Reviews of Private Collection - Cuir d'Iris by Parfumerie Generale

The secret to Cuir d’Iris is that it is simultaneously sooty and wet. Bone-dry cedarwood and iris kick up dust eddies as stale as the air from a newly-fired radiator. Floating in this thick miasma is the scent of the milking shed, successive days of cow juice coagulating slowly on the concrete floor, soured slightly by the sun. Wisps of charcoal or soot add a grainy dimension that might be interpreted as smoke of some sort.

Add to this Pierre Guillaume’s signature amber-musk combo that smells uniquely intimate, like the sweet, yeasty folds of skin under a baby’s neck or the two-day scalp of a loved one, and you have yourself a result that stands less with the Cuir de Russies and the Knize Tens of the world, and more with the L’Air de Riens. And yet, step back, and this is still clearly leather – freshly cured, curdy, a bit raw and thin. But leather is just skin after all. And human skin is still animal skin. In the series ‘Hannibal’, his therapist tells him that while she admires its construction, what he is wearing is a well-constructed person suit, suggesting that his humanity is something one can slip into (or out of) as easily as one would a pair of dress pants. Cuir d’Iris, with its organic, lived-in human-ness, is the ultimate parfum de peau. Robots and psychopaths, take note.
12th January 2023
There is something rooted in physically; the describe body of a lover and not just his or her unique personality traits or dazzling mind.this is a lover that must make love;i think of Dante and a universe in which love maybe heavenly or eternal but for which we pay a physical has depth and emotion more than a flirt It's a smells like love and pain,it smells like memories. highly powerful chypre-leather extrait and a full-on olfactory assault for the first ten minutes.

This is not just leather,this is skin leather, it's leather being uaed in contact with the skin in high-intensity activity.iris provides some creaminess and refinement,and incense together wit amber take this juice out of the obvious, and repeated leather-iris has some sweetness, but not directed to create gourmand nuances,but amplifying the effect of warmed uo it dries down the leather with animalic notes becomes a bit more powdery,but keeps it's overall character. good projection and longevity.
24th November 2021

I would simply love to smell this on a man. Or on the world's most chic and sophisticated woman. (Erin O'Connor or Tilda Swinton might fit the bill.) This is dark leather. It isn't bitter or brutal, but it is black or very dark chocolate in its coloration. It has an aristocratic nose and Vikings somewhere in its heritage. This perfume has a spine of steel and it occasionally mucks out the stalls, and then puts on a a beautifully tailored frock coat and smokes a cigar.

Okay, but how does it smell? Like uncured leather combined with some rooty vegetation, a hint of tobacco and the darkest, richest, bittersweet chocolate money can buy.
6th October 2017
Hyper soft (though really straight forward and never fully structured) silky aroma from Parfumerie Generale. Cuir d'Iris is basically one of the smoothest "waxy" leathers (leather/suede) ever. A pleasant spicy connection of super smooth leather, iris, musks, balsams and patchouli. Well, if you love musk/suede accords a la Cuir de Lancome, Parfum d'Empire Cuir Ottoman, Dior Homme Parfum, Laboratorio Olfattivo Daimiris but also scents a la Heeley Cuir Pleine Fleur, Naomi Godsir Cuir Velours and Ramon Monegal Mon Cuir, well...this one should surely appeal your pleasure. Cuir d'Iris opens with a stout combination of fresh spices (cardamom) and wet hesperides, immediatelly joined by a subtle dodgy hint of rich leather yet emerging from the background. Gradually, in the central phase, a dark poudre type of saturnine Iris discloses its powdery black soul, as supported by a rounding chocolatey envelop from dark cocoa (cioccolato fondente). Patchouli jumps gradually on the stage as sinister protagonist supported by a warm animalic accord of leather, amber, chocolate and soothing balsams. Overall is surrounded by a general musky aura with a touch of metallic saltiness (vetiver??). The deep dry down is really misty, a cedary-kind of incensey dark accord of leather and patchouli with a vague lipstick feel and a green/vegetal temperament. Frankly is hard for me to properly detect vetiver (I just catch musk, labdanum and green leaves) while I get something kind of lacteous and warmly animalic like rich fat milk (a sort of unpasteurized "beastly"milk ideally enriched by cocoa dust and a touch of coffee). Finally the animalic notes prevail over the general silkiness and the aroma turns out dirtier and more interesting. That's the part more interesting (though fleeting), something slightly acid, milky, ambery and green-lymphatic (as a sticky lymph pouring from a fat plant). Really faint longevity on my skin.
P.S: dry down is mostly incensey-chocolatey and frankly somewhat boring.
8th September 2015
I love leathers and I love iris. The name of this scent seemed to be a perfect come hither promise of fulfillment in these two areas. The best iris around is of course Lutens' Iris Silver Mist with its abundance of orris butter, which creates the impression of a soft Italian leather in glove, jacket or purse.

Cuir d'Iris has a smoky harshness to it (the Oud, Patchouli, and Cedarwood), which reminds one of coal tar. It is not warm, sweet and enveloping as a great leather needs to be. It balances a line between a rough, uncured leather and uncured tobacco leaves. The use of the iris is very restrained but constantly present. A warm leather requires some violet in its make-up, but that is not present here.

Some of the early "cuir de russie" scents from the late 1890s and the early 1900s had this harsh, smoky, uncured effect, which made sense in those days of unhygienic body odors permeating society on all levels. This doesn't work for me, but it's a perfectly fine scent for those who want their leather this strong.
7th April 2015
I'm in the camp of those not moved by this fragrance. I smell a very restrained leather on support of iris. Then massive fade out. Then slight stale booze in a taxi. I wish to have a deeper experience, but the composition eludes me.

30th May 2012

Perfume evokes. It doesn't recreate nature and it doesn't tell stories. Successful perfumery creates richness and a complexity that allows for many possibilities, for varied experiences among wearers.

At the center of Parfumerie Generale's Cuir d'Iris is an active imbalance, a contest. From start to finish there's never a blend or compromise. The oil and the water never quite mix. I'm not speaking about the notes, iris and leather, but the forces that motivate this perfume. Together the potent tannic quality of the leather and the forceful, make-up feel of the iris give the scent a playful cruelty that simultaneously draws me in and keeps me at arms-length. Cuir d'Iris implies the savage civility of a kempt, bourgeoise western woman of the 1950s. Hair, make-up, perfume, attire and fur. Maintenance of appearance is just the stage dressing, a simple part of the toolkit of social ambition. For the woman that Cuir d'Iris pushes into my imagination, the fur is pivotal. It doesn't suggest the necessities of a cold climate. It connotes a symbolic viciousness, the conquering vulgarity of wearing a prize. It's the draping of status on the body. It's a warning.

But forget my insipid fantasy. What does a well made perfume do for you?

I tend to love the bolder leathers that others might call harsh. And perpetually forgetting the logic of Knize Ten, one of my favorite fragrances, I imagine the ‘floral leathers' won't appeal to me, since the flower will diminish the boldness. Cuir d'Iris is another reminder of this blind spot. I don't have a specific test to judge a perfume's success. I'm willing to be convinced. If I had to find the common thread among the successful perfumes, though, it's that they remain interesting and appealing over hours and years. Each wearing is an interesting experience from start to finish and the perfume keeps me coming back over the years. I might have a story in my head, as the above fantasy/image. I could be relishing a mood. I might simply be enjoying the pleasures of a well-crafted object. The perfume doesn't supply a narrative, it's simply rich and well constructed. It's loaded. Connotation is the key, not story-telling. Cuir d'Iris has a complexity of construction and a range of dynamic qualities that suggests symbolic violence to me---the threat of a slap to the face. It's enticing. It's the lure of dangerous pleasure---that something beautiful that just might come back to bite you.

And so, my plea to the perfume producers. Give us perfumes with a richness of ideas. We'll take care of the rest. I'm far more likely to respond to (note: and buy) a perfume that springs from artistic creativity. I want to get taken for a ride by the perfumer, not the test-marketing group. There is a place for formula and strategy, but they should be tools and not goals. Forget briefs that boil down to: ‘find the balancing point that offends the fewest and that a majority will tolerate.' Give me the arresting, give me the subtle, but give me a perfume that instigates and inspires. I want a perfume that says more than, “Hey.” I want legibility and nuance. Maybe the preliminary threshold in producing a perfume should be a riff on Tania Sanchez's rationale for wearing perfume: that it be significantly better than nothing at all.

My plea is for better perfume, not more elaborate marketing. I love Cuir d'Iris though I've never seen any advertizing for it. I'm very impressed with Calvin Klein's CK One Shock for Men despite its perfunctory, factory-formula promotion strategy. Niche perfumery doesn't solve the marketing dilemma of the mass markets. I see no distinction between the marketing of Beyoncé Pulse Summer Edition (“Life is a flirt. Love is a game.” 1) and Penhaligon's Sartorial, with notes that, “create the perfect illusion of a tailor's workroom. 2” In both cases: words and perfume, no intrinsic association.

I recognize that there are market considerations and that on one level, Parfumerie Generale likely wanted a floral leather in their line. Iris aromachemicals were readily available and iris perfumes were in demand. But Cuir d'Iris works not because it filled the right slot. It works because perfumer Pierre Guillaume was in the position to make a perfume composed of precision-made parts and dripping with ideas. Cuir d'Iris is a gorgeous perfume that embodies both the steely and the extravagant. It lunges at you at the outset and although it cozies up to your skin quickly, it growls at you when you don't expect it.

To summarize, thank you Mr. Guillaume. As I hope you can tell, I'm having a blast with Cuir d'Iris. It captures exactly what I love about perfume.

30th May 2011
Wow, I'm no leather expert, but this fragrance has a BEAUTY of a leather note! I do smell the orris, especially in the opening, but this is much more cuir than iris to me. And that was fine, as I love iris notes as stars and as supporting players.
The leather was not harsh, but instead, very much a leather glove or purse type smell. Just lovely. It finally faded after about 4-5 hours into something with a hint of amber and/or maybe even some vanilla. The hint of orris stayed around almost until the end, but very much in the background and very much a lifter or support note.
I continue to be impressed with Parfumerie Generale's take on notes. They are modern, some of them semi gourmand, but all are interesting and well done of the ones I have smelled. I'm enjoying exploring this house, and my wish list keeps growing.
15th May 2011
This is so-so, ok. I must admit I didn't fall head over heals for it. I get a mild iris note without much distinction. I get a tiny bit of leather, then it all goes a bit too patchouli for me. I don't see patchouli listed on the Basenotes site, but I swear there is loads of it here. While I don't mind patchouli and I know it is used a lot in leather scents, I don't get a huge leather slant with this one.
21st March 2010
I always feel at a bit of a loss when I'm writing a review that follows such creative, wonderful input from others who have a vernacular and understanding that I'm still striving to achieve. What I hope is to do this fragrance justice with this review.PG Cuir d'Iris is the winner of the PG line from what I've tried thus far (most of them). Some had said it could be difficult to warm up to the top notes but to hang in for the dry-down. What I get in the top notes is a brisk (but not sharp) fine, fine leather - probably one of the most *accurate and comfortable* renditions of leather I've tried. This is what expensive leather smells like, most definitely. Cuir d'Iris is truly a masterpiece - it achieves such a divine, realistic leather with a perfect blend of other notes without, for a second, smelling cheap, synthetic or contrived.Even after having a bottle for a couple of months and a sample for a month before that I'm still finding gorgeous notes in Cuir d'Iris after subsequent wearings. Could this be one of the best applications of iris in a fragrance to date? Possibly. I don't find there is much powder to it - it is smoky and it does have a gorgeous amber in the dry-down. Longevity is spectacular while sillage is comfortable and just about right.This is an absolutely elegant, refined and classy leather fragrance that almost defies categorization as a "leather fragrance" when comparing with others out there. I'm not sure I would call this one a dark leather, like vintage Antaeus. There is no dark, earthy vetiver to anchor it and give it darkness. Instead it is a warm, sensuous amber and yes, gourmand notes. I feel ambitious and confident wearing Cuir d'Iris, and I seriously doubt I'll ever grow tired of it.
6th October 2009
Cuir d'Iris is one of the most interesting leather fragrances on the market. Deep, dark, complex, and unique - what more do you need?Like most leather fagrances, Cuir d'Iris uses another note to imitate tanned hide - here, castoreum, and a lot of it. It's the first thing noticeable on application, and forms the core of this fragrance. Restraining the animal warmth is a dusty iris, cardamon, and a peculiar dry tannic quality PG used also in Iris Taizo. The effect is smoky and mysterious, forgoing the oriental voluptuousness many fragrances temper their leather note with. A faint vanilla is discernible in the base, lending a touch of calming warmth.This juice is very powerful and long lasting, so it's best to apply to with caution in order to appreciate its subtleties.
16th September 2009
Parfumerie Generale Cuir D'IrisPierre Guillaume has really done an incredible job of creating a number of different scents in his Parfumerie Generale line. Over the course of these creations it is clear that he has a particularly deft hand with gourmand notes and with leather. In the 2008 release Cuir D'Iris, part of the Private Collection, he perhaps creates his most intense leather to date. Right from the top you get leather and it is the leather of a fine leather arm chair. At first that seems to be all that is there but then ever so subtly you smell the vase holding the bouquet of irises that is next to this armchair. This is a powdery iris which is delicateley added around the edges of the leather. I'm not sure I would've placed iris in the name of this scent for all of the heft it brings and the length of its stay. The heart of this mixes a little chocolate in with the leather this is the cocoa powder version of chocolate which comes across less rich and compliments the leather center. The base is all amber and leather and this is exquisite in its depth as the rawer edges of amber rough up the leather and make for an excellent ending to this scent. If you're an iris lover and not a leather lover I wouldn't bother with this one because the iris is really only there for a short time. If you are a leather lover this is a must try because it is one of the finest pure leathers out there, to me.
2nd May 2009
A dark, rich, and refined leather/iris fragrance that's balanced from top to base with vaguely gourmand notes and powdery amber. Pure heaven.
7th December 2008
If you read the male fragrance message board, you already know that this is one of my holy grails of perfumery. Although leather is prominent in many PG fragrances, this is 'the' leather fragrance of the line. Further, I collect any and all leather fragrances, and this is by far the best of all of them.Strong leather is present from top to base, and in each phase of development there are different accords and notes balancing the leather. The leather note is dark and rich. Powerful - not like a leather jacket but rather being inside a Bentley with its 27 cows worth of corinthian leather. Iris presents itself not as a distinct note, but as powdery top-note to balance the intensity of the leather. As with many PGs, there are hints of gourmand notes, in this case raisin and cocoa notes, that present themselves in the heart of the fragrance and become more prominent in the base, at which point cocoa and light fruit notes are joined by a lightly vanillic amber. There are *no* distinct spicy or woody notes, though these may be present to create the leather accord. The gourmand and amber notes are very subtle unless you over-apply, which I like to do. One spray and you're surrounded in a leathery aroma. Two sprays brings out more fullness of the fragrnace, and with three sprays you can really notice the cocoa and raisin notes. Be warned that with three sprays you will smell of rich leather for the next 20-24 hours and there won't be anyone within a few feet of you that won't notice. True leather nirvana.As with most of the PG line, expect this to last on your skin for about 24 hours under normal conditions. If you like leather fragrances and haven't tried this, you're missing out.
26th November 2008
Powdery leather. After a while, the powdery notes become pure leather and spicy woods. A little subtle but it's a leather with a smoky bite.
22nd November 2008