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Thursday, February 02, 2006

Perfume Review: Serge Lutens Cuir Mauresque

Serge Lutens line of fragrances, both export and exclusive, is the one that agrees with my skin chemistry the most. I had incredible luck with his scents; out of over thirty pefumes in his line, I dislike only one and am a little ambivalent about four or five. Cuir Mauresque used to fall into that second category of scents I just could not quite “understand” and truly love. I am not sure what unfortunate foible of my skin chemistry made me unable to fully appreciate this wonderful scent and see it for what it is, a complex, dark, warm, infinitely enjoyable leather fragrance quite unlike any other. I am glad that the cloud lifted. Cuir Mauresque is now one of my favorite Lutens scents and is undoubtedly full bell jar worthy.

Along with Muscs Koublai Khan, I consider this to be one of Lutens’s most sensual, most seductive scents. Cuir Mauresque makes my mouth dry and my knees week. From the slap of pure unadulterated leather in the beginning to the warm, gentle caress of cinnamon and orange blossom at the middle stage, to the wonderful dark, ambery, leathery embrace of the drydown, Cuir Mauresque charmed, enamoured and enslaved me. This being a Lutens scent, it goes almost without mention that the woody accord of cedar and aloe wood (agarwood, the source of ouds) is executed in the most exquisite way; the wood here serves only as a background, but what a luscious, almost sweet background it is! I also adore the way a musk note is woven into the rich tapestry of the composition; even though never too evident, it is there at every stage of the development, adding the raw, animalistic accord that makes the blend all the more irresistible to me. I must also note that the drydown of Cuir Mauresque has a dim, buttery and very slightly powdery quality that I can’t help but compare to Guerlain’s renowned base.

Cuir Mauresque is a part of the non-export collection and is unfortunately only available at Les Salons du Palais Royal in Paris, where a much coveted bell jar retails for €100.00 for 75ml.

*The photo is from


Blogger marlen said...

Oh C, you hit the nail on the head! This is one of my all-time favorite leather scents - so sensual, so seductive, and so sexy!

5:06 AM EST  
Blogger Viktor Öland said...

Oh my dear god: the wood base, the leather accord. Why is SL doing everything so right? This is going to ruin my student economy. And why do the bell shaped bottles have to be so beautiful? Great review!

7:36 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I usually find any leather scent to be sensual, but this one exists on the whole different level of seductiveness I think.

8:31 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh yes, Lutens will be the reason for my banlrupcy, that's for sure.

The bottle here is a limited edition, so it is extra special, but even the regular ones are stunning.

8:32 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I remember about you and MKK (that was a great review!). Cuir Mauresque has much less of that animalic thing going on, so in that respect you would be safe. Still, I am not sure. This is something that should definitely be tried first. I did not like the first time I sampled it.

8:34 AM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

I like the way you described this one. It sounds delectable.

2:07 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I imagine it would add incredible sensuousness to an orange blossom scent.

2:33 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, Cait, it is delectable and I think you would like it! :-)

2:34 PM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Oooooohhhh. Maybe this will be my *other* serge. Have you tried Chergui, which I just fell in love with? How would you compare? You're reeling me in with the Guerlain comparison.

2:52 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am not a fan of Chergui. I don't dislike it, but I just don't "get" it. It is simple, sweet and perfumey on me. And I must say I tried and I tried to appreciate it, but to no avail. So I gave up.

I like Cuir M. much much better.

3:32 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you, N! I hope you are well too!

12:04 PM EST  
Blogger carmencanada said...

Another Cuir Mauresque lover here... You've inspired me to spritz it on again... though it'll have to wait until AFTER my long-delayed pilgrimage to the Guerlain flagship store!

2:54 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Ah! What wouldn't I give to be able to visit Guerlain flagship store right now! I am bright green with envy :-)

4:35 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to wonder whether any of you have ever smelled pure aloeswood or the oil derived from it. It varies in fragrance from earthy to fungal to resinous to leathery to smoky to fruity to spicy to evergreen-ish.. with every possible combination of those elements, depending on its geographical source, age, quality, etc.. I currently have in my "stash" oudh (in oil form) from Cambodia (my favorite), India, Malaysia, and Burma. I have actual aloeswood (in wood form) from Cambodia and Vietnam. I also have some powdered aloeswood from Indonesia that I use when I make incense. It is also possible to buy the pure resin derived from the wood. Generally, the quality of aloeswood depends on the amount of resin that the wood contains. There is even a "fake aloeswood" being produced in China, which is a very, very low-quality aloeswood (or possibly other wood entirely!) that has been boiled in water and low-quality oudh (oil). The finest qualities of aloeswood (astronomically priced, too) will emit their fragrance without being burned or smoldered, but most aloeswood (also known as agarwood, by the way) must be committed to the flames before you can enjoy its beautiful scent.

2:24 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One other thing. I don't want to take up too much space here, but there is some terminology in the world of fragrance which I think may confuse some people. I see many references to something called "incense". This term can apparently vary from perfumer to perfumer. Some, in general terms, would call spice and smoke "incense". The term "incense" has also been used to refer to aloeswood, which is sometimes called "incense wood". Of course, other woods are used for making incense. There is a wood which is powdered to use as a filler and binder in incense, called makko, which is sometimes also called "incense wood", especially in Japan. Naturally, sandalwood sometimes receives the same designation.

2:31 AM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I got two bottles imported from France. I live in Asia. I tell you there's nothing like Cuir Mauresque (Moorish Leather). But I guess you overlooked the jasmine here.

6:14 PM EDT  

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