The secret to Cuir d’Iris is that it is simultaneously sooty and wet. Bone-dry cedarwood and iris kick up dust eddies as stale as the air from a newly-fired radiator. Floating in this thick miasma is the scent of the milking shed, successive days of cow juice coagulating slowly on the concrete floor, soured slightly by the sun. Wisps of charcoal or soot add a grainy dimension that might be interpreted as smoke of some sort.
Add to this Pierre Guillaume’s signature amber-musk combo that smells uniquely intimate, like the sweet, yeasty folds of skin under a baby’s neck or the two-day scalp of a loved one, and you have yourself a result that stands less with the Cuir de Russies and the Knize Tens of the world, and more with the L’Air de Riens. And yet, step back, and this is still clearly leather – freshly cured, curdy, a bit raw and thin.
But leather is just skin after all. And human skin is still animal skin. In the series ‘Hannibal’, his therapist tells him that while she admires its construction, what he is wearing is a well-constructed person suit, suggesting that his humanity is something one can slip into (or out of) as easily as one would a pair of dress pants. Cuir d’Iris, with its organic, lived-in human-ness, is the ultimate parfum de peau. Robots and psychopaths, take note.
Source of sample: I bought my own bottle of Cuir d’Iris in 2015. Many thanks to Danny C. who safeguarded it in London for two whole years before my brother was able to go pick it up.