Knize Ten has been around since the mid 1920s, a fact that places it immediately as a contemporary to some of the greatest perfume classics of all times. It definitely deserves the company, especially as I suspect it fared a lot better than many of them. Still, I never encountered the original or any of the vintage/older iterations of Knize Ten and my samples came from the first batch that reached Luckyscent last December. It smells yet wonderfully related to the best leather perfumes of the past and anchored in their dark and rich world.
Knize Ten illustrates to me the meaning of an ambery leather, two notes that sometimes feel mutually exclusive. It has both butch toughness but also a sweet roundness and a hint of soft powder that paints the perfume in other shades other than black. Maybe a cognac color. Knize Ten has notes and nuances that are familiar from other favorite leather perfumes. Orris, musk, bitter herbs and spices- they form a kaleidoscope of scents, making me think of everything from Cuir Ottoman to Etro Gomma. Of course, the house of Knize released this masterpiece (a co-creation by François Coty and Vincent Roubert, the latter is of Fath's Iris Gris fame) decades before Uncle Serge dreamed of Cuir Mauresque, which makes the leather-lover appreciate this one even more.
Thomas at Pere de Pierre finds Knize Ten demanding and difficult to wear. I don't know, for me this is a very warm and welcoming perfume. It's labeled as a masculine, but I don't find it any more so than Azuree, Bandit or Cabochard or any of the other leather perfumes I mentioned above. Then again, I'm a woman who wears Lonestar Memories, Duro and every vetiver perfume known to men, so don't take my word for it. I feel like rolling on a cashmere blanket saturated with it, just so I can smell like it for as long as I can. There's something about leather and iris that makes the combination irresistible to me- I just can't get enough.
Knize Ten ($70, 50 ml EDT) is available from Luckyscent together with other Knize perfumes.
Photo of actress/dancer/artist Tilly Losch from The Roaring Twenties blog.