A new perfume from Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is an exciting event. A straightforward leather perfume is even more so. The masculine range of Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier includes some of my very favorite perfumes: Iris Bleu Gris, Centaure, Parfum d'Habit and others. I always thought that the feminine perfumes in the line were more of an afterthought, created because it's good for the business, by someone who has a vague idea what women are supposed to smell like and/or buy, but without much care for the end result. This is why I was a little surprised to learn that the new perfume, Cuir Fetiche, is being launched as a feminine fragrance.
Cuir Fetiche is actually one of the more gender-less leather perfumes I can think of. Chanel Cuir de Russie and Cuir de Lancome are tinged with flower notes and butter-soft leather, making them very appealing to women (though both can and should be worn by men just as easily), while Tom Ford Tuscan Leather and Tauer Lonestar Memories are on the butch side. Then there are the quirky ones: Cuir Mauresque by dear Uncle Serge on its carnival of notes, colors and smells, or Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire that is the best leather couch money can buy. But Cuir Fétiche by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier is polite and civilized despite the chosen name and what the somewhat risque promotional image want you to believe.
Cuir Fétiche is definitely not the super freak you can't bring home to your mother. She may wear leather here and there, but it's most likely a pair of fabulous Manolos, a tasteful handbag, or since we're talking MPG, a brand that still makes scented gloves, a pair of red elbow length ones:
" The inspiration for our latest fragrance, Cuir Fétiche, born from a trip through the Massif Central in southern France, while I was looking for material for a new collection of gloves - says Jean Paul Millet Lage, who has taken on the legacy of Jean Laporte - During that trip I discovered a wonderful workshop filled with pieces of leather of all kinds and colors. A universe hidden behind a heavy wooden door, which is governed by the characteristic smell of leather and sensuous penetrating once painted seems to take new olfactory nuances depending on the color that characterizes it: purple-iris, white jasmine, vetiver green-, red- Amber ... " (from the press release)So, obviously, no kinky clubs and scary dominatrix behind this MPG creation, which is just as well. Cuir Fétiche is a lovely, smooth and dry leather, very restrained with that well-bred and expensive vibe I get from Esteban Cuir (the latter has a sweeter dry-down). If you ask me, Cuir Fétiche is a perfectly acceptable office fragrance. It's quiet and has a very low sillage, so you will not fumigate the entire floor. There are no sharp edges, nothing aggressive; it's not that the fragrance lacks sex appeal, it just doesn't try too hard to get there (unlike in the MPG ad).
Notes: mandarin, lemon, bergamot, geranium, leather, ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, iris, vanilla, musk, ambergris, patchouli, cedar and sandalwood
Don't miss Kevin's recent review of Cuir Fetiche on NST.
Cuir Fétiche by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier was released in Europe last month as a 100 ml Eau de Parfum. The price is €110 in the plain bottle, or €165 for the corset-wrapped bottle. In the US we can expect to see it at Henri Bendel, Luckyscent and Aedes in the near future.
Top photo: Ana Beatriz Barros in Red Leather Gloves, Daslu, Brasil, May 2008
Cuir Fétiche promotional photo from Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Facebook page.