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Monday, July 30, 2007

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.


Blogger tmp00 said...

interesting- I wonder why they didn't do well. maybe because nobody knew about them?

10:37 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You made a very good argument in your "Saturday with Ina in NYC" post that probably the fragrances were not successful because the Prada employees knew nothing about them. What a shame. The Cuir Ambre and Oeillet sound delicious.

As far as iris goes, I'm waiting in fear for the L'Artisan special vintage that will be released in the near future. Oh, the $$$$$.

1:02 AM EDT  
Blogger Erin said...

I just got a sample of the Iris from Nancy, (yay Nancy!) but I haven't tried it yet. Really appealed to me in the vial, though. I shall have to go try it right now....

2:29 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got the impression (in that *hazy recollection* way) that they were discontinued too... Certainly worth sniffing before they disappear - Roja Dove carries them here in the UK.

4:44 AM EDT  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

Oh, Marinochka.
How many lemms can a woman take ?
My name ALL over these.

And I really LIKED you- I did !

Gracias por nada, mi amor...
[Only joshin', my friend]

7:51 AM EDT  
Blogger lilybp said...

I was lucky enough to get the last Cuir Ambre at Printemps; I doubt that they are getting more, although I think it's still available at GL. I do love it (the others were very nice too, but this is for me):)

J, one of the things with curly hair:)

8:12 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I think that's exactly the problem. We knew about Dior's colognes, we knew about all the Guerlain's "exclusives", we certainly knew about Chanel's. Prada was very hush-hush about these, and that's where the secrecy brought them. A lesson to others, I think :-)

8:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

The lack of any sort of -even word-of-the-mouth- marketing was the downfall of these scents, I think.
I am not afraid of L'Artisan's iris or any iris. I am over iris scents...if this was a movie we'd cut to the scene where I am weeping and saying, I must have a bottle of Iris Pallida :-)

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'd love to know what you think abut it!

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Dove has all the best stuff!

8:44 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I'm only doing my job :-) you can't hate me for doing my job, can you? :-D I think Cuir Ambre and Oeillet both have your name written on them.

8:45 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Cuir Ambre is out of this world beautiful. Leather like they don't make them anymore :-)
M, the lacy thing :-)

8:47 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohh, I love that you wrote up Cuir Ambre today! After reading about it last week I decided to walk by Prada in Soho to sniff & immediately fell in love. It smells a lot like Cuir Ottoman in the bottle to me but on it's much more complex & formal. It's the only amber I've ever tried that goes dry, not sweet and the leather stays present until the final drydown. And yes it did remind me of Tabac Blond.

I went again on Sat with a friend (I love having a friend who can tell me if I "look good" in a new scent or not). Sat was steamy humid & hot, and it went so spicy on me that I was a bit put off. I was thinking to hold off on purchase until I could try it in cooler fall weather but if it's going away perhaps I should bite the bullet & buy now??

Oh ... and my friend tried Narsico (??) & it went immediately dead fish & stank!! It was shocking how awful it was on her, lol! Thank God for witch hazel wipes!!

8:47 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

So the Soho boutique had them? The one on the 5th (?) didn't. That's where we were told they were axed. So, if you liked CA, I think you should get it before they are completely gone. If I may ask, how much are they in dollars?

8:53 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


They were $150. Tres pricey. My next purchase was going to be Datura Noir but maybe I need to do this. And no, the sales people knew nothing about the scents & they were hidden away behind the shoe dept. BTW, I also called one of the uptown shops, Madison Ave I think, and they had it in stock too.

9:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you! So Ina and I were just unlucky to have stumbled into the boutique that didn't have a single one of them left :-) Darn. I'd have loved to smell Narcisse that smells like fish :-)

9:19 AM EDT  
Blogger priscilla said...

I wish I could've smelled that Iris Santal...was it lovely?

11:09 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I didn't like it. It was "pale" and dull. It also smelled "thin" to me, you know? Whereas these ones smell quite sumptuous, which makes me think that perhaps Iris Santal was from some other collection or something.

11:12 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Italy, or at least in Prada boutiques in Milano, the scents are still available. This doesn't mean they are taken in much consideration by salespeople, who really know nothing about them, and sometimes keep them away from the customers' eyes (you know, someone might get the crazy idea of wanting to try them).
I've tried Oeillet and Fleur d'Oranger and they smell good and quite classic.
I don't know if they are going to discontinue them, but i think it would be wrong in terms of brand image or whatever they call it.
Meanwhile, at Rinascente Duomo, Tom Ford Private Collection, with a counter the size of a cruise ship, is nicely selling for 150 Euro a pop.

3:15 PM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

I am glad to hear that at least TFPC is doing well :-)

3:40 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried these at Harrods (Roja Dove) and was very impressed - like you, my favourite was Cuir Ambre, followed by Oeillet. They were £140, though, which seems to be a dollar-for-pound exchange! I think the Iris Santal was given out to people who attended the opening of the Prada boutique in London, so perhaps it was a one-off?

6:42 AM EDT  
Blogger Marina said...

Bingo! That's exactly what it was, it's all coming back to me know. Thank you! :-)

8:25 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fabuloso¡¡¡¡¡ como un orgasmo....
lores de ARGENTINA

9:05 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool blog!

6:28 PM EDT  

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