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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Perfume Review: Lancome Cuir

Thanks to incredible generosity of a fellow perfume addict (the one responsible for my obsession with Djedi and Kolnisch Juchten; she knows who she is!), I got to sample a long-gone perfume, Cuir by Lancôme. The fragrance was first launched in 1936 as Révolte; the name was considered too confrontational and the scent was re-released in 1939 as Cuir. Whether the perfume was toned down a little as well, we will perhaps never know. It is difficult to come upon a bottle of Cuir with at least some fragrance remaining (and remaining in more or less smell-able condition), finding Révolte seems practically impossible.

In any case, to my nose, which the modern perfume industry is trying hard not to offend by issuing politically correct, neutral, dull fragrances, Cuir smells wonderfully uncivilized, feral even. It is one of those scents that, along with Muscs Koublai Khan, Yatagan and Kolnisch Juchten, taps into a barbarian streak I apparently have hidden somewhere deep inside me. It makes me feel …dangerous and sexy as all get out. Admittedly, the perfume I am smelling is old, so the animalic undertone, that smell of a lustful predator on a prowl, may be a side effect of the aging process of the scent and not what Lancôme originally intended. If that is so, praise be to the age of Cuir! The fragrance starts sweet, vaguely fruity even, making me think of ripe red roses and peaches. Almost immediately, the scent becomes more powdery and dry, and the leather appears on the scene. It does not have the birch tar smokiness of Russian leathers that I love so much, but it does have something just as attractive, a certain musky, sweaty, dirty aspect that appears somewhere in the middle of the scent’s development and lasts well into the drydown. Moon_fish is absolutely right, when he points out in his article on Cuir that this smell would befit Marquis de Sade’s characters. Under the quickly shed appearance of refinement, there is something depraved about this fragrance…

To be worn to secret gatherings involving planning a révolte or/and having an orgy or to the Satan’s ball as depicted in Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita.

The ad is from The painting is Sin by Franz von Shruck.


Blogger tmp00 said...

Damn I wish they'd let you edit comments..

in any case, what do we have to do to get this reissued?

Lancome, are you listening?

1:15 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

T--Lancome has been pretty good about reissuing scents lately, but I somehow doubt that they will reissue this:) It's too out of line with current "marketable" perfumes. Too dark. I really like it, although it's not quite as animalic on my skin as on M's (though the animal is clearly there). I'm pretty sure this is a chemistry issue: 2 separate SAs have commented recently (with some surprise) that a given perfume became somewhat softer on my skin. This probably helps explain my fondness for dark, heavy scents (though I'm sure I have an inner barbarian too:)

7:05 AM EDT  
Blogger elle said...

You already had me totally hooked w/ words like barbaric, uncivilized, feral, dirty. Deep, happy type of scent! However, that very final part about the ball in Master and Margarita...I may not be able to continue breathing until I find this scent on ebay. I may have to book a flight to Paris to cast myself at the feet of the powers that be at Lancome and beg for a reissue (NOT reformulation).

7:09 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It´s really sad that they discontinued Cuir - I´ve never smelled it, but after reading your review, this fragrance seems to be really extraordinary! And at the moemnt there seems to be no place for that kind of scent - as you already mentioned.
The perfume industry doesn´t want to see that there are more people than they think who just don´t wnat to smell that fruity-floral-ordinary stuff anywhere, anytime, anymore...
I also read your "Kolnisch Juchten" review. I´ve never heard of that fragrance & though I´m German, I also didn´t know that that "juchten" means russian leather. The only fragrance from Cologne/Köln I know is "Kölnisch Wasser" & that´s not a scent people round here like to wear (only if you´re about 80 years or older...)
Anyway, your description of Kolnisch Juchten tempted me very much! "Meaty", that sounds just wonderful to me :) - though a lot of people perhaps think I´m crazy...;) I always wanted a scent like that...

7:19 AM EDT  
Blogger marchlion said...

MMMMMMMmmmmmmmm.... boy, that sounds wonderful! I really do need to get ahold of some Yatagan. Yeah, I don't think this fits in with Lancome's current workings. "Feral" is not in the new rose one.

BTW your mods are on their way.

8:28 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful review, M. Although I am not a lover of overtly animalic scents (not that I don't have a beast in me, but I think I like my animal to be more hidden), I love your passion for such scents and do agree with your lament about the timid conformity of the perfume industry.

More than the perfume, I am drawn to that painting by Franz von Stuck. How delicious! I immediately googled his name, and I love his bold depictions of primal man (& woman)!
Thank you for introducing me to a new artist. : )

9:21 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Like Judith said above, Lancome has resissued some of their old scents (Magie, Sikim), although they reformulated them quite a bit. But, like Judith, I have a feeling Cuir might be too out there for them now. Still, who knows...

Lancome, are you listening?

9:41 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Of course you have an inner barbarian, look at the scents you find perfectly wearable...MKK, Kolnisch Juchten...'nuff said :-) A totally civilized person wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. :-)

9:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

If you stalk eBay long enough, it will come up eventually. But I'd rather you did book a ticket to Paris and begged at Lancome headquarters. Please? For all of us, barbarians? :-)

9:46 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I remember one of the commenters said that Juchten is a very old German word, apparently not really used anymore. Is that so?
Meaty is a quality that appeals to me too, so I for one definitely don't think you are crazy :-)

9:50 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

You haven't tried Yatagan??? What an unforgivable negligence on my part! It is easy to remedy though. The Curved Turkish Sabre will be flying to you asap.

9:52 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you very much! I love Stuck myself. I am particularly obsessed with this Sin paiting of his. It seems to fit every scent I like :-)

9:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You make it sound irresistible. I wish they'd make more scents like this nowadays. Adore that painting!

10:01 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I wish they did! And that might have noticed, I ve used everywhere I possibly could today. :-)

11:29 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Masters of the Dark Sweat LOL. Good one!
If you loved Djedi you cannot keep calling yourself a whitebread kind of girl. You've been corrupted.

11:31 AM EDT  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

You know dirty powder ain't my thing, LOL...but what a way cool ad! One of these days i mean to start collecting vintage perfume advertisements.

11:58 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

it is cool, isn't it? Unlike some airbrushed ads I won't name here :-)

12:26 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just googled a bit & found out that "Juchten" really is a German word!
That´s amazing, I´ve never heard of it! - But there are certainly a lot of things I haven´t heard of, I think...I´m feeling a bit dumb at the moment...;)
Like you said, it´s an old world, so my excuse is: I´m simply too young to know *lol*!
It isn´t used anymore I think, at least not in everyday life. I also read that it´s a Russian term.
I think it doesn´t sound German nor Russian, it simply sounds a bit strange...

2:14 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am sure there are words in Russian that I have not a clue about, especially, as you say, very old words. For example, I had no idea till a couple of months ago that there was a Russian equivalent of "juchten", "юфть". So there you ago!

2:37 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Of course you are with us, barbarians!! Thank you for reviewing Cuir in the first place, that's what got me so intersted in it.
As for those rose-fruity notes, I am sure each old bottle of Cuir would be aging differently. There are probably subtle differences in the smell of each.

9:24 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, so nice to see you here! Unfortunately, I haven't tried Scandal. I am stalking eBay but so far without success. I believe that the kind person who sent me a sample of Cuir has tried Scandal, so perhaps she will comment.

10:09 PM EDT  
Blogger jimmyfresno said...

I just received a vintage 15 ml. bottle I bought on ebay! It was sealed shut, but I was able to coax the Lalique stopper out with a few drops of warmed alcohol. Et Voila!

What was inside was definitely leathery, but unlike the other women's leather fragrances I experiment with, this one does have a lot of powder and slight floral counterpoint, against an unmistakeable animalic edgy leather. Too much powder for me to get away with. I would consider passing it on if someone is dying to get this vintage rarity. 11/28/06

2:18 PM EST  
Blogger Nieves said...

Just to let you know, this has been reissued by Lancôme as a part of their "collection perfumes", and it smells divine! A perfect mixture of powder and leather, and the Sales Assistant told me that it is the original formula (I don't know whether this is true). Anyway, it will be sold at a limited selection of Lancôme depositaries, and I am going to buy it, although it's very expensive.

2:49 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you. As far as I remember the wonderful Francis Kurkdjian has re-done it for them, so I cannot wait to try!

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger too_busy_to_stitch said...

I don't know how old this post is, but I have recently purchased this GORGEOUS eau de parfum - I love, love, love it. Smells vaguely from the 1950's to me - don't know why as I wasn't even alive then! Anyway, LOVE it :)

6:11 PM EDT  

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