Perfumed Letters

Reading the scent trail of fragrance and words

Trompe l’œil luxe: Cuir Beluga (Guerlain)

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Trompe l’œil poster and wall in Nice, France

Cuir Beluga is neither leather nor caviar. Discuss.

An uncomplicated, less-is-more fragrance. The incongruous name aside, I find myself frequently turning back to my waning decant of this plush blend. That signature Guerlain vanilla works to perfection here. I detect a light dose of heliotrope, and the gentlest whiff of leather, lending the vanilla its crisp, distinctive, aloof charm. The almost leather note comes through in a close-to-the-skin bouquet, and remains after I shower off the top notes; but I find none of it in the projection. I worry that the sillage may be powdery–not a quality I seek in perfume. This is my reaction to the close-vs-far performance of most of the Guerlain Elixirs and l’Art et Matière offerings.

So what’s in a name?
Though it doesn’t work literally, Cuir Beluga is a clever metaphor for luxury in all its sensual forms: it evokes smell, taste, touch, sight, and even sound: say it out loud—it’s a mouthful, and a whale of a phoneme mix for non-native speakers of French.

To me Cuir Beluga summons the softness and trompe l’œil nature of microfiber.
I mean this in a good way.

On my wishlist.



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