I've had a soft spot for Memo perfumes ever since visiting their (now closed) standalone Paris boutique in 2008, not long after the brand launched. Memo was not available in the US until this year when several stores finally picked up the line, making things a bit easier and wishlists that much longer. Irish Leather was a "like" turned into "love" turned into a bottle, and the only surprise here is that it was the only one of Memo's Cuir Nomades series the husband and I felt compelled to have (we still need to try the newest, African Leather). The green notes are what got to us.
The opening of Irish Leather is surprisingly bright and juicy. It feels like biting into a green stem and feeling your mouth with something similar to wood sorrel (the kind with yellow flowers). No citrus is listed among the official notes, but I get that flinty facet of grapefruit, and it adds even more bright juicy bitterness to the incandescent herbal impression. Sometimes when I wear Irish Leather I expect the top notes to be followed by an inky or swampy vetiver, along the lines of Encre Noire or Lampblack. Instead, the green of this Memo fragrance is darker and slightly peppery, evergreens and juniper berries, that complements the dry leather note (no hint of butter).
Irish Leather is both crisp and warm, the latter impression is the result of the birchy leather that's laced with hey. I don't find it particularly barnyady or even very animalic. It's less horse and more the horse's natural habitat, an old saddle forgotten or tossed onto the grassy meadow. That grassy thing is actually very dominant, contributing to the phantom vetiver note. When The Blond got home tonight he asked which one of "his" vetivers I borrowed. It was Irish Leather, over ten hours after spritzing.Which brings us to the phenomenal longevity of this perfume. It has a strong presence and an actual sillage even after a full day. I've worn it in the dead of summer, when the green felt refreshing and the tarry leather fiery and dry (perfect on a humid NYC day). I wear it now for its warmth (Kafkaesque, on the other hand, can't stand it).
Notes: pink pepper, clary sage, juniper berry, green maté absolute, flouve, iris concrete, tonka bean absolute, leather, birch, amber accord.
Memo- Irish Leather ($250, 75 ml eau de parfum) is available from Luckyscent, Aedes, and Neiman Marcus. The latter also carries the travel size ($145, 3x10ml).