Sunday, March 13, 2016

Exquisite leather, part II: Parfums MDCI Cuir Garamante



Even for many historians who worked on northern African cultures, the name Garamantes* is a shady legend buried under layers of sand of Sahara. For me the first time I heard the title was when I was researching on ancient Roman architecture and Opus Africanum stone masonry that I faced this name in a corner of a book. Skipped over like all those caravans who neglected the ruins of a missing civilization swallowed by history, but the short and unfit-to-English-literature word impacted like a fine poem you enjoy repeating in mind. Garamante, what a nice word to pronounce!


Cuir Garamante is Claude Marchal's collaboration with Richard Ibanez in 2013 that summed up in a floral leathery perfume. Mr. Marchal who frequently obsesses with quality and harmony of notes, wanted to complete his house's collection of classics with a rose/oud composition. Yes, this may seems meh! to your ears while there are many many similar compositions around, nevertheless, Cuir Garamante is literally one of a kind in this range. If fact nor the title that emphasizes on leather persona, nor Marchal's statement - that stands for rose and oud idea - delivers the reality of this perfume. It's lustrous enough to hardly set in a word.


Cuir Garamante opens with plush powdery jammy yummy rose (chypre-inclined and aldehydic), refined and rendered by pink pepper and something bitter grassy in the backbone that's reminiscent of oud - something that you faintly smell but greatly impacts the opening. I guess it comes from that seeds named yellow nutsedge which I know from Noir de Mars. Beside this, to enhance warmth and seductiveness of rose, to evoke the sumptuous oriental air, saffron is employed to deliver gastronomically potent mystery.

One aspect I admire is that, main Cuir Garamante scentscape doesn't shift from A to Z of its story. It's a noble manner that makes me more than satisfied about Cuir Garamante. This perfume that opens with smoky and fluent heavy rose, settles in core with the same blood, aged in leather and woodsy tones. Leather - dyed and rich - is not a potent part of performance, it's like a character to heart of perfume, slaved by rose to improve the flower. It also is a link to joint hefty rose to animalic, balsamic, and ambrosial labdanum in the base, when milky sandalwood also softens the smoky vibe. But what is interesting is oudy smell that doesn't interrupt at all. Some bloggers mentions oud or oud accord in the composition, Fragrantica doesn't suggest any. And I think Cyperus esculentus is the one responsible for oud accord cause I know how perfectly this wood-smelling seeds replicate agarwood.


Cuir Garamante is tycoon, formal, and evocative type of floral masculine perfume. It's vibrant and so bold - without being overwhelming at all - and immediately recognizable while it acts like a familiar reference oriental. A perfume you hardly call "rose", "leather" or "oriental". It's seamless, edgeless, and masterly polished to fit an aristocratic class. The quality of notes, the harmony between elements, and the tenacity make this perfume a classic and standard oriental icon misnamed cuir.
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Ps: For some common aspects, I first aimed to review both Cuir Garamante and Puredistance Black in one post, but I'm afraid the post gets so long. So I postpone Black in a coming soon review and explain why and how these two perfumes are akin.

* Garamantes, to give a general idea, were people of Sahara who locally ruled from 500BC to 700AC and are believed to have established Barbar kingdom. The warriors of Garamante are usually presented with a leather or hide shield in hand.

Carpe Odor!

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