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Cuir Velours – I love leather, but I could be suede – New Fragrance Listing, March 4, 2013


Photo - Cuir Velours packaging - courtesy of Naomi Goodsir Parfums

Sunday is market day in Paris. I love a good market - fruits, veggies, meats, fish, cheese and wine all beautifully laid out while purveyors hawk their goods to the shoppers walking by.

My favourite market is d’Aligre because in addition to the food stalls, there are people selling used stuff like crockery, clothes, photographs, etc. Ohhh, I do love to search through boxes of bric a brac, looking for treasure. And, on a good day, there are a couple of merchants who show up to sell samples of vintage fragrances cheap – like 5 euro cheap.

Poking around a market is a great way to pass a couple of hours on a Sunday. But just to whet my olfactory appetite, I often drop by Sens Unique on the way to d’Aligre – just to re-calibrate my sniffer. That’s where I first met Naomi Goodsir a couple of Sundays ago.

I was wafting around the store, chatting with Renata, one of the owners, when she turned to me and said, “I’d like you to meet someone” and introduced me to Naomi Goodsir  - Australian milliner, handbag designer and the person behind Naomi Goodsir Parfums. We started chatting about Australia, Canada, our childhoods, travel and her perfumes, Cuir Velours and Bois d’Ascese. I liked her right away, but I loved her fragrances, especially Cuir Velours.

That day she was wearing a leather hat trimmed with fur and carrying a gorgeous big black leather bag (which I covet). I asked her what the inspiration was for Cuir Velours and she said that as she works with leather a lot so her hands often smell of it. Cuir Velours captures that scent.

It opens warm and spicy with cardamom seeds and coriander. It smells waxy and floral for a minute or two before a note of leather, animalic, sweet and resinous from labdanum, comes forward. A note of rum gives it a boozy depth. Immortelle flower adds floral sweetness to the heart. The leather gets softer at the base, becoming a soft, supple suede. There is a gorgeous whiff of hay from blond tobacco as well as a slight earthiness from patchouli. Tonka bean gives it a spicy/vanilla/almond note that just rounds it all out perfectly.

In an email to me, Naomi wrote: “As a milliner, I work with a variety of materials (including leather) and usually this involves quite a bit of hand sculpting. (I also design and make leather handbags).At times the smell of leather is quite strong in my atelier, so using ‘leather’ as a raw material for a perfume seemed relevant. I was also riding horses from a very young age - the smell of sweaty ‘animalistic’ saddle leather is ingrained in my memory.

Texture is very inspiring to me when designing/creating a hat etc – so we hope that Cuir Velours is a little textured too - a scent that evocatively encases the skin like soft velvet suede.”

Cuir Velours is textured all right. The drydown is leather caressed by tobacco, rum and immortelle so that it has the velvety, supple elegance of suede - this is no crack-of-the-whip leather fragrance. On me, Cuir Velours seems to bond with my skin so that it seems to be part of it and not just sprayed on it.

It smells as if, like Naomi, you have been working with leather. And, since I’m not very good at designing hats or bags, I think I’ll just stick to spritzing myself with Cuir Velours.

Hats off to you Naomi, Cuir Velours is going to be in demand for along time.

Cuir Velours is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $6.00 for 1 ml.