Serge Lutens Daim Blond, 2004

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Perfumer Christopher Sheldrake

I love leather perfumes, but apparently don’t understand the leather note. The ‘leather’ note in perfumery doesn’t have any relationship to leather for me. Not in Bandit. Not in Rien. Not in Knize Ten. I have a layperson’s understanding of the the components, the aromachemicals used in leather perfumes. I even understand the taxonomy and historical role of leather scents in perfumery. It’s just that ‘leather’ doesn’t smell like leather to me. Do you think the ‘leather’ from the start of the 20th century was the ‘aquatic’ of the end of the century? Was it just marketing of the aromachemicals that that were coming into play at the time?

Given this blind spot in my nose, the perfume that differentiates suede from leather should leave me confused. But I love Daim Blond. It is distinguished and identifiable, but swings through my mind triggering all sorts of associations. A less jammy Robert Piguet Visa. Sharp and cold like Chanel 19. Powdery-fine like PG Cuir d’Iris. It also fits perfectly into the Lutens line. What Bois de Violette does to its predecessor Feminité du Bois, Daim Blond does to Arabie. Less dense, more crystalline, higher-pitched.

So I forget leather and remember the chilled, sweet cardamom dessert broth my boyfriend and I used to love at a favorite restaurant 20 years ago. Daim Blond’s cold, precise spiciness keeps the fruitiness on a short leash. It balances sharpness and powdery sweetness through drydown.


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