with additional reporting and photos by Lex Guiterrez

Leather. Beautiful leather. Sturdy, stunning and sublime, great leather evokes the spirit of travel, for that is what leather is known for, anyway. Weathered or pristine, leather tells stories often associated with various expedition one takes throughout this lifetime. So, it’s no surprise that Parisian Perfume House, Memo Paris, latched on to leather in crafting one of their more distinguished lines (and the ones that garnered our attention during the Memo Paris Press Launch), the Cuirs Nomades.

Established just about a decade ago, Memo Paris is the brainchild of John Molloy and Clara Ferre-Molloy inspired by the pairs’ travels and memories acquired therein – hence the name Memo. The idea of travel is engrained in the company that their current campaign handle concept is entitled “the Journey is the Destination.”

In Cuirs Nomades, Memo creates 5 exquisite leather-centric fragrances that would tickle the wanderlust in you.

Russian Leather (the Clubbing Leather Scent)

Welcome to Russia where the vodka is cold but the parties are hot!

Image from this Vice Article: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7be4a4/a-big-night-out-in-vip-moscow

Perhaps the easiest scent of the line to digest, Russian leather is a character straight out of Russian action movie. Bold, loud and almost comically predictable, Russian Leather is a pleasant blend of green and cool, almost vegetable-like scents mixed with thick, black leather. It’s the H&M of leather scents – easily recognizable, decent quality and the type that you most likely will be using on a cold night out at the loudest most crowded club in the Metro.

Prominent notes: Fougère Accord, Leather

Best used in: Clubs, Quick urban getaways like Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore

Perfume strength: Mild; 3-4 hours


African Leather (the Getaway Leather Scent)

This is where the real journey begins. Imagine this: you, a beaten-up old Jeep Cherokee and the wide-open plains. As you strap your seatbelt into the Jeep’s tan, aged leather seats, harsh yellow sunlight bathes your skin, peppered with dust. The air is warm and spicy like the cardamom and geranium present in African leather. The hyenas howl to welcome you. Cheetas chasing herds of wildebeests. Lion cubs circle & play with their mom. The dynamic ecosystem you are witnessing is mimicked by the bright bitter orange, lime and other citrus medley which that dances around the exotic composition. As the sun slowly dies down and the cool winds of twilight breeze through your sun-scorched shirt, the stench of lemony creamy saffron dissipates and mixes into the air. The journey is done but the memories & the scent lingers on.

Wild, without being animalistic, African Leather is a great getaway leather scent. Perfect for warm nights after swimming through the beaches of Bali and enjoying a sip of mojito or two along the shorelines.

Prominent Notes: Cardamom, Geranium, Leather, Bitter Orange

Best used in: Exotic Summer Getaway or by the beach of swimming pool. Boracay, El Nido, Bali – ideally sipping some tropical cocktail.

Perfume Strength: Moderate to High; 6-7 hours


French Leather (the Sensual Side of Leather)

French Leather Rose is French Leather accentuated with more Rose Essence.

Brisk yet calm, Paris is alive and in the mood for L’Amour in this Rose-centric leather scent from Memo. It’s the supple suede overcoat you were amidst a lazy cool spring afternoon sipping coffee in a Parisian corner café while nose-deep in an indulging light book. The quiet rose is mixed with jumpy lime and slightly spicy pink peppercorn to create a sensual feminine aura around the fragrance. You’ll get a burst of resins and rich wood from the onset but don’t let that almost plasticky, nail polish scent affect you (unless you’re one of the few that appreciates this nuanced mix).

In some ways, French Leather reminds me of Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle where she obsesses over the nail polish topcoat. French Leather has that crazy alluring effect –almost carnal, even. ?

Prominent Notes: Rose, Lime, Leather, Resin

Best used in: Candlelight dinner, romantic night outs in, well, Paris.

Perfume Strength: Moderate; 4-5 hours


Italian Leather (the Gourmand of Leather Goods)

Italy has long become famous for their quality pizzas and high-quality leather product; both good, both equally delectable! This is Italian Leather in its essence – delectable. It is the most “foody” of the group without becoming a gourmand cliché (heavy vanilla, rich chocolate, sickeningly creamy tonka).

It’s a vineyard, of sorts, with tomato leaf playing a huge role in the fragrance’s composition. It’s the laidback Italian waiting for Mama’s home-cooked meals to finally hit the dinner tables propped up outside as you savor everything in the blistering summer night sky.

Vibrant, juicy and characteristically grounded, Italian Leather plays around with dry, powdery vanilla paired with upscale, glossy, dark brown leather bag accord. After a couple of minutes, you’d feel the sudden surge of bitter tomato leaf overpowering the vanilla. I find the use of this note very unique and complements the composition giving it a matte, crispy, leafy texture.

Truth be told, this is one of the most exquisite offerings from the house that is artistically playful yet crafted with such refinement. One of the two from the line that can go up against any from the more renowned Niche/ Private label line like Tom Ford.

Prominent Notes: Tomato Leaf, Vanilla, Leather, Resins

Best used in: Laidback open-aired events. Chill weekend rides down by the riviera or local winery.

Perfume Strength: High; 7-9hours


Irish Leather (the Bentley)

Speaking of going toe-to-toe with the likes of Tom Ford Private blend, this is a scent which we feel can take Tuscan Leather out of the park in any day of the year. Irish Leather, pure class in a bottle. There is a refinement in Memo that’s just hard to ignore and nothing exudes excellence like Irish Leather does.

Regal, rich but highly modern, Irish Leather is the cold, white leather seats on a fully decked out Bentley – the type of luxurious ride you’d only take on select occasions. Images of the quiet, refined, powerful gentleman comes to mind with every spray of this exquisite juice. Slick-back hair, almost always in suits, quiet refinement and just precipitating elegance in every stride, this is to the most confident man in the room hands down.

While the other Cuir Nomades from Memo harp on an extra note, Irish Leather just banks on the rich addictive scent that only quality leather can bring. Clean white leather seat scent is heightened with green maté absolute to provide masculine tea bitterness. In about 10mins, metallic nuances of distilled boozy juniper berries grace us with its clean, crystalline facet. This is Memo’s crème dela crème of leather scents and truly a bottle-worthy masterpiece.

Prominent Notes: Leather, Juniper berries, Green Mate

Best used in: Strictly formal events, powerful board meetings, anyplace where you want to be the most expensive guy in the room or want to feel like you’re Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby. This is the cool guy in a pink shirt, like an ad taken out of a magazine.

Perfume Strength: Moderate to High; 6-8 hours

These are but a sample of Memo’s almost 30 distinguished product lines but if you’re looking for your next scent of adventure, trust us on their leather line, the Cuir Nomades. This one you’d travel the world for, and it’s readily available here at Art of Scent.

Memo Paris Price Ranges from Php 8800 – 11,000. The leather collection stands at Php 10,450 for a 75ml bottle.


Colin Chan

Colin Chan

All-around geek, Colin stretches his passion for fashion and fragrances (really, he's an addict). A once regular contributor for Unbox, he's jumped from site to site and juggles Ungeek.ph as well as Unpacked.ph. In his off time he scours through mounds of websites, youtube reviews and ads that talk about perfume (that's when he's not busy gobbling up TV series, movies and videos games left and right).