Though the leather note is appreciated by connoisseurs, it is so assertive it is seldom featured in perfumery. But it is one of Marc-Antoine Corticchiato’s favourite and he built his personal interpretation of it on the smoky effluvia of burnt styrax and birch.
From there, he set off for the Ottoman Empire, inspired by the secular tradition of leatherwork in Anatolia – up to the 19th century Turkish leather was the most highly coveted in Europe. He added iris, which already presents leathery facets, after learning that its powdery notes were often used to soften the smell of the finest skins.
In keeping with his theme, he steeped his iris and leather accord in incense tears and benzoin, whose vanilla facets called for vanilla – which is, along with cistus, the core of oriental perfumes. Tonka bean brings its gourmand touch: its tobacco facet intensifies the leather accord and conjures the lazy smoke of the hookah. To make this oriental leather even headier, it is wrapped in narcotic Egyptian jasmine, as white-fleshed and opulent as the odalisques painted by Delacroix, Ingres and Matisse…