Cuir Pleine Fleur by Heeley is a dirty floral leather, and if you know anything about me, you understand I mean it in the best possible way. I love Chanel Cuir de Russie as much as possible, but since the current EDT formula from the Les Exclusifs collection is not exactly what it used to be, there's room in my life for another elegant floral leather, perhaps with less aldehydes and more oomph. Heeley's Cuir provides it in spades.
Hay is not mentioned on the note list, but it's quite unmistakable if you ask me. Dirty hay smells sweet and steamy on a hot summer day, and that's what I'm getting here. Like the good part of being on a dairy farm (the noise you're hearing is the Blond laughing himself to death, because he grew up on one). I find Cuir Pleine Fleur a lot more barnyard-like than Dzing! or Kenzo Jungle L'Elephant, mostly because there's no sweet vanilla here to distract me. I guess the birch is responsible for the dirtiness that clings to the very soft leather-bordering on warm suede.
The flower notes here are bordering on heady but not go there all the way. Mimosa, if used to the full effect, can be very honeyed. Heeley chose to keep it a bit cleaner (making me wonder what would happen if I layer Miel de Bois with Cuir Pleine Fleur. They'd probably have to evacuate North Jersey). The violets contribute to the grassy outdoorsy feel of the perfume, but also add a little sweetness right when the leather/suede takes over. It's beautiful, very streamlined, and despite what my opening paragraph might have made you think, also very elegant. James Heeley applies his very modern design philosophy to his perfumes, so despite the flowers and soft leather notes there is none of the nostalgic feel of Cuir de Russie here. It's not a vintage leather purse nor is it a 1950s leather jacket. Cuir Pleine Fleur is happening here and now, doesn't obey traditional gender rules but yet feels classic and timeless.
A lovely surprise about Cuir Pleine Fleur is its longevity. While the sillage is polite and very mild, I easily get 12-14 hours from it. It took me a few days of testing to realize it, though. At first I thought it was something else around me that smelled so nice, soft and intriguing around me. I sniffed my surrounding, checked the cats (Josephine and Lizzy know how to open drawers. Much mischief ensues) until I realized it was me, my scarf and even my blanket. Just another reason to love this Heeley creation.
Notes (via jamesheeley.com): violet leaf, bergamot, mimosa, aubepine (acaccia), hawthorn blossom, birch, suede, vetiver, cedarwood, castoreum.
Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur ($150, 100ml EDP) is available from Barneys and Luckyscent.
Photo of Cindy Crawford from life.com, photos of James Heeley and his creations from jamesheeley.com.