Honey Trap – Review: Ramon Monegal Cuirelle

By Tara

I’ve been curious about Cuirelle ever since I heard that it was a different, softer, take on leather compared to the usual animal hide. So I was grateful when the Cookie Queen kindly sent me a couple of samples.

Released with the rest of the inaugural Ramon Monegal collection of fourteen fragrances in 2011, Cuirelle comes in the brand’s striking inkwell bottle.


Cuirelle includes notes of Somali incense, Indonesian patchouli, Bourbon vetiver, Virginian cedarwood, cinnamon, musk and extract of beeswax.

That’s right, your eyes are not deceiving you – there is no leather listed in the notes. Spanish perfumer Monegal sought to portray leather without using birch tar or synthetic isoquinolines. So if you usually find the tarry smoke or tannic fumes of leather fragrances a turn-off, don’t be too quick to dismiss Cuirelle. It is an entirely different (much tamer) beast.

“Not the essence of leather, but an interpretation of it. Cat-like flexibility and musk sublimated with shades of honey and incense and balanced with green cedar and vetyver grass.

-from Ramon Monegal website

The opening comes across as honey-coated beeswax, flecked liberally with cinnamon and incense. The combination results in a sweet, almost boozy, ambery nectar.

When it mellows out, Cuirelle has a buttery suede texture. It’s not as cloying as Serge Luten’s Daim Blond or as sweet as Bottega Veneta, but runs in a similar pale suede vein.

There is no hard masculine edge or harsh chemical tinge, only soft curves and plushness. The smooth patchouli and vetiver ground it and prevent it from being overly sweet. They also ensure it stays unisex, though it’s likely to be too feminine for those who like their leather rough and ready.

Cuirelle also contains the suggestion of something cosmetic and silky. It feels as if a honey scented beauty balm has been mixed with face powder and applied to supple suede. At the same time there are contrasting wisps of incense and thick, paste-like patchouli. It’s a very nicely balanced composition.

Probably the best thing to do would be to forget the leather label altogether and think of it as a gentle honey fragrance with dark and earthy tones. Not a suffocating or skanky honey, but one which is subdued, creamy and spiced.


Projection is moderate-to-low, but I would be careful not to over-apply as a little goes a long way. I found it to have excellent lasting power.

I haven’t quite fallen in love with Cuirelle the way I’d hoped, but I really like the way it’s warmly cosseting, casually sensual and effortlessly chic.

I can imagine it leaving a pleasing scent trail in cool weather, but it would work equally well when curled up in bed. It definitely makes a statement, yet it also has a faintly feline, languorous feel.


See Olfactoria’s mini-reviews of the more masculine leaning Ramon Monegal scents in Part I and the more feminine leaning, in Part II.


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Honey, Leather, Ramon Monegal and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Honey Trap – Review: Ramon Monegal Cuirelle

  1. Vanessa says:

    Love the cat imagery – both the brand’s ‘cat-like flexibility’ and your ‘feline languorous feel’. I like my leather perfumes very much on the subtle, soft side, so your dreamy description of this one really appeals. I am a huge fan of Ambra di Luna and get the feeling Cuirelle might be in a similar register of low key sensuality. The name does make me vaguely think of ‘quarrel’ – that’s the only negative, hehe.

    • Tara says:

      I think you might well like this V. I’ll see if there’s much of my sample left for you. It’s definitely low key and I know you are fine with soft honey notes so it could be a winner. You really wouldn’t recognise it as a leather perfume, I don’t think.

  2. Sabine says:

    Lovely description. I have a feeling I will like this one, but then, RM frags rarely work for me. I don’t know why, but there is always something missing to elevate them from ‘nice’ to ‘wow’. How do you think this one compares to Laboratorio Olfativo’s Daimiris, which also has this soft leather vibe?
    Great photo btw. Reminds me a lot of my late cat Basil.

    • Tara says:

      I know what you mean Sabine, although I’ve only tried a few from the line. Very well done but nothing that captures my heart enough to invest in – as yet. From what I recall about Daimiris, it’s quite different. Daimiris was basically a spiced amber on me while Cuirelle is a sueded honey.

      R.I.P. Basil.

  3. Hey there Tara,
    I know I’ve worn Cuirelle and that I really enjoyed it and wanted it then and there but before I could get my hands on it some other love took its place.
    You know how it is?
    It was hard when RM released all those fragrances simultaneously, I was overwhelmed to say the least. I still haven’t smelt thew all.
    Currently really enjoying Impossible Iris and Dubai Next To Me from them.
    Love your post.
    Portia xx

    • Tara says:

      Hi Portia!
      I think I’m rather lucky in that I rarely love anything enough to buy a bottle of it. It must be hard when so much tickles your fancy 🙂
      Releasing 14 fragrances at once was rather overwhelming. That can be enough to put me off from the start. I love it when new brands start with just 3.
      Thanks for sharing your current RM favourites.

  4. Asali says:

    I’m completely with you in not falling in love like hoped, even if I like it a lot. I suppose I do like my leathers to be leathery 🙂 and I do love your description which paints and beautiful picture, and that last cat photo, now if it could smell like *that*!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Asali! Yes, Cuirelle is unlikely to appeal to true leathers lovers, I think.
      Someone needs to create a velvety black kitty perfume.

  5. lila says:

    This is my Goldilocks leather; it’s not too sweet, too tannic or too scary, but I do get a good bit of leather from it. Maybe I’m just a baby when it comes to leathers and require it in small dosages (or in no dosages in this case since it’s not even in the ingredients). I love this one. I’ve never tried Mon Cuir though. I wonder how they compare.

    • Tara says:

      Hi lila,
      Nice to hear how well Cuirelle works for you. I’m sure it has just the right amount of leather for some. I tried Mon Cuir on paper in Vienna but for the life of me I can’t bring it to mind. I think Olfactoria has a mini-review of it in “Part 1” at the bottom of the review.

  6. Vanessa says:

    I think I must be a leather baby too. 😉 I am wearing Tea for Two today and finding it surprisingly leathery – plenty so, certainly. And it’s called Tea!

    • Tara says:

      V, I get a good dose of leather from Tea for Two. I love it. I heard it was at TK Maxx for £20 recently but I tried 3 branches and couldn’t find it. I do have a big bottle though.

  7. Sandra says:

    Lovely review Tara. I do love my leathers and this one is very tame but perfect for a certain crowd or mood.

  8. johanob2014 says:

    Ramon Monegal is one house I still need to explore.They all sound very interesting,especially Impossible Iris.Nice review,Tara!

  9. One of Monegal finest, glad to know you enjoyed this too. Lovely review,Tara!

  10. Kandice says:

    Oh, you’ve enticed me. I almost skipped reading your post because leather fragrances and I don’t get along (at least we haven’t so far). But I do love honey fragrances and your description of the opening caught my attention. The notes also sound intriguing. I may be one of those people who like it because it doesn’t smell like leather. I’ll have to put this on my list to try. Thanks for the review!

  11. Ines says:

    I adore Cuirelle! 🙂 To me it smells like warm fur coat or blanket.

  12. Michael says:

    I’m a leather fragrance fiend Tara but I haven’t tried this – thanks for the reminder 😀
    Like Portia, I have to admit to not testing much of the Monegal line. So many releases in such a short time!

  13. Undina says:

    Cuirelle is one of a few Monegal’s perfumes that I liked (not loved though). I need to re-test it because – believe it or not – I thought it was too sweet. I’m surprised because usually I do not recognize as sweet many perfumes about others complain.
    Great review! (and a perfect picture 🙂 )

  14. Pingback: Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir   | A Bottled Rose

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s