It's so wonderful to be able to approach a perfume with almost no prior knowledge of its construction, especially when it turns out to be as impressive as Cuir Velours. One whiff, and I was plunged back into the childhood aromas I associate with hugs from aunties and grandmothers: lipstick that still smelt like lipstick; chalky face powder; rose-inflected body lotion; the leather of the handbag hanging off a shoulder; the fabric of a dress that's absorbed not the synthetic musks of a washing detergent, but the welcoming odour of its wearer.
Julien Rasquinet's composition invites an immediate comparison with Ralf Schwieger's Lipstick Rose, and although both scents rely on nostalgic associations to achieve their effects, Cuir Velours doesn't induce the chuckles which LR always draws from me. Here, the floral waxiness of the cosmetics facet is allied to a surprising dose of spices (cardamom, cloves, perhaps a touch of cumin) as well as the eponymous tannery note (rich with resins in the base) to create a whole that is assertive and retrospective in equal measure. Suffused with the sort of glowing dignity which only hindsight is capable of granting to the past, it wraps itself in a tailored, full-length coat, dons an elegant hat and slips into patent leather heels before sauntering its way into the evening. A must try.
[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum obtained in 2013.]