One Man, Three Leathers – Review: Parfumerie Générale Cuir d’Iris, Cuir Venenum And L’Oiseau de Nuit

Parfumerie Générale offers three leather scents in its stable and today I want to take a look at all three of them.

Leather has been a note I did not like, let alone seek out for a long time. Mainly because it was connected in my mind and body with cars and cars make me motion-sick. As a child it was enough to just enter car for me to get nauseous. (It must have been a joy for my parents to travel anywhere.) I hated cars and therefore I hated leather.

Fortunately my fragrant explorations somehow made it possible to detach the two. Leather is in the clear, gasoline is not. But gasoline can take the blame, it is relatively easy to avoid. And thankfully driving is not as impossible for me these days, since I learned to drive myself (I had to take medication for every driving lesson), it has gotten progressively better over the years.

But enough of me, on to the perfumes…

Cuir Venenum

Cuir Venenum (venenum, lat: poison, elixir, venom) includes notes of leather, absolute of orange blossom, myrrh, citrus, cedar, coconut and honeyed musk.

This is surely the most unusual leather scent out there. A strange, but interesting combination of leather and fruit stew á la Serge Lutens,  Cuir Venenum is the first gourmand leather I know of.

All in all, there is not enough leather and too much fruit for me. Cuir Venenum is interesting, but I am slightly put off by it, it irritates me and while a little irritation is a good thing, too much of it makes it a pain to wear.

Cuir d’Iris

Cuir d’Iris includes notes of cardamom, Iris, old black leather, woods, vetiver, Rizophora tannin, amber and incense.

Cuir d’Iris is clearly my favorite out of the three and it is the most straightforward leather scent. Opening a bit sharply, it soon mellows and melds with my skin to create an impression of amazingly soft leather with powdered effects surrounding it. Cardamom (love that note) is very present in the beginning, and recedes over time when the leather becomes warmer and smokier thanks to amber and incense.

Cuir d’Iris smells just like my favorite leather bag by Liebeskind Berlin. It is extremely soft and buttery and I love to carry it (not to mention it holds all I need but don’t want to carry, like diapers and Smurfs and the like). Both the bag and the perfume make me feel tough and chic.

L’Oiseau de Nuit

L’Oiseau de Nuit (Night Bird – meaning not an actual bird, but a person who loves being up at night) includes notes of cistus labdanum, liqueur of davana, benzoin and leather.

L’Oiseau de Nuit is a complicated perfume and I blame the davana. Davana is a very interesting material, it is like a shape-shifter, constantly presenting a different facet. A perfume containing it is not one you have down pat after three wearings. L’Oiseau de Nuit continues to elude me after years of on and off testing.

I can say that L’Oiseau de Nuit is a very dark scent. Labdanum plays the major role here, leather being more of an accompanying player, but the real star is davana, making L’Oiseau de Nuit unpredictable and addictive. This could very well be one of the Devil’s scents that Tarleisio is looking for.

Here are a few leather scents I have been really enjoying lately: Cuir de Lancome :: Cuir de Russie :: Cuir Beluga :: Cuir Noir

So you like the note? What is your favorite leather scent? Which one would you recommend I try?

Image source:,
Sample courtesy of

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This entry was posted in Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Gourmand, Iris, Leather, Parfumerie Generale, Resins, Woods and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to One Man, Three Leathers – Review: Parfumerie Générale Cuir d’Iris, Cuir Venenum And L’Oiseau de Nuit

  1. Sandra says:

    Leather is a note that I am not that familiar with. Your reviews make me want to explore the note further. Thank you!

  2. Anita Monnroe says:

    My dear friend, I have an off-topic request. I hope you don’t mind. I’ve become obsessed with the thought that there might be a fragrance out there that would be “Dune-like” but a bit drier and somehow saltier and more subtle. Am I just smelling this in my dreams, or is there such a scent on the market? I do so hope for a “yes!”

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hermès Eau de Merveilles comes to mind immediately when I hear salty and subtle. I don’t know Dune very well, it has been a while, but maybe Eau de Merveilles is a starting point. Heeley Sel Marin might also be something to try along the salty and subtle lines. Hope that helps a bit.
      If others know something, please chime in!

      • You might try Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel. It does not have a profile like Dune – but it’s a very interesting seaside scent. It reminds me of very warm, dry golden Californian hills near the ocean in summer. It’s very dry and herbaceous, plus salt and sea. More about the flora on the hill than the ocean. But I wouldn’t call it subtle – it has a big golden vibe. I think Eau de Merveilles is a great place to start instead. Definitely more subtle, and more Dune-like.

  3. chris says:

    There is a ” 2nd ” Cuir d’ Iris by Pierre Guillaume called Daimiris, which PG composed for the brand Labotorio Olfactivo. It’s a boozy/leather /iris – very nice. Well worth checking out, if you havn’t already.

  4. Thank you muchly for this PG Leather Round-Up! Cuir d’Iris is very lovely and I love how you say it is both tough and chic, so true! I couldn’t get on with Cuir Venenum, I found it to be too vegetal and weird.

    I haven’t tried L’Oiseau de Nuit (love that name) but it sounds gorgeous!

    Leather is a tricky note for me and the only two that I’ve found love for are Dzing! and Leather Oud.

  5. andreawilko says:

    My favourite leathers are exactly the same as yours, the Cuir d’Iris had me interested though, I usually like anything with Iris in so this would be worth me trying.
    I was put off leather in cars for a long time as it was the one thing that could always set my sickness off when I was pregnant, that and the ex husbands aftershave which I banned him from wearing, 14 years it has taken me to own a car with leather seats after being put off for so long by the smell.:-)

  6. Hey Birgit,
    Have you Tried Knize Ten, Lonestar Memories, Oud Caravan 3, Trussardi Trussard, Botega Venetai or Chambe Noir? All good leathers, from sweet to punch you in the face, OUCH!
    Yummy, Leather.
    Portia xx

  7. kjanicki says:

    I love L’oiseau de Nuit. It has a sort of candied hazlenut aspect under the wood and leather. Is that the davana?

  8. Eva S says:

    I’m really fond of leather scents, favorites being Bandit (no1), Cuir de Lancome, Bottega Veneta and Kelly Caleche. Just got my hands on a sample of Cuir de Russie, but haven’t had time to try it yet.
    Have you tried Pd’E Cuir Ottoman? That one is also leather and iris and my favorite of the line apart from Azemour.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, I’m currently testing Cuir Ottoman. It is not ideal in the heat, so I’m waiting for cooler temperatures with my review.

      You have very cool leather favorites! 🙂

  9. I’m so glad you reviewed L’oiseau de Nuit at last! This scent has been deviling me for years, lol. I don’t know what to make of it – when I first put it on, I find it *highly* addictive. There is some note that is very boozy and intoxicating – an alcoholic candied fruit note. I think it’s the davana? Is that it? I’ve always wondered.

    Typically, I just can not stop smelling my arm. I think, “Oh my god, I must own bottles and bottles of this!” Then…but then….something changes….something shifts…and as it dries down…it gradually becomes a “Wait, where did the magic go?” experience for me. I end up feeling so disappointed.

    How would you describe the dry down? I can’t put my finger on it.

    In a way, it may be very aptly named – it reminds me of the feeling I’d have going out to dance clubs when I was very young 🙂 In the beginning, everything is sparkly, dark, mysterious and glorious – lit by the reflected glitter of Disco balls – and then by the time you stumble out into the cold morning light – what glittered before just looks shallow and simple – there is no substance behind it. It was a facade.

    This is how I feel about L’oiseau de Nuit – the beginning is so glorious! I want it to go on and on! But it is also overwhelming and complex and over the top – and in the end nothing like that sort of magic could possibly last.

  10. Emma says:

    By coincidence, I sniffed my sample of L’Oiseau de Nuit last night for the first time in AGES! I used to think it was droolworthy gorgeous, but I’m starting to think that the PG’s are all a bit too full on for me to actually wear :-/. I tend to prefer the floral leather like Jolie Madame, or the chypre leather like Cabochard or Givenchy III. And I have to be feeling quite ballsy to wear those!

  11. Civava says:

    Ah love leathers, Cuir de Russie, Bandit, Cabochard, Tabac Blond, Tuscan Leather, Cuir Pleine Fleur (very light one), Cuir Ametyste. The only one I didn’t get very well along was Cuir by Mona di Orio, but I tried it only once and now I’m collecting the courage to try it again ;-). It will not be so soon I guess.

  12. Tara says:

    Loved your PG leather run down!

    Sadly Cuir d’Iris just does not work on my skin, although I know many love it. It’s just very masculine on me.

    It made me smile when you described Cuir Venenum as irriating because I totally agree! I haven’t tried L’Oiseau de Nuit but davana is a changeling on me too. I have to be in the mood for boozy fruit notes and cold weather helps.

    My favourite leather remains Cuir de Lancome, closely followed by Cuir de Russie.

  13. Joan says:

    Oh man, I love Cuir Venenum. As well as Cuir de Russie and Patchouli 24.

  14. smellythoughts says:

    I must try L’Oiseau De Nuit, sounds beautiful.
    Cuir Venenum is hillarious, it’s so gleefully trashy – I’d never wear it myself, but the grape soda+cigarette smoke is so worn in and dirty, great stuff 🙂
    This guy is such a talent.

  15. Undina says:

    I haven’t tried yet any of these three but I will eventually.
    My favorite leather perfume is Cuir de Russie – I can bathe in it, it feels so natural to my skin. I also like Cuir de Lancome, Cuir Ottoman (Parfum d’Empire) and Tuscan Leather (Tom Ford).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Tuscan Leather is too close to a car smell for comfort, although I admire it from afar.

      • Undina says:

        I just have to say it! 🙂 “Two Worlds of Childhood” indeed! All my childhood I suffered from the motion sickness in cars, busses and very occasional planes. But none of those places in my version of childhood had leather seats. An unexpected benefit of living in a poorer country.

        • Olfactoria says:

          🙂 I didn’t exactly grow up in the lap of luxury, but Austrian busses and the family car did have leather seats. I wish they didn’t (they were also terribly sticky in summer!).

  16. Jules says:

    You forgot Pierre’s other 4th leather – the floral-leather “Psychotrope” (the “floral” being an outstanding nuclear lilac). He describes his inspiration for it as an alien flower with leather petals. Which I thought actually pretty apt, on smelling it. … (In fact he even had another very interesting 5th leather called Cuir Santalion, which however is unfortunately no longer with us, so hardly worth mentioning here. Still it was a very intriguing musky-leather, probably his most masculine one to date, with overtones of gasoline. Real pity it’s no longer available.)

    But back to the ones you mentioned, I’m quite surprised you were not even more taken with L’Oiseau. The Davana must be playing it’s chameleonic tricks again I suppose (!?) For on me it was all about the amber. – Opens rich amber, then Davana steals the limelight for a bit, then again geranium-ish tinged amber all the way. – I see it almost as Pierre’s 2nd amber-centric frag after L’Ombre Fauve. (Like his more feminine-leaning fruity-floral amber in comparison).
    At least for me that is the main reason for enjoying it. – (Though it does open a tad syrupy !)

  17. Pingback: Incredible Irises – Perfume Lovers London, Thursday 22nd November | Olfactoria's Travels

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