Helmut Lang (2002)

Average Rating:  89 User Reviews

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About Cuiron by Helmut Lang

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Helmut Lang
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A leathery musky scent, with leather running through top, middle and base notes. The amber glass bottle is replica of an antique Viennese apothecary bottle.

Fragrance notes.

  1. Top Notes

  2. Heart Notes

  3. Base Notes

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Reviews of Cuiron by Helmut Lang

There are 89 reviews of Cuiron by Helmut Lang.

There are a lot of people who worship this one and I gotta tell you, I don't really get it. What's perhaps most amusing too is the way the brand really harps on the leatheriness of the fragrance, when upon actual smelling of the fragrance, you realize there is very little here that smells like leather. Now Françoise Caron is a perfumer who I highly respect; she's done underdog classics like Un Homme Charles Jourdan (1979) and more popular releases like Hermès Eau d'Orange Vert (1979) or Ombre Rose by Jean-Charles Brosseau (1981), but I admit much of her more-recent output seems a lot less memorable, and I guess this is another one to throw on that pile. Maybe too, her early work just was different before she found her inherent style, and now that she has, I just don't click with it (like how some people feel about early versus more-contemporary Jean-Claude Ellena). Whatever the cause, I don't find much interesting or much truth about Helmut Lang Cuiron (2002), although I'm far from hating it either. Helmut Lang's cologne range was almost considered minimalist upon launch, like a late 70's post-punk record but channeled by way of smell. I can sort of see it here, but that doesn't make Cuiron better as a fragrance. The most interesting concepts can still lead to works that fail to resonate, which is why so much post-punk is lauded only in retrospect, and also add that this is a pricey unicorn, and I'm even less interested.

The whole "fluid leather" mixed with "sensual leather" and "noble leather" nonsense as the note breakdown is exactly that, although at different points Helmut Lang has also published different note pyramids, with the original 2002 release stated as orange, bergamot, cinnamon, pepper, suede, tobacco, and labdanum. Once Lang did a limited reissue in 2014, that note pyramid expanded to bergamot, orange, cassia, pink pepper, carrot seed, suede, ambrette, olibanum, and cedar. From my nose, I detect an unlisted juniper opening mixed with some bergamot and something mildly aldehydic before getting into pink pepper and cassia. The leather note seems to be suerderal, which is a common synthetic suede note that has turned up in several 2000's Avon fragrances containing it, including Avon Prospect/Open Road (2003) which has both the juniper and suede facets of Cuiron, plus still turns up in some mild leather things like Coach for Men (2017). Past that, we get the woody amberish stuff and some late-stage soapiness that really distracts from what leather is supposed to be there, and that's a wrap. Wear time is about 6 hours and sillage mild, as this was sold to be an eau de cologne. Best use for me, if I were to use this, is as a casual dumb-reach splash when I wanted something of a non-fragrance freshener in spring or fall, when a light jacket goes on and I run out to grab fast food or something. Cuiron doesn't have personality for much else.

I can sort of see what Helmut Lang was going for here, as he is a minimalist former fashion designer turned artist and architect, best known for his utilitarian designs and basic ascetic shapes. Unfortunately for me, fragrance is either a functional part of grooming (after shaves, shampoos) that can be ignored after initial use, or an extension of personality and taste that has to say something to me for the duration of the time I decide to spend with it on skin. I'm perfectly okay with that "something" being superficial or vapid (like a mass-appeal designer) if it is at least entertaining to some degree, or something with quiet grace and elegance brought about by artistic filigree and refinement (like a perfectly pleasant office scent a la Prada or Chanel), but when you make a fragrance that is just -there- and says -nothing- for itself, I tune out. In a similar manner to so many super generic budget aquatics or soapy clean nothingness florals, Helmut Lang Cuiron is just there, and it doesn't even nail the subject of leather very well unless you like your leather aroma to come from a hanging tree from your car's rear-view mirror. For people who really fell in love with this intentionally bleak and de-saturated soapy interpretation of leather, you can have it with no further fuss from me, but I maintain I'll never know what your fuss is about. Neutral
Jul 19, 2021

Thumbs down for the femininity of the high end soap smell. Mugler's high end soap smell is much more accessible for me.

If high end feminine soap is your gig, you'll love this one.
Jul 4, 2019

Note: Review is of the reissue.

Cuiron is a straightforward suede fragrance (my guess is suederal) with some plummy notes in the beginning, and a very soft, subtle touch of spices that are finely meshed with the suede. It is largely linear, moderately long-longasting, and has understated, discreet sillage.

What I like here is the 'personality' of the scent. It is refined, contemporary (in a good way), versatile and androgynous. It retained my interest, grew on me after wearing it a few times, and lingered on in memory space.

Sort of half-way between Daim Blond and something like Chanel's Cuir de Russie.

Mar 25, 2019

An odd plum note - almost fermented. Barber shop, greenish notes. There is a quick reminder of Royal Copenhagen from the early 90's. It's a flash memory. A nice suede leather note appears as the top noise fades.

Leather increases without becoming too obnoxious. Then, it fades not long after. The leather does seem to change character a bit, but it isn't very strong or long-lasting for me.
Mar 8, 2019

I ease into the strong opening spray assault by picturing archival Helmut Lang images in my mind as it softens…

The backstage of a show. A cool, professional vibe in some bright room. Glasses of water with lemon slices. Slicked back hair; hairspray.

Cuiron is very light and doesn't smell like leather to me. It smells a lot like talcum powder. Why, is it a beauty trick to wear leather on bare skin? Then soap. Coming at leather with a clean angle suits it well. Nothing dirty in this sleekness. I wish I had a bar of soap this elegant.

I do own a leather jacket that smells almost like nothing, too. It also carries some hints of tobacco from some smoky place I was.

But I think Cuiron is too subtle for me. I can only get excited by this re-issue thinking of original Helmut Lang clothing, all the imagery.

Nov 27, 2018

A very basic, though effective, leather scent in the vein of oldies like Chaps, Stetson, and other "thick" leathery colognes.

Initial spray-on begins with an almost unconsciousness inducing assault of plain alcohol. After 15-20 seconds, that blinding brightness eases back, and then the ingredients of this classy scent start to emerge like a moderately paced sunrise.

It comes across as rubbery (like a block of brown eraser), loaded with spices, lemon peel, and a hint of musk. This then subtly transforms into the smell of a pricy leather jacket, swathed with oiled suede and rich cowhide. It ultimately stabilizes into a clean, steady expression of formal elegance befitting a man of taste and poise.

Helmut Lang Cuiron is well-made with no odd turns nor fancy moves. It is warm, dark, comforting, and a wonderful masculine scent that lasts a long time and never alters its character.
Jun 26, 2018

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