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Cuir Beluga


So I’m wondering if I really do smell the soft leather in Guerlain’s Cuir Beluga from the 2005 L'Arts et Matière collection, or is it simply the power of suggestion, the result of the lengthy conversation with the charming Guerlain perfume expert who sold it to me, or the description on the website, as “…having the softness of white suede”.

I definitely smell the bright fizzy mandarin orange aldehyde accord in the opening, I definitely notice when the scent warms up with unmistakable hints of the maple syrup/curry immortelle flower, and I’m delighted when I detect heliotrope and I think of Guerlain Apres l’Ondee, and I’m deliriously happy when Cuir Beluga slides into a deliciously warm, feminine, feather-light vanilla and amber cloud which gently wafts for hours. These scent perceptions are real and solid, but the leather is much more elusive.
Cuir Beluga’s leather note. It’s there, faintly, and then it’s not. And then it is. Maybe it’s not leather. Yes, it is a leather note – just very, very soft…almost…like white suede.
I love leather scents, like Cuir de Russie or Cuir de Lancôme, which to me are about statement, like an expensive accessory, worn to be noticed and admired. I was underwhelmed when I first experienced Cuir Beluga, but I was determined to “get” the leather-suede note. After wearing it exclusively for the past week, I’ve come to realize that Cuir Beluga is not a leather scent at all, and is actually a light vanilla/amber with vague hints of leather, which are most obvious in the far dry-down, a Guerlain in the classic mode created by Olivier Polge, updated for modern sensibilities. The power of a word – leather - lead my brain in the wrong direction.
Guerlain is spot-on when they declare that Cuir Beluga is a “totally unexpected sensorial experience.” This scent is unexpectedly quiet and contained, soft, elegant, feminine. It’s not at all like wearing a fabulous accessory, it’s much more like wearing expensive silk underwear. 
Notes: immortelle (everlasting flower), leather, amber, vanilla, mandarin, heliotrope
Type: EdP
Parfumeur: Olivier Polge

Price: $7.00