Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Rawhide! The Great Leathers Part II: Helmut Lang - Cuiron

I wanna start by saying that the Cuiron flacon together with the Kiehl's Musk one are some of the finest ones in the fragrance world according to my humble taste. These no nonsense, clean apothecary style bottles are what great elixirs should be contained in - old school greatness.

It doesn't hurt that the fragrance itself is excellent also. A contemporary but rougher take on the classic leathers. This time again with a standard orange and neroli opening, but also some sweet plum giving it an almost raisinlike dimension clearly setting it apart.
The fragrance doesn't evolve too much, it stays pretty linear and is quite heavy on the lovely hide-fumes. I don't think this is unisex in the same way as Cuir de Russie or Peau d'Espagne. Rather it conjures up images of stylized bad boy bikers like Marlon Brando in the Wild One. To conclude, this Helmut Lang clearly is a macho, hairy chested contribution to the world of leather scents. And a great one at that.
Overall Rating: 8/10


Katie said...

I love the rather "plain" bottles on both those frags. There's something so straightforward about them, that it seems as if the companies wanted the fragrances to stand largely on their own merits. Which is a nice change of pace sometimes. Not that I don't like a nice sculptural bottle, but the pretentious lack of pretension at least stands apart from the usual mid-range packaging fluffery.

It's so funny to me that you mention Cuiron as a "macho" scent... It seems so utterly feminine to me, heh. HL's Cuiron reminds me of flipping through the fabric swatch books at the drapery and furniture shop my grandmother worked at. It was woman owned, and for the most part, staffed by women, too. When Grandma would take my brother and I to work with her, we'd kill time flipping through the sample books. Our favorites were always the leather swatch books and the brocade swatch books (they seemed the fanciest ones.) Cuiron so strongly reminds me of flipping through those leather sample books, and seeing the samples, yes, but also touching them and smelling them while listenting to those "old ladies" chatter and work. So to me, the somewhat monochromatic leathery layers of Cuiron connote highly female activity. Yet to you, they're "hairy chested." I think it's a high compliment to HL that Cuiron speaks more to the literal sensual experience of leather than any one specific gender cue. And really, I feel like you could say that about any of the Helmut Lang produced scents. I'm so irritated at Proctor and Gamble for dropping the ball on this house. The HL range was both stylishly smooth AND edgy. What a shame that the HL frags are slowly evaporating into the mists of perfume history.

It's so nice to find other Cuiron fans out there, since it wasn't especially popular when it was released, and is becoming quickly forgotten thanks P&G's discontinuation of it.

/mmm said...

Hey Katie!
Love your reflections. Really interesting how different people can experience particular fragrances in such diverse ways. This especially goes to show how subjective gender attributes are concerning fragrances.