Thursday 8 September 2016


It seems that the days of fragrance counters displaying nothing but innocently sounding perfumes has long gone. In the past the furthest that most went was Scandal or Exclamation, but with the arrival of Fetish, Sex and even Fleur d'Anus the public became switched on to a new breed of perfumers. There is an element of shock value to be sure, but most of these fragrances actually have a grounding in very classic accords. Molinard first revealed its sexual side in 1921 with Habanita, and at the end of 2015 they followed it up with a carnal leather. So, leave Julie Andrews at home as I introduce you to Cuir.

When Molinard relaunched Habanita in 2011 the advert became much more suggestive than the previous hand drawn depictions of a sensual lady. They were aiming their product at a younger audience, a more experimental perfume wearer. Remember, we were in the throws of the Fruity Floral, so this grand dame of a perfume would be unknown territory for many people. The gamble paid off and the legendary fragrance received a new lease of life. Jump forward to 2015 and Molinard have done it again. This time Célia Lerouge-Bénard, their Executive Director, has revealed all for their latest advert.

Cuir, which translates as leather, was designed to sit closely to the skin but radiate a sexual aura. Getting this message across to the public was always going to be a challenge but Célia Lerouge-Bénard's idea was both a surprise and a gift to the marketing department. Of the image she simply says, "what better way to embody the brand?" With a carefully placed arm and her wrists wrapped in leather, the sexuality of this fragrance is telegraphed to the moon and back. A secret is also hidden on the poster. Underneath CUIR is written JOUIR in lighter text, which means ENJOY LEATHER ... and I certainly did!

Cuir opens quietly, and by this I mean that you wonder whether there is anything there, but the warmth of your skin seems to kick start an animalic explosion. At first you get an almost luminous bergamot and verbena introduction, but the clever part is that as the nutmeg appears you find yourself plunging straight down into the fragrance, and there is no escape. There are a lot of powerful ingredients in Cuir and your nose becomes a bit frenzied as it tries to work out what it's smelling next.

Patchouli links beautifully with the saffron, and actually keeps the oud firmly restrained, whilst the lavender gives an almost "hot skin" effect when smelled with the amber note. The "leather" is a gloriously labdanum heavy accord which just screams "sex", and I really mean screams. The amount of labdanum used in a leather fragrance can either make it clean or dangerous, and this one is wonderfully dangerous! The sandalwood and musk really help to round off the whole fragrance by providing a bed for the carnal deed, so to speak, and with a lily on the nightstand you're in for one hell of an adventure!

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