July 26, 2014
Central Park Winter NYC
Imagine this; you're in the heart of New York City on a cool, but not frigid winter day. Yes, I know it is the height of summer, but bear with me. It is as usual all hustle and bustle; the noise of the traffic and of the people on the sidewalks is like the buzz of an engine that never seems to stop. You need a break from the madness so you decide to take a walk in Central Park. You start to relax and you soon realize that you're all alone. No traffic, no people, just the glow of the muted winter sun beating down on you with an embracing glow. You're wrapped up in the most beautiful golden sable fur….it's as if the world has stopped and converged for that moment in time…and in that moment you are blessed with the comfort of knowing that all will be right with the world. That for me is Guerlain's L 'Art et la Matière Cuir Beluga; a fragrance that transports me to a place of peace and solace.
Angelica Huston, 1960s
Created in 2005 by perfumer Olivier Polge, Cuir Beluga is all comfort straight from the very first spritz. Its opening is warm and lightly boozy with a powdery almond tinge followed by an almost edible patchouli and a hint of the animalic. There's a slightly gourmand sweetness that is so cozy that it's easy to get swept away by its beauty. Cuir Beluga glides into its development ever so slowly as if you were pulling off a pair of fine leather gloves lined with the softest suede, one finger at a time… sensuous and refined . With a name like Cuir Beluga, which references Beluga caviar, you might expect caviar notes and a heavy dose of leather. Instead, it is a rich, sueded scent, with no hard edges; a fragrance worthy of the Guerlain name and heritage. Some say it is reminiscent of Shalimar and L’Heure Bleu. Perhaps, but I believe that Cuir Beluga stands on its own.
L 'Art et la Matière Cuir Beluga
When many of us think of the House of Guerlain, most perfumistas immediately identify with the great vintage fragrances of historical classic perfumery such as Jicky (1889), Mitsouko (1919), L'Heure Bleu (1912) Shalimar (1925), Vol de Nuit (1933) to name a few. Since these creations loom large over our conciousness, some of the contemporary Guerlain creations do not garner the same recognition or are deemed as dumbed down, more mainstream, especially since Jean-Paul Guerlain stepped down. Cuir Beluga is one of the eight current perfumes in the exclusive L 'Art et la Matière collection. Don't save this gem for winter, Cuir Beluga can be worn year round. Spritz it on any time that you want to take a few minutes for yourself. Cuir Beluga is not a sillage monster, rather it is a quiet fragrance that sits close to the skin and carries just far enough for someone you love to nuzzle your neck.
Notes: Leather, Mandarin, Everlasting Flower, Amber, Heliotrope, Vanilla
— Steven Lindquist, Sr. Contributor and Editor of The Scented Hound (with Contributions from Michelyn Camen)
Mme Sylvaine Delacourte, 2008
Editor’s Note: L 'Art et la Matière was conceived by Sylvaine Delacourte, whom Perfumer Maurice Roucel told me was one of the best Creative Directors he has ever worked with. When I spoke with Mme Delacourte in 2008, she explained, “ L 'Art et la Matière collection celebrates Guerlain’s passion for the world’s most precious raw materials; what sets this collection apart is using luxurious ingredients to capture the essence of Guerlain in a completely modern way ”. The inaugral three were released in 2005 and are: Cuir Beluga by Olivier Polge, Rose Barbare by Francis Kurkdjian, which was described as “a heady, incisive Ottoman rose (aldehydes) over a modern structure of honey-chypree notes” and Angélique Noire by Daniela Andrièr which features bergamot, angelica and vanilla. Others followed, including the one that got away: Bois de Armenie by Annick Ménard (2006) which was the first time I fell head over heels in love with an incense scent; so unusal for Guerlain at that time. In 2008, L 'Art et la Matière collection could only be found in the USA at the Guerlain Boutique at Bergdorf Goodman; Cuir Beluga is still in my permanant collection and I bought it in 2008 before any reformulation due to IFRA regulations. Steve's review is based on a sample I sent him –Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief
We have a 10 ml decant of Cuir Beluga (2008) for one US reader. To be eligible, please leave a comment about your favorite Guerlain L 'Art et la Matière or why you would like to try Cuir Beluga after reading Steve's review. Draw closes 7/29/2014
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