Perfume Review: Prada Cuir Ambre, Iris and Oeillet
A couple of years before releasing their signature scent into wide distribution, Prada launched a collection of several exclusive perfumes that were more or less only available in Prada boutiques. (I say "more or less", because it seems that the fragrances also were or still are sold in Harrods as well as in Printemps and Galleries Lafayette in Paris ). The fragrances were Cuir Ambre, Fleur d'Oranger, Iris, and Oeillet. According to Now Smell This, in 2007, Narcisso, Tubereuse and Violette were also added to the collection. I distinctly remember smelling yet another exclusive Prada scent, called Iris Santal, but it might have been a very short-lived limited edition of some sort. Today I am talking about Cuir Ambre, Iris and Oeillet.
Cuir Ambre. The three scents have a luxurious, sumptuous feel, and Cuir Ambre is the richest smelling of all. Its elegantly robust, warm leather accord with a slight vanillic and substantional ambery undertone should delight fans of Tabac Blond, Knize Ten, Cuir Mauresque and Royal English Leather. The lavish, powdery orris in the heart and the deep, slightly smoky, woody base gave the scent a very appealing classic, maybe even retro quality. This is a gorgeous, full-bodied, hearty leather scent that is certainly worth its price ( I must note that all three are parfums).
Iris (not to be confused with the new Infusion d'Iris. ) is a beautiful woody iris fragrance that on my skin has none of the raw feel which sometimes accompanies iris in perfume and which to me is the best feature of an iris note. I don't hold this against Prada's creation though, because instead it offers an attractive almost-fruity characteristic, which makes the powdery note a little" juicier" than usual, and a charming sandalwood-vanilla drydown that is soft and cuddly, in a fluffy-skin-scent sort of way. Much less robust than Cuit Ambre or Oeillet, Iris has the least lasting power on me.
Oeillet. I said many times that I am not a fan of carnations in perfume (or at all), but there are a select few fragrances that I like featuring the note, and Oeillet is one of them. Like Cuir Ambre, it easily could have been created in the beginning of the 20th century. It has the unselfconscious opulence, the gorgeous trail, and the lasting power of an old classic. This rendition of carnation is both powdery and creamy, with a little bit of spice thrown in to fire up what otherwise could have been a rather prim and proper blend. To compare it to other carnation scents, it reminded me a little of Patou's sadly defunct and just as creamily-gorgeous Adieu Sagesse. Like Cuir Ambre, Oeillet seems to me to be worth every euro they are asking for it.
When Ina and I visited Prada boutique in New York, we were told that the range of these exclusives perfumes is not carried anymore (it was not made clear whether this just refers to this particular boutique, to Prada boutiques in the US or to all boutiques worldwide), because they were not financially successful. It seems, however, that the perfumes are available in Paris, at Printemps and Galleries Lafayette. If they indeed have been discontinued (in the US?), it is a big shame, as these are wonderfully well-blended, beautiful, high quality scents. Samples of Cuir Ambre, Iris and Oeillet can be found at Fishbone Fragrances.