Cuir Velours by Naomi Goodsir

We imagine this sensuous, magical scent smells like the grown-up version of the wardrobe that will take you to Narnia: warm, sweet, woody, exciting and inviting.

Listed notes

Tobacco, rum, cistus, labdanum, incense, fleur d’immortelle, suede, frankincense.

The brand

The Naomi Goodsir line is fast becoming a firm favourite of The Sniff. What we like most about this brand is their ability to make scents that figuratively smell like bejewelled trinkets lying on a bed of velvet. Everything they do is sumptuous, satisfying, special. We’ve previously reviewed Bois d’Ascese and Or du Serail, both of which we would recommend that you check out.

Top notes

Like the other Naomi Goodsir perfumes we have tested, there is a richness and a quality that is apparent right from the first sniff of this scent. The perfumer here has managed to convey great depth and complexity, and Cuir Velours is an evocative, time-traveller of a scent that you couldn’t imagine dating.

Chocolatey wafts of sweetness and tobacco rise immediately, and the scent is rich and transportive. Behind the sweetness a spicy, almost mothball-like, slightly preservative note comes through which could well be down to the frankincense. It’s strange and moreish. The image it immediately called to mind was the rich spiciness of Christmas pudding, the perfume doesn’t itself smell fruity as such, but it has that same sort of sweet-stickiness-without-being-sickly that Christmas pudding has.

The start of Cuir Velours has this interesting exotic quality that reminds you of familiar, cosy things, but at the same time makes you aware that it isn’t them, it’s something less familiar, more provocative.

Heart notes

The heart of Cuir Velours becomes drier, less sticky although still sweet, and the suede notes come through nicely. Suede is one of those strange scents that in real life is absolutely gorgeous, but when used in perfumery its often overdone and loses all the gentle nuance it has in reality. Not here though. This scent hits it exactly right, giving you just enough to satisfy the desire to smell leather, but not so much that you get sick of it. This is handled so well that Cuir Velours has immediately gone to the top of our list of fragrances that use leather notes. It is just beautiful.

The balance of the perfume in the heart is so lovely, it’s not too soapy, and is just the right level of dry, sweet, woody and warm. It envelopes you in a gorgeous cocoon of scent that you just will not want to leave.

Base notes

In the base, the tobacco returns and the whole scent has this rich, velvety brown tone to it. The tobacco is joined by the rum which gives these little hits of vanilla sweetness to the overall impression and the cistus (sometimes called rockrose) really bolsters that with it’s honey sweetness. Again we get layers of depth and complexity here that are enough to keep you fascinated through multiple wears.

To us, wearing this scent evoked exploring a derelict house. As you creep from room to room, you open one of the doors and the air shimmers. The dereliction is gone and instead, preserved in time, is a warm, book-lined study with a leather topped desk, a cigar smouldering in the ash tray and a glass of liquor beside it. In the grate there are the embers of a fire, not quite out, and a velvet jacket is tossed over the back of the leather chair. You’re not sure quite when you are, it could be the 1920s, it could be earlier, but you know for certain that the owner of the study is sexy as hell. Is it your study? Or does it belong to someone else? Who knows? Either way, it’s a lovely place to linger for a little while.

There’s a confidence in all the Naomi Goodsir scents and Cuir Velours is no different. The perfume isn’t brash or showy at all. It’s the opposite of those people who tell you how successful they are; Cuir Velours knows it’s good, it doesn’t need to go on about it constantly. And this self-assuredness lends the perfume a very sexy air. One of the forums we read in writing this article described it as ‘erotic’, but it isn’t quite as lewd as that. Instead it’s very confident in itself somehow, and wearing it it makes you feel more confident, and sexy, as a result.

The other stuff

The longevity of this scent is really good, it lasts all day and well into the evening without need for a second application.

The sillage, or projection, of the scent (how far it comes off the body when wearing it) was good. It wasn’t obtrusive but we got hints of it all day.

In terms of the genders that this scent would appeal to, we felt that it was more towards the masculine end of the spectrum. That said, the women who tested this also really loved it’s sensual quality.

We’d really urge you to try this one if you like perfumes that have a woody nuance, but you find them sometimes too astringent. Or leather notes that you sometimes find overdone. This perfume has both held at the perfect level that gives just enough without being overpowering.

Buy it

Cuir Velours is available from Bloom Perfumery London, who kindly supplied us with a sample of this scent. It is priced at £125 for 50ml EdP. Bloom also stock the other scents in the Naomi Goodsir line.

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