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One of the things I love about Serge Lutens perfumes are the “surprise” notes. Many of his scents have a note, usually a top note, that is strange, weird, so unexpected and out of context it makes you wonder “Why, why is this note in this perfume?” and then as the scent develops and the many layers unfold, the weirdness becomes magic, and stunning beauty emerges on your skin, and you understand. At this point, I say “Ahhhh” and enter a state of bliss.

The ‘surprise”note in Cuir Mauresque is right up-front in the first spritz. I get a blast of plastic, acrid and artificial, like the distinctive resinous smell of a new vinyl shower curtain. What has plastic got to do with leather? It’s the burnt styrax, the leather note which is resinous and smoky, mixed with the aloe wood (oudh), which smells sour and dusty, I’m guessing. It forms a strange accord and this weirdness hovers for a couple of minutes then recedes, settling quietly under the sweetened citrus notes of mandarin peel and blossoms mixed with the aromatic dark spices. 

Jasmine shines through, and then the leather heart starts to emerge slowly. With hints of the resin and the smoke, Cuir Mauresque transforms into a soft floral leather, not too sweet or sour, not too bright or dark, not too raunchy or subdued. A leather that becomes your own skin, softened with amber and civet, scented with woods and incense, which stays with you for hours with a soft sillage but which remains very much alive. A personal scent.

Notes of amber, myrrh, burnt styrax, incense, cinnamon, aloe wood, cedar, civet, nutmeg, clove, cumin, musk, mandarin peel and orange blossom.
Type: EdP
Parfumeur: Christopher Sheldrake

Price: $7.00