying to isolate it into 3 camps — dirty/spicy, clean/modern, sumptuous/creamy. I find Cuir X to be a partial blend of all three.

From how I perceive it, it feels like Cuir X has accord/elements from CREED Royal English Leather (which I really love), CHANEL Cuir de Russie, and modern HERMES Bel Ami. CREED REL is vaulted and far too expensive for ease of use. I have one bottle of it and I wear it on special occasions, or periodic test sprays just to enjoy the aroma for a little while on occasion. I have Elsha 1776, which is a more “masculine” interpretation of Cuir de Russie… but not on the same level of ingredients and composition (it’s inexpensive, so it’s very easy to indulge). The floral component of CdR is a bit more than I usually care for, so Elsha 1776 became my choice. Then there’s Bel Ami… I love the vintage version. The more recent version of Bel Ami has been modernized, and I pick up a little of it in Cuir X. I could also see if you took Knize Ten, polished off the edges and sweetened it a bit, you’d also arrive at something akin to Cuir X.

But the one thing holding me back on Cuir X has been the price. $220 USD is too much for what it delivers. And so, I kept an eye out and finally lucked out on a bottle for less than half the retail price! Now that, I can deal with. 🙂

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