Post by SarahK
Hello ‘fume fans!
Today’s fragrance is one that I confess I first sprayed with trepidation. I enjoy leather notes in perfume, but am not generally one for heavy animalics or smoky leathers, and some other reviews mentioned the words ‘sweat’ and ‘faecal’, making me hesitate. So, one small spritz later, I was rather surprised to discover a smooth, true leather. It is the rich saddle-leather of Chanel’s Cuir de Russie, though Hard Leather is all leather, with none of Cuir de Russie’s soap and flowers covering it. There is some stable and horse in here, and the top and basenotes are more cowboy than show-jumper (particularly with a more generous spraying than I tried at first) but nothing I would describe as truly dirty. Believe me, I’ve smelled dirty ‘fumes – some vintage Detchema had me retching in the 15 minutes that I managed not to scrub it – but I would say that L’Artisan’s Dzing smells dirtier than Hard Leather.
Hard Leather by Jerome Epinette for LM Parfums 2014
Photo Stolen Fragrantica
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Leather, rum
Heart: Iris, honey
Base: Sandalwood, cedar, agarwood (oud), olibanum, vanilla, styrax
Hard Leather has a tarriness that I’ve also found in some other fragrances with oud notes, like Dior’s Leather Oud, and Kilian’s Pure Oud. I have a limited tolerance for tarry notes, but here it’s soft enough still to seem like rich leather, rather than bitumen, at least until the drydown. Even better, I do not get the harsh rubbing-alcohol edge that I have experienced from some other modern leather and oud perfumes. This is a rich fragrance, particularly in its heart, but there’s a cool iris in it that, for me, adds a feeling of hauteur and restraint. Apparently there are rum and honey notes in here, but I don’t really notice them. The fragrance is never sweet or boozy on me, so those elements appear to serve just to smooth out the leather and styrax, occasionally even creating an impression of musky blackberries.
Photo Stolen WikiMedia
Hard Leather becomes drier and somewhat ashy over the course of its life. This makes the drydown feel more animalic, chemical and masculine – if there’s a ‘dirty’ stage in the fragrance, this is where I experience it. I still find the scent fascinating, but I much prefer the heart of the scent, and the way I experience the drydown means that I probably wouldn’t wear this fragrance outside the house, particularly because it’s the drydown stage that lasts and lasts.
To me, the heart of Hard Leather evokes the aristocratic world of the early 20th Century – a mix of power, money, straitlaced manners and naughtiness. In other words, it’s a class act, and if the scent stayed that way in the drydown, I would love it. This is a long way from some of the reviews I have read (witness, for example, the sweaty New Orleans summer stink that Hard Leather’s topnotes evoked for The Scented Hound!). It’s clear that this is a fragrance where existing associations and skin chemistry can make a big difference in how you perceive it. I find the top and heart very enjoyable, but the long-lasting base is simultaneously too dry and animalic for me. However you perceive it, I don’t think the scent is a complete sillage monster, but it does project well for several hours, and its arid drydown sticks around for the whole day.
Photo Stolen WikiMedia
What’s your favourite leather fragrance?